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Illinois Last Will & Avoiding Probate

Will my loved ones have to go through the headache and expense of a lengthy Court process, called probate, if I have an Illinois Last Will?

Many people mistakenly believe that creating an Illinois Last Will can allow their loved ones, after the death of the testator of the Illinois Last Will, to avoid probate. In general, creating a Will does not allow your estate to avoid probate at your death.

What is Probate?

In the State of Illinois, Probate of a decedent’s estate is a legal Court proceeding for administration of the estate of the deceased person. Probate can often be a lengthy and expensive Court process which most people wish to avoid.

What Happens During Probate?

The Probate Judge will do many things, including:

  • appoint an Administrator/Executor of the estate;

  • determine whether Court supervision is required;

  • require and approve certain Court documents;

  • ensure that the decedent’s assets (e.g. real estate, money and personal property) are collected and distributed as required by either the Will or State Law;

  • ensure that all the estate’s expenses and debts are accounted for;

  • ensure that estate creditors are given notice and time to file a claim;

  • ensure that all applicable taxes are filed and paid;

  • ensure that the remaining assets are given to those persons entitled to them.

If an Illinois Last Will does not allow the loved ones of a deceased person to avoid potential Probate Court headaches, then what does?


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