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Illinois Estate Planning

If you were to die today, what would you leave behind for your family? Have you planned out your finances and estate so that they don’t inherit too much of your debts? Estate planning asks these kinds of questions but also concerns itself with other matters like guardianship for your children.

There are many tools to help you with estate planning in Illinois. Whether you live in Chicago, Rockford or Joliet, you have access to legal estate planning resources like wills, living trusts, advance directives and more. Using LawInfo’s Illinois estate planning articles, you can learn about the legal ins and outs of securing your family’s future and connect with a qualified local attorney.

Illinois Wills

One of the best ways to make sure your property and financial assets end up with the people or charities you want is to make a will. With a Last Will and Testament, you can name beneficiaries and an executor who is charged with administering your estate after you die. Any personal or real property and financial assets that haven’t been promised to other beneficiaries through trusts, insurance or other legal documents may be attached to your will.

To make a will in Illinois, you must be 18 years or older and of sound mind. You’re allowed to change, add to or revoke your will at any time while you’re alive as long as you’re still of sound mind and health to do so.

Illinois Estate Tax

When you die, both the federal government and Illinois levy taxes on your estate. Your living successors, especially the executor to your will if you have one, are responsible for paying your estate taxes. The Illinois estate tax rate is a progressive rate, meaning that the rate goes up with higher estate values.

If your estate is valued at less than $40,000, you won’t owe the Illinois estate tax. For higher estate values, the Illinois estate tax rate will range between 0.8 and 16 percent.

Illinois Inheritance Laws

If you die without a will, the distribution of your estate is governed by Illinois’s intestate laws. These laws govern who inherits your estate and how much of your estate is inherited. Should you die intestate, your estate would be inherited, in order of living succession, by:

  1. Your spouse and children, who would each receive half of your estate. If either your spouse or your children are deceased, the other party will receive your whole estate.
  2. Your parents, your siblings and their children, all of whom would receive equal shares of your estate.
  3. Your grandparents and their children. Both your maternal and paternal sides of the family would each receive half of your estate, subdivided equally among the members of each side.
  4. Your great grandparents or, if they’re dead, to their descendants. Your estate would be divided similarly to the previous plan.
  5. Your nearest kindred.
  6. The county where your estate is located.

Illinois Living Wills

A living will in Illinois is much different from living wills in other states. In other states, a similar declaration would be called “do not resuscitate,” or a DNR. An Illinois living will is a statement that if you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition, it’s your wish that no efforts be made to delay your death without your coherent approval. This means that if you were seriously injured in an accident and unable to make your medical care wishes known, your living will would prevent emergency or medical personnel from saving your life.

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