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What is non-probate property?

Writing a will in Illinois is a good way to ensure that those responsible for the administration of your property after your death know and understand your wishes. However, you cannot necessarily put everything you own into a will. Wills only pertain to probate property, which is a large category that includes many types of tangible and nontangible assets.

However, according to FindLaw, there is also non-probate property that does not go into a will. There are several different types of non-probate property, each with its own set of rules pertaining to its distribution that supersedes anything that you put in your will. What follows are a few of the most common types.

Life insurance policies

When you create a life insurance policy, you sign a contract that names the beneficiaries intended to receive the proceeds after you die. You cannot change the terms of the contract by putting different provisions for a life insurance policy in your will.

Assets held in trust

Some people use trusts instead of wills as an estate planning tool, while others include both in the overall plan. In either case, the terms of the trust take precedence over anything that is written in your will in regard to those assets. In other words, if you wish to make changes to trust beneficiaries, amounts paid, etc., you need to revise the trust itself, presuming that it is a revocable trust that allows you to do so. 

Joint property

You cannot use a will to transfer property to a third party that you own jointly with someone else. Rather, the joint owner typically gets full possession of the property upon your death.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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