Illinois Intestate Succession Rules

intestate succession rules, Illinois Estate Planning AttorneyWhat happens to your assets and property if you die without a will? Every state's laws have a different answer to that question. In Illinois, the law that covers "intestate succession" is the Probate Act of 1975.

If you die without a will in Illinois, then the law covers any assets that you own which do not come under one of the following:

  • Life insurance policy proceeds;
  • Retirement accounts;
  • Payable-on-Death (POD) bank accounts;
  • Securities or stocks which are in a transfer-on-death (TOD) account;
  • Property held on a TOD deed;
  • Property owned with another individual(s) in a tenancy by the entirety or a joint tenancy; and
  • Property or assets placed in a living trust.

Without a will, any other assets would go to your closest relatives. Who those relatives are depends on who you have as relatives. For example, if you are not married but have children when you die, then your children will receive all of your assets. In addition to your biological children, Illinois law defines a legal child who is entitled to your estate as:

  • Any adopted child;
  • Any foster or stepchild;
  • Any child who was conceived but not born before your death;
  • Any child born outside of marriage who you accepted paternity for;
  • Any child you gave up for adoption where the child's adoption decree specifically states his or her right to inherit from your estate; and
  • Any grandchild who's parent (your child) died before you.

If you are married, but have no children or other descendants, then your spouse will receive all of your assets.

The more family you have, the more complicated it can get. If you do have a spouse and children or other descendants, then your spouse will get half of your assets and your children the other half.

If you pass away and you only have your parents as relatives, then they will receive your assets. If you only have siblings when you die, then your siblings will receive your property. If both your parents are alive and you have siblings, then each will receive an equal portion of your assets. However, if one of your parents has passed, then the surviving parent would receive a double portion of your assets.

No matter what the situation, it is clearly better to have a will in place when you die. Contact an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney to discuss drafting up a will and to answer any other estate planning questions you may have.

3 Common Questions and Concerns about Estate Planning

concerns about estate planning, estate planning concerns, estate planning questions, Illinois trusts and wills attorney, my estate plan, start estate planningEstate planning can be a highly involved process; however, it is an incredibly important financial step. While most people do not want to face the concept of securing assets before they die, estate planning helps ensure that family members do not suffer stress when it comes to dividing inheritance. If you are considering estate planning, you probably have several questions or concerns.

Is Estate Planning for Me?

One of the most common concerns for those interested in estate planning or writing a will is whether or not such preparations necessarily apply to them. Many believe, erroneously, that proper estate planning is only pertinent to the wealthy.

Estate planning is for everyone. It does not matter whether or not a person is wealthy. Anyone who has a desire to see their assets—extensive or not—go into the right hands after death should write a will and make all necessary legal arrangements.

According to Forbes, proper estate planning avoids the headache of having a state unnecessarily become involved after one’s death. The process also addresses other concerns such as arranging the funeral, establishing guardians for any minor children, and distributing inheritance.

When is the Best Time to Get Involved in Estate Planning?

Ideally, everyone who is legally allowed to own property should invest some time and money in estate planning. Many people wisely begin the process as early as age 18.

Since everyone’s case is unique, it is often very beneficial to consult an attorney about one’s personal assets and estate planning. Having a legal expert available to review a specific situation can help sort out any confusion.

What Should I Include in My Estate Plan?

Some people put off or avoid estate planning completely because they believe their finances and assets are not complex or elaborate enough. Many legal experts will agree: Most people are not completely aware of the intricacy of their own financial situation.

While various expected areas—property, stocks, bank accounts, etc.—are commonly thought of when it comes to financial planning, it is also important to consider digital or intangible assets. Even pets are an important part of a thorough estate plan.

Consult an Illinois Trusts and Wills Attorney

If you have questions or concerns about estate planning, and are interested in speaking with an Illinois trusts and wills attorney, consider Stock, Carlson, Flynn & McGrath, LLC. We are more than happy to sit down with you to discuss your plans and intentions for your assets. Call us today at 630-665-2500.