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The easiest thing you can do to protect your estate plan

Some Illinois residents never create an estate plan, making the days and months following their death stressful and challenging for the loved ones and potential heirs they leave behind. Other, more responsible Illinois residents create detailed and well-crafted estate plans that cover every last detail -- making things as easy as possible for the loved ones they leave behind. If you're one of the responsible ones, there's something else you might want to do to ensure that your estate plan is followed to the letter after you're gone.

This final step in your estate planning process is not that hard to do, and best of all, it's free. Nevertheless, you could be loath to do it, and you might avoid it like the plague. That's because it involves talking to your family members and heirs about your death and what you want to happen after you're gone.

Countless Illinois residents devise perfectly lawful estate plans, but they never tell their heirs about them. However, failing to tell your heirs about your wishes is risky. It dramatically increases the chance that some heirs will feel mistreated, or feel that your estate plan was unfair. They might even wrongly assume that the plan you created isn't something you wanted.

By sitting your heirs and family members down -- preferably all at once -- and telling them about your asset distribution, will and overall estate planning goals, you let them know exactly what you want. You can also explain your reasoning behind the decisions you've made. Even if your heirs don't like your plan, they will know that this is what you intended and they'll be far less likely to fight about your plan, contest your will or file lawsuits against one another after you're gone.

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