Matthew S. Payne is a Chicago-based attorney with a 20-year record of success in civil litigation, real estate law and estate planning.

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Intestate succession for people without wills

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Estate Planning

A person who dies without a will has to go through probate court. In Illinois, the person’s property goes through a process known as intestate succession. This process gives an opportunity for each of the deceased person’s heirs to inherit the property.

The rules for no wills

A deceased person who lacks a will has to have his or her estate administration & probate handled by a court. The court determines the identity of the person and the immediate family members who will become his or her heirs. The extent of the inheritance depends on the family member’s relationship to the deceased person.

Surviving spouse and dependents

The surviving spouse and dependents, such as children or grandchildren, are automatically entitled to a deceased person’s estate under Illinois’s intestacy laws. Like in many other states, Illinois allows the surviving spouse to inherit 50% of the deceased spouse’s estate while the children inherit the other 50% in equal divisions.

If there is a surviving spouse but no dependents, the spouse inherits all of the probated estate. If there is no spouse, the children inherit the entire estate.

No surviving spouse or dependents

If there is no direct line of descendants, the estate is given to the deceased person’s parents, siblings or the sibling’s children. The parents and siblings receive equal portions of the inheritance. If there is only one surviving parent, that parent receives a double portion.

Legal procedures for no wills

Many people think that the entire state of Illinois inherits a deceased person’s property if there is no will. In reality, the court undergoes an intestate succession to determine the person’s family members and distribute the estate to them.