Many United States rights and privileges are not granted to undocumented residents. Illinois has long been welcoming to immigrants, including providing many safeguards to undocumented residents. In Illinois, your immigration status does not affect your inheritance rights. However, estate planning and undocumented immigrants can be a complicated issue and require the assistance of both an immigration attorney and an estate planning lawyer.
If You Die With a Will
If you have a legal will or trust in Illinois, you can legally leave assets to your heirs even if they are undocumented residents. Estate planning and undocumented immigrants require additional precautions to safeguard individuals at risk.
If You Die Without a Will
If you die without a will, your estate becomes intestate. Intestate laws mean that your estate and all decisions about your estate will go to your closest relatives. Your assets that fall under intestacy laws include property, bank accounts and retirement savings that you own outright in only your name, and are not co-owned with anyone else.
Your immigration status does not affect your inheritance under Illinois intestate law. If your relative is undocumented, they can inherit no matter what their citizenship status is. Relatives who are entitled to an intestate share of your property will inherit your assets whether or not they are citizens or legally in the United States.
Immigration status has nothing to do with whether you can designate someone as a beneficiary in a will. If you do leave your estate to an undocumented person, it’s smart to add some protections into your will or trust in case they are detained or deported:
• give a power of attorney to a citizen or legal resident
• appoint a guardian for any minor heirs
You should consult an immigration attorney if you plan to name an undocumented person as a beneficiary in your will or trust so that you fully understand how to protect your undocumented beneficiaries. Your estate planning attorney should also know the legal status of your heir so they can advise you on the best options to protect your heir.
An Illinois estate planning lawyer can help you create an estate plan that designates an undocumented person as a beneficiary. Consult an experienced probate, trust and estates attorney in Chicago or Lombard can give you advice and discuss your legal options. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630.800.0112.