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In Illinois, intestacy laws are laws that determine how a person’s assets are distributed if they pass away without leaving a valid will. In other words, if someone dies intestate (without a will), the law stipulates how their assets will be distributed to their heirs.

In Illinois, these laws are set forth in the Illinois Probate Act of 1975, which outlines the intestate succession process. The act outlines the order of priority for distributing the deceased person’s assets based on their surviving family members. For example:

  •      If the deceased person is survived by a spouse, but no children or parents:

The entire estate goes to the surviving spouse.

  •      If the deceased person is survived by a spouse and children:

The surviving spouse receives half of the estate and the other half is divided equally among the children.

  •      If the deceased person is survived by children, but no spouse:

The entire estate is equally divided among the children.

  •      If the deceased person is survived by parents, but no spouse or children:

The entire estate goes to the surviving parent(s).

  •      If the deceased person is survived by siblings, but no spouse, children, or parents:

The entire estate goes to the surviving siblings.

  •      If the deceased person is not survived by any close relatives:

The entire estate goes to the state of Illinois.

It is important to note that in Illinois, only assets that would have passed under a will are subject to the intestate laws. This means that assets held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship, or assets that have a designated beneficiary such as life insurance policies or retirement accounts, will not be subject to intestate succession.

In conclusion, understanding Illinois intestacy laws is crucial for individuals who have not created a will or estate plan. While these laws provide a default distribution mechanism, it may not align with the deceased person’s preferences. Creating a comprehensive estate plan can help ensure that assets are distributed according to one’s wishes and can provide peace of mind for both the individual and their loved ones.

About the Author

Michael LaCava

Attorney Michael LaCava has a remarkable passion for helping people navigate the intricate realms of real estate and estate planning, and his journey is a testament to his unwavering dedication to both his professional pursuits and his role as a devoted family man.

Since 2013, Michael has honed his skills to become a trusted advisor for individuals seeking guidance in their property transactions and estate planning endeavors. His expertise extends beyond the technicalities of the law, as he is genuinely committed to understanding his clients’ unique needs and ensuring their financial and legal well-being.

Outside the professional realm, Michael finds comfort and joy in his role as a family man. He is a loving husband to his wife, Melanie, and a devoted father to three awesome kids. In his free time, you’ll find Michael and his family immersed in a variety of activities. From camping trips that bring them closer to nature, to fishing adventures that instill a love for the outdoors, to sporting events where  Michael enthusiastically cheers on and coaches his kids in their various sports, Michael cherishes these moments as opportunities to connect and share his life’s journey with family and friends.


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