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How Do You Become an Executor of an Estate in Illinois?

How Do You Become an Executor of an Estate in Illinois?

How do you become an executor of an estate in Illinois

Most people file to become an estate executor after the person who owns the estate names that person as executor.  An Illinois Circuit Court that has jurisdiction where the estate is located formally appoints an executor of an estate. Any qualifying adult can be named the executor of someone’s estate. An executor exercises legal control over an estate’s assets and debts until a probate court determines how the assets will be distributed.

The executor is often a family member or an attorney who is experienced in Illinois probate law. Estates usually have values exceeding $100,000 to go through the probate process and make an executor necessary to assist.

Qualifications to Serve as the Executor of an Estate

Any resident of the United States who is over age 18 and is of sound mind could become an estate executor in Illinois. A court finding declaring an individual is incapacitated would disqualify that person from being named an estate executor. So would a prior felony conviction.

Other conditions that would disqualify someone to become the executor of an estate in Illinois include:

  • Failing to provide for the immediate family due to alcohol or drug abuse, gambling, idleness, or debauchery.
  • Being mentally or physically incapable of managing personal affairs.
  • Being diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Illinois might disqualify someone who lives in another state. An Illinois probate court instead might require an out-of-state executor to post a bond. That could happen even if a will says the executor does not need to post a bond.

An executor must handle an estate’s daily matters for potentially several months or longer. So it is wise to appoint someone who lives in the same community or is relatively close.

Illinois Probate Court Process to Become Appointed Executor of the Estate

Illinois has a fairly standardized system to become a court-appointed executor of an estate. It starts by ensuring that the deceased party’s will is filed with the respective circuit court.

When the deceased leaves a will, that person is considered “testate” by the local court. That is why it is important to create a legally binding last will and testament to assist with the probate process. The will should have named an executor who is responsible for filing the will with the respective Illinois circuit court to start the probate process.

Even when the will clearly lists an executor, that person is not the legally recognized executor. That will not happen until the circuit court officially appoints that person as the executor of the estate.

The named executor gains the appointment in an Illinois circuit court by:

  • Ensuring the testator’s last will and testament is filed with the appropriate circuit court.,
  • Petitioning the circuit court to appoint the filer as the estate executor when the probate process is necessary.
  • Identifying all interested parties and heirs to the estate.

The Illinois executor duties require the executor to inventory and protect estate assets until the probate process concludes. That includes ensuring debts are paid and notifying creditors that the probate process is underway following the passing of the deceased. The executor must publish notification of the probate case and directly contact known creditors.

Some commonly addressed Illinois probate FAQs include:

How does the probate process get started?

The process starts when the benefactor creates a last will and testament that helps to guide divestment of assets following death. It begins officially when the deceased person’s will is filed with the respective Illinois circuit court.

How do executors publish notification of the probate process?

The notification should be published in the public notifications section of a local or statewide newspaper that provides news coverage in the location where the respective estate is established. The home address of the deceased individual determines the location.

What if the estate has unpaid taxes?

The executor or circuit court handling the probate process will ensure the taxes are paid along with any other debts owed by the estate.

What if one or more parties challenge a will?

One or more individuals or organizations could challenge the probate process by filing court motions to do so. The court will hear the matter and issue a ruling to settle the issue.

How Long Does it Take to Be Appointed as the Executor in Illinois Probate Court?

Due to the important nature of the executor’s duties, the timeframe to be appointed an executor of an estate usually is just a matter of days. As long as the will is lawful and filed properly, the court generally will approve whomever the deceased named as an executor.

That person must meet the criteria to be named an executor. It is essential that no other interested parties challenge that person’s appointment as executor. If a lawful challenge is filed, that matter would have to be resolved before anyone is named executor. That could take several months, and possibly longer, if the estate is especially valuable and one or more parties strongly opposed the proposed appointment.

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