probate process

Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult experience. However, dealing with legal matters can add to the emotional pain and stress of these events. No one wants to go through probate, but it is an unfortunate process for many estates. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few facts about how long the probate process takes in Illinois.

The Basics of Probate

After someone passes away, the estate might enter probate. During this legal process, the courts will assess and manage the deceased person’s assets and debts. If there are any disputes, the court will settle them as well. Unfortunately, probate can take a very long time and be a costly endeavor for family members. For this reason, many people establish trusts and other means to completely avoid going through probate. 

However, sometimes, entering into the probate process is inevitable.

When Is Probate Required in Illinois?

In the state of Illinois, probate is required in a few situations. They include:

  • The combined value of the deceased individual’s assets is more than $100,000
  • The deceased was the sole owner of these assets. 

Any joint assets can usually bypass the probate process. To start the process, a petition needs to be filed in the county courthouse where the deceased person lived. At this time, the court will review the will and appoint an administrator. This individual will have the legal authority to act on behalf of the person’s estate. They will need to gather information about the debts, assets, and beneficiaries associated with the will. 

If there is debt, the administration will need to sell assets such as real estate, vehicles, and other items to settle outstanding bills and creditors. Once that is finished, the beneficiaries will receive the remaining portion of the estate. 

At the end of the process, the administrator will officially close the probate case at the courthouse. 

How Long Does the Probate Process Take?

Unfortunately, this is not a short process. Many probate cases will take at least eight months, and the average duration ranges from one year to 18 months. But sometimes, there are beneficiary disputes or complex estates. In these cases, it could be several years before the estate is finally out of probate. 

Avoiding Probate

There are effective ways to bypass probate in Illinois estate planning. For example, you might want to create a revocable living trust to transfer assets to a successor trustee after your passing.

Also, if you have property, think about establishing joint ownership so someone will inherit after you pass. 

Don’t forget about naming beneficiaries on your accounts, such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, or life insurance policies. These assets pass directly to the designated beneficiaries without going through probate.

We Can Assist During the Probate Process

If you’re facing the probate process in Illinois, take a deep breath. Honoring your loved one’s wishes and ensuring a smooth transition of assets is a meaningful way to honor their memory. If you have any questions, always reach out to a professional estate planning legal team. At Bieslki Chapman, LTD, we have helped clients make plans to produce the future of their families. You can schedule a consultation online or by calling (312) 583-9430.