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What to Expect if Your Loved One Dies Without a Will

 Posted on June 18, 2018 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning lawyersThe passing of a loved one is almost always a terrible ordeal to endure. When a relative passes without a will, the process of managing the deceased person’s final affairs only adds to the difficulty. A person who dies without a will is considered to have died “intestate.” Illinois intestacy laws determine how a person’s property and debt are distributed after their death when a valid will is not present.

Laws of Intestate Succession When No Valid Will Exists

The rules regarding how a deceased person’s property should be divided are largely dependent on the deceased person’s surviving relatives. When a single person with no children passes away, his or her estate will go to his or her parents or siblings. If that person does not have living parents or siblings, their estate will go to nieces and nephews or more distant relatives. If an unmarried person with children passes away, their estate will go to their children. If a married person passes away, their spouse will usually receive the part of the estate which is considered marital property. Unfortunately, unmarried couples do not have any legal right to their partner’s property if that partner passes away without a will.

Probate Court

The word “probate” refers to the formal process of gathering a decedent’s (deceased person’s) assets and distributing them to heirs. When no will is present, or the only will present is invalidated for some reason, probate courts will determine how property and debt are distributed. An administrator, called the executor of the estate, will be appointed and will be responsible for several tasks including:

  • Valuating property;
  • Determining which county probate will take place in;
  • Bringing a certified copy of the death certificate to the county courthouse;
  • Informing friends and family of the death;
  • Filing a Petition for Letters of Administration; and
  • Carrying out the court’s instructions regarding the disposition of the estate.

Everyone Needs a Will or Other Asset-Transfer Tools

Having a will in place means that the deceased person has already determined how his or her property should be distributed upon their death. The probate process is significantly easier and shorter when a valid will is present. Many people make the mistake of assuming only the sick or elderly should create a will, but this is not true. Every person, regardless of wealth, age, or health, should have a will or another estate planning tool in place.

If you would like to create a will or have other estate planning needs, contact A. Traub & Associates to speak with an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule a confidential consultation today.



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