If you don’t have a will or living trust in place when you pass away, your assets are subject to Illinois’ intestacy laws. These laws determine which parties are to inherit a deceased individual’s assets depending on which descendants he or she has. This can be contested in probate court, but it is an expensive and lengthy process.
After receiving assets, whether through a will or intestacy succession, beneficiaries can be subject to estate taxes if the deceased did not take careful measures to reduce or eliminate these taxes. In some cases, receiving assets can put a beneficiary deep into debt.
Probate is the process through which the court identifies and appraises a deceased individual’s assets, then pays the associated taxes and debts, followed by distributing the remaining assets to the deceased’s beneficiaries. Choosing an experienced Aurora estate planning law firm to help you draft or modify your plan can reduce or even eliminate the need for an estate to go through probate, which can be expensive for the deceased’s family and potentially create family arguments and problems.