Most people who pass away leave behind an estate, which may include bank accounts, property, and outstanding debts. As such, their surviving family members typically bear the burden of handling any unresolved financial matters and disbursing any assets, and otherwise settling their estates. Estate administration is often an involved process that can quickly become overwhelming, and in some cases, lead to discord among family members. Thus, it is prudent for people handling their loved ones’ estate matters to seek legal counsel. If you have questions or concerns regarding the administration of your loved one’s estate, the experienced LaGrange estate planning attorneys of Wilson & Wilson can advise you of your rights and obligations and aid you in seeking an efficient resolution. We regularly help people in LaGrange and other nearby cities with estate administration matters.Estate Administration Defined
Estate administration is the process of gathering the assets of an estate, paying any of the decedent’s debts, and distributing any remaining assets. If the decedent had a will, anyone in possession of it must file it and any codicils with the clerk of court in the county where the decedent last lived. A person that destroys a will or fails to disclose it for over 30 days can be charged with a felony. While all wills have to be filed, simply because a decedent had a will does not mean that the estate must go through probate. Instead, probate is typically not needed when the estate does not include any real property, and the total value of any personal property is less than $100,000. If the decedent was the sole owner of real property, or the value of the personal property of the estate exceeds the $100,000 threshold, probate is required.What Estate Administration Entails
After a will is filed and a probate case is opened, the court will then admit the will to probate and designate a personal representative, who is the person in charge administration. A personal representative may be an executor, which is an individual appointed to represent the estate via the decedent’s will, or an administrator, which is a person appointed by a probate court if a decedent died without a will or did not name an executor. Executors and administrators are entitled to receive reasonable fees for their services.
Typically, probate cases proceed under "independent administration," which means the executor or administrator can take action without obtaining court approval. In supervised administration probate cases, the court must approve most actions before the executor or administrator takes them. During the probate process, the executor or administrator must identify, gather, and protect the assets of the estate. He or she must also pay any valid debts, like funeral expenses, which in some instances requires the sale of assets. The personal representative must notify any known creditors of the probate case and publish a notice in a local newspaper to inform unknown creditors. Creditors will then have six months to file claims. Additionally, the executor or administrator must obtain a tax ID for the estate and must file state and federal tax returns on its behalf. If the decedent had a valid will, the estate will be disbursed in accordance with its terms unless there is a will contest. If the decedent died without a will or intestate, the estate will be divided in accordance with Illinois intestacy laws.Speak to a Knowledge Illinois Attorney
When people pass away, their loved ones typically have to settle their estates, which can cause stress and frustration. If you need assistance with an estate administration issue, it is advisable to hire an attorney as soon as possible. At Wilson and Wilson, our LaGrange attorneys are adept at navigating the intricacies of estate administration, and if you hire us, we will work to help you complete the process as seamlessly as possible. Our primary office is in LaGrange, and we also have an office in Northbrook, and satellite offices in Orland Park and Warrenville, where we are available by appointment. We regularly serve clients with estate planning needs in Cook County, including Chicago, Arlington Heights, Cicero, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Schaumburg, Evanston, Skokie, and Tinley Park, DuPage County including Naperville, Aurora, and Wheaton, and Lake County including Buffalo Grove, Mundelein, Highland Park, and Waukegan. You can contact us through our online form or at our LaGrange office at (708) 482-7090 or our Northbrook Office at (847) 656-8958 to set up a meeting.