location22 Crissey Ave, Suite 100, Geneva, IL 60134

Free consultations


Who Inherits My Assets if I Pass Away Without an Estate Plan?

 Posted on September 08, 2022 in Estate Planning

geneva estate planning lawyerGenerally, leaving behind no will (intestacy) is a poor idea. Even if the people who ultimately inherit from you under intestacy law are the people you would have wanted to inherit from you, not having a will or a trust that controls your estate property is going to make things more difficult for them. It is not easy to pass an intestate estate through the probate courts. There is a high level of court supervision involved in this process, and this can slow things down significantly. It could take a year or more in some cases before your surviving family members can claim anything that belonged solely to you. Intestacy is meant to be the “default” estate plan. It is designed to match what the state thinks you probably would have wanted but is rife with imperfections. If you do not already have an estate plan, the time to speak to an attorney is now.

Understanding Illinois Intestacy Code

Any portion of your estate that is subject to probate will be distributed - eventually - according to the laws of intestacy. These laws are meant to prioritize your closest living relatives, but cannot take into account the nuances of your family’s relationships and needs.

Generally, if you leave behind a spouse and descendants, your spouse will inherit half your estate, and your descendants will split the other half. Usually, this means that half will be divided among your children. However, if one of your children predeceased you but left a grandchild, the grandchild will inherit the share that would have been their parents. If you are already confused, you are not alone.

If you leave behind a spouse but no descendants, or descendants but no spouse, whoever survives you takes the entire estate. If you have neither, that is when the probate court will look to your parents or siblings, or the children of a deceased sibling. If your parents are eligible heirs and one of your parents is deceased, your surviving parent inherits the deceased parent's share.

As you can see, the laws surrounding the distribution of probate estate property without a will are complex. They also leave you no control. You may have wanted to make a posthumous charitable donation, or to disinherit an estranged grandchild. When you do not put it in a will, you have no control over your probate estate property.

Note that property contained in a trust or which is jointly owned is not subject to probate and not controlled by the laws of intestacy. Your lawyer can help you understand what would or would not be a part of your probate estate.

Speak With a Kane County Estate Planning Lawyer

Loire Krajniak Law, LLC can help you create the right estate plan so that your loved ones can have a smoother experience handling your estate one day. Our committed Geneva estate planning attorneys want you to have peace of mind knowing that your wishes are to be carried out. Call 630-448-2406 for a free consultation.



Share this post:
Back to Top