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Heirs and beneficiaries: State laws affect inheritance

If someone in Illinois dies after signing a last will and testament, someone else, such as the decedent's spouse or other immediate family member may stand to inherit a portion or all of his or her estate. State laws vary regarding heirs and beneficiaries. That is why it is always helpful to speak with someone well-versed in estate planning issues in this state, if one has questions or concerns about a particular inheritance situation.

In this state and most others, ownership is determined by names written on a property title. Regarding real estate property, there are several types of titles. Things can get complicated if disputes arise among prospective heirs or beneficiaries.

A surviving spouse may be able to claim as much as one third of a deceased spouse's estate in a common law state. In some cases, spouses sign agreements saying they will accept less than the legal share. State laws also vary when it comes to divorced spouses. In some states, an ex-spouse automatically becomes disinherited for any bequests left to him or her in a former spouse's will.

If a child is accidentally omitted from a parent's will, perhaps because he or she was born, then his or her parent died without updating his or her will, it can definitely cause legal complications. Illinois heirs and beneficiaries often have questions regarding inheritance rights and laws that may affect them. A good way to obtain guidance and support is to request a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

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