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Types of Claims Against an Illinois Probate Estate


A probate claim refers to a claim for money, or other property, that someone has against the estate of a deceased individual. If the individual owed money during his or her life, then that debt remains, and it is the responsibility of the decedent’s estate to pay that debt. In order to assert a claim against a decedent’s estate, the claimant must file the claim with the Court where the estate is pending or with the representative. 755 ILCS 5/18-1. After the claim is filed, the representative can disallow the claim and force the claimant to take the matter before the Court for a decision on the validity of the claim. There are a number of statutory guidelines and deadlines which can restrict, or bar, a claimant from filing a claim against an estate. Therefore, it is essential that any potential claimant seek the advice of an experienced probate estate attorney as soon as possible.

Types of Probate Claims

Claims against a decedent’s estate are not paid on a first-come first-served basis. Instead, the Illinois Probate Act divides all claims against the decedent’s estate into seven classes. 755 ILCS 5/18-10. Those classes of claims are as follows:

First Class Claims

Funeral and burial expenses, expenses of administration, and statutory custodial claims. Funeral and burial expenses include reasonable amounts paid for a burial space; a crypt or niche; a marker on the burial space; care of the burial space, crypt, or niche; and interest on these amounts. Interest on these amounts shall accrue beginning 60 days after issuance of letters of office to the representative of the decedent’s estate, or if no such letters of office are issued, then beginning 60 days after those amounts are due, up to the rate of nine percent per annum as allowed by contract or law.

Second Class Claims

The surviving spouse’s or child’s award. See also 755 ILCS 5/18-1.1 (custodial claims).

Third Class Claims

Debts due to the United States.

Fourth Class Claims

Money due to employees of the decedent of not more than $800 for each claimant for services rendered within four months prior to the decedent’s death and expenses attending the last illness.

Fifth Class Claims

Money and property received or held in trust by the decedent that cannot be identified or traced.

Sixth Class Claims

Debts due to the state and any county, township, city, town, village, or school district located within the state.

Seventh Class Claims:

All other claims.

These claims are paid in order. For example, all First Class Claims are paid before any second class claims are paid, and so on. If the estate becomes insolvent before all lesser class claims are paid, then those creditors are out of luck. As you can imagine, a great deal of dispute and litigation arises between creditors and estates regarding the identification of what class a creditor’s claim falls in. The consequences of this decision can mean the difference between the creditor getting paid in full or receiving nothing.

Chicago Probate Attorneys Who Can Help

Is important for both decedent’s estates and creditors to have experienced probate lawyers to assist them in navigating the many nuances of Illinois law are related to probate claims. The probate lawyers at Hays Firm, LLC are knowledgeable estate attorneys who have a great deal of experience helping both estates and creditors in highly contested probate claim litigation. Please contact us regarding any probate claims were involved in to discuss how we can help.

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