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Heirs and beneficiaries: Avoid stress over a decedent’s home

When a loved one dies, his or her Illinois home might wind up being sold. It may also be left as an inheritance to certain heirs and beneficiaries as designated in a last will and testament. However, if a person dies without having executed a will, what happens to the home may be complicated and may even spark discord between family members.

The best way to avoid legal problems regarding a loved one’s home is to convince him or her to sign a will that includes instructions regarding the house. Of course, such actions must be taken while the home owner is still of sound mind. Surveys completed in the past few years have found that only approximately 42% of the population die with wills or estate plans in place. 

If plans are made to sell a decedent’s home, the seller should be aware that he or she will likely incur expenses associated with the process, such as paying for repairs, updates or maintenance that needs done to get the home in selling condition. If an executor has been assigned to take care of a home sale, it might be a good idea to change the locks as soon as possible. Otherwise, problems may arise if family members of the deceased keep trying to access the property.

It is understandable that heirs and beneficiaries would want to be updated regarding the selling of a home or the transfer of other assets after an estate owner dies. If questions or disputes surface, an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney may be able to help clarify state laws or find solutions to disagreements. Knowing where to seek support is the first step toward achieving one’s ultimate legal goals.

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