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Like most states, the Illinois government has a plan for you when you die. If you want more control over what happens, talking to a local estate planning attorney is a good investment of your time.

At Diamond Estate Planning Law, our Illinois estate planning lawyers have decades of experience helping Illinois families get their affairs in order. We’ll help you build a customized plan for your assets and your family that stands the test of time.

What does Illinois do with your things after you die?

In Illinois, if you die without a will or putting things into a trust, your executor (the person who is put in charge of your estate after you die) will usually need to follow the State’s plan, sometimes called intestate succession.  

There are a lot of rules, exceptions, and exceptions of exceptions that determine who gets your money and your stuff. This applies to out of state wills too

If you want to keep things simple and make sure your stuff goes to the loved ones you choose, an Illinois estate planning attorney can help you understand your options.

What are my options with Illinois estate planning?

If you have a valid will, it will serve as an instruction manual for your executor, the person in charge of your estate. 

Your will can also be an instruction manual for the probate court if your executor needs to go to court and open an estate to take care of things the way you told them to.

Generally speaking – subject to a bunch of exceptions – if the value of all of your stuff when you die is over $100,000, your executor may need to go to probate court to distribute your estate.

What about assets and property owned jointly with my spouse in Illinois?

If things are owned jointly with your spouse, like your home, they usually automatically inherit them upon your passing.

If you have things that are not jointly owned, like a bank account or retirement account, they do not automatically go to your spouse. An estate planning lawyer can help you set up a beneficiary designation (sometimes referred to as “payable upon death”) to have things automatically go to your spouse and loved ones, if you so choose.

If your home, or real estate is not jointly owned and you pass away, your loved ones will usually not be able to sell it without either going to probate court or paying a title company a bond in lieu of probate.

Putting your home in a trust or creating and recording a transfer on death instrument (commonly referred to as a TODI) can avoid this trip to the courthouse or bond to the title company.

Creating a trust and putting your bank accounts into the trust or making the trust a beneficiary can also prevent your loved ones from having to go to probate court.

Contact Diamond Estate Planning Law Today

At the end of the day, if you want a say in who gets your stuff and you want to avoid unnecessary trips to the courthouse, talk to a local estate planning attorney to explore your options. Our team at Diamond Estate Planning Law is here to help you get started. Contact us today.

DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes and is only applicable in the state of Illinois.  While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, we urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.

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