When it comes to drafting a will, there always seems to be a good reason to do it later. Unfortunately, however, accidents and tragedies occur every day that cause unexpected deaths. This can result in your passing before you have had a chance to create a will or plan your estate. 

We understand how estate planning works in Illinois and have helped many of our clients with their wills, trusts and other tools. 

Dying without a will  

In Illinois, if you die without a will in place then the courts determine how your assets will pass on. According to FindLaw, this is also known as dying intestate. Intestate succession refers to the order in which the courts will determine who is next in line to receive your belongings. This can be problematic if you want certain assets to go to certain people or charities, for example. Without a will in place, your properties will be subject to the default order of heirs established by the courts. 

The order of heirs in intestate succession 

The following list details how the courts will distribute your assets if you die without a will in place. 

  • If you have a spouse but have no children, your estate will go to your spouse 
  • If you have a spouse and have children, your spouse will get 50% of the estate, while the remaining 50% will split evenly between your children 
  • If you are not married and you have children, your estate will be equally divided between your children 

Things may get complicated if you have no living spouse or children when you die. At that point, your estate will pass on to your parents and siblings. More information about this topic is available on our webpage.