If you pass away in Illinois but leave a will behind, it may go through probate. This process is designed to clarify who inherits your properties and to ensure your standing debts and taxes are paid off. This is overseen by a designated executor who must:
- Determine and inventory your assets;
- Pay relevant outstanding taxes and debts;
- Distribute the property as mentioned in your will;
- Get the assets appraised, and;
- Prove in court your will is valid.
Essential Steps in the Probate Process
There are several steps that go into completing the probate process. If the person who made the will passes away, the executor will file a petition with the local probate court to have it probated. If there is no will, a representative of the deceased can file a petition that the estate be administered as per the intestacy laws of the state. In this case, the representative is appointed by the court.
The probate court will then decide whether the last will and testament is valid and interpret the instructions outlined in the will. Once the estate is open and there is a representative or executor in place, the heirs and creditors of the deceased will be informed of the proceedings with a formal notice.
Additionally, the representative has to publish a claims publication in the local paper. After that, all unknown claimants and creditors have about six (6) months to file claims against the estate of the deceased or risk losing it.
Is Probate Necessary?
The answer depends on the types of assets the deceased left behind and whether they have titles to them. A formal probate proceeding is deemed necessary in Illinois, if the deceased owned the assets personally rather than jointly and if they amount to more than $100,000.
Some other assets that may not need to go through the probate process include:
- Assets that are held in trust, such as a living trust,which was made specifically to avoid the probate process.
- Assets that require designated beneficiaries such as retirement accounts or bank accounts, which are payable on-death.
- Real estate, which is subject to a transfer-on-death deed.
The Illinois probate process can be a hassle and also delay when beneficiaries could get the funds they need to support themselves after you pass away. This can be avoided if you have an experienced attorney who can help you plan your estate and look over your last will and testament before it is too late.
If you are in searching for a probate attorney in Elgin, Illinois, get in touch with us at the Jackson Abdalla Law Group. Live with peace of mind knowing your loved ones will be taken care of and will be financially secure after your passing and that your assets do not land in the wrong hands. We are dedicated when it comes to ensuring our clients can get on the best legal path for their future.