When people take planning for granted or when tragedy strikes suddenly, estates are placed through probate by order of priority. While this is helpful in one sense, it could be counterproductive to the wishes of heirs, especially if the laws set forth in estate law does not honor the known wishes of a departed family member. Intestacy in Lombard requires probate. Instead of going through probate courts, let an attorney help you honor the wishes of your loved one.
As defined by law, a dying intestate is when a person dies without a will. Their will could be lost, could have been destroyed, or could have been revoked, but there is no will that could be admitted to probate. In those cases, a person constitutes having died intestate.
Lombard’s default intestacy laws divide a person’s property based on the family relationships that are in existence at the time of their death. In most cases, a person who dies intestate has children and a surviving spouse. In Lombard, 50 percent of the person’s estate would go to their spouse while the rest would be divided among their children equally. If a person has children, but no surviving spouse, the property would all go to the surviving children. Likewise, if there were no surviving children, but there is a surviving spouse, it would all go to the surviving spouse.
Situations in which there is no surviving children or spouse, it might go to grandchildren. If there are no grandchildren, it gets distributed to the descendants of aunts and uncles on their mom’s and their dad’s side. It could get complicated, depending on the situation and what the family tree looks like. In most cases, the intestate statute is going to drive the property either towards the surviving spouse or the surviving children.
An estate could be transferred to the beneficiaries through the probate process. In the case of an intestate estate, heir-ship becomes important because of the current laws in place that address who could be regarded as an heir. Once they go through the probate process and the estate is administered, it is divided up among the heirs. It is the administrator who transferred the property via check or lifetime transfers.
There are very specific circumstances in which the decedent’s children might be barred from receiving any assets. In Illinois, it is generally in situations in which the children have done something wrong with respect to their parents.
Illinois has a statute whereby children could be disinherited if they are found to have neglected, abused, or financially exploited their parent. There is also in Illinois the Slayer Statute whereby if someone kills another person, they could not inherit from that person. That could potentially apply to effectively disinherit a child from receiving any type of inheritance from their parents.
Except for those very rare circumstances, intestacy is geared towards making sure that the children are heirs and receive the assets of their parents.
If there was abuse to be found with the parents or some sort of explanation with money, there are two methods. One is through the criminal system. If a person is charged criminally and they are found beyond a reasonable doubt to be guilty of crimes related to abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or something of the like, then by operation of law they could be disinherited from receiving assets from that person if it still benefits the parents. That would include parents and children.
There is also a civil cause of action whereby maybe another family member like a sibling could attempt to prove in a civil court by the preponderance of the evidence that this other person either abused or neglected their parent and so should not receive any inheritance. It could be as a result of criminal charges or a separate civil lawsuit. Generally, it is other family members who are bringing the legal action or asking a court to make a determination that a child should not inherit from their parent for those reasons.
Intestacy in Lombard often presents challenges for heirs if they wish to contest the order of priority set forth by the State of Illinois. When a lack of planning leads to these challenges, it could prove fruitful to work with an attorney who could use their experience and compassion to help you in your time of need. Speak to an attorney today.