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Preparing a Will for the First Time -- Some Tips from the Illinois State Bar Association

Question: I'm preparing to have a will drawn up for the first time.  What should I know? Answer: There are a number of decisions a person must make related to the dispersal of his or her assets after death. Who will receive the assets from the estate and at what age? Who will be named as guardians of minor children and what are their duties? Should life insurance proceeds be payable to a trustee or executor named in the will or to individuals directly? Who will be named executor of the will? Should charitable gifts be indicated? What steps can be taken to avoid paying unnecessary taxes upon your death? At the first meeting with your lawyer, take along a list of your assets, as well as the names and addresses of those who should receive them.  Once the will is drawn up, and you are satisfied with its contents, your lawyer will make sure that it is signed and witnessed in accordance with the law.     For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to   Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit

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