Knowing Your Probates and Trusts
If you have been named the executor, administrator or personal representative of the estate of a friend or relative, Hays Firm LLC has the probate attorneys to guide you through the process. Our services also include properly administering trusts. Below is a brief overview of services we provide:
Initially, we meet with you to discuss the estate and to gather information from you about deceased individual.
After we meet, we will draft and file petition the court to open a probate estate and to appoint a representative of the estate. If there is a will, we will seek to admit the will to probate.
Once the probate estate is opened, we will work with the representative to gather the assets of the estate and pay any estate debts.
Prepare a final accounting for the heirs that provides details of the assets of the estate and the debts of estate that have been paid
The heirs will approve the final accounting and representative will distribute the estate assets. We will go to court to close the estate.
Many individuals hold property in a trust. We represent trustees and guide them in the distribution and management of the assets of a deceased individual who held property in a trust. If the decedent’s trust was properly funded prior to death, this process does not involve the courts. The trust document will guide the distribution of the trust property.
The trust administration process ensures that the terms of the trust are properly achieved—it is common for individuals to create a trust to avoid probate and eliminate disputes. The trust administration procedure includes:
- Paying the debts of the decedent.
- Selling or transferring stocks and mutual funds, drafting deeds, selling real property, auctioning personal effects, etc.
- Distributing the assets of the estate according to the terms of the trust.
Once the distributions are accomplished, the trust is terminated. Though the trust administration process takes place outside of the courtroom, a trustee can greatly benefit from the assistance of experienced legal counsel throughout the process.
TRUST, FIDUCIARY AND PROBATE LITIGATION
The transfer of a decedent’s wealth often gives rise to disagreements among family and friends. Disagreements may occur concerning the validity and meaning of trust documents and wills, the method of proper distribution of the assets of the estate, and the conduct of the executors or administrators responsible for managing and distributing those assets.
Other disputes may include:
- Trust and will contests
- Petitions to remove fiduciaries such as executors of administrators
- Actions seeking judicial reformation or interpretation of trust documents
- Breach of fiduciary duty, mismanagement, and fraud claims
- Actions seeking an accounting from the executor or administrator
- Claims against the estate
- Citations filed by the estate in order to collect estate assets currently held by others
Hays Firm LLC routinely helps clients resolve these types of disputes prior to litigation. We work with our clients to evaluate the conflict and determine whether the disputes can be resolved through mediation. However, when litigation is necessary, we prosecute our clients’ claims in the appropriate court.
It is important to note laws vary by state, therefore finding a probate lawyer in Chicago, like Hays Firm LLC, is beneficial to those living locally or with families holding estates and trusts in Illinois.
You may contact our estate and probate attorneys by calling (312) 626-2537 or via e-mail.