Probate and estate administration are the processes through which the court distributes an individual’s assets among his or her loved ones following his or her death. If the individual had a will, this process is easy – the will’s named executor works with the Circuit Court to have all of the deceased’s assets divided according to the guidelines he or she wrote into the will. If there is no will, or if the will is contested, this can become a more complicated process.
The Probate Process
The probate process is the process through which the court determines a will’s validity and transfers the assets contained within to the appropriate beneficiaries. Not all assets are subject to probate – some, like life insurance policies and property held in living trusts, go straight to their beneficiaries and trustee successors.
Assets that do go through the probate process, which include real estate properties and other property held in the deceased’s name, are subject to Illinois estate tax and other applicable laws, such as the requirement that the deceased’s funeral expenses be paid with money from his or her estate.
Estate administration refers to the overall process of gathering a deceased individual’s assets and managing his or her estate. This includes the process of distributing the deceased’s assets among his or her beneficiaries, but also the process of ensuring that his or her debts and any other obligations are fulfilled. The individual in charge of the administration of a loved one’s estate it is charged with:
- Filing the necessary probate paperwork with the circuit court;
- Publishing notice of the probate case to inform the deceased’s creditors;
- Directly informing the deceased’s creditors of his or her death;
- Taking inventory of the deceased’s assets and protecting them while the probate case is pending;
- Overseeing the probate process and addressing any disputes that arise between family members;
- Paying the estate taxes;
- Paying the deceased’s debts with money from the estate; and
- Closing the estate when the process is complete.
Having a probate and estate administration attorney on your side as you act in this role can make the process go much more smoothly and prevent you from accidentally forgetting a step or failing to file a document in time.
Work with an Illinois Probate Attorney
If you are working through the probate process with a loved one’s estate, work with an experienced Illinois probate attorney to make this process easier for you and any others involved. Our team at J Peterman Legal Group Ltd. in Western Springs, Illinois, can help you navigate these processes during this difficu