A will is a document that a testator uses to record how he or she would like his estate to be distributed after he passes away. When written and executed according to Illinois law, a will is a legally binding document. There are many different types of wills. However, in order for a will to be valid in Illinois, it must be executed and written in a manner that is consistent with the Illinois Probate Act. One type of will is a holographic will. A holographic will is one that is handwritten and signed by the testator, but not witnessed. Holographic wills are not valid in Illinois. If you are concerned about the validity of s handwritten will that you executed or that was executed by a loved one, you should immediately contact an experienced Chicago holographic will attorney, who will explain to you the requirements for a valid will in Illinois.Requirements for a Valid Will in Illinois
Under the Illinois Probate Act, in order for a will to be legally enforceable, it must have been executed in the following manner:
- It must be signed by the testator
- Two or more witnesses must have been present at the signing
- The witnesses must also sign the will
A holographic will is a will that is entirely handwritten by the testator and signed by the testator, but was not witnessed. While in some states a holographic will made under specific circumstances will be probated, in Illinois a holographic will is invalid.Absence of a Valid Will
If you pass away and leave a holographic will, the court will treat your estate as if you passed away without having created a will. Your estate will be managed and distributed according to Illinois’ rules of intestate succession. This means that if you have a surviving spouse, your surviving spouse will receive 100% of your estate. If you have children but no surviving spouse, your children will inherit your entire estate in equal shares. If you pass away with a surviving spouse and children, your spouse will inherit 50% of the estate, and your children will inherit the other 50% of your estate in equal shares. If you pass away without having a surviving spouse or children, then the state will look for other surviving blood relatives. As a Chicago holographic will lawyer will explain, your blood relatives will receive your estate based on an order of priority as described in the Illinois Probate Act.
While in some cases the decedent’s wishes as to who would get his property upon his death match how the estate would be distributed under intestate succession, and other cases it does not. For example, with a will the decedent that might want to leave his property to his best friend of 40 years, a few of his loyal employees, and a charitable organization. On the other hand, under the intestacy rules, his estate would go to a nephew that he barely knows and has not seen in many, many years. Thus, it is critical that you have a will as part of your estate plan. In order to ensure that your will is drafted in the manner that is consistent with Illinois law, make sure that you work with an experienced holographic will attorney in Chicago.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
Holographic wills are not valid in Illinois. If you have a handwritten, unwitnessed will, in order to ensure that your wishes will be followed after you pass away it is critical that you draft and execute a new will that is in compliance with Illinois law. Contact an experienced holographic will attorney serving clients in Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We are here to help. Contact us at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent individuals and estates throughout Chicago.