Probate is the legal and court process in which the property of a deceased person is transferred to any heirs or persons to whom he or she wanted to give the property.
To begin to probate an estate, one files a petition with the Clerk of Court and sets the matter for hearing before a judge. Estates of decedents, disabled adults and minors begin with a petition. In Illinois, decedent estates of more than $100,000 likely need to be probated. Probate of a decedent’s estate in Illinois takes at least six months because the law gives creditors that period of time to file their claims against the estate of a decedent.
To discuss information regarding wills, trusts or probate with a lawyer, contact the Law Office of Paul M. Marriett in Rockford at (815) 391-0089. Paul M. Marriett serves clients in Rockford, Machesney Park, Loves Park, Winnebago County, and the surrounding counties, as well as clients throughout Illinois.
FAQs Regarding Probate
If my mother/father left a will, do I need to probate her/his estate?
If you were named executor, then it is your duty to probate her/his estate if the amount of the personal estate exceeds $100,000, unless you can settle the estate with the other heirs and the creditors without opening a probate estate. However, if there is real estate, you will probably be better off opening a probate estate so that you can give clear title to that property to a buyer.
My parent didn’t have a will; do I need to probate her/his estate?
The estate would only have to be probated if the personal estate exceeds $100,000 and maybe if there was real estate owned by the deceased. Sometimes one can avoid probating an estate with real estate in it by posting a bond with the title insurance company instead of opening a probate estate, but this still leaves open the question of debts of the decedent, which can be collected from the assets of an estate for as long as two years after death. Probate shortens that claim period to six months.
My parents owned real estate in another state. Can a probate in the state they lived in handle the out-of-state real estate?
Ordinarily, real estate has to be probated in the state where it is located.
What are Letters of Office or Letters Testamentary? The bank asked me to give them my letters.
Letters of office are the piece of paper that issues from the probate court to the executor or administrator of an estate, which are proof of the executor’s or administrator’s authority to act on behalf of the estate. When the executor or administrator closes a bank account or sells stock of a decedent, the bank or stock company will require a certified copy of the letters of office to prove that the executor or administrator is the one in authority to take those actions.
What is a “certified” copy?
A certified copy of any court document, including letters of office, is one that has the court seal impressed on it and is signed by the Clerk of Court or a Deputy Clerk.
What do I do if I possess a will that I am named as executor in?
Illinois law requires that anyone who is in possession of the will of a deceased person must file the will with the Clerk of the Circuit Court where the deceased person lived within 30 days of his or her death. There are financial penalties for not doing so. Additionally, it is a felony to hide the will of a decedent.