Matthew S. Payne is a Chicago-based attorney with a 20-year record of success in civil litigation, real estate law and estate planning.

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Timelining the probate process

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2021 | Estate Planning

Probate in Illinois is a transparent process that strives for an equitable disbursement of someone’s assets. A loved one who dies soon has their estate administered through a probate trial. During this period, the assets of an estate are accounted for, and a public notice of the death is made. The following probate phases then occur.

The validity of a will

A judge has to declare the validity of a will before they can make independent judgments on a deceased’s belongings. Via a will, the wishes of the decedent, who is the deceased, are made public. This is when people can make claims for the assets of an estate or contest its will.

Confirming or choosing an executor

Estates with preassigned executors are safe from having their assets administered by a court appointee. An estate execution can’t happen unless an executor exists. That person, when chosen by a decedent, is often qualified due to their prior reliability, financial skills or family knowledge. The legal role of an executor can be broad, but they generally do the following:

  • Sell property
  • Pay debts
  • Account taxes
  • Request annuities

Finding all heirs or relatives

Before a probate court motions to execute an estate, the relatives and heirs of the decedent have to be accounted for. These individuals are called beneficiaries and will receive assets based on a judge’s decision or an existing will.

Final stages of probate in Illinois

In order to assess the value of a decedent’s estate, an appraisal of any inventoried assets is made. In some cases, a will isn’t honored to the exact specifications of the person who wrote it. However, the judge will aim to work toward equity.