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Get the Answers to FAQs About Probate in Illinois

Get the Answers to FAQs About Probate in Illinois

probate law book and law gavel

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; and
  • All estate assets are worth over $100,000.

Some assets, however, don’t have to go through probate. They include assets in a trust like a living trust, assets tied to beneficiary designation like life insurance and retirement accounts, and real estate listed under the transfer-on-death instrument.

Probate takes effect whether a person dies without a will (intestate) or with a will. Dying with a well-drafted will makes the probate process substantially less expensive and time-consuming than without a will.

What Is the Cost of Probating an Estate?

The cost of probating an estate isn’t fixed. The total cost is hinged on what has to be done to settle the estate. For example, there could be debts owed by the decedent that must be repaid, or debts owed to the decedent that must be collected. There could also be disputes arising from claims brought by creditors that must be resolved. Additionally, final tax obligations for the estate must be met. A probate lawyer can speed up the probate process by handling all those aspects effectively.

The probate court is responsible for determining attorney fees, which are normally billed at an hourly rate. The number of hours spent by a lawyer relies on the nature of the estate, availability of disputes to resolve, and a variety of other related issues.

Who Is in Charge of the Probate of an Estate?

If the decedent left a will before death, the individual designated as will’s executor will be responsible for overseeing the probate of the estate. If no Will was left by the decedent and no one volunteers to act as the estate’s Personal Representative, the court will name a local attorney as the Personal Representative.

What Is the Role of a Lawyer in the Probate Process?

An Illinois probate lawyer can enlighten clients on what the probate process entails. The lawyer can represent the executor or administrator in court and advocate clients’ best interests in any will disputes. The lawyer can also oversee the transfer of real estate.  

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