When an estate enters probate, the court tasks an executor or administrator with the critical and practical tasks necessary to guide the case from beginning to end. One of the critical duties that the court orders of the executor or administrator is to accurately and thoroughly identify and report the property that makes up the estate.
Unfortunately, there are sometimes people who stand in the way of that duty. These are people who steal or conceal assets for themselves or for others. The state of Illinois recognizes this problem and has provided a process to find these assets, known as the discovery of information and recovery of property.
Discovery of Property
A representative of the estate can file a citation for the discovery of property if they believe a person has:
- concealed, converted or embezzled or to have in his possession or control any personal property, books of account, papers or evidences of debt or title to lands which belonged to a person whose estate is being administered in that court or which belongs to his estate or to his representative; or
- information or knowledge withheld by the respondent from the representative and needed by the representative for the recovery of any property by suit or otherwise.
Upon filing of a compliant petition, the court is required to issue a citation to the person, or people who are believed to have engaged in this conduct or have information necessary to discover the property.
Recovery of Property
The respondent to the citation is required to appear before the court. The court is allowed to question the respondent under oath and can consider evidence presented by the petitioner.
Upon considering the evidence, the probate court is given considerable power to enter orders to rectify the situation, including:
- To determine title and right of property.
- To order the return of property
- To put a respondent in jail who refuses to answer questions, to obey orders, or to return property
- To hold respondents personally liable for losses to the estate, and to enforce its orders with the respondent’s real or personal property.
The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas
The duties of an executor or administrator are not to be taken lightly. It is an essential position that requires hard work, a knowledge of applicable laws, and diligence. Failure to fulfill your court ordered duties can result in personal liability. Let me help you. I have practiced in the areas of tax law, estate planning, and probate for over two decades and have a Master of Law Degree (LLM) in Taxation. I can guide you through this complex process and provide you with smart, precise legal counsel. Contact The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas at 847-392-5893 for a consultation or visit our website today.