Probate sign, stack of papers and gavel.

Probate Administration

Probate Administration is the court process involved in administering the financial affairs of a deceased individual (otherwise known as “Decedent”). The goal of probate administration is to ultimately transfer assets from the Decedent to the name of the Decedent’s spouse and/or heirs pursuant to the terms of the Decedent’s Will or living trust.

If the Decedent did not leave a Will or trust, the assets will be distributed according to the Illinois Intestacy statute. In other words, if the Decedent did not leave a Will, the state of Illinois has a Will written for him/her. This is one of the many reasons why individuals should consider preparing an Estate Plan for themselves.

It is designed to be an orderly process whereby an executor named in the deceased person’s Will or a family member or friend of the deceased person is appointed as the representative of the estate to orderly administer all financial matters.

If the Decedent died with assets in excess of $100,000 held solely in Decedent’s name (and not held jointly or in Trust), then the Estate may need to be probated to transfer the assets to the heirs. Before transferring the assets under probate, the Decedent’s debts need to be paid according to a statutory priority. Accordingly, appropriate notices need to be provided to the heirs, legatees and creditors regarding the passing of the Decedent.

SG LAW will assist the Executor or Administrator in charge of the Decedent’s Estate through these various matters. It is important for an Executor or Administrator to have proper legal counsel throughout the probate administration process. Any missteps or failure to follow the law may lead to imposition of personal liability on the Executor or Administrator.

If your family member, relative or spouse recently passed away, consider the following questions and contact SG LAW for assistance

  1. Did the Decedent die owning any assets solely in his/her name?
  2. If yes, then prepare a list of the type of asset, approximate value of asset and any documentation or statements reflecting the current value of said asset.
  3. Did the Decedent leave a Will or Revocable Living Trust?
  4. If you are not sure, consider talking to Decedent’s family members, accountant, attorney, financial advisor or other professional that was involved closely with Decedent’s financial affairs.
  5. Often times, individuals leave Wills, Trusts and other important documents in a safe deposit box at a financial institution or a fire safe located inside the house. Consider trying to obtain access to these locations.
  6. Consider contacting any individual that was named as an Agent under the Decedent’s Power of Attorney to check whether they were aware of Decedent having prepared a Will and/or a Trust.
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