The word intestate describes a situation when someone dies without a will. The court must get involved and divide the estate on its own. Intestate law sets the ground rules for how the court will divide the estate.
The Illinois Probate Law contains intestate laws. First, many assets may not even need court intervention or a will to distribute. For example, the following are given to the named beneficiaries:
- Retirement account
- Life insurance proceeds
- Securities in a transfer-on-death account
- Property that you have transferred to a trust
How the Estate Is Divided
There are general rules that Illinois applies based on the person’s situation at the time of death. If they have a spouse but no children, the spouse will inherit all of the property. If they have children but no spouse, the children will be assigned equal shares of the estate. With a spouse and children, the spouse will get half the estate, and the children will split the other half. Adopted children and biological children are treated the same. Grandchildren can receive a share of the estate if their parent is no longer alive to inherit it.
While the law aims to provide as much predictability as possible, you lose control over how your estate is divided. The intestate laws may not order a division that reflects your priorities. The best way to avoid this is to plan ahead and draft a will or establish a trust to divide assets. This will give you a say over what happens when you are no longer here.
Call a Lincolnshire Estate Planning Lawyer
The law firm of Chuck Newland & Associates can help you with all of your estate planning needs. Reach out to us online or give us a call at (847) 797-9300 to schedule a time to discuss your estate.