What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

You don’t like thinking about your death any more than other people do. However, just because it is an unpleasant subject doesn’t mean it’s something you can avoid. Sometimes, people ignore putting together a will because they think that their children or spouse will automatically inherit property and money.

Sometimes, that might be true. However, when you don’t have a will, it doesn’t mean that your assets will go where you want them to go. One of the things you will certainly end up leaving behind is a lot of stress if you don’t have a will.

What Does the Will Do?

The will is a legal document that has clear instructions on what is supposed to happen to your estate. It includes all of the details on how it needs to be handled if you die or become incapacitated. The will contains your last wishes for what you want to happen with your belongings.

You want to be the one who has control over what happens with your belongings. You don’t want the courts to be in charge.

What If You Don’t Have a Will?

In the state of Illinois, if you die without a will, it is known as dying intestate. The intestacy laws will determine who receives the deceased’s assets if there is not a will in place. In Illinois, this means that they will go to your closest relatives. Types of assets that are included in these laws include property, retirement savings you own, and bank accounts. The laws are specific about what happens to your property when you die without a will.

If this happens, it’s important to know that those who survive you will not have any say. Even if you told someone that you wanted to give them some of your property when you passed away, it won’t happen if it’s not in the will. This can often cause fights between family members and friends.

Create an Estate Plan

The best thing you can do to avoid this type of problem is to get in touch with an attorney and create an estate plan. It’s better to do this sooner rather than later even if you are young and healthy. You never know what tomorrow could bring, so it’s a good idea to make sure you are as prepared as possible. It’s time to get your will and the rest of your estate plan in order. Contact the experienced attorneys at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today to discuss your situation more fully.

The Property Transfer Process After a Will

The Property Transfer Process After a Will

After someone passes away, the property transfer may seem like a complicated process. However, assuming a will is involved, the situation ends up going much smoother.

The individual the deceased leaves the property to in the will is known as the beneficiary. Before the beneficiary can legally receive the property and become the legal owner, the property must first go through probate court.

What Is Probate Court?

Probate court is a process in which any unpaid debts of the deceased are paid off, accounts are closed, and any remaining assets are distributed according to the wishes outlined in the will. Assuming there are no objections during probate court, the results are typically the same.

Cash assets and real estate will be used to pay off any remaining debt the deceased left behind. After any remaining debts are satisfied, additional cash and real estate will then be transferred to the beneficiary named in the will.

If all debts aren’t satisfied by any remaining cash, the property must be used to close out any open accounts. In the end, the executor of the will ends up making these important decisions.

In simpler terms, the executor is the person in charge of the execution of the will and dividing the assets left to any beneficiaries. If the decision is made that the property must be used to satisfy debts, normally, the executor will be in charge of selling the home and using the proceeds to handle accounts owed.

What Happens if the Property Is Sold?

There are certain cases where the funds secured by the sale of the property will be greater than the debts owed by the deceased. When this happens, the beneficiaries will instead receive the remaining funds left over from the property sale instead of the property itself.

Does the Deed Have to Change Names?

Regardless of the situation, the property cannot remain in the name of the deceased. If the beneficiary ends up with the property, they must file for a new deed and present a copy of the will and death certificate.

In cases where no will exists, the state’s succession law will take effect, and an entirely new set of steps are required to settle the matter.

The smoothest transition possible is having a clear beneficiary named in the will. This is why it’s important for anyone that owns property or assets to put a will together, regardless of health, age, or life expectancy. Contact the experienced attorneys at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today to discuss your situation more fully.

Why a Will Should Be First Up in the New Year

Why a Will Should Be First Up in the New Year

With the New Year upon us, many people are making and trying to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. Something that should be on your resolution list—and everyone’s for that matter—is to make a will. However, many people continue to put off drafting a will, not wanting to believe they’ll ever need one. However, death comes for us all eventually. It’s far better for our loved ones if we prepare now.

The first thing you should do in the coming year is sit down with an attorney to set up a will. Let’s look at some of the most important reasons to get create a will.

It’s Better for Your Loved Ones

Your family and friends will be grieving when you pass away. They need time to grieve and to understand their loss rather than worrying about what will happen with your estate. You want to take as many variables and questions off the table as possible. Having a proper will drawn up will reduce the amount of stress on your family, and it can reduce the risk of family squabbles and altercations.

You Get to Determine Who Gets Assets and Property

Even if you haven’t put it in writing, there is a good chance that you already know where you want your assets and property to go. You know where you want it to go when you die. If you die without a will, though, you don’t get to make these choices. It ends up being in the hands of the court, which could make decisions you don’t agree with. The wrong people could end up with your property.

Ensure Your Children Will Be Cared For

If you have minor children, you want them to have the proper care in the event that you pass away. Typically, the surviving parent will have custody of the kids, but if both parents die, what happens? With a will, you can assign a guardian, who will be responsible for taking care of the children’s needs. If you don’t choose a guardian, the court will choose one, which means you might have someone raising your kids that you wouldn’t have picked.

These are just some of the top reasons that creating a will needs to be done sooner rather than later. The New Year is the perfect time to take care of planning your estate, so be sure to get in touch with an attorney who is well-versed in wills and trusts. The sooner you act, the sooner you will have peace of mind.

Can You Transfer Ownership of a House in a Will?

Can You Transfer Ownership of a House in a Will?

One major goal of creating a will is to transfer property to individuals who survive a deceased person, typically family members or close friends. The property falls into two principal categories: real and personal. Real property consists of buildings and land, and personal property includes tangible objects such as jewelry and vehicles as well as intangible items such as cash, stocks, and bonds. Ownership of real property, for example, a house, can be transferred through a will as a bequest or gift.

Transferring Ownership of a House through a Will

Title to a house transferred in a will can only pass to a recipient after the probate process has been finalized. The will’s executor, the person assigned to carry out the terms of the will, initiates the process by filing the will with the local county probate court. The probate judge then authorizes the executor to follow the instructions spelled out in the will. The executor first creates a record of all the estate’s liabilities and assets, then takes care of the estate’s debts, and finally allocates property to the beneficiaries consistent with the terms of the will. If the house has a mortgage, the beneficiary acquires the property along with the mortgage.

Transferring the Title to the Beneficiary’s Name

After the house is obtained, the beneficiary is required to have the title transferred to his or her name. The transfer process varies from state to state, but most often involves applying for a transfer of title with the office of the local county recorder, which usually necessitates paying fees, supplying a certified copy of the previous owner’s death certificate, and sometimes the title to the house.

Since probate can be extremely time-consuming and complex, you may choose to transfer your house in a way that avoids having to go to probate court. Also, depending on the number of your assets, your estate could be required to pay estate taxes.

Bell & Shah Law Is Here to Help

No matter which method you choose to transfer ownership of your house, it’s important to consider the various conditions and possible complications before beginning the estate planning process. The knowledgeable attorneys at Bell & Shah Law, LLC can assist you in creating a plan that will best suit your needs and those of your family. Call us today for a free consultation.

Ways of Stopping Future Generations from Changing Your Will if Your Health Declines

Ways of Stopping Future Generations from Changing Your Will if Your Health Declines

Having a will and testament is important, especially as we get older. However, if in the future your health declines, someone in the family may decide they want to change your will or contest it upon your death to get more from your estate. This is not something that often works, but, if you take steps now, you can prevent issues in the future.

Steps to Take to Protect Your Will While You Are Alive

Whether you are setting up a will now to make sure specific money is set aside for your grandchildren or to leave someone specifically out of your will, you need your will to be well-written. You want someone that fully understands the extent of the law to write up your will. This makes it stronger in the face of contesting. You also want to make sure that you prove you are fully competent when signing your will. Having a video taken of this process can go a long way towards proving your will is precisely how you want it.

Steps to Take to Protect Your Will Upon Your Death

To avoid someone contesting your will later on, you want to put in a clause that is called the terrorism clause, or the no-contest clause. This works if your estate is considerable, because then you can put in your will if anyone were to try and contest the will, they would lose out on anything set out for them specifically. If you were to take the time to prove your competence ahead of time and show that you signed your will without any outside influence, then adding in the no-contest clause is often enough to protect your estate.

Want Help Creating a Strong Will? Reach Out to Bell & Shaw Law Today

If you want to ensure that your will can withstand your future, then reach out to us here at Bell & Shaw Law today. We will help ensure that your will is safe and is not likely to ever withstand someone’s possible attempt to change or contest it later on. Contact us today and let us help.

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