The word “probate” usually refers to a deceased person’s estate. The circumstances surrounding a probate process attribute to its bad reputation, but it’s not as daunting as it sounds. Still, hiring a probate lawyer in Chicago like Starr, Bejgiert, Zink & Rowells can help ease the pressure.
The process begins when a person dies. If the decedent left a will, Illinois Law requires an original copy of the will to be filed with the Clerk of the Court in the county where the deceased last lived.
A person wishing to pursue a probate case must then file a petition with the court to open a probate case. Before the hearing, the law requires that person to give prior notice to other heirs. Generally, this notice is sent after the will is admitted and the executor is given the power to represent the estate.
The named executor in a will, now the representative, is then required to give notice of the opening of the estate to the public by publishing in a newspaper. The Illinois Probate Code also demands that the representative notifies any estate creditors directly. The time window that follows is known as the “claims period,” if a claim is not filed during this window, it will be barred.
Another step is “death tax” returns that may need to be filed. The first is the U.S. Estate Tax Return, or the “706”, filed with the federal government, and the second is the Illinois Estate Tax Return. These must be paid within nine months from the date of death. On top of that, an estate usually has to file a final income tax return (for the last year of the decedent’s life), and sometimes even an income tax return for the estate itself.
After the inventory and accounting are approved and all claims are paid, the representative can then distribute assets as per the final will, or the law, and close the probate estate. This whole process can last from months to years, depending on the size of the estate.
All in all, every case is different. The first step to the whole process is to hire a probate lawyer. The sooner the process is kick-started, the sooner it will end, and a lawyer will help to get things in motion.
If you are in search of a Probate Lawyer in Chicago, call Starr, Bejgiert, Zink & Rowells to find out your options.