A commonly held belief is that probate is a bad thing and should be avoided at all costs. Probate in Illinois
can be a lengthy process, often taking several months to a year, or longer, and is a matter of public record. Probate can also be expensive in terms of court costs, attorneys fees, accounting and appraisal fees. While the issues of time and expense should certainly be considered, Illinois probate is not always something an individual should avoid when engaging in the estate planning process. There are in fact many ways in which the probate process
can prove beneficial to estate heirs, and when these probate benefits
outweigh the need for avoiding probate, an individual may be elect to go through the probate process.
As noted above, the primary probate benefits may be found in the probate court’s oversight in the transfer of estate assets. The probate court ensure that the transfer of estate assets is accomplished in a transparent and orderly manner. With a probate court’s supervision during the transfer process, estate assets could be transferred to the wrong person or they could be transferred in the incorrect amount. Moreover, the probate court allocates authority to the executor of the estate to pay off any debts prior to distributing the estate assets, which is very important. The probate court requires that the executor complete certain requirements to ensure the proper steps have been taken in accordance with the last will and testament (and any other estate planning instruments). Moreover, the probate court will ensure that the estate assets are not distributed until creditors and tax authorities are paid.