Estates & Estate Planning
Deceased person's estates are managed in a wide variety of circumstances. If there was a valid Will it is referred to as a testate estate and if there was no Will then it is considered an intestate estate.
File the Will
Under Illinois law the Will of a deceased person must be filed at the courthouse for safekeeping within 30 days of death in the county of residence of the deceased person. Safekeeping consists of the county clerk or circuit clerk filing the Will and issuing a receipt for it. Safekeeping does not mean probate. After the Will is filed it may or may not need to be probated depending upon the facts and circumstances.
Is Probate Required?
The decision about whether or not probate is required often cannot be made until one of our attorneys and our client review the situation. There is no time limit for filing for probate as there is with the filing of the Will. The decision can be made as soon as the facts of the case are fully understood. Most of our cases do not require probate and we make every effort to manage a deceased person's estate in a way that does not require probate if appropriate.
Some of the issues that impact the necessity of probate include the size of the estate, how the assets are titled, how many heirs and legatees are involved and whether or not there are disputes among the persons involved. It is impossible to generalize and each death case is determined by its own facts.
Small Estate Affidavits
There is a special process in Illinois allowing the use a document called a small estate affidavit to avoid probate in certain situations. If the deceased person had less than $100,000.00 in his or her name alone, if all debts and claims have been paid or can be paid out of the available assets and if there is no dispute among any of the parties involved then it may be the case that the careful preparation and distribution of the affidavit will suffice to manage the estate.