Preparation of Wills in Illinois

Estate planning in Illinois is incomplete without preparation of the ‘last will and testament’. Your will can make sure that the survivors, including your children, spouse, family members and pets, receive what you want to leave behind for them. It ensures that the assets of the deceased including his or her real and personal properties are distributed in the right way, so that no further disputes arise.

What are the purposes behind creation of an Illinois Will?

An Illinois Will can be created for the following reasons:

  • To ensure fair distribution of property to persons, pets or organizations
  • To appoint a personal guardian for minor children
  • To entrust a person for looking after property if the descendants are not of age
  • To nominate an executor or administrator, who will make sure that the specifications of the will are carried out

What are the requirements for preparing a will?

The basic requirements for creating Illinois Last Will and Testament are enlisted below:

  1. The testator must be 18 years old to create his or her own will in the State of Illinois.
  2. The testator must be of sound mind, capable of reasoning and making decisions, and not under any form of restrain.
  3. The will must either be signed by the testator himself or by some other person in his presence and under his definite directions.
  4. Two or more witnesses (of or above 18 years of age) have to be present at the time and they must sign the will.
  5. Anyone can be appointed as beneficiary with an Illinois Will.

How a will can be altered?

An Illinois will and testament can be changed or amended at any point of time with a codicil. Codicils are documents stating the alterations or modifications, which are prepared in accordance with the state laws and kept along with the original copy of the will.

Can a will be revoked?

An Illinois will and testament can be revoked in the following ways:

  1. With implementation of another will declaring the revocation
  2. Through creation of a subsequent will which will be inconsistent with the previous one, in part or in full.
  3. If the testator himself or some other person in his presence, destroys the will by burning, canceling, shredding etc. in accordance with his direction and consent.

What happens in the absence of a Will?

If the deceased leaves no will behind, the property that belongs to him or her will be distributed according to the state’s ‘intestacy’ laws. The spouse and the children will be entitled to the properties in the first place. In absence of a spouse or children, the next in line will be the grandchildren or parents of the deceased. The list will continue in this way with the close and distant relatives including siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and relatives of the spouse. If none of the relations apply, and the court fails to find any connection through blood or marriage, the properties will pass over to the state of Illinois.

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