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What happens if I die without a will?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2021 | Estate Planning |

If you die without a will in Illinois, then you should understand that your beneficiaries will receive an intestate share of your property. What that means is that your property will be passed on in accordance with Illinois state law.

Dying without a will only affects assets that would have been included in your will to begin with. So, things like life insurance or other policies that pay out directly to your beneficiaries may not be affected. On the other hand, your properties and personal assets may need to go through probate due to intestate succession laws.

Who stands to inherit your assets?

If you have no children and die without a will, your estate should pass on to your spouse first. If you have no spouse but do have children, then your children will likely inherit everything.

On the other hand, if you have a spouse and children, your spouse will stand to inherit half of your intestate property. Your descendants will stand to inherit the other half.

Things get more difficult when someone has no children or spouse. If you still have parents, then they will inherit all you have. If you have no parents but do have siblings, then they will receive your assets. If you have parents and siblings, then the estate is split amongst them.

What happens if you have no family when you die?

If you have no beneficiaries chosen and have no family, then your property will escheat. This means that the state will take control of your property.

This doesn’t happen often, because the law is set up to keep your property in your family if it’s possible. This might include passing property onto nieces, nephews, cousins or others before the state can ever see the property from your estate.

To avoid all of this trouble, it’s worth setting up your will and estate plan. You may decide to create trusts and to set beneficiaries now so that you know that your property will pass on appropriately when you pass away. This gives you more control over where your assets go in the future.


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