Although there are numerous reasons why people choose to create a comprehensive estate plan, the ability to decide how estate assets are distributed after death is the most common reason. If you die without leaving behind at least a valid Last Will and Testament, your property will be transferred according to the Illinois intestate succession laws. Understanding those laws may give you enough reason to finally sit down and create your own estate plan.
When a person dies and leaves behind a valid Will that person is said to have died “testate”. When a person dies without leaving behind a valid Will he or she is said to have died “intestate”. Although the laws differ somewhat among the states, the law in every state allows you to decide how your estate assets will be handled when you die if you create a Will and properly execute that Will prior to your death. The law, however, does not like uncertainty. Therefore, the law provides for the disposition of your estate assets should you fail to execute a Will prior to your death through the intestate succession laws. This way, there is no question what will happen to the assets of a decedent after death.
Dying Intestate in the Quad Cities
In Illinois, your estate assets will go to a spouse and very close relatives should you die intestate. This means that close friends, distant relatives, and charities will receive nothing from your estate if you die intestate in the Quad Cities. If you die and leave behind a spouse and descendants, your spouse may receive half of your estate and your descendants the other half. If you leave a spouse but no descendants your spouse may get everything. By the same token, if you leave descendants but no spouse they may get everything. If you don’t leave behind a spouse or descendants, your estate will be divided among siblings and parents who survive you. The law decides who gets a part of your estate and in what amount. Not only do you forfeit your right to decide who will receive your property when you die by dying intestate but many of your estate assets will likely need to be sold in order to create an equal distribution. A family home or a cherished collection could be sold just to ensure an equal distribution of your estate to your intestate heirs.
It is for these reasons that people choose to take the time to work with an estate planning attorney to create and execute a Last Will and Testament.
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