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Understanding the Life Cycle of Your Will

A Will goes through three major stages: initial planning, drafting, and execution. Understanding what the three stages entail can help a testator leave a well-drafted and executed Will to his or her family members. It will also ensure the testator’s wishes are honored after his or her death. Initial Planning Initial planning is the first and most crucial stage of creating a Will. It involves determining who will inherit the assets once the testator dies. Depending on the testator, the … [Read more...]

Preventing Will Challenges in Illinois

Properly drafting and executing a Will, explaining it to family members, incorporating a no-contest clause, proving competence, establishing trusts, and regularly reviewing the Will are some of the effective strategies for preventing Will challenges in Illinois. By implementing these strategies, the testator (property owner) will prevent disputes among his or her beneficiaries that are likely to result in Will challenges. Properly Drafting and Executing a Will Working with an estate … [Read more...]

Get the Answers to FAQs About Probate in Illinois

Probate is a difficult legal process, and many questions emerge during the administration of the decedent’s estate. The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about probate law in Illinois: When Does Probate Come into Force? Once a person dies, his or her estate goes into probate. In Illinois, the formal probate process is usually compulsory if: The estate comprises assets individually owned by the decedent; andAll estate assets are worth over … [Read more...]

What Is a Probate Caveat?

A probate caveat is a formal notice questioning the authenticity of the will and requesting the court to halt the probate process until the issue is resolved. The purpose of this notice is to keep the proposed administrators or executors from obtaining permission to administer the deceased person’s estate assets until the dispute raised by the person who filed the caveat is resolved. Who Is a Caveator? A caveator is a person who lodges the probate caveat. The caveator presents his or her … [Read more...]

Your Retirement Accounts May Not Need to Go Through Probate

Retirement accounts have the potential to bypass the cumbersome process of probate if beneficiaries are chosen strategically. It’s important to name primary and alternate beneficiaries, provide property management for minor beneficiaries, and review beneficiary information annually or after any major life changes to ensure designations are up-to-date. When an account holder dies with funds remaining in his or her retirement accounts, those funds are usually passed to beneficiaries without … [Read more...]

How to Find Out if You Were Named in a Will

A last will and testament file, stampers, a pen, and a pair of eyeglass on the table After the death of a loved one, people may learn through a notice from the estate executor or by searching out the information for themselves whether they were named as beneficiaries. When creating a last will and testament, testators may specify their beneficiaries, or those whom they want to inherit from their estates, and what they want each to receive. Even the most open and close-knit of families may not … [Read more...]

What Lack of Testamentary Capacity Really Means

A small dummy stands on a last will and testament document Lack of testamentary capacity may be grounds to dispute the validity of a will in Illinois. Since the law presumes that a person possesses the mental capacity to execute a will unless it is proven otherwise, the person seeking to invalidate a will bears the burden of proving the testator lacked the capability to create a will at or near the time the document was created. What Is Testamentary Capacity? Testamentary capacity is … [Read more...]

What Are Executor Duties in Illinois Probate?

Pen laying on top of a Will for estate planning An executor in Illinois probate is given significant responsibilities when administering an estate. Since a violation of an executor's duties can result in the imposition of harsh penalties, it is vital that the executor become familiar with what is expected. What is an Estate Executor? An executor of an estate is someone who is named in a person’s last will and testament to act as his or her personal representative through the probate … [Read more...]

Contesting a Will in Illinois

The death of a loved one in Illinois often triggers a will contest. Suspicion of undue interference, greed, hurt feelings, and any other number of factors may lead estate beneficiaries or those who feel they should have been named, to question the wills of deceased loved ones. Under certain circumstances, the courts may see fit to declare a will invalid. Who Can Contest a Will in Illinois? In Illinois, those who would suffer adverse effects due to the execution of a will can file a … [Read more...]

A Guide to Debt After Death

A green eraser is going to erase a debt word When people in Illinois die with debt, the money owed typically has to be repaid by the estate. The way a deceased person's debt is handled, however, depends on a variety of factors including whether there was a joint borrower or co-signer, the debts are secured, and assets exist to pay off amounts owed. A 2017 study by Credit.com found that almost three-quarters of Americans have outstanding debts after death. What if the Estate Cannot … [Read more...]

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