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WILLS

Though no one will live forever, many people act as if they will and fail to prepare for the inevitable. Your Illinois Last Will and Testament is an essential part of your Estate Plan. A Will, sometimes called a “Last Will and Testament,” is a legal document that protects and coordinates the distribution of your assets after death and specifies your final wishes.

WE OFFER A WIDE RANGE OF ESTATE PLANNING SERVICES

Steps In Preparing A Will

  • Intake and Consultation
  • Choose an executor or executrix
  • Determine what your last wishes are
  • Select beneficiaries
  • Choose a guardian if there are minor or disabled children
  • Determine who you want to give your property to or who should be disinherited
  • An attorney will draft your Will
  • You will review, make changes to, and then approve your Will
  • You will need to obtain two disinterested witnesses
  • We will execute your Will and you will put it in a safe place

What Are The Requirements For Signing A Will In Illinois?

In Illinois, any person who is at least 18 years of age, of sound mind, and memory has power to bequeath by Will, the real and personal estate which he or she has at the time of his or her death. Wills do not need to be notarized to be made legal and binding, but in order to execute or make a valid Will in Illinois, the law states that:

Every Will shall be in writing, signed by the testator or by some person in his or her presence, by his direction, and attested in the presence of the testator by 2 or more credible witnesses.

What Happens If I Die In Illinois Without A Will?

If you die without a Will it means you have died intestate. The State of Illinois would then determine who your beneficiaries are, how your assets and property are to be divided and distributed according to Illinois “intestacy” laws. The law does not care about the status or health of the relationship between your heirs at the time of your death under the laws of intestacy. This means that people who you did not intend to leave anything to, may inherit from you simply because you failed to execute a Will.

Illinois Rules of Intestacy

Pursuant to 755 ILCS 5/2-1, the intestate real and personal estate of a resident decedent and the intestate real estate in this State of a nonresident decedent, after all just claims against his estate are fully paid, descends and shall be distributed as follows:

(a) If there is a surviving spouse and also a descendant of the decedent: 1/2 of the entire estate to the surviving spouse and 1/2 to the decedent’s descendants per stirpes.

(b) If there is no surviving spouse but a descendant of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent’s descendants per stirpes.

(c) If there is a surviving spouse but no descendant of the decedent: the entire estate to the surviving spouse.

(d) If there is no surviving spouse or descendant but a parent, brother, sister or descendant of a brother or sister of the decedent: the entire estate to the parents, brothers and sisters of the decedent in equal parts, allowing to the surviving parent if one is dead a double portion and to the descendants of a deceased brother or sister per stirpes the portion which the deceased brother or sister would have taken if living.

(e) If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, parent, brother, sister or descendant of a brother or sister of the decedent but a grandparent or descendant of a grandparent of the decedent: (1) 1/2 of the entire estate to the decedent’s maternal grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes, and (2) 1/2 of the entire estate to the decedent’s paternal grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes. If there is no surviving paternal grandparent or descendant of a paternal grandparent, but a maternal grandparent or descendant of a maternal grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent’s maternal grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes. If there is no surviving maternal grandparent or descendant of a maternal grandparent, but a paternal grandparent or descendant of a paternal grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent’s paternal grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes.

(f) If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, parent, brother, sister, descendant of a brother or sister or grandparent or descendant of a grandparent of the decedent: (1) 1/2 of the entire estate to the decedent’s maternal great-grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes, and (2) 1/2 of the entire estate to the decedent’s paternal great-grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes. If there is no surviving paternal great-grandparent or descendant of a paternal great-grandparent, but a maternal great-grandparent or descendant of a maternal great-grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent’s maternal great-grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes. If there is no surviving maternal great-grandparent or descendant of a maternal great-grandparent, but a paternal great-grandparent or descendant of a paternal great-grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent’s paternal great-grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes.

(g) If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, parent, brother, sister, descendant of a brother or sister, grandparent, descendant of a grandparent, great-grandparent or descendant of a great-grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate in equal parts to the nearest kindred of the decedent in equal degree (computing by the rules of the civil law) and without representation.

(h) If there is no surviving spouse and no known kindred of the decedent: the real estate  escheats to the county in which it is located; the personal estate  physically located within this State and the personal estate  physically located or held outside this State which is the subject of ancillary administration of an estate  being administered within this State escheats to the county of which the decedent was a resident, or, if the decedent was not a resident of this State, to the county in which it is located; all other personal property of the decedent of every class and character, wherever situate, or the proceeds thereof, shall escheat to this State and be delivered to the State Treasurer pursuant to the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act

In no case is there any distinction between the kindred of the whole and the half-blood or children who have been legally adopted.

What Is The Spouse’s Share in Illinois?

In Illinois, if you have a spouse and you die intestate or without a Will, your spouse will receive a share of your estate. The amount of your spouse’s share is dependent on whether or not you have living descendants, such as children, grandchildren, and or great-grandchildren. If you do not have children upon your death, your spouse inherits 100% of your intestate property. If you have living descendants then your children and your spouse will share your intestate property, in other words your spouse will receive 50% and your living children or their living children if they predeceased you will receive the other 50% in equal shares per stirpes.

What Would Be My Children’s Share If I Die Intestate in Illinois?

Similar to if you were to die with a spouse, if you die without a Will in Illinois, your children will receive some kind of “intestate share” of your property. However, the size of each children’s share is dependent on how many children you have and whether or not you have a living spouse. If you do not have a spouse upon your death, your children inherit 100% of your intestate property. If you have a spouse, children or descendants, your spouse and children will share your intestate property, in other words your spouse will receive 50% and your living children will receive and share the other 50% in equal shares per stirpes. In order for children to receive their share or to inherit from you, under Illinois laws of intestacy, the State must be able to consider them as your lawful children. Sometimes in modern society, this is not always easy, clear, and it may take an attorney to walk you through the process and help you figure this out.

If I Have No Living Relatives Will the State Get Your Property?

If you die without a Will and do not have relatives or family members, your property will “escheat” into the State’s coffers, but this rarely happens.

What can be passed to another person through a Will?

Almost any personal or real property can be passed to someone else in a Will which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Real estate
  • Personal finances and debts
  • Business ventures
  • Vehicles
  • Pet care
  • Jewelry
  • Furniture
  • Antiques

Are There Certain Assets That Do Not Pass Through A Will?

Personal assets that do not pass through your Will and are not affected by Illinois Intestacy Laws are as follows:

  • payable-on-death bank accounts
  • real property or estate held by a transfer-on-death instrument (TODI)
  • securities held in a transfer-on-death account
  • life insurance proceeds in which a beneficiary is named
  • property that has been transferred to a living trust
  • retirement account and money being held in an IRA, 401(k), or other type of account
  • property you own with someone else in tenancy by the entirety or joint tenancy

Can I Revoke Or Change My Will?

In Illinois, certain life events like you and your spouse divorcing causes automatic changes to your Will. Illinois law revokes any language in your Will that leaves property to your spouse or names your spouse to be your executor. You may also change or revoke your Will at any time by doing the following:

  • burning, cancelling, tearing, obliterating, or otherwise destroying the Will by the testator himself or herself or by some person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction and consent;
  • by the execution of a later Will declaring the revocation;
  • by a later Will to the extent that it is inconsistent with the prior Will or;
  • by the execution of an instrument declaring the revocation, signed and attested in the manner prescribed by the Act for the signing and attestation of a Will.

Why You May Need An Estate Planning Lawyer?

Sometimes choosing the right provisions for your Will or other estate planning documents can be confusing and you may need an Estate Planning Attorney to assist you. Pinkston Law Group can help you create an effective combination of estate planning instruments including Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney for your Estate.

Talk To A Will, Cook, DuPage, And Kane County Will Lawyer Today

Pinkston Law Group knows that it is important to make sure our clients’ last wishes are carried out, which is why we determine what is most important to our clients, make sure we understand what they want and need, then strategize and prepare a plan. Pinkston Law Group handles a wide variety of clients who have prepared Wills or other estate planning instruments. If you need legal assistance drafting a Will, call our office today or schedule a consultation online today.

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Whether you’re dealing with divorce, child custody, or a personal injury case, you and your family’s best interests are our top priority. Ms. Danielle A. Pinkston of Pinkston Law Group utilizes her extensive legal knowledge to resolve your case, no matter how complex it may be. We share your goals and work closely with you, delivering the exceptional services you need.

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