What happens during Probate?

Probate is a somewhat lengthy process that takes place after a person’s death, and dictates how a person’s assets are distributed. It begins with a court determining if the will is valid or invalid. The process can be drawn out if the will is contested by beneficiaries or members of the family. This can lead to an extended period spent in and out of court which can deplete the value of the estate over time. 

How Long is the Probate Process?

This may vary depending on the size of the estate and the state of residence. In Illinois, most probate proceedings take about a year. However, if the will is contested, the process will take much longer and incur much higher expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions About Probate

What About Expenses Such As Debts And Taxes?

There are two types of liabilities an executor is responsible for in probate. There are open-ended expenses that will continue throughout the probate process. An example of this kind of liability is legal fees. The second type of expense is one that can be paid off and closed in probate such as bills and debts. Everything is paid through the estate. A person will need to file an income report for the estate separate from the decedent, as it is its own tax-paying entity.

When Does Property Avoid Probate?

Not all property is subject to probate. If an estate does not contain real estate and is less than $100,000 it does not have to formally go through probate. Any assets or property that is jointly owned can also avoid probate. There are other ways assets can avoid probate. Payable-on-death and retirement accounts are fulfilled to beneficiaries without probate. A popular option for avoiding probate is to set up a trust, as assets and property are divided based on the rules and stipulations set forth in the trust.

What Are The Rules For Notification Of Probate Proceedings?

In the probate process, a notification must be sent out to alert creditors and heirs of the decedent’s passing. Creditors will have 6 months from then to place claims against the estate otherwise they cannot collect from the estate. Heirs who are not included in the will must be notified along with everyone else and all have the right to contest the will if desired.


What Is The Difference Between Testate And Intestate?

Testate means a will is in place upon a decedent’s passing. This is used in the court proceedings in probate and names an executor who is in charge of fulfilling the wishes set in the will and by the court. Intestate means there was no will in place or the will was proven to be invalid. The court will appoint someone to distribute assets according to the state’s laws of intestacy succession. To avoid this, and to make things easier on loved one, you should set up a last will and testament so that assets are distributed in the way you planned. Learn more about setting up a will.

How Are Small Estates’ Assets Distributed To Beneficiaries?

Beneficiaries in the Chicagoland area who are looking to receive their inheritance from a small  estate must have the appropriate paperwork. This includes affidavits – legally binding documents – that allow the release of funds from institutions. This can be an individual form, specific to the organization/institution a beneficiary is filing with, or it could be a form standardized by the state. False information on these documents can result in perjury charges. 

Professional Assistance for a Future You Can Trust

We provide professional legal assistance to understand the instructions and documentation you need to put into place to satisfy the court, appease creditors, and successfully ensure your assets go to the family members or friends in the way you intend them to.

At Schottler & Associates, we can help you ensure that your intentions are clear so that when your valuables need to be divided, your values remain protected. We can help you identify your needs so that you can put the best measures in place.

Every Probate Case Is Different

Schottler & Associates has extensive experience in Probate Law. We pride ourselves on being able to educate our Chicagoland clients and walk them through the often complex process of probate. We understand that each case is unique and requires a personalized approach. Some cases are more drawn out than others.

If you’ve found yourself in a lengthy probate process, having an experienced attorney on your side can help. We can prepare you for what to expect and work with you and the courts to make the process as smooth as possible. To get started, download our free resource for preparing for probate here. The probate checklist explains what you need to get organized and how to take control of your situation. 

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