What is Probate in Illinois

Probate in Illinois refers to the legal process through which an estate representative (executor/administrator) is appointed, a deceased person's assets are collected, debts are settled, and their estate is administered/distributed under the supervision of the court. The primary objectives of probate include validating the deceased person's will (if there is one), identifying and inventorying the deceased person's assets, paying off outstanding debts and taxes, and ultimately distributing the remaining assets to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries.

In Illinois, the probate process typically involves the following steps:

1.       Filing a Petition – The process begins by filing a petition in the circuit court of the county where the deceased person lived. If there's a will, it should be filed prior to the filing of the petition. If there's no will (intestacy), the court will follow Illinois laws of descent and distribution to determine the distribution of assets.

2.       Appointment of a Representative – The court will appoint an executor or administrator (known as a “representative”) to manage the estate. If there's a will, the person named as executor in the will usually becomes the representative, subject to court approval. If there's no will, the court will appoint an administrator, often a close family member. 

3.       Inventory and Appraisal – The representative is responsible for creating an inventory of the deceased person's assets (including real estate, cash/investment accounts, and personal property) and getting them appraised. 

4.       Notification to Creditors and Payment of Debts – Creditors must be notified of the probate proceedings. Creditors have a specific time period in which they can make claims against the estate, after which time the claims are time-barred. The representative is responsible for paying valid debts, taxes, and expenses of the estate using estate assets. 

5.       Distribution of Assets – After debts and expenses are paid, the remaining assets are distributed according to the terms of the will or intestacy laws if there's no will. The court will oversee the distribution process to ensure it complies with the law.


Put the Castle in Your Corner for All Your Legal Needs 

The probate process in Illinois can vary in complexity and duration based on the size of the estate, whether there's a valid will, potential disputes among heirs, and other factors. Small estates in Illinois may qualify for simplified probate procedures, such as small estate affidavits, which expedite the process for estates below a certain value.

Residential Real Estate of the Deceased

Castle Law can assist you in the disposition of real estate assets that need to be sold. We have a tremendous network of residential real estate agents that can list your house on the MLS for a traditional sale or cash buyers that will buy the property “as is” in as little as 14 days – often without the need to open a formal probate of the estate. Our network of experts operates in Cook, Will, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Grundy, and Kankakee counties.