When someone dies, your first thought is about final arrangements. Funeral, cremation, or burial arrangements follow. But you also must think about estate administration very soon after.
Your loved one’s personal affairs must be handled as they may directly affect spouses, family members, business associates, and other beneficiaries. This can include paying final bills, filing taxes, notifying banks, creditors, and other business accounts of their passing, closing credit cards, and other administrative tasks. Often having a knowledgeable and experienced person to assist you with these tasks, is a great benefit. Since you’ll need to begin the Illinois probate process, which involves the legal side of closing their affairs, finding a Chicago area lawyer proficient in estate administration will be key.
Is There A Will?
This is the first thing you’ll need to find. If the deceased made one, a copy of the will, or the original, may very well be in their filing cabinet at home. Many people leave the original or a copy at their attorney’s office or in a bank safe deposit box. The will may also name an executor. Take the will with you to meet with the probate attorney.
Many people don’t have a will. Either they’ve procrastinated, they haven’t signed it yet, or it’s otherwise unfinished and invalid. If no will can be located, the decisions about estate administration will be made by the probate court under Illinois law once the probate attorney files a petition.
Also called “probate,” estate administration is the process that ensures that a deceased person’s property and financial affairs are handled correctly and according to their wishes and in line with state and federal laws.
The probate court oversees the distribution of the deceased’s property and assets as described in their will, or according to Illinois state law if there is no will. The court will also name an executor if there isn’t one.
Note that assets that are in trusts, assets that are held jointly, and those that pass directly to a beneficiary such as a bank account that’s “paid on death” are not part of the estate.
How A Probate Attorney Can Help
If you’re either named or selected to be an executor, but don’t know how to proceed, meet with a probate attorney before filing the will with the court. They can answer all your questions before the process begins.
Because most people aren’t familiar with estate law, a probate attorney can handle filing the will and petition with the court to begin the probate process. The attorney can assist the executor in gathering property, handling tax returns, submitting all required paperwork to the court, and ensuring that everything is filed timely. The attorney can also assist with trust administration if needed.
A probate attorney can also handle estate litigation if anyone contests the will. Creditors’ claims and other issues can be handled by the attorney to prevent obstacles in the probate process.
Contact James C. Provenza & Associates for Your Chicago Probate Attorney
No matter the stage of the probate process or estate proceedings, an Illinois estate administration attorney is very helpful to facilitate a smooth and time-efficient probate process.
As a CPA as well as a lawyer, James C. Provenza offers exceptionally informed assistance in areas where tax planning and law intersect, especially:
Whether drafting a will or living trust or working with an Executor to ensure proper distribution and management of the estate assets, the attorneys at James C Provenza & Associates have the legal knowledge and practical expertise to mitigate issues. Call us today at (847) 729-3939.