Useful information to help guide
your probate process

55% of Americans Don't Have a Will

Most of us would like to imagine that, when we eventually pass away, the process will be easy for our loved ones.

Our friends and family will quickly and effortlessly inherit what was left to them, your earthly affairs will be wrapped up in a timely manner, and no one will need to spend their time or money dealing with hassles such as creditors or legal red tape.

In reality, however, the picture can be a little less rosy.

For instance, consider some of these stunning statistics, compiled from various sources by LegalZoom:

  • More than half (55%) of American adults do not have a will (or other estate plan) in place
  • A complicated will may take over two years to probate; even a simple one may take as much as six months
  • According to estimates from one law firm, probate may cost American families as much as $2 billion every year
  • Many Americans wait until they’re older to begin with any aspect of estate planning; over 90% of probated wills were made by someone 60 or older; still, the AARP estimates that a shocking 41% of baby boomers did not have a will as recently as 2012
  • While the numbers are rising, only 41% of Americans had living wills as recently as 2007; at the same time, just about one-third of adults (38%) have a healthcare power of attorney

What these numbers tell us is that, if you’re confused or reluctant to get started with estate planning, you’re clearly in good company.

But here’s the rub. The reality behind these stats is one full of families feeling stuck in prolonged court proceedings, bogged down by potentially massive payments, caught up in confusing bureaucracy, and waiting years to receive their anticipated inheritance.

These are all huge burdens, but they can be avoided – with proper estate planning. That’s where Chicago Probate Lawyers would be happy to step in!

Our team’s specialization in matters of estate planning and administration, wills and trusts, and power of attorney makes us uniquely qualified to work closely with you and yours.

We’ll make sure that you feel supported and informed from beginning to end by helping you get a handle on everything that goes into an estate plan. That may include:

  • Creating and/or updating a will 
  • Understanding the types of wills available for your estate (such as simple wills, wills with contingency trusts, or pour-over wills)
  • Determining whether or not you’ll want to set up a trust (or trusts) for the purposes of tax planning, asset protection, and privacy
  • Navigating and adding special provisions, such as special needs trusts, spendthrift provisions, or trusts for minors
  • Creating a living will/medical directive, which will dictate your medical care in the event that you are incapacitated
  • Designating a power of attorney for healthcare and property, which will allow a friend or family member you trust to have the legal authority to make decisions and take care of your wishes on your behalf, within a given timeframe

Similarly, if you are currently acting or planning to act as the executor of an estate, we can also help you with all matters of probate and estate administration after a family member dies, including matters of heirship, wills and trusts, independent or dependent administration, estate accounting, distributions, transferring or clearing title to real or personal property, collecting assets, and disposing of unwanted property.

For the sake of your own peace of mind – not to mention the financial stability of your loved ones – it is incredibly important to get a handle on all of these matters sooner, rather than later. Drop us a line today with any further questions or concerns.

No attorney-client relationship. The Firm maintains this website exclusively for informational purposes. It is not legal or other professional advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Firm or its clients. Viewing this site, using information from it, or communicating with The Firm through this site by email does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and The Firm.

Nonreliance. Online readers should not act or decline to act, based on content from this site, without first consulting an attorney or other appropriate professional. Because the law changes constantly, this website's content may not indicate the current state of the law. Nothing on this site predicts or guarantees future results. The Firm is not liable for the use or interpretation of information contained on this site, and expressly disclaim all liability for any actions you take or do not take, based on this site's content.

Please carefully review our full disclaimer (link) before proceeding.

Contact us directly for a conversation.