Chicago Estate Planning Attorney — Probate / Estate Administration
Probate and estate administration in Illinois is often a court-supervised endeavor that usually (but not always) occurs after an individual dies. Following the death, the court may examine the deceased person’s estate and help legalize an asset distribution and management process. For example, if the loved one was able to prepare a well-drafted living trust or a will, then there is a good chance that court administration won’t be necessary.
If someone has contested a will or the estate’s documentation, or if you’re the Executor of the estate, it is highly recommended to contact an experienced Chicago estate administration attorney as soon as possible. At James C. Provenza & Associates, P.C., our estate lawyers will guide you through the probate process and represent your interests in court, if necessary.
To schedule a consultation with the Chicago attorneys at James C. Provenza, P.C., contact us today at (847) 729-3939. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Illinois probate process below.
Role of the Executor of the Estate
When an individual dies with a will in the state of Illinois, the will or living trust usually states the Executor of the estate. One of the first duties of the Executor is to ensure that the deceased person’s will is valid and legally binding (the will should be filed in the county clerk’s office where the individual resided). The Executor also has several other tasks to complete following a death, including:
- Identify and inventory the deceased person’s assets
- Have those assets appraised
- Pay debts and taxes
- Distribute the remaining property as the will (or if there’s no will, Illinois law) directs
If an individual dies without a will in Illinois, an individual must ask the court to be appointed as “administrator” of the estate.
Formal Probate Proceedings in Illinois
Formal probate proceedings begin in Illinois when the Executor files the deceased person’s will with the local court. Typically, at this stage, the executor uses an estate attorney to help draw up the necessary papers. For instance, a notice of the probate proceedings must be sent to the deceased person’s heirs. If there are no issues with the will, the court gives the Executor authority over the estate assets. Some formal probate proceedings in Illinois may include:
- Assets and Debts — The Executor must gather, inventory, and safeguard estate assets. If necessary, the executor may need to sell some assets. The Executor may also publish a notice of the probate case to inform creditors.
- Taxes — The deceased person’s estate is a taxpaying entity. The estate may have Illinois estate taxes and federal estate taxes to pay.
Generally, the probate process involves paperwork, and if all the documentation is clearly drafted and filed, the probate proceedings can end in a timely manner. However, will contests may occur if two individuals fight over the contents of the will or living trust. Some reasons for a contest may include confusing language in the will, a claim that someone unduly influenced the deceased person, creditors’ claims, and accusations of wrongdoing by the Executor.
Contact James C. Provenza, P.C. for Your Probate Attorney
No matter the stage of the probate process or estate proceedings, an Illinois estate planning attorney is crucial to help facilitate a smooth and time-efficient probate process.
Whether drafting a will or living trust or working with the Executor to ensure an optimized distribution and management of the estate assets, the attorneys at James C. Provenza, P.C. have the legal knowledge and practical expertise to mitigate issues while covering all bases. Call us today at (847) 729-3939.