Owning property in Illinois can leave you wondering what happens to it upon your death. Ideally, you have already created a will dictating your preferences for who inherits your assets including real estate. However, real estate left to someone in your will can wind up in probate which you can bypass with a living trust or joint tenancy.
The Illinois State Bar Association provides a guide for those considering establishing a living trust. This legal document is in addition to your last will and testament. You can avoid probate on real estate including properties in other states. Not only does this help your loved ones who inherit property in Illinois, but also saves them time not dealing with the hassle of probate in other states.
Essentially, the living trust owns the assets rather than you because you transfer them to the trust. Since the trust owns the real estate, no probate is necessary. For real estate in multiple states, the living trust does not require probate in any state.
A living trust is not the only way to bypass probate for real estate you own. Joint tenancy is another option for some families. For example, you and your spouse may both own the home you live in. When you die, he or she does not have to go to probate to retain the house.
Joint tenancy is not only available to married couples. Domestic partners, roommates and children can enter into a joint tenancy. Keep in mind that you cannot sell a property held in joint tenancy without the other owners signing off on it.