What Are Executor Duties in Illinois Probate?

What Are Executor Duties in Illinois Probate?

pen with a probate document

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 acting as his or her personal representative through the probate process. Estate executors are responsible for carrying out the decedents’ wishes as specified in their wills, as well as following the state’s probate laws to settle their final affairs. It is the executor’s fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate.

Under the Illinois Probate Code, people must be at least 18-years-old, of sound mind, and have no record of felony criminal convictions to qualify to serve as estate executors. Estate executors may receive compensation, often paid at an hourly rate, for their time in performing the responsibilities of the station.

Filing and Defending the Will

Estate executors are charged with filing decedents’ wills with the appropriate county court. The will is filed in the county where the testator lived or if the testator did not reside in the state of Illinois, with the county in which most of his or her real property is located. Additionally, estate executors must submit a petition for probate within 30 days. Should an heir or beneficiary of a decedent challenge a will’s validity, it is the duty of the executor to defend it.

Giving Notice to Beneficiaries and Heirs

It is the responsibility of the executor to notify the interested parties that the decedent’s will has entered probate. Interested parties include the heirs, or those who would stand to inherit from the estate if there was not a will, and beneficiaries. The beneficiaries of a will are those listed in the document as intended to receive something from the estate.

Valuing the Assets and Totaling the Debt

Before executors can begin disbursing assets to estate beneficiaries or paying off creditors, they must take an accounting of the estate’s holdings. Executors should list and value all the testator’s assets and property, including any homes or real estate, automobiles, financial accounts, and stocks or bonds. They must also identify and total any outstanding debts.

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