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Crystal Lake IL Probate Administration Lawyers

mchenry county probate lawyer

Probate and Estate Attorneys Serving Cook County, Kane County, and McHenry County

Probate is the process of administering a person's estate after he or she passes away. It is the court-supervised process during which a court-empowered executor or administrator creates an inventory of the person's property and debts, ensures bills are paid, and then passes the decedent's property onto his or her beneficiaries. It can be a relatively quick and painless process, particularly if the decedent prepared well for this day. However, an individual may leave his or her finances a bit of a mess, creating a great deal of work for the executor and court. If you recently lost a loved one and are not sure what to do next, contact our Illinois probate administration lawyers at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC at 815-338-3838.

When is Probate Necessary?

Probate is not required after every death. It is only necessary when the decedent solely owned assets and owned more than $100,000 in personal assets. Therefore, if your loved one owned a home, vehicle, and other items when he or she passed, then you will likely need to go through probate.

The Formal Illinois Probate Process

After an individual passes away in Illinois, the person named in his or her will as the executor or a close relative files the probate action in the proper county court. Larger counties usually have a separate probate court. If there is a will, it is filed with the court at this time as well. Once the probate petition is filed, notice must be sent out to all of the deceased person's assumed heirs, including those not named in the will.

After the petition is filed and notice has been given, then the next step is for the court to verify the will. Unless any family member wants to contest the document as invalid or void, this is usually a smooth process. The court will also then name the executor or administrator of the estate and give him or her power through a document called Letters of Administration. The person is an executor if named in the will or an administrator if there is no will.

Once the executor or administrator has the Letters of Administration, then he or she can begin to inventory the decedent's estate. This includes determining all of his or her assets and debts and paying all legitimate creditor's claims. Once the person's estate is accounted for and bills paid, then the remaining property can be distributed to the decedent's beneficiaries and the court can close the matter.

Probate often takes a minimum of six months, yet can last for years for complex estates that lack the proper legal advice. Working with an experienced probate attorney can help the executor and beneficiaries avoid an overly lengthy probate process, hopefully concluding the entire matter within less than one year.

Avoiding Probate

If your loved one did not own any real estate and had personal assets worth less than $100,000, then the formal probate process may not be necessary. Illinois offers the Small Estate Affidavit, which provides a faster way to administer a person's small estate after his or her death. Or if your family member jointly owned property or had named beneficiaries for assets, then you may be able to skip probate. Property that is jointly owned or has a beneficiary goes directly to the next owner without any court intervention.

Let Our Probate Administration Lawyers Help

If you recently lost a loved one, contact us at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC today by calling 815-338-3838 or using our online form. We can guide you through the probate process no matter how complex it becomes.

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