The Illinois probate process is a court-supervised legal procedure that is sometimes (but not always) required after someone dies. Its purpose is to clarify who inherits the deceased person’s property and to make sure valid debts and taxes are paid. Probate is handled by the deceased person’s executor, if they had a will, or the court appointed administrator if they didn’t have a will. Either way, this person is called the Representative and they must:

• prove in court that a deceased person's will is valid if applicable

• identify and inventory the deceased person's assets

• have those assets appraised

• pay debts and taxes, and

• distribute the remaining property as directed by the will, or if there's no will, as Illinois state law directs.

This can be a long expensive process. It can take 6 months to a little over a year or longer.

Whether or not a formal probate proceeding is required depends on what assets the deceased person owned, and how he or she held title to them. Estate Planning is an important factor which could greatly help in streamlining the probate process.

If there was proper estate planning, many assets do not need to go through probate, including:

• assets held in trust

• assets owned in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety

• assets that have a beneficiary named

• real estate subject to an Illinois transfer-on-death deed

• assets that can be distributed through a small estate affidavit

For more information on how to handle your loved one’s estate, please call The Evans Williams Law Group to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.

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