In this Learn about Law video we discuss why going pro se might not be the best way when it comes to probate. The probate process can be tricky and confusing and if one goes through it by themselves, they are liable for the mistakes they made. Also, they can end up costing time and money through errors made when filing. A judge having to reschedule because of an error is a nightmare for anybody trying to get access to their probate estate.
In this article...

In cases in which probate is required, the executor of the
estate or the next of kin cannot take the actions necessary to administer the
estate without the authority granted by the probate court. 

If you are not sure whether probate is necessary, you can check out our article:  When
is Probate Required in Illinois? 

Probate is a complicated process that requires executors to prepare forms, meet deadlines, keep records, generate reports, submit filings to the court, and serve notices to creditors, heirs and local newspapers.

In cases in which probate is required, the executor of the estate or the next of kin cannot take the actions necessary to administer the estate without the authority granted by the probate court. 

If you are not sure whether probate is necessary, you can check out our article:  

Probate is a complicated process that requires executors to prepare forms, meet deadlines, keep records, generate reports, submit filings to the court, and serve notices to creditors, heirs and local newspapers.

A Probate Attorney Will Prevent Personal Liability For Your Actions As Executor

Personal liability can arise in a probate situation if the executor makes an error in marshaling assets, generating reports, paying creditors and heirs in the wrong order or the wrong amounts, failing to obtain court authority before taking certain actions, or failing to give notice to the proper individuals in the proper manner.  

​The Probate Process Will Be Completed More quickly With An Attorney

The process can be extended by as much as several years if the executor does not prepare each form correctly the first time and give proper notice to all necessary parties, obtain the necessary signatures of heirs and interested creditors, and file the appropriate documents before each deadline passes.

  • Rescheduling court dates
  • Delay in inheritance ​

A Probate Attorney Will Save Time For The Executor

Even if you hire an attorney, much of your valuable time will be dedicated to gathering and liquidating the estate’s assets, keeping records, paying bills, and making lists of creditors.  Having to learn the law and local court procedure and generate inventories, accounting, and reports in a form that will be accepted by the court may make an already difficult task insurmountable.
 

A Probate Attorney Will Minimize The Potential For Disputes

​​Potential for expensive and time consuming probate litigation is significantly diminished if the probate estate in question is handled effectively, quickly, and efficiently by a professional.  

  • If the estate is being handled in an unprofessional manner, creditors and heirs are more likely to be involved.  
  • At a minimum, interested parties may request Supervised Administration
  • At worst, you may find yourself embroiled in an expensive lawsuit.  
  • An attorney’s job is the resolve disputes early in the process in order to make the process as
    inexpensive as possible for all concerned. ​

Hiring A Probate Attorney Will Minimize Stress On The Family

The net effect of speeding up the probate process, reducing the amount of time that the executor must personally dedicate to the case, and heading off any disputes in a professional manner is to minimize the amount of stress that the family of
the deceased must deal with at a time when emotions are already high.

  • Families can be torn apart when money enters the equation.  
  • If the executor is seen as acting in his or her own best interest at the expense of the heirs,
    or as failing to competently handle the estate, this can cause interpersonal problems with loved ones.
  • Hiring an attorney will place a third party between the executor and the heirs and will allow the executor to focus on spending time and energy on his or her family. 
Posted 
November 16, 2020
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