Illinois Intestacy Laws
Illinois Intestacy Laws
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Illinois' Intestacy Laws

If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Illinois, you are said to have died "intestate."  In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Illinois has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Illinois intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.

 

 

Rules of descent and distribution

The intestate real and personal estate of a resident decedent and the intestate real estate in this State of a nonresident decedent, after all just claims against his estate are fully paid, descends and shall be distributed as follows:

    (a) If there is a surviving spouse and also a descendant of the decedent: 1/2 of the entire estate to the surviving spouse and 1/2 to the decedent's descendants per stirpes.

    (b) If there is no surviving spouse but a descendant of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent's descendants per stirpes.

    (c) If there is a surviving spouse but no descendant of the decedent: the entire estate to the surviving spouse.

    (d) If there is no surviving spouse or descendant but a parent, brother, sister or descendant of a brother or sister of the decedent: the entire estate to the parents, brothers and sisters of the decedent in equal parts, allowing to the surviving parent if one is dead a double portion and to the descendants of a deceased brother or sister per stirpes the portion which the deceased brother or sister would have taken if living.

    (e) If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, parent, brother, sister or descendant of a brother or sister of the decedent but a grandparent or descendant of a grandparent of the decedent: (1) 1/2 of the entire estate to the decedent's maternal grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes, and (2) 1/2 of the entire estate to the decedent's paternal grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes. If there is no surviving paternal grandparent or descendant of a paternal grandparent, but a maternal grandparent or descendant of a maternal grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent's maternal grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes. If there is no surviving maternal grandparent or descendant of a maternal grandparent, but a paternal grandparent or descendant of a paternal grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent's paternal grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes.

    (f) If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, parent, brother, sister, descendant of a brother or sister or grandparent or descendant of a grandparent of the decedent: (1) 1/2 of the entire estate to the decedent's maternal great‑grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes, and (2) 1/2 of the entire estate to the decedent's paternal great‑grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes. If there is no surviving paternal great‑grandparent or descendant of a paternal great‑grandparent, but a maternal great‑grandparent or descendant of a maternal great‑grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent's maternal great‑grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes. If there is no surviving maternal great‑grandparent or descendant of a maternal great‑grandparent, but a paternal great‑grandparent or descendant of a paternal great‑grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent's paternal great‑grandparents in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes.

    (g) If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, parent, brother, sister, descendant of a brother or sister, grandparent, descendant of a grandparent, great‑grandparent or descendant of a great‑grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate in equal parts to the nearest kindred of the decedent in equal degree (computing by the rules of the civil law) and without representation.

    (h) If there is no surviving spouse and no known kindred of the decedent: the real estate escheats to the county in which it is located; the personal estate physically located within this State and the personal estate physically located or held outside this State which is the subject of ancillary administration of an estate being administered within this State escheats to the county of which the decedent was a resident, or, if the decedent was not a resident of this State, to the county in which it is located; all other personal property of the decedent of every class and character, wherever situate, or the proceeds thereof, shall escheat to this State and be delivered to the State Treasurer pursuant to the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.

In no case is there any distinction between the kindred of the whole and the half blood.

755 ILCS 5/Art. II, Sec. 2-1

 

Children born out of wedlock

The intestate real and personal estate of a resident decedent who was a child born out of wedlock at the time of death and the intestate real estate in this State of a nonresident decedent who was a child born out of wedlock at the time of death, after all just claims against his estate are fully paid, descends and shall be distributed as provided in Section 2‑1, subject to Section 2‑6.5 of this Act, if both parents are eligible parents. As used in this Section, "eligible parent" means a parent of the decedent who, during the decedent's lifetime, acknowledged the decedent as the parent's child, established a parental relationship with the decedent, and supported the decedent as the parent's child. "Eligible parents" who are in arrears of in excess of one year's child support obligations shall not receive any property benefit or other interest of the decedent unless and until a court of competent jurisdiction makes a determination as to the effect on the deceased of the arrearage and allows a reduced benefit. In no event shall the reduction of the benefit or other interest be less than the amount of child support owed for the support of the decedent at the time of death. The court's considerations shall include but are not limited to the considerations in subsections (1) through (3) of Section 2‑6.5 of this Act.

    If neither parent is an eligible parent, the intestate real and personal estate of a resident decedent who was a child born out of wedlock at the time of death and the intestate real estate in this State of a nonresident decedent who was a child born out of wedlock at the time of death, after all just claims against his or her estate are fully paid, descends and shall be distributed as provided in Section 2‑1, but the parents of the decedent shall be treated as having predeceased the decedent.

    If only one parent is an eligible parent, the intestate real and personal estate of a resident decedent who was a child born out of wedlock at the time of death and the intestate real estate in this State of a nonresident decedent who was a child born out of wedlock at the time of death, after all just claims against his or her estate are fully paid, subject to Section 2‑6.5 of this Act, descends and shall be distributed as follows:

    (a) If there is a surviving spouse and also a descendant of the decedent: 1/2 of the entire estate to the surviving spouse and 1/2 to the decedent's descendants per stirpes.

    (b) If there is no surviving spouse but a descendant of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent's descendants per stirpes.

    (c) If there is a surviving spouse but no descendant of the decedent: the entire estate to the surviving spouse.

    (d) If there is no surviving spouse or descendant but the eligible parent or a descendant of the eligible parent of the decedent: the entire estate to the eligible parent and the eligible parent's descendants, allowing 1/2 to the eligible parent and 1/2 to the eligible parent's descendants per stirpes.

    (e) If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, eligible parent, or descendant of the eligible parent of the decedent, but a grandparent on the eligible parent's side of the family or descendant of such grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent's grandparents on the eligible parent's side of the family in equal parts, or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes.

    (f) If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, eligible parent, descendant of the eligible parent, grandparent on the eligible parent's side of the family, or descendant of such grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate to the decedent's great‑grandparents on the eligible parent's side of the family in equal parts or to the survivor of them, or if there is none surviving, to their descendants per stirpes.

    (g) If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, eligible parent, descendant of the eligible parent, grandparent on the eligible parent's side of the family, descendant of such grandparent, great‑grandparent on the eligible parent's side of the family, or descendant of such great‑grandparent of the decedent: the entire estate in equal parts to the nearest kindred of the eligible parent of the decedent in equal degree (computing by the rules of the civil law) and without representation.

    (h) If there is no surviving spouse, descendant, or eligible parent of the decedent and no known kindred of the eligible parent of the decedent: the real estate escheats to the county in which it is located; the personal estate physically located within this State and the personal estate physically located or held outside this State which is the subject of ancillary administration within this State escheats to the county of which the decedent was a resident or, if the decedent was not a resident of this State, to the county in which it is located; all other personal property of the decedent of every class and character, wherever situate, or the proceeds thereof, shall escheat to this State and be delivered to the State Treasurer of this State pursuant to the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.

    For purposes of inheritance, the changes made by this amendatory Act of 1998 apply to all decedents who die on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1998. For the purpose of determining the property rights of any person under any instrument, the changes made by this amendatory Act of 1998 apply to all instruments executed on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1998.

    A child born out of wedlock is heir of his mother and of any maternal ancestor and of any person from whom his mother might have inherited, if living; and the descendants of a person who was a child born out of wedlock shall represent such person and take by descent any estate which the parent would have taken, if living. If a decedent has acknowledged paternity of a child born out of wedlock or if during his lifetime or after his death a decedent has been adjudged to be the father of a child born out of wedlock, that person is heir of his father and of any paternal ancestor and of any person from whom his father might have inherited, if living; and the descendants of a person who was a child born out of wedlock shall represent that person and take by descent any estate which the parent would have taken, if living. If during his lifetime the decedent was adjudged to be the father of a child born out of wedlock by a court of competent jurisdiction, an authenticated copy of the judgment is sufficient proof of the paternity; but in all other cases paternity must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. A person who was a child born out of wedlock whose parents intermarry and who is acknowledged by the father as the father's child is a lawful child of the father. After a child born out of wedlock is adopted, that person's relationship to his or her adopting and natural parents shall be governed by Section 2‑4 of this Act. For purposes of inheritance, the changes made by this amendatory Act of 1997 apply to all decedents who die on or after January 1, 1998. For the purpose of determining the property rights of any person under any instrument, the changes made by this amendatory Act of 1997 apply to all instruments executed on or after January 1, 1998.

755 ILCS 5/Art. II, Sec. 2-2

 

Posthumous child

A posthumous child of a decedent shall receive the same share of an estate as if the child had been born in the decedent's lifetime.

755 ILCS 5/Art. II, Sec. 2-3

 

Other intestacy statutes

There are additional statutes pertaining to the distribution of intestate property in the State of Illinois. To view those statutes, please click here.

 

[Reference - Illinois' Intestacy laws]

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