Estate Administration Process

In most cases where a person has executed a last will and testament, with our without an irrevocable trust, revocable trust or a testamentary trust, the last will and testament will need to be filed with the court regardless of whether probate is required.  If probate is required, then the executor named in the will will need to file a petition to probate the will and to be appointed executor.  If there is no will, then an estate administrator will be appointed by the court following filing a petition to probate the will.  The Illinois estate administration process may be completed after a six-month claim period expires if no estate tax return is required to be filed.  If an estate tax return is required to be filed, then the Illinois estate administration process can be completed only after the IRS approves the estate tax return – typically 15 months to two years after the date of death).  Distributions of personal property may be made immediately.  Distributions of the remaining assets, tangible, intangible and real property, may be made shortly before the estate administration is complete.

Property Not Subject to Probate

Assets, such as life insurance proceeds, that name a beneficiary (other than the estate) are not involved in the probate proceedings and may be paid to the beneficiary before the estate administration is complete. Assets held in joint tenancy, such as a residence, an automobile, or a checking account, pass automatically to the survivor or beneficiary.

Estate Administration Involving the Court

Probate will be necessary if an individual’s estate includes any ownership of reals estate, whether owned individually or as a tenant in common, or if the value of the individual’s personal property and assets passing through his or her will or by intestacy exceeds $100,000.  The following types of Illinois probate are available:

  • Summary Administration
  • Independent Administration
  • Supervised Administration