Illinois Estates & Probate
After a loved one dies, their property needs to be passed on to their heirs or to the people named in their will.
Probate refers to the process for distributing a deceased person’s property. If the person who passed executed a will, that will must be filed with the county clerk’s office within 30 days. This is the first step in the probate process. After the will is filed, a petition may be filed with the county court to open a probate estate.
If the person dies without a will or estate plan, then the family and friends of the deceased person must determine who will be the “administrator” of the estate. Like an executor, the administrator is responsible for paying the bills of the estate and distributing the assets. The administrator will then file a petition with the county court to open a probate estate.
Probate Legal Services
Chicago Probate attorneys at Hays Firm can provide the following legal services
REVIEW WILLS & TRUSTS
Our attorneys will review the wills and trusts a deceased person created prior to their death.
DETERMINE WHETHER PROBATE IS NECESSARY
A variety of factors will help us determine whether it is necessary to open a probate estate in court.
Hays Firm LLC will draft the petition for letters of administration or petition to admit a will to probate which is necessary to open a probate estate.
DRAFT PLEADINGS AND DOCUMENTS
Our firm drafts all documents and pleadings relating to opening and closing a probate estate.
Hays Firm LLC provides advice and consultation to executors and administrators.
Our Chicago estate lawyers guide executors and administrators as they pay bills and distribute property.
CLOSING THE ESTATE
We consult and advise executors as they wrap up the estate.
More Info About Probate Services
How long does the Probate process take?
If a probate estate is opened soon after a person’s death, all debts are paid, and all property distributed in a timely manner, the probate process may take as little as 6-8 months. However, resolving creditor issues and selling real property like a home usually extends the process.
When is it necessary to open a probate estate?
In order to determine whether probate is necessary, we will review the deceased person’s property. If the deceased person owned real property, such as a home, and the real property is not owned jointly by a surviving spouse or relative, then a probate estate will need to be opened.
As to other assets, if the total amount of the decedent’s personal assets are greater than $100,000.00, a probate estate must be opened to transfer these assets.
Is probate a "nightmare"?
Many people have heard tales of horrific family drama stemming from a probate matter. Siblings who no longer speak to one another, arguing for years over family heirlooms that may not have any value outside of the family. However, these nightmares are the exception to the probate process, not the rule. By and large, families work together with the executor to sell property and fairly distribute assets. Disputes, if any, are addressed without the need for intervention from the court.
Is the probate process expensive?
Costs incurred during the probate process include court filing fees, costs for publication to creditors, the initial and annual premiums for a surety bond, and attorneys’ fees. These fees will vary depending on where the probate estate must be filed, the time that has passed since the person died, and whether the person had a will. Additionally, the size or the value of the assets in the estate will impact probate costs.
Is there a way to avoid probate?
This question is best answered by one of our estate planning attorneys. Since probate is not inherently bad or problematic, it is important to learn your goals and plans. There are many advantages to the probate process. However, there are many reasons to set up an estate plan outside of the probate process. Please contact one of our attorneys to learn more about what is right for you and your family.
Is an Executor personally responsible for the debts of the person who died?
No, the executor or administrator of an estate does not pay for the deceased person’s bills out of his or her own personal funds. All of the bills are paid from the money and assets that the deceased person left behind.
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