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What to Expect During Probate

What to Expect During Probate


If probate is necessary, it begins when the executor of a will files the will with the local circuit court. Once filed, the executor’s attorney will send a notice of proceedings to the deceased’s heirs. If an individual passes away without a will, the executor’s attorney will send these individual’s notice regardless of the fact they were not formally named within a will.


The executor’s attorney will also publish an announcement of the individual’s death in a local newspaper. The executor’s attorney will also recommend that you notify the primary credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to request that notation be added to the deceased’s account that no further credit should be issued. This is to notify any creditors of the individual’s passing and to prevent identity theft. This gives creditors an opportunity to make a claim against the estate for any debts they may have a right to collect, and it protects the estate from incurring addition debts from fraudulent activity. Following an individual’s death, creditors have six months to file a claim against the estate. After this time, the statute of limitations expires and they can lay no further claims against the state.


The executor’s responsibility is to collect and safeguard the assets of the deceased’s estate. The executor is also responsible for direct notification of known creditors. It is the executor’s responsibility to pay claims including funeral expenses. The executor will also have the ability to sell assets as needed to help cover these expenses.


Most individuals will not need to pay death or gift taxes. In Illinois, estates under $4 million are not subject to taxes, and Federal taxes do not need to be paid if the estate is less than $5.45 million. Where required, the executor must file IRS Form 1041, or Illinois form IL-1041 to itemize the value of the estate and to pay any taxes as applicable.


Most probate cases are completed in less than a year. If the will is contested, or if the value of the estate is sizable, this process can take longer. For this reason, it is best to meet with an Illinois probate lawyer as soon as possible. This can reduce the possibility of conflict during the probate process. It can also help give the executor and the attorney a clear picture of an individual’s estate and wishes. This can expedite the process and make it easier and less stressful for heirs.

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