A will is a legal document by which a person leaves all of his/her real property (i.e. buildings) and personal property (i.e. all other property) to beneficiaries. A will takes effect at death. Intestate means a person dies without a will. When this occurs, the state statute decides who will inherit the property of the person who died (descendent). In intestate, real property (i.e. any that is affixed to the ground such as a house) “descends” while personal property (i.e. all other property, such as cars, cash, stock is “distributed.” The Illinois Probate Act (755 Illinois Complied Statutes (ILCS) 5/2-1 et seq.) governs the distribution of property when a person dies without a will.
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