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What Happens if you Die Without a Will in Illinois?

What happens if you die without a Will in Illinois? Probably not what you would want or expect…read below for an example of what happens under Illinois law when an individual dies without a Will.

Last Will and Testament of John M. Smith,

Drafted for Him by The State of Illinois Because He Died Without a Valid Will

I, John Smith, a resident of Illinois, do hereby accept this to be my last Will and Testament written by the State of Illinois, because I do not otherwise have a valid Will.

1. I give my wife ½ of my assets, which I own in my own name, and I give my children the remaining ½, to be divided equally among them. This shall be the case even if my children are minors and even if my wife needs more than ½ of my assets.

2. I appoint my wife as guardian of my minor children’s portion of my assets, but as a safeguard I require that she report to the probate court each year and submit an accounting of how, why, and where she spent the assets left to my children, even if she used it for their care and benefit.

3. Further, I direct my wife to procure and provide proof of a performance bond to guarantee that she exercises proper judgment in the handling, investing, and spending of my children’s funds; she will need to renew this bond each year.

4. Finally, my children shall have the right to demand and receive a complete accounting from their mother of all of her financial transactions with their money upon reaching the age of 21.

5. When my children reach the age of 21 or if they are already 21 at my time of death, they shall have the right to receive and spend their ½ portion of their inheritance from me any way they deem fit, without question or supervision.

6. If my children have creditors at the time of my death or any time thereafter, the creditors shall have a right to take my children’s inheritance to satisfy their debts.

7. Should my wife remarry and also die without a Will, her second husband shall be entitled to receive ½ of any assets my wife owns in her own name, including anything she previously inherited from me, unless she is very strict about keeping them separate.

8. Should my children need some of that money for their support, my wife’s second husband shall not be required to spend any of his inheritance from my wife for their benefit. He shall have the sole right to decide who receives this money upon his own death, cutting my children out completely.

9. If, at the time of my death, either my children or my wife are receiving governmental benefits (such as Medicaid) because they are disabled, their inheritance from me shall go directly to the government as reimbursement. If they should later become disabled, they will need to spend of the inheritance before qualifying for such benefits.

10. Should my wife die before me or at the same time as me and we have minor children, I do not wish to designate a guardian for my children whom I believe will give them the proper care and supervision.

11. Instead, I direct my friends and relatives to get together and decide who is best suited to raise my children.

12. If they are unable to come to agreement, I direct the Probate Court to decide who shall be appointed guardian. The court may appoint anyone it wishes, even a total stranger.

13. Should Probate of my estate be necessary, I do not wish to appoint the person who I believe would be best suited and willing to serve as executor my estate.

14. Once an Executor has been selected and appointed by the Probate Court, I direct that the Executor shall post a bond in the amount of twice the value of my personal property, and that the Executor personally pay the surety on that bond, which generally costs between 1-2% of the bond.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand and seal to this, my Last Will and Testament, consisting of two (2) typewritten pages, this ____ day of _____________, 20___.


John M. Smith

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