If you use a will to express your final wishes with regard to the way you want your assets to be transferred after you are gone, you name an executor. This individual would act as the administrator, but they would not be able to act independently.
In Illinois, if a deceased person’s probate assets are valued over $100,000, their will would be admitted to probate, and the court would preside over the process. There are a number of different tasks that the executor must complete before the estate can be closed by the court.
A notice is posted for creditors, and they are given several months to come forward seeking payment. The assets that comprise the estate are identified and inventoried by the executor, and there can be appraisals and liquidations to prepare them for distribution to the heirs.
The court will examine the will to determine its validity during probate. If anyone wants to challenge the will, they would be able to make a case before the estate is closed by the court.
Probate serves a necessary purpose, but it creates some hassles for the rightful heirs to the estate. The time consumption is one of them, because it will take six months to a year or more for the estate to be probated, and no inheritances are distributed during this interim.
There are expenses, including the executor’s payment, a filing fee, legal and accounting charges in some instances, and appraisal and liquidation expenses. In addition to the time and money, privacy is lost, because probate is a public proceeding.
This court also handles guardianship matters. When you think of the purpose of a guardian, you may envision minor children, and this is part of the equation, but there is another facet.
A significant percentage of elders become unable to make sound decisions on their own at some point in time. Alzheimer’s disease strikes over 30 percent of people that are 85 years of age and older, and there are other causes of cognitive impairment.
The probate court can be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act on behalf of an incapacitated adult. It is possible to name your representatives in advance when you are planning your estate, but that is a subject for another post.
Uniform Probate Code
By the beginning of the 1960s, members of the legal community recognized the fact that probate laws were different in each respective state, and some of the laws were out of date. They saw the need for a universal, widely embraced approach to the probate process.
Work on the Uniform Probate Code began in earnest in 1964, and in 1969, the first version was released. It was created by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) in conjunction with the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association.
The Uniform Probate Code was updated in 1990, and at the present time, 18 states in the union are using the code. Illinois is not one of them.
Since the original goal was to have every state in the union use the UPC, they have fallen short of the mark, but most states are using some part of it.
Need Help Now?
If you already know that it is time for you to work with a Naperville or North Aurora, IL estate planning attorney to put an estate plan in place, we are here to help. You can set up a consultation appointment if you give us a call at 630-568-8611, and there is also a contact form on this site you can use to send us a message.