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IL probate lawyerAt some point, we will all have someone in our lives that passes away. When you have a close friend or family member pass away, you may be the person responsible for managing their affairs after they are gone. All of the things that they left behind are part of their estate, which must be settled after they pass away. Many people believe that probate is a long and tedious process. While it is true that it can be complicated, the probate process can also be simplified with help from a skilled Illinois probate attorney.

What Is the Probate Process?

When a person dies, someone will be responsible for settling that person’s estate. One of the ways that this can happen is through the probate process. Probate is a legal process that some assets must go through in order to settle a person’s estate. In the simplest terms, probate is the process that the court uses to confirm that a person’s estate is being distributed as intended in their will.

When Is the Probate Process Required?

Not every person’s estate will be put through the probate process. The determination of whether or not an estate will have to go through probate depends on the type of assets that they owned, among other things. For the most part, the probate process is only required if the person had any assets that were held solely by them and no other owners and the total value of all of their probate assets is greater than $100,000.

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IL probate attorneyEstate matters can be complicated since they involve emotional attachments to people and things. Creating a will helps make sure a person’s wishes are carried out after he or she passes away. For those individuals who are single or married with no children, a Last Will and Testament allows them to specify how their assets should be distributed to their heirs upon death. For people with children, a will can be used to address how they would like guardianship of their children to be handled. In addition, certain medical treatment that someone does or does not want to receive at the end of life can be specified. However, it is difficult to please everyone all of the time, and some relatives may not agree with the terms of a will. An experienced estate planning attorney can help families avoid contentious disputes over the contents of a will or trust.

What Is Probate?

Losing a loved one is hard under any circumstances, and it can be especially challenging when you believe your family member’s will is not valid. If you have concerns about a will, you can file what is called a will contest when it goes through probate. When someone dies, his or her estate usually must go through the legal process of probate. Probate is required for the following reasons:

  • To authenticate the decedent’s will.
  • To identify and locate all of the assets within the estate.
  • To give creditors a chance to file claims against the estate.
  • To ensure that any and all taxes on the estate are paid.

Challenging a Will

In order to contest a will in Illinois, one must typically take the below steps:

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When someone dies without a will, or when heirs wish to determine the validity of a will, the decedent’s estate goes through a process known as probate. Probate can be a long and daunting process, and it may even be the source of stress when there are arguments about the estate, but understanding how it works can go a long way in helping you through the process.

Executor or Estate Administrator

During the probate process, an estate executor or administrator manages both the deceased’s assets and debts. If there is a will, this person is usually already named in the will. In the absence of a will, the court will appoint an executor (generally the closest family member). Named executors can decline their duties if they are unwilling or unable to fulfill them.

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Posted on in Probate

Illinois probate lawyersProbate is a court-supervised procedure in which the court determines who is supposed to inherit the assets of a deceased person. Though not always necessary, it is sometimes required. The following sections can help you learn more about the probate process in Illinois, including when it may be needed and how a seasoned attorney can help improve the outcome for entitled heirs.

When is Probate Necessary? 

Illinois’ probate laws are not dependent upon whether there was a valid will at the time of a person’s death. Instead, they focus on the assets that the individual owned and how they were titled. For example, assets that are found to be joint- or entirety-owned may be distributed without probate. Assets held in trust, assets assigned to a designated beneficiary (i.e. retirement accounts), and real estate assets with a transfer-on-death deed may be distributed without a will or probate as well. In contrast, an estate may be required to go through probate if:

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Posted on in Probate

Everyone knows that they must get a will before it is too late. Those who know better know that a will alone is simply not enough.  It is true that having a proper will is an important tool in preparing for death, but it is only one in a set of tools that an estate-planning attorney has.

The estate-planning attorney uses these tools to achieve their clients' objectives. This is especially important for larger estates that may have several overarching interests.

One goal may be privacy. If a will goes through probate pursuant to the Illinois Probate Act, it will be a public document, allowing anyone to have access to it. This could create conflict in cases when a family member was left out of the will or gets a smaller portion of the estate.

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