In this article, we explain “what types of assets are subject to probate in Illinois” and “what types of assets are not subject to probate in Illinois.” We also answer the question, “how do I collect probate assets in Illinois?”.
Probate is essentially defined as a legal process through which the court system assists in the distribution of a deceased individual’s (also known as “decedent) estate. If you would like some background information about probate, check out our article about “What is Probate?: Introduction to Probate in Illinois?” However, probate is not always necessary, regardless of whether or not the decedent had a will in place at the time of their death. Assets are subject to probate if the decedent’s estate contains at least one of the following conditions:
Items that do not fall into the two categories listed above are not subject to probate. Examples of this include:
For more information, check out our articles entitled When is Probate Required in Illinois? and Illinois Probate: Does All Property Need to go Through Probate.
Probate is not necessarily a quick process. If the decedent had a lot of assets, or if heirs are fighting over property, it can take up to a year to receive assets that are subject to probate. In order to collect your assets, the executor (if there is a will) or administrator (if there is not a will) will have to open a probate case with the court. If there is a will, the court is inclined to appoint the executor named in the will, unless there is clear evidence that the will is invalid. It is then the job of the executor to notify all “interested parties,” such as creditors, potential heirs and family members, to the passing of the decedent. Other responsibilities of the executor include:
Having a will in place does not necessarily mean the person named in the will can collect that particular asset if it is part of the estate. Sometimes assets have to be liquidated in order to fairly distribute funds amongst the interested parties. Also, the government and creditors will always take what they are owed before the remaining assets can be divided. If you would like to learn about what happens when a will is contested, read our article entitled Illinois Will Contests Explained | Illinois Probate Litigation. Once all debt and taxes are settled, the executor must file a final document accounting for the following:
At this point, if you have not already collected your portion of assets, you will. In order to officially close the estate, the executor must submit a final report with the court, as well as receipts proving the beneficiaries have received their inheritance.
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