200 N. LaSalle Street Suite 2150 Chicago, IL 60601


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
Hays Firm Legal Documents

Our attorneys will review the wills and trusts a deceased person created prior to their death. 

Hays Firm Scales of Justice

A variety of factors will help us determine whether it is necessary to open a probate estate in court.

Hays Firm Certified Documents

If necessary, Hays Firm LLC will file a will on your behalf.

Hays Firm Quality Work

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.

Hays Firm Legal Documents

Our firm drafts all documents and pleadings relating to opening and closing a probate estate.

Hays Firm: Chicago Trusted Legal Team

Hays Firm LLC provides advice and consultation to executors and administrators.

Hays Firm Full Coverage Estate, Probate and Trust Plans

Our Chicago estate lawyers guide executors and administrators as they pay bills and distribute property.

Hays Firm Legal Representation in Chicago

We consult and advise executors as they wrap up the estate.

Chicago Probate Legal Services

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.


Ready to move forward with addressing your probate needs? We’re here to help. Fill out the form below to get started.

Probate Articles

Minors receive inheritance estate planning
Can minors receive an inheritance?

When a person dies, their heirs or beneficiaries may be a minor. However, minors are unable to open a bank account on their own.

estate litigation file claim against executor
Who can file a claim against an Executor?

Under Illinois law, an individual or business entity may file a lawsuit in probate proceeding. However, the individual or entity must have an actual legal interest in the probate estate in order to proceed with the lawsuit.

probate costs illinois
Probate: What is the Cost?

After a person dies, a probate estate may need to be opened to transfer property. This article will focus on the costs associated with opening a probate estate, transferring property, and closing a probate estate.