What Lack of Testamentary Capacity Really Means

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 the mental ability of a person to make or alter a will. To … [Read more...]

What Are Executor Duties in Illinois Probate?

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 acting as his or her personal representative through the probate process. Estate executors are responsible for … [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 petition … [Read more...]

A Guide to Debt After Death

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 Pay? In addition to covering any operating costs of … [Read more...]

How Are Probate Claims Paid in Illinois?

Ordinarily, when someone dies in Illinois, creditors are given the opportunity to file claims against that person's estate, valid claims are paid, and remaining assets are distributed in accordance with the will or state law. To receive payment, creditors must file claims within a specified period and follow the correct procedures for filing. Creditors have two years from the date of the decedent’s death to file a claim against an estate. The requirements for filing claims is relatively lax … [Read more...]

Are You a Victim of Estate Fraud?

If an executor, beneficiary, or some other person steals estate money or assets or unlawfully sells the property of the deceased before it can be distributed to heirs, it is known as estate fraud. This crime can be committed by a beneficiary who defrauds the estate. It can also be committed by an executor who transfers assets from the estate to an entity the executor controls against the terms of the will. Depending on the acts committed, it could implicate both civil and criminal issues. Civil … [Read more...]

You’ve Been Named Executor: Now What?

When an individual is named as the executor of a deceased person's estate, he or she is responsible for winding down the decedent's affairs. This includes protecting the assets of the estate, notifying creditors and beneficiaries, settling debts and paying the taxes owed by the estate, and distributing property to the beneficiaries. For those who have never executed a will before, the position can be challenging and a full understanding of the duties and liabilities of an executor is vital. If … [Read more...]

The Biggest Threat to Your Potential Inheritance Might Surprise You

Family feuds and disagreements over the distribution of an estate are an even bigger threat than taxes when it comes to an individual's inheritance. Whether the family is united or divided, it is essential to clarify even the tiniest details during the estate planning process. If that has not happened and the individual is already deceased, working closely with a probate lawyer is the best way to ensure an equitable division of assets before disagreements grow into legal battles with loved … [Read more...]

Dying Without Direction (The Nasty Consequences of Dying Without a Will)

Drafting a will is arguably the most significant stage of the estate planning process and failure to create one often comes with nasty consequences. When someone dies, the assets that are left behind are typically distributed to heirs. When a will is not available, decisions about who will receive property, who will take care of the kids, and even who will execute the deceased's estate are left up to the state. Dying Intestate in Illinois For those who are thinking about a will, people who … [Read more...]

These Six Types of Property Won’t Need to Go through Probate

Non-probate assets are types of property that won't have to go through the probate process after a person dies, and will instead pass directly to the intended heirs shortly after death. Avoiding probate saves time and money, but non-probate property can sometimes pass to unintended beneficiaries and creditors. Careful estate planning is essential to avoid probate and still protect assets from transferring into the wrong hands. Which Assets Are Not Generally Subject to Probate? Transfer or … [Read more...]

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