Lesser Lutrey Pasquesi & Howe LLP, Attorneys at Law

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What happens if you die without a will?

Many adults, especially younger adults, don’t have any type of estate plan created. While it’s not a pleasant topic to think about, estate planning is your chance to say who is going to get what when you pass away.

A person who dies without an estate plan dies intestate. This means that loved ones will have to follow Illinois intestate laws for the distribution of the assets.

Who will get your assets?

All your relatives are placed in classes based on their relationship to you. The closer a relative is, based on blood or adoptive relation, the better chance they have to receive assets from your estate.

Blended families are a bit more challenging than situations that involve a couple who only have children with each other. If you’re married when you pass away, your spouse is entitled to your entire estate as long as all your children who are still living are also your spouse’s children. The same is true if you don’t have any children.

If you have children who aren’t your spouse’s children, your spouse would get $150,000 of the estate. Anything over that amount is divided with the spouse getting half and the other descendants dividing the remaining half between them. This can get complex, so it’s usually a relief for the surviving descendants if there’s an estate plan in place.

It’s best for all adults to have an estate plan in place. Even if you don’t want to have a comprehensive plan, you should at least write out a will so everyone will know your wishes. This ensures your assets will go where you intend.  


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