New Illinois Law and Probate Issues
When someone dies in Illinois, family members may have to deal with the process of probate. What is probate? In short, it is a term that refers to the legal steps that occur after a death in order to settle the estate of the deceased. While a term like “estate” might not seem like a word used to describe what is left when someone of modest means passes away, it is in fact a legal term that applies to anyone, regardless of income level. It is important for all members of the Muslim community in DuPage County to think about estate planning. And when it is time to deal with probate, it is important to understand how this process works. In addition, DuPage County residents should understand how changes to Illinois law for 2016 may impact the probate process.
In Illinois, probate is governed by the Probate Act of 1975 (755 ILCS 5/). As we noted previously, probate is the legal process that occurs after a person’s death. Probate is simply one way to deal with the estate of a deceased person. The process has numerous steps, including but not limited to:
- Going to court to prove the validity of a will;
- Inventorying the property of the deceased and having it appraised;
- Paying the deceased’s debts and taxes; and
- Distributing the property of the deceased.
Even for residents of Oakbrook Terrace who spend much of their lives living paycheck-to-paycheck, probate remains a process that you should learn about in order to consider the ways in which your loved ones will settle your estate — regardless of its size. In particular, an estate planning lawyer in DuPage County can talk with you about ways to avoid probate. Generally speaking, probate may not help your beneficiaries, and in fact it can cost them a substantial amount of time and money. A recent article in Forbes Magazine identified Illinois as part of a group of states on the list “Where Not to Die in 2016.” The article cites Illinois’ state estate tax as the reason it is on this list.
As we mentioned, probate is one way — but not the only way — to contend with the estate of a deceased family member. If you have a particularly small estate, Illinois also allows a simplified probate process. What is a small estate? The definition can vary from state to state, but in Illinois it typically means having an estate with less than $100,000 in assets and no real property.
Changes to the Illinois Probate Law for 2016
In addition to learning the basics of probate and what this process entails, DuPage County residents should also know that probate law has changed a bit for 2016. Probate laws have been amended to allow the court to issue a citation for the appearance of anyone who “may have had assets in his or her positions or who may be liable to the estate of a ward.” In addition, probate has changed with regard to disabled persons’ wills and temporary adult guardians. These amendments are complicated, and you should reach out to an attorney to learn whether they may impact you.
Regardless of whether you have a large or small estate, probate and the process of settling an estate can be complicated. As such, you should always discuss your options with an experienced Oakbrook Terrace estate planning attorney. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we are dedicated to helping members of the Muslim community with all estate planning needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services.