Did you know that less than half of all Americans have a will? Passing away without a will means you have no say in how the courts distribute your assets. They will decide how to divide everything you have worked for in your life. And if you die without a will in Illinois, the heirship law takes effect.
Dying intestate is the legal way of saying dying without a will. And we mean a legal will, the courts will not accept a handwritten will or notes jotted down on a napkin. Heirship law is the specific distribution of your assets to your heirs based on their relationship to you. In the easiest terms, the distribution of your assets, such as your house, car and all personal belongings, will be as such:
Illinois Heirship Law
Spouse but no children → Spouse inherits everything
Children but no spouse → Children split all inheritance
Spouse and children → Spouse inherits half and children spit other half
The heirship laws become more complicated with the different family situations. Such as, the grandchildren do not inherit any of your assets unless neither of their parents is living. And if you are not married and do not have any children, the courts will split your assets between your parents and siblings.
As you can see, there are very specific laws about how the courts will distribute your assets if you die without a will. But what if you have loved ones who are not legal family members that you want to leave your belongings? What if you live with your significant other and want them to have your home? Without a will, a trust, or the title of the assets in their name, they will have no claim to your assets – regardless of what you want.
Estate planning is not only for the rich and famous; your estate is simply everything you own when you pass away. It sounds daunting, but the first step to setting up a will is easy – simply call an experienced estate planning attorney. They will walk you through the laws to ensure the courts will distribute assets to those you choose.
You deserve a say in how your assets will be distributed after you’re gone.
Do you need to make or update a will? An Illinois estate planning lawyer can protect you and help write your will. Consulting an experienced probate, trust and estates attorney can give you peace of mind. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.
AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake and Will counties