A Last Will & Testament in Illinois

By Beverly Bird

To make a last will and testament in Illinois, you must be at least 18 years of age or be emancipated from your parents by marriage or court order. Your will must be in writing, signed by you and witnessed by two people. Someone may sign your name for you if you are unable to do so, but that person cannot be one of your witnesses. Illinois accepts self-proved wills that might be eligible for simplified probate. A self-proved will is one with an attached notarized statement by you and your witnesses that the will is authentic.

To make a last will and testament in Illinois, you must be at least 18 years of age or be emancipated from your parents by marriage or court order. Your will must be in writing, signed by you and witnessed by two people. Someone may sign your name for you if you are unable to do so, but that person cannot be one of your witnesses. Illinois accepts self-proved wills that might be eligible for simplified probate. A self-proved will is one with an attached notarized statement by you and your witnesses that the will is authentic.

Rights of Spouses

Under Illinois law, a spouse has certain rights that can supersede your will. Regardless of what you may or may not have bequeathed to him, he is entitled to a living allowance off the top of your estate in the amount of $10,000 for up to nine months after your death. He is also entitled to claim up to half of your estate if you have no children and if you leave him less than that in your will. If you do have children, his claim is limited to one-third. However, Illinois allows you to transfer property to a trust under certain circumstances to limit the value of your estate and your spouse’s share. This law is complicated, however, so you should not attempt to decipher it without speaking with an attorney.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Automatic Revocation

If you divorce after making your will and your ex-spouse is a beneficiary or the executor of your estate, those provisions are erased from your will as of the date you receive a divorce decree. Any bequests you made to her are treated as though she predeceased you.

Anti-Lapse Law

If a beneficiary predeceases you, Illinois law contains anti-lapse clauses to address this. Unless you specifically state in your will that you want the matter handled in some other way, any property you leave to someone who dies before you transfers to his descendants. If he has no descendants, the bequest reverts back to your estate. Because any bequest to an ex-spouse is treated as though she predeceased you in the event of a divorce, her share would therefore pass to your children but could potentially pass to her children from another relationship. If she does have children from another relationship and you want to safeguard against those children receiving a bequest, talk to a lawyer about wording your will to prevent it.

Disinheritance of Children

You can disinherit a child in Illinois as long as you state in your will that you are doing so. If you have a child after you make your will and you don’t mention him in your will, either granting him a bequest or disinheriting him, Illinois will treat this situation as though you just forgot to update your will to include him. In this case, he would receive a portion of your estate equal to what he would have received if you had not written a will.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
Mississippi Law for Writing a Will

References

Related articles

State Laws on Wills

While all states have their own legislation regarding wills, the laws tend to be similar in most jurisdictions. For instance, all states accept statutory wills, prepared by an attorney or printed by the maker to follow a specified legal format, and most states prevent spouses from being totally disinherited, though how much they can receive can vary. Because of this variance, when making your will it may be best to consult a lawyer who's familiar with the specific statutes in your state.

Who Are Heirs to a Last Will & Testament?

The term “heir” is often confused with “beneficiary” when, in fact, definitions of the two differ. Heirs are individuals who inherit from an estate because they are family members of the deceased, not because they were named as a beneficiary in the deceased’s will. In fact, the deceased may not have left a will at all.

Wills in Minnesota

No one is legally required to have a will, but without one your estate is vulnerable to the laws of the state where you die. In Minnesota, your property will always pass to an immediate family member if you die without a will. So to provide for a friend or a more distant family member, you must state this intention in your will. Make sure your will accurately reflects your wishes by having it reviewed by an attorney.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Wills in Virginia

Writing a will allows you to decide before your death who is going to get your assets, who is going to oversee the ...

What Is the New Jersey Law Regarding Children Left Out of Wills?

Not all states allow you to intentionally disinherit your child, but New Jersey does, according to an article by ...

California Law Concerning Last Wills When a Beneficiary Is Deceased

In some cases, a will may leave assets to someone who is no longer living. If this occurs, this provision in the will ...

Florida Laws Regarding Wills of Married Couples

Probate is a period of time during which your affairs are sorted after your death to make sure that your assets are ...

Browse by category