NOTE: State laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes in the laws. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.
When an Illinois resident dies without having made a Last Will and Testament, the intestacy succession laws found in the Illinois statutes will dictate who inherits the deceased person's probate estate. Below is a summary of the Illinois intestacy succession laws in various situations.
Deceased Person is Survived by a Spouse and/or Descendants
Here is what will happen under the Illinois intestacy laws if the deceased person is survived by a spouse and/or descendants (children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.):
- Survived by a spouse and descendants - In this case the surviving spouse will inherit one-half (1/2) of the deceased spouse's probate estate and the children will inherit the remaining one-half (1/2), per stirpes.
- Survived by a spouse and no descendants - In this case the surviving spouse will inherit the deceased spouse's entire probate estate.
- Survived by descendants and no spouse - In this case the deceased person's descendants will inherit the entire probate estate, per stirpes.
Deceased Person is Not Survived by a Spouse or Descendants
Here is what will happen under the Illinois intestacy laws if the deceased person is not survived by a spouse or any descendants (children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.):
What Will You Inherit From an Illinois Intestate Estate?
So exactly what will you inherit if your relative dies without leaving a Last Will and Testament and the relative was a resident of Illinois or owned real estate located in Illinois? Even if you determine based on the information presented above that you are entitled to an intestate share of your relative's estate, you may very well not inherit anything. Why? Because your relative may have left all non-probate property or the debts your relative owed at the time of death may exceed the value of the probate estate which will make the estate insolvent.