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How Do I Know If I Need a Will?

 Posted on March 08, 2017 in Estate Planning

Illinois estate planning attorney, Illinois elder law attorneyWhen you are considering whether you need to make a will, it is important to think carefully about your assets and where you want them to go when you are no longer living. For most members of the Muslim community in DuPage County, it is extremely important to make a will. If you do not have a will at the time of death, then your assets will be distributed according to Illinois intestacy laws.

These laws are complicated, and they can prevent your assets from being distributed according to your wishes. While many people assume they only need to make a will if they have real property, any assets at all can be subject to Illinois intestacy laws at the time of death. By making a will, however, you can ensure that your property goes to the parties to whom you planned to leave it—whether it is your children or a neighborhood nonprofit foundation.

Do You Have Intended Beneficiaries Who Are Not Close Family Members?

Under Illinois law, if you do not have a will, Illinois law says that you have died “intestate.” As such, intestacy laws will be applicable and your property will be distributed in a very specific manner. First, if the decedent has a surviving spouse, she or he will receive half of the estate while the other half will go to the decedent’s descendants. If there is no surviving spouse, the descendants will inherit the estate, and likewise, if there are no surviving descendants but there is a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse will inherit the estate. When there is no surviving spouse or descendant, then the law says that other family members, including parents, siblings, and descendants of siblings may then inherit the estate. However, if there are no known descendants, then the law says that the decedent’s assets may go to the county in which the decedent was a resident.

If you have any significant assets and no known family members, you do not want those assets to be distributed to DuPage County. Instead, you may have a particular nonprofit foundation in mind to receive your estate or another entity that could benefit from receiving your assets. By making a will, you can ensure that your property reaches the intended beneficiary.

Do You Own Property That May Result in Disagreement Among Close Family Members?

Wills also help to make your intentions clear even when you have (and perhaps particularly when you have) many family members. Even if you plan to leave your property to your spouse and/or to your children (or to other close relatives, such as your parents or your siblings), a will can help you to prevent disagreement among those family members over ownership rights. For instance, if you have a particularly valuable family heirloom that you wish to leave to your oldest child, you may recognize that, without a valid will, your children may argue over who should have ownership of the item.

By making a will, you can ensure that your family understands your intentions. As such, you may be able to prevent your intended beneficiaries from having disagreements over ownership or contentious arguments surrounding your wishes for a particular property.

Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney

At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we have years of experience assisting members of the DuPage County Muslim community with estate planning needs, and one of our dedicated Oakbrook Terrace estate planning lawyers can speak with you today about making a will. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office today for more information.



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