If you die without a will in Illinois, your estate is designated intestate. Intestate laws divide a person’s property based on the family relationships that are in existence at the time of their death. The will could be lost, could have been destroyed, or could have been revoked, but there is no will that could be admitted to probate.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.
Illinois Intestate Laws
If you die without a will in Illinois, your assets will be transferred according to the state’s “intestate succession” laws. Who inherits what will depend on whether or not you have a living spouse, children, parents, or other close relatives when you die. Intestacy laws divide a person’s property based on the family relationships that are in existence at the time of their death.
If you die with:
children but no spouse —> surviving children inherit everything
spouse but no children —> spouse inherits everything
spouse and children —> 50% to the spouse and children equally share the other 50%
parents but no spouse or children —> parents inherit everything
siblings but no spouse, children, or parents —> siblings inherit everything
Intestate Laws and Children:
Adopted children: Children you legally adopted will receive an intestate share, just as your biological children do.
Foster children and stepchildren: Foster children and stepchildren you never legally adopted will not automatically receive a share.
Children placed for adoption: Children you placed for adoption and who were legally adopted by another family will not receive a share unless the decree of adoption specifically provides for the continuation of inheritance rights. If, however, your biological children were adopted by your spouse, that won’t affect their intestate inheritance.
Posthumous children: Children conceived by you but not born before your death will receive a share.
- Children born outside of marriage: If you were not married to your children’s mother when she gave birth to them, they will receive a share of your estate if you acknowledged your paternity or if during your lifetime or after your death a court establishes your paternity.
- Artificial insemination: A child born through artificial insemination after your death will receive a share if you consented in writing to the use of your biological matter and the child is born within 36 months of your death.
- Grandchildren: A grandchild will receive a share only if that grandchild’s parent (your son or daughter) is not alive to receive his or her share.
Illinois Estate and Probate Attorney
Do you have questions about estate laws in Illinois? Our experienced estate and probate attorneys in Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties in Illinois can advise you on the best options to protect your assets and loved ones. To talk to a trust attorney contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.