Minimizing Probate Costs in Illinois

After a person passes away, there are situations where their estate will enter into probate. During this time, the court will administer and distribute the deceased’s assets and pay off any debts. While it is often necessary, probate can be a costly and time-consuming process. 

However, there are strategies you can use to reduce these costs. If you are looking to minimize probate costs in Illinois, here are a few tips to keep in mind. 

The Probate Process

After a person passes away, a petition is filed in the probate court. With that, an administrator is responsible for

  • Collecting their assets
  • Paying off taxes and debts
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries

While there is a will that usually names this individual, in some cases, the court will have to appoint the administrator. 

Not all estates have to pass through probate. However, for those that need to go through this process, there are certain fixed costs. For example, you will have to pay filing fees, publishing paper notice expenses, bond costs, and expenses for requesting certified copies of the court’s orders. No matter whether you are managing a large or small estate, these fees are mandatory. 

However, there are ways to minimize your probate costs. Let’s look at a few ways to cut down on these expenses. 

Strategies to Minimize Probate Costs

Any estate planner will always recommend that you avoid probate in the first place. But unfortunately, that is not possible in every case. 

If you have plenty of time, you may want to establish a living trust. With that, this legal entity is created to own an individual’s assets. When you die, the assets in the trust do not have to go through probate. Instead, they are transferred directly to the beneficiaries named in the trust. While setting up a living trust can have upfront costs, it can save money in the long run by avoiding probate costs.

Also, remember that not all assets have to pass through probate, which can save some money. For example, life insurance policies, payable-on-death bank accounts, and retirement accounts are a few of these assets. With that, you can name the beneficiary to receive them. After your death, they will pay directly to the designated person, all without the probate process. 

Additionally, you may want to consider joint ownership with some of the assets and property. In these cases, any assets that are owned jointly will have survivorship rights. What does that mean? When one owner passes away, the surviving one will automatically gain ownership of the assets. Once again, you can avoid probate with this option. 

Fortunately, not all estates have to go through probate. If the estate is worth $100,000 or less, it is not subject to probate. Instead, you can administer it using a simplified small estate affidavit. In turn, that can reduce any of the high fees associated with the probate process. 

Ask for Professional Assistance

While you might think that hiring an attorney will not cut down the costs, they can actually save you money in the process. If you are unfamiliar with Illinois probate laws, it can be easy to make a mistake. With that, you might have to attend additional court hearings or deal with other issues that can extend the process. As a result, that could increase the cost of the process. 

However, you can avoid all of that with a probate administration lawyer. They can assist with the process, ensuring everything moves quickly through the proceedings. 

Learn More About Your Probate Options

While probate is an often necessary process, it doesn’t have to be a costly one. By understanding the process and exploring your options, you can take steps to minimize probate costs in Illinois. 

If you would like to learn more about cutting down on these expenses, reach out to Bielski Chapman, LTD. We can help you find the right options for your situation. Schedule a consultation by calling (312) 583-9430.