In this article...
In this article, we’ll provide a brief review of the Illinois probate process and a detailed list of the deadlines associated with that process. There are several important deadlines that executors, beneficiaries and other interested parties should be aware of to ensure their legal rights are preserved.
In this article, we’ll provide a brief review of the Illinois probate process and a detailed list of the associated deadlines. Executives, beneficiaries, and other interested parties should be aware of several important deadlines to preserve their legal rights.
The Illinois probate process is a court-supervised legal procedure that certifies a deceased individual’s estate worth over a certain amount of money. The formal probate system allows interested parties to voice their concerns, disperse assets, and pay debts and taxes. Probate is handled by the deceased person’s executor, who is responsible for verifying the deceased person’s will, identifying the deceased person’s assets, appraising those assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining property as the deceased person’s will directs.
A typical probate takes about a year, but if relatives and other inheritors contest the will or debate over assets, the process can take much longer and become increasingly expensive. It’s essential to meet with a probate attorney as soon after death as possible, as the probate process can be confusing and complex. Once an attorney is involved, it’s critical to identify any perishable property or property that needs to be immediately preserved or addressed. This includes stocks, agricultural products, livestock, business contracts, real estate, and controlled climate collections, such as art, wine, and furs.
To learn more, check out our article: The Illinois Probate Process Explained.
Here are the deadlines commonly associated with the Illinois probate process.
Deadline to inform the court of a refusal to act as Executor: 30 days after death
If the named executor has no intention to act as an Executor of the estate, they have 30 days to inform the appropriate court.
Deadline to file a Petition for Letters of Administration: 30 days after death
Letters of Administration are granted by an Illinois probate court to determine the person who will administer the estate of someone who dies without a will. When property passes under Intestacy Rules, or when there are no named Executors of an estate, the deceased individual’s surviving spouse has priority in receiving a Letter of Administration over others, including children. To file or “apply” to become the executor of an estate, a petition must be filed with the court in the proper county and state.
Deadline to mail a copy of the Petition for Letters of Administration to each person who is entitled to administer or nominate at the same or greater priority level than the practitioner: 30 days before hearing
At least 30 days before the Petition for Letters of Administration hearing, the petitioner must mail a copy of the petition to each person entitled to administer or nominate at the same or greater priority level than the petitioner. The mailed petition has to be stamped with the time and place of the scheduled hearing to provide any person in the same or higher priority class as the petitioner to challenge the petition.
Deadline to provide notice of the granting of Letters of Administration: 14 days after appointment of an executor
Once the petitioner’s request to serve as executor is granted, the petitioner has 14 days after the administrator was appointed to mail a copy of the Petition for Letters of Administration to each of the decedent’s heirs that was not entitled to the notice of the hearing, unless a signed Waiver of Notice previously excused notice. The administrator must also file proof of mailing this notice and proof of publication (if required) with the court clerk.
Deadline to file a will: 30 days after death
If the decedent had a will, it must be filed with the court clerk in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death within 30 days of the death. In many cases, the will is found after the deadline, but hiding or destroying a will is a crime. If you miss the deadline to file a will, talk to your attorney and file the will expediently. The court may deny you the right to serve as an executor unless good cause is shown.
Deadline to demand a formal proof of will: 42 days after the filing of the will
Any interested person can demand a formal proof of will. In order to do so, a person must file a petition for formal proof of will within 42 days of the order admitting the will to probate. Once the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing, at which the proponent of the will must prove that the will is valid. After the hearing, the court will confirm the order admitting the will to probate, so long that there is no proof of fraud, forgery, compulsion, or other improper conduct. If the will is determined invalid, the order admitting the will to probate will be vacated.
Deadline to catalog and account for all assets of an estate: 60 days after appointment of an executor
Executors of an estate have 60 days to catalog and account for all assets of an estate once they are appointed to the position of executor.
Deadline to contest a will: 6 months from the date the will is admitted to probate
Although will contests are rare, they do happen. If a person wants to contest a will, they have six months from the date the will is admitted to the probate to file a petition to contest the will. This is typically a stringent deadline.
Deadline for surviving spouse to elect to renounce the Will and instead take the statutory share: 7 months from the date the will is admitted to probate
Deadline to close the estate: 14 months from the date the will is admitted to probate.
If the estate remains open after 14 months, the court will expect the representative to account or report to the court to explain why the estate needs to remain open.
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