Illinois Probate Laws
When you lose a loved one in DuPage County or elsewhere in Illinois, how are assets of the deceased distributed? How do you handle the debts of your deceased loved one? Many Oakbrook Terrace residents assume that, as long as the person has a valid will, then assets simply can be distributed according to the terms of the will, and the family can begin moving forward after the death. However, it is important to understand that there is more to distributing someone’s assets than simply following steps laid out in a will. To be sure, in most cases, where assets either are distributed according to the terms of a will or the deceased dies without a will, the family members may need to prepare for a formal probate proceeding.
What is involved in probate, and will you need to go through probate in order for a family member’s assets to be distributed?
Probate in Illinois: What Do You Need to Know?
What is probate? Generally speaking, it is a legal procedure that is supervised by a court after a person dies through which the deceased’s estate ultimately is distributed to the heirs (or other named beneficiaries). Probate in Illinois is governed by the Illinois Probate Act of 1975. During a probate process, the executor or executrix typically must go through a series of steps to prove that an existing will is valid, to identify the assets of the person who died (and usually to have those assets appraised), to pay remaining debts of the deceased, and then to distribute the deceased’s assets according to the terms of the will or according to Illinois intestate law.
When is probate necessary? Probate generally is necessary whenever someone dies with more than $100,000 in assets, and when that person owns the assets solely. In other words, if a person dies but owns all of his or her assets jointly (with a spouse, for instance), then probate may not be necessary. It is important to recognize, however, that dealing with a deceased’s estate is a complicated process, and it is important to seek assistance from an experienced DuPage County trusts and estates attorney.
When Someone’s Assets Do Not Have to Go through Probate
As we mentioned above, when someone’s assets are owned jointly, or when they die with less than $100,000 in assets (and no real estate), probate may not be necessary. There are also two other primary situations in which probate typically is not necessary:
- When someone dies with assets that all have beneficiary designations (like a person’s retirement accounts or life insurance); and/or
- When someone’s assets are held in a trust.
Individuals in DuPage County who want to ensure that probate will not be necessary can, during their lifetime, create a trust to hold their assets. There are many different types of trusts, and trusts in generally typically allow assets to pass without the probate process.
Seeking Advice from an Oakbrook Terrace Probate Attorney
Do you have questions about handling a loved one’s assets or general concerns about the probate process? An experienced Oakbrook Terrace probate lawyer can discuss your situation with you. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we have years of experience advocating for members of the Muslim community in DuPage County, and we can help with your wills and trusts questions today. Contact us to speak with a dedicated advocate about your probate questions.