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What You Should Know About Probate in Illinois

 Posted on January 21, 2021 in Probate


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.

Creditors and Probate

Heirs are not the only ones that come forward during probate; creditors may also file claims to pursue unpaid debts. By law, they must do so within the fixed time period allotted to them. In addition, the IRS must be paid any and all income taxes due. All debts and taxes must still be paid prior to the distribution of any remaining assets or funds of assets. In addition, an income tax return must be filed for any assets that earn income during the probate period.

Inclusion and Exclusion of Assets

While many assets will go through probate, not all must be taken through this process. Those that do require probate typically include:

  • Assets held only in the name of the deceased
  • Jewelry, furniture, art, and any other assets that are not registered or included in the will
  • Any portion of assets held as common property with other parties.

Assets that are typically excluded from probate include:

  • Assets held in a living trust
  • Assets with already named beneficiaries, such as IRAs and life insurance policies
  • Bank account or credit union assets in which the deceased was a trustee for another party
  • Assets held in joint tenancy
  • Any assets registered in the name of the deceased as “transfer on death” or “payable on death” to another party

Speak With a Wheaton Probate Attorney

Dealing with probate and the death of a loved one is difficult enough without the added stress of family squabbles, will contests, and other related considerations. The good news is that we are here to help. Contact an experienced DuPage County estate administration lawyer at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC to get the guidance you need. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team today.



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