Illinois Estate Planning | Estate AdministrationEstate Administration Process

The Estate Administration process includes the managing of estate possessions — including real estate, personal property, money and other valuables — upon the passing of the original owner. The Last Will & Testament usually lists a close loved one as the responsible caretaker to these Illinois estate administration duties. Most wills classify this duty as the executor, or personal representative in some states.

The job of the executor usually begins once the will passes under probate, marking the beginning of the probate process. Anytime the will is filed to the Illinois probate court, regardless of whether or not a testamentary trustrevocable trust, or irrevocable trust existed, a petition to appoint the executor is required in order to actualize the executor’s legal authority.

Estate Administration Concerns

If there is no will or if the existing will does not appoint an executor, the Illinois probate court will appoint an estate administrator. While it is possible for the family to appeal the appointed executor, it is best for the family to preemptively select the executor in order to avoid future legal complications. These very legal difficulties may sometimes delay the probate process to the point that creditors will have the opportunity to challenge the will and alter the intended inheritance plans of the grantor.

Some probate processes require estate taxes to be filed to the IRS before the Illinois estate administration process can begin. Another existing constraint is that the executor is sometimes required to pay off estate debts before the estate disposition is permitted. In both cases, these legal requirements can create delays for the estate administrator that again allow for unnecessary opportunities for creditors’ claims.

It is important to note that some assets, by their very nature, cannot pass under the will and consequently will not be examined in the probate process. Assets held in joint tenancy, such as real estate property, a vehicle, a bank account, are included in this group. Assets held in joint tenancy will instead automatically pass onto the possession of the surviving party. Life insurance may also not be passed under the will.

Our Chicago estate planning attorneys provide legal counsel to guide individuals and families through the many legal constraints of the probate process in order to facilitate the duties of the estate administrator and ensure for a proper estate disposition.