If you die without a will in Illinois, this means you have passed “intestate.” When this happens, state intestacy laws determine how your assets are distributed, including bank accounts, securities, real property, and other possessions you own at the time of death.
Under Illinois’ intestacy laws, your estate will pass to family members or escheat (be transferred) to the state (if you have no known relatives). This can be problematic and potentially devastating, especially if you are not married to your partner or if you intend for a nonrelative or friend to inherit your assets.
Under intestacy, unmarried partners and friends (no matter how close) will have no legal claim or right to your estate, potentially leaving them with nothing.
For this reason, it is essential to execute a will and develop a thoughtful estate plan that can ensure your loved ones are cared for, and your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes.
At RNH Law, we help Frankfort residents create estate plans and wills that account for all loved ones, not just those related by blood. As an experienced estate planning attorney, I can evaluate your objectives, answer any questions you may have, and utilize estate planning tools (such as a last will and testament, pour-over wills, trusts, advance directives, and more) to protect your assets from passing intestate.
Not all property will pass intestate; instead, only assets that would transfer through a will are affected by intestacy laws. This usually applies to property and possessions held solely in a decedent’s name.
The following are several assets to which Illinois intestacy laws do not apply:
Under Illinois law, asset distributions depend on who is alive at the time of your death and the familial relationship of each party. The following is an overview of how property is distributed:
|If you have:||Who Inherits:|
|Children but no spouse||Children inherit the entire estate in equal shares|
|Spouse but no children||Spouse inherits the estate|
|Spouse and children||Spouse inherits half of the estate; children equally split the remaining half of the estate|
|Parents but no spouse, children, or siblings||Parents inherit the estate|
|Siblings but no spouse, children, or parents||Siblings inherit the estate|
|Parents and siblings||Parents and siblings inherit the estate in equal shares (if only one parent is living, the surviving parent receives a double share)|
|Grandparents but no spouse, children, parents or siblings||Grandparents inherit the estate in equal shares|
Children are entitled to inherit a share of your intestate property; however, under Illinois law, they must be legally classified as a child. There are many unique situations (such as adoption, artificial insemination, children conceived but not born, etc.) in which determining whether an adolescent is a legal child can be challenging.
The following are some common situations:
In complex situations, it can be significantly easier to implement an estate plan than leave asset distribution up to the courts. If you are concerned that your child may not inherit from your estate, I can help develop a plan that will provide for the future welfare of your child.
In Illinois, individuals have a right to disinherit children without disclosing a reason. If you would like to exclude your child from inheriting from your estate, you must make it crystal clear that this is your intent. This can be accomplished by including a statement in a will that specifies you are purposefully not providing for a child under the terms of the document.
A disinherited child can attempt to contest a will by alleging that their parent was not of sound mind when they executed the document. Therefore, in these situations, I not only help draft the important disinheriting clauses, but I also provide proof of you being of sound mind when the documents are signed through witness attestation.
To learn more about intestate succession, please call my office at 708-279-4050 to schedule a complimentary consultation. If you become a client, I can meet with you to understand your estate and objectives, explain the possible estate planning options, and help you develop a plan that provides for your loved ones as you intend. Do not leave your estate distribution up to state law – call me today!
Please call me at (708) 279-4050 or fill out this form for a FREE Consultation.
Disclaimer: The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. We will not be taking any action on your behalf unless and until a written representation agreement is signed by you and our firm.