Many United States rights and privileges are not granted to undocumented residents. Illinois has long been welcoming to immigrants, including providing many safeguards to undocumented residents. In Illinois, your immigration status does not affect your inheritance rights. If your estate leaves money or property to an undocumented person, you should take additional actions to protect them in case they are detained or deported.
Dying With a Will
If you have a legal will or trust in Illinois, you can legally leave assets to your heirs even if they are undocumented residents.
Dying Without a Will
If you die without a will, your estate becomes intestate. Intestate laws mean that your estate and all decisions about your estate will go to your closest relatives. Your assets that fall under intestacy laws include property, bank accounts and retirement savings that you own outright in only your name, and are not co-owned with anyone else.
Your immigration status does not affect your inheritance under Illinois intestate law. If your relative is undocumented, they can inherit no matter what their citizenship status is. Relatives who are entitled to an intestate share of your property will inherit your assets whether or not they are citizens or legally in the United States.
There are potentially severe difficulties in leaving money or property to an undocumented person. An undocumented person who is trying to be undetected by the authorities will have to come forward to inherit money or property. They will need to prove their identity in order to inherit, so it would be helpful if they had a Social Security Number, passport, taxpayer identification number or state identification card. If you leave your estate to an undocumented person, it’s also smart to add some protections into your will or trust in case they are detained or deported:
• give a power of attorney to a citizen or legal resident
• appoint a guardian for any minor heirs
You should consult an immigration attorney if you plan to name an undocumented person as a beneficiary in your will or trust. Your estate planning attorney should also know the legal status of your heir so they can advise you on the best options to protect your heir.
Mario Godoy practices immigration law and serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties. Godoy Law Office is an established immigration law firm, contact us online or call today at 855-554-6369.