In this article, our Winnebago County probate attorneys explain when a probate matter must be entered to administer the estate of a decedent and how probate matters can be avoided.
Probate matters are a type of legal matter that administer a deceased individual’s (“decedent”) estate. A common misunderstanding about probate is that it is only required when the decedent has a will at the time of their death. Instead, the type(s) of assets the decedent left behind determine whether or not probate is necessary.
Probate is a court case in which the court oversees the distribution of a decedent's assets to his or her heirs and creditors. In order to administer an estate in Illinois, probate will be necessary if:
(1) The decedent owned any real estate outside of a trust that is not deeded with a right to survivorship for the decedent's spouse (even if there is a mortgage) outside of a trust; OR
(2) The decedent owned more than $100,000.00 in assets outside of either a trust or outside of accounts that are payable to a direct beneficiary upon death.
If probate is necessary, the person responsible for administering the estate, known as the executor, must have letters of office issued by the probate court before he or she can begin collecting the decedent's assets for distribution to creditors and heirs. The executor will also have to file accountings, notices, and reports with the court regarding the collection and distribution of these assets.
Read more from our Winnebago County probate attorneys on the requirements that makes an estate enter probate in Illinois.