Illinois law requires that the original will of a deceased person be filed within 30 days of the date of death with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where the decedent resided at the time of their passing. Although legal proceedings exist to use a copy of a will in lieu of the original, failure to have the original will be costly and will negate one of the primary reasons for having a comprehensive estate plan, avoiding probate court.
Under current law, there is no public body available to accept the filing of a will while a person is still alive. Thus it is very important that your named executors and your heirs be able to easily locate your will at the time of your death. We recommend that our clients keep a safe or fire proof box in their home and that they give a key or the combination to their family members. Bank safe deposit boxes can be used to store important legal documents but it is important that you have other people authorized to access the box after you pass away.
Keep all of your estate planning documents (will, trust, powers of attorney for health care and property, living will, etc.) in one place. Make sure your executors and backup trustees know where those documents can be found. We also recommend that you compile a list of all your assets and liabilities and that you update that list at least once a year. Doing so will make the difficult task of handling a decedent's estate a little bit easier for your heirs.
If you need to create an estate plan or to update an existing plan, feel free to contact us. We can help guide you to make your passing as easy as possible for your family and loved ones.