Life has a joyful and definite sunrise date but a hidden and tearful sunset date. Therefore, you need to live ready to leave when the trumpet sounds yonder. Writing an Illinois last will and testament is one way of preparing for that compulsory date with destiny.
Writing a last will and testament form is also necessary for avoiding chaos and avoidable wrangles among your family members following your demise. This document lets you stamp your authority over your estate by predetermining what your dependents should inherit. It also helps you to ensure that all your intended beneficiaries inherit your estate. For instance, it lets you distribute your estate among your family members and outsiders in the form of charity. However, it’s impossible to pass on your property to outsiders if you die without a will.
Download your fillable Illinois Last Will and Testament Form in PDF format:
– Adobe PDF
Who Needs a Last Will and Testament?
Illinois laws don’t compel any citizen to write a last will and testament. However, writing a last will is necessary because it saves your family avoidable conflicts that could degenerate into family feuds and vendetta. Writing a last will also lets you appoint a trusted executor to oversee your estate’s distribution. This steward fully executes your last will. Therefore, you live your life peacefully knowing that your family will remain in safe hands following your demise.
A last will also lets you create trusts for your spouse and children. It also allows you to appoint a trusted legal guardian for your minor children and stipulates their duties towards your children after your death.
The law also allows you to write a “pet trust” that protects your pet’s upkeep after your death. Thus, its benefits go beyond human beneficiaries to pets.
An Illinois last will and testament can also accelerate your estate’s probate process. This process oversees your estate’s distribution under court supervision. Illinois’s laws require that those possessing a last will to file it on time with the clerk in their respective counties. Afterward, the court issues them letters of office to allow the executor to distribute the deceased’s estate as per their will.
These are just a few of the benefits of writing a last will before your death. However, state laws allow the state to intervene and distribute your estate if you die without writing a last will. Unfortunately, state intervention can’t fully express and implement the deceased’s will because its distribution is confined to their family members. It can only go beyond their surviving family members in those rare cases where the deceased left no known survivors. In such rare instances, the law reverts the estate to the state. Thus, it’s better to create a last will instead of leaving your family and would-be heirs at the state’s mercy and discretion.
What If One Dies Without a Will?
We have already established that writing a last will is not mandatory in Illinois. Therefore, the state invokes intestacy laws when one dies without a last will and testament. The law empowers the state to distribute a deceased person’s estate among their surviving spouses and children. If they leave a surviving spouse and children, they share the estate equally. If they leave a surviving spouse without children, they inherit the whole estate. If the deceased leaves no spouse or children, the state will distribute the estate among their closest surviving relatives such as parents, siblings, and grandparents.
What About Exceptions?
The law exempts some types of property from distribution through the last will. For instance, if one wins an award, they don’t need to distribute it via a will. Illinois laws also allow a surviving spouse a reasonable amount of money for their upkeep for nine months after their spouse dies. Moreover, all property owned under joint tenancy is not subject to distribution via a last will.
What About Writing a Last Will in Illinois?
Illinois laws have primary requirements that a testator should meet. Otherwise, their last will and testament will be null and void. Here are the key points worth noting:
- The testator must be at least 18 years old and above.
- The testator should also be sane and have a sound memory.
- The writer has to sign the will or appoint someone to sign it for them in their presence and under their direction.
- At least two competent witnesses should sign the testament, but they shouldn’t be its beneficiaries.
- The last will should be documented.
- The testator can appoint anybody they wish to inherit their property as long as they are not witnesses. These beneficiaries can be family members and outsiders.
How Do I Change an Illinois Last Will and Testament?
An Illinois last will and testament isn’t set in stone. Thus, you can amend it any time you find it necessary for whatever reason. However, the law only recognizes such amendments if you enforce them as per the same procedures you followed when you drafted it. Only the testator or their trusted appointee can change the will in their presence and their direction.
Can I Revoke an Illinois Last Will and Testament?
Just like with amendments, you can revoke your last will. You can do it this way:
- The testator can burn, tear, cancel, and obliterate the will or appoint a trusted confidant to do it for them. However, they must do it in their presence and following their directions.
- The testator can execute another will to revoke the first one.
- They can document another will that is inconsistent with the first one.
- They can execute an instrument affirming that they have revoked the first one and sign and attest to it as per the relevant laws.
There you go with everything you need to know about a last will and testament in Illinois. We hope your eyes are open to its importance, how you can revoke and amend it, and everything about its exceptions. The ball is in your court to prepare yours today and leave behind your family in peace. You are free to download our forms and draft yours today.
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Other Last Will and Testament Forms By State
- Arizona will form
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- Colorado will template
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- Maryland will template
- Michigan will form
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- New Jersey will form
- New York last will and testament
- NC will template
- Ohio last will and testament
- Oregon will form
- PA will template
- SC will
- Tennessee will form
- Texas last will and testament
- Virginia will template
- Washington state will template
- Wisconsin last will and testament