After someone dies, their assets go through a process known as probate. With that, the courts will ensure that their will is valid, along with identifying and distributing the property. Often, it can be lengthy and time-consuming.
How can you better prepare yourself to navigate the probate process in Illinois? Here are a few tips:
How Probate Works in Illinois
Whether you are an executor, heir, or family member, you will want to know how the probate process works in Illinois. When a person dies and has property in their name, they must go through these legal proceedings. Property can include:
- Bank accounts
- Real estate holdings
Keep in mind that not every asset will proceed through this process. Life insurance payouts, living trust assets, and joint tenancy properties can all skip probate.
Navigating the Process
The probate process in Illinois involves several steps. First, a petition needs to be filed in the county where the deceased individual had lived. Any interested parties can file the petition. However, the executor usually handles the paperwork for the person’s will.
With that, the case is opened, and the legal process proceeds. At this time, the executor must notify all the heirs and creditors of the person’s death. Most of the time, this will be completed through the mail. However, some jurisdictions still require the executor to place an ad in the local newspaper.
Now, the executor must inventory the deceased person’s assets. Many times, they will have them appraised. Once everything has a value and has been inventoried, it is time to pay off any debt associated with the estate, including creditors claims and owed taxes. Some of the assets may need to be sold to clear any debts.
With the remaining assets, the executor can start distributing them to the heirs or beneficiaries. Any estate without a designated will must abide by Illinois’s intestate laws.
Throughout the entire process, the executor must account for all the actions taken with the estate. The final step of the process involves reporting to the court the income, expenses, and distributions associated with the deceased’s estate. After the court approves, the estate is closed and probate is finished.
If you want to have the process go as hassle-free as possible. There are a few things that you can do.
First, you want to make sure that there is a will that outlines the deceased person’s wishes. Wills are an important step of the process, and without one, it can take a long time to settle the estate.
After that, choose a responsible and reliable person as the executor. This individual will need to handle all the documentation, distribution, and final reports for the estate. You will want to choose someone who is trustworthy.
Finally, prepare for the complications. There could always be issues, even with a well-crafted estate plan and will. For example, beneficiaries might dispute the property’s value, or an unknown creditor could appear.
Prepare for the Probate Process in Illinois
No one wants to go through probate. But sometimes, it is necessary for the courts to settle an estate and distribute assets to beneficiaries. If you would like to learn more about navigating through these steps, contact Bielski Chapman, LTD. To schedule a free 15-minute consultation, please contact our office at (312) 583-9430.