What happens if someone dies without a will in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2023 | Estate Planning

Having a last will and testament in place serves to outline your intentions regarding the distribution of your assets and other important matters of your estate. Even a simple will can clear up a lot of confusion and help ensure that your family is well cared for after your passing.

If a loved one passes away without writing a will, however, there may be a great deal of uncertainty regarding the fate of their property. You and your family can dispel much of the doubt by understanding the process of distributing assets if a loved one dies intestate.

Who inherits the estate if the deceased has no will?

Illinois intestacy laws provide a process for determining the distribution of one’s assets if one passes away without writing a will. If the deceased:

  • has children but no spouse, the children inherit everything
  • has a spouse but no children, the spouse inherits everything
  • has a spouse and children, the spouse inherits half and the children inherit half

If the deceased has neither a spouse nor children, the estate will go to any surviving parents or siblings.

What is the alternative to writing a will?

Building out an estate plan ensures that your assets go to your chosen beneficiaries in the amounts you choose and in a method of your choosing. However, you might wish to avoid relying on a will so as to spare your family from the intrusiveness of attending probate court. In this case, you might decide to exert control of your estate planning matters by creating a trust to distribute your estate to your heirs.

Though it can be confusing if a loved one passes away without a will, there are laws in place to determine the distribution of assets.