The Illinois Probate Process Explained

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Probate is the legal process by which assets of the deceased person is distributed. The court-supervised process helps settle the legal title of the deceased person’s property and fulfill debt obligations. Understanding the probate process is important as it will allow you to know whether or not probate should be sought.

Here we will take a close look at the probate process in the state of Illinois.

What is the Probate Process in Illinois?

The probate process in Illinois is similar to any other estate. It includes identifying the assets of the deceased person, paying the debts, and distributing the remaining assets among the beneficiaries. In the state of Illinois, the process of probate is handled by the Circuit Court in the county where a person has died.

Generally, an executor mentioned in the deceased person’s will is responsible for the probate. However, if no one is mentioned in the will, someone must request the court to appoint an administrator of the estate. Similar to executors, administrators oversee the distribution of the estate of the deceased person.

If the deceased person has made a will, it should be filed within a month of the death of the person. Hiding or destroying the will is considered a crime. You should consult with a probate attorney to file the will expediently.

Notice of the Probate Process

A notice is sent to all the beneficiaries notifying them about a court ordered hearing. The beneficiaries have the right at this point to raise any objection to the probate petition. The notice of hearing is generally advertised in local newspapers. This allows the unknown creditors to be notified of the proceedings.

All known creditors are also notified about the probate process. The creditors have the right to raise any objection regarding the distribution of the assets within a specified period. The administrator or the executor evaluates the claims of the creditors, and allocates the estate assets taking into account relevant claims.

When is Probate Necessary?

Probate is not always required, but if you are the heir or next of kin to a parent who died “intestate” (without a will or living trust), then you will likely need the assistance of an experienced Illinois probate lawyer. In the state of Illinois, a probate is required in case the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The value of the probate assets exceeds $100,000
  • The assets were owned by the deceased

Also, certain assets do not have to go through the probate. These include:

  • Assets that are designated to a beneficiary,
  • Assets held in trust,
  • Assets owned jointly with or solely by the tenancy, and
  • Assets that are subject to transfer-on-death bed in Illinois.

Probate is not the first thing that comes to mind on the death of a loved one. However, the financial consequences can make probate process a priority. You should contact an experienced Illinois probate attorney to start the process early. For professional help regarding initiation of the probate process, you can contact one of our qualified attorneys today and connect with an experienced probate lawyer in Chicago.