People in Illinois have different types of property and have money in various types of accounts. They can use their property and money how they wish while they are living, but they cannot take it with them when they pass away. If people want to be able to control who receives their property after they pass away, they need to have a will properly executed before they die.
If people do not have a will prior to their death, their property will be distributed according to the intestate succession laws, whether people like them or not.
Intestate succession laws
According to Illinois law people’s property is distributed in the following manner if they do not have a will:
- If the person only has a spouse, the spouse receives everything.
- If the person has a spouse and children, the property is divided equally between the spouse and the children, who will receive their half of the property in equal shares.
- If there are only children, the entire amount of property is divided among the children equally.
- If the person does not have a spouse or children, the property is divided in equal shares between any parents, brothers and/or sisters of the deceased in equal shares.
- If there is no spouse, children, parents or siblings of the deceased, one-half will go to the maternal grandparents or their descendants (deceased’s uncles and aunts) and one-half to the paternal grandparents or their descendant’s.
After that, if none of those individuals are alive, the next step is the great grandparents and their descendants. This not only becomes complicated but in many situations, people also do not want all of their property to go to these individuals for a variety of reasons.
That is why it is important for people in Illinois to go through the estate planning process while they have time. This is true even if people are younger as people have no idea when their time will come. Experienced attorneys understand how to craft an estate plan to meet the needs of people and may be able to guide one through the process.