What Happens if a Person Dies Without a Will in Illinois?

last will and testament can be crucial for a person of any age. A will makes decisions about issues such as how a person’s property will be distributed to their beneficiaries, who they would like to be the guardian of their minor children, how their funeral and burial arrangements should be handled, and any other last wishes they want to address. However, there are some situations where a person may die without having a will in place. In these cases, family members and other loved ones will need to understand how the person’s final affairs will be handled.

Intestate Succession in Illinois

If a person had no valid will at the time of their death, this is known as dying “intestate,” and the laws of intestate succession will be used to determine how their assets will be distributed to their heirs. In Illinois, these laws state that:

  • If a person was married and had no children or other descendants, their spouse will receive their entire estate.

  • If a person was not married and had children or other descendants, their estate will be divided among the descendants using “per stirpes” distribution. This means that each child of the deceased person will be entitled to an equal share of the estate, and if a child is deceased, their share of the estate will be divided equally among their own children or descendants.

  • If a person was married and had children, their spouse will be entitled to 50% of their estate, and the other 50% of the estate will be divided among their children or other descendants using per stirpes distribution.

  • If a person was not married and did not have any children, their estate will be divided equally among their parents, brothers, and sisters.

  • If a person did not have a spouse, descendants, parents, or siblings, their estate may be inherited by more distant relatives, including grandparents or great-grandparents and their descendants, or by their nearest relatives.

  • If no relatives of the deceased person can be located, any real estate property they owned will become the property of the county where it is located, and the State of Illinois will take possession of any other assets or personal property the person owned.

Matters of intestate succession are handled in probate court, which will appoint a personal representative who will take an inventory of the deceased person’s assets and ensure that these assets are properly distributed to the person’s heirs. The probate court will also address guardianship of the person’s minor children, and it may appoint a person such as a family member to serve as the children’s legal guardian.

Contact Our South Side of Chicago Wills Attorney

To make sure your wishes will be followed after your death, you can work with The Marques Eason Law Group to create a will and estate plan. We can also provide representation during the probate process to ensure that a person’s last wishes are followed correctly. Contact our Beverly estate planning lawyer today by calling our office at 773-973-3755.



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