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Madison Clark

Below, we outline the different steps you have to take in order to ensure that a property has successfully completed probate. The steps include:

  1. Notify The Deceased Family Members
  1. Notify The Debtors Of The Deceased
  1. Make An Inventory Of The Estate's Properties
  1. Pay Off Expenses Incurred By The Estate
  1. Distribute The Estate's Remaining Properties To The Beneficiaries

There is a legal system that manages the administrative side of someone's final affairs after they die. In Illinois, this process is known as "probate," and it entails following the instructions in the decedent's will, if one exists. If there is no will, an administrator is named, and the estate is divided according to Illinois state law.

Probate in Illinois consists of five steps that must be completed in the following order:  

  1. Notify The Deceased Family Members
    Notify the deceased's family after filing the will in the proper probate case. A court petition is filed, requesting that the will be admitted to probate and that an executor be appointed for the deceased's assets. The petition would ask the court to name an administrator to represent the estate if the deceased died without a will ("intestate"). The beneficiaries must be informed of the hearing and given the chance to appeal the will if possible. In the county where the petition is filed, a newspaper notice should also be issued.  
  1. Notify The Debtors Of The Deceased
    These businesses and individuals must also be given the chance to file a lawsuit against the deceased's estate's properties. Creditors have six months to file a claim or risk losing the opportunity to recover.  
  1. Make An Inventory Of The Estate's Properties
    The estate representatives calculate the overall value of the deceased's assets as well as his or her liabilities, which include expenses, taxes, and any debts owed to creditors. Before going on to the next phase, the assets are appraised.

    NOTE: If the estate has a value of less than $100,000 and no real estate, a complete probate process might not be required. Instead, heirs designated for particular assets may assert their inheritance by filling out a "simple affidavit" and attaching a copy of the will and death certificate. Be sure to ask if your company or entity has its own clear affidavit for claiming an asset, such as a bank or investment account.  

  1. Pay Off Expenses Incurred By The Estate

    Expenses incurred by the estate must be paid. This can include things like:  
  • Expenses for funerals and burials  
  • Awards are given to a surviving spouse and/or child or children.  
  • monies owed to the deceased's employees in the form of income and other taxes, federal, state, and local  
  • Other costs of the estate, such as final utilities and other payments, creditors' claims, and so on.  

  1. Distribute The Estate's Remaining Properties To The Beneficiaries

    The beneficiaries will collect their inheritance after all of the costs have been paid. The executor asks the probate court for permission to start distributing assets according to the will's instructions. The properties are allocated according to Illinois law if there is no will. Following the grant of the petition, the executor starts delivery, which includes:  
  • Liquidate properties as necessary.
  • Money, stocks, and other properties may be transferred.  
  • Retitle every property as needed.  
  • Complete any remaining tasks to bring the estate to a close. 

When Is Probate Complete?

The executor prepares a final report accounting of all the estate's properties, how they were managed, any revenue received, how much was spent for the estate's administration, including expenditures, and everything transferred to the will's beneficiaries after the assets have been distributed and all has been completed.  

Unless a "interested party" requests a copy of the report, the executor files a discharge request. The executor or other representative is discharged by the judge, the estate is declared closed, and the probate process is completed.  

Probate can take as little as six months in the case of a simple estate, or several years in the case of more complicated estates involving lawsuits or complex asset transfers. Will contests may also lengthen the time it takes to probate a will. You will need the assistance of an experienced will and estate planning attorney to complete the probate process if there are any problems with the will or with probate.

Request a consultation with an Illinois Attorney. Call our office at (630) 324-6666 or schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers today. You can also fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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