“Probating an estate” is a legal process where a will is proven to be valid or invalid and is the process of administering an estate, in other words, distributing the property of a deceased individual to those entitled to it, whether there is a will or not.
Probating a deceased person’s estate is typically not the unjust and costly nightmare that many people imagine. There are instances where it is not necessary to file or “open” a probate estate with the court at all. A small percentage of Illinois estates are legally exempt from being required to open a probate estate due to the nature and value of the assets. Additionally, there are reasons to open a probate case even when the law does not require doing so. A straightforward probate proceeding can typically be opened and closed within 18 months.
Where the deceased individual had executed a valid living trust with a “pour-over will” and fully funded it by titling all assets into the name of the trust, estate administration does not require court involvement unless a contest is filed by an interested party such as a beneficiary or heir.
In order to find out whether or not opening a probate estate is necessary or advisable, meeting right away with an experienced Probate attorney is invaluable. The right attorney can help make the probate process less intimidating and more efficient.
How Does Trust Administration Differ from Probate Administration?
Generally, a trust is created setting forth by whom and how the personal and health needs of its “grantor” will be managed during his or her lifetime, during times of physical or mental incapacity, as well as who will be responsible for carrying out the terms of the trust and distributions to beneficiaries after the grantor’s death, without court intervention or oversight.
To see how a well-written estate plan can make a difference in how your wishes will or will not be carried out, click on this link to ESTATE ADMINISTRATION SCENERIOS for examples of how the same estate would be administered in Illinois if the decedent had a funded Living Trust vs. only a Will vs. No estate plan.
Click Here to complete the Probate Intake Questionnaire.