FAQs: What Happens To My Bank Account When I Die?

  • Estate Planning
  • Illinois Probate Law
FAQs: What Happens To My Bank Account When I Die?

When someone dies, their loved ones, dependents and heirs experience loss and sadness – and often, a lot of stress and financial problems. There are steps you can take today to protect your family from unnecessary stress and financial pressures. If you don’t plan today for tomorrow, your loved ones can be protected tomorrow.

Here are three actions you can take today to protect your bank account and your assets for your loved ones in the future.

1. Name A Beneficiary to Your Bank Accounts
Bank accounts can pass to your heirs through an estate or through designated beneficiary instructions associated with your account. You need to choose a beneficiary for each of your bank accounts, or review and update your current beneficiary designations. Naming beneficiaries will simplify the process of settling your estate after you are gone, and save your heirs time, money and stress.

• If there is a named beneficiary on your bank account, on your death the funds will go to the person, people, or entity named as the beneficiary, and the funds do not need to go through the time and expense of probate.

• If your bank account is no beneficiary, the funds go to your estate. All funds will be distributed according to instructions in your will, or Illinois intestate law determine who receives the funds.

2. Set Up Joint Tenancy
Illinois’ Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship means that two people – typically a husband and wife – co-own the property in equal shares. When one person dies, the other co-owner automatically becomes the owner of the property, even if there is no will. This is called the right of survivorship. You can set your bank accounts and other assets by setting up a joint tenancy with your spouse.

3. Create A Will 
When you die without a will, Illinois state intestate laws determine who receives funds. 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.

An estate planning attorney can help you review your assets to protect your family from unnecessary stress and financial pressures.

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. 

During the COVID pandemic the Estate and Probate Legal Group will remain open to help you protect your family. Please see this page for specific actions to take