Like other states, Illinois has a law which determines how a deceased person’s property will be divided if the person did not leave a will.
The law also applies if the person did leave a will, but the will does not get admitted to probate or later gets invalidated in a will contest. Finally, the law will apply if a person has a valid will, but the will does not cover all of the person’s property.
It is important to remember that the law will not apply to property which by law does not pass through probate. Property held in trust, life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts like 401(k)s, joint bank accounts and jointly held real estate.
Spouses, children have priority under Illinois’ intestate succession rules
When a person in the greater Chicago area dies without a will or other estate plan, the person’s spouse or children will get first dibs on the property which passes through probate.
Specifically, the property will be split 50-50 between a person’s spouse and surviving children. Each child will receive an equal share of the estate. The process may get more difficult if a person’s child has died but left surviving grandchildren.
A person dies married but without children will pass all probate property to his or her surviving spouse. On the other hand, if the person dies unmarried, all probate property passes in equal shares to his or her children.
Intestate succession gets more complicated when a person dies childless
When an unmarried person dies without children or other descendants, probate can get very complicated very quickly. The law sets out other family members to which the property will pass, even if these family members were not close to the person who died.