What Happens If I Die Without a Will in Illinois?

Naperville last will and testament attorneyThe creation of a will can be one of the most important legal decisions you will ever make; however, many people put this critical document on the backburner. Life circumstances can get in the way, as your first job may quickly lead you to marriage and children, and before you know it, your kids are off to college. Legal professionals always advise people to formulate their will early in life, continuing to edit the details as life changes. This is especially pertinent during these tumultuous times as COVID-19 runs rampant, with younger generations losing their lives unexpectedly. As the home of Chicago, Illinois has been hit especially hard with over 150,000 confirmed cases in the state as of this writing. As those under the age of 35 see a spike in cases, many young adults who become fatally ill with the coronavirus are dying without a will set in place.

Dying Without a Will

The thing about death is that it can happen unexpectedly—fatal car accidents, unseen diagnoses, or a pandemic without a known vaccine can leave previously healthy individuals struggling to survive. A number of people will fail to create a will before they find themselves on death’s door. Anyone who dies without a valid will set in place will have their estate labeled as “intestate.” In cases such as these, the deceased individual’s estate and assets will be placed into the hands of the court rather than their loved ones, determined by the statute. Since the deceased party never selected beneficiaries, the probate court will deem the heirs determined by the statute to inherit your property, even though this is not what you wanted.

In most cases, the court will divide up your estate between your spouse and other family members. For those who are married, without children, the spouse will inherit the entirety of their estate. For individuals who are married with a family, the spouse will receive half of the estate while the other half will be divided between the deceased person’s children. This may seem fairly straightforward, but rarely are family matters this simple. Some may not want all of their children included in the estate, as not all parent-child relationships are amicable. Some are married with a second spouse, so the second spouse will inherit half and the children from the first marriage will inherit half. For those who are single and without children, the court will need to determine who their closest-of-kin is to inherit their property. Since the court will have no knowledge of the deceased person’s relationships, this can mean that their belongings are placed into the hands of a relatively unfamiliar face or create further animosities in the family upon your death. 

Contact a Naperville, IL Estate Planning Lawyer

Likely, the last thing on your mind during these unprecedented times is taking the time to find a reputable attorney and rifling through all of your finances and other valuables to create a will. No matter how much money you have in the bank, creating a will is crucial for protecting your namesake and your family upon your death. The dangers of COVID-19 do not discriminate by age and many adults under the age of 50 are finding themselves struggling to survive in a hospital bed. The Gierach Law Firm works tirelessly to assist those hoping to formulate a will. We have adjusted our tactics to accommodate all of our clients, even those who do not wish to physically come into our office. For help creating your will, contact our Illinois estate planning attorney at our Naperville office at 630-756-1160 or our Hoffman Estates office at 847-519-0505 to schedule an appointment.

 

Sources:

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/06/covid-19-cases-among-us-young-adults-spike

https://smartasset.com/financial-advisor/illinois-inheritance-laws

https://www.thebalance.com/dying-without-a-will-in-illinois-3505048 

https://www.google.com/search?q=covid-19+stats+illinois&client=firefox-b-1-d&biw=1440&bih=798&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjj0KvF7r3qAhWNVs0KHR7dC-UQ_AUIDSgA

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