Probate proceedings are complex, time-consuming, and can be fraught with peril. In fact, did you know that there is an entire body of statutes in the Probate Act of 1975 which describe the legal requirements of bringing an estate through the probate courts? On top of that, there is constantly evolving case law in the appeals courts and the Illinois Supreme Court that is binding on probate courts and can have a major impact on probate cases. If you are the executor of a will or are seeking to become the administrator of an intestate estate, you don’t have to figure this area of law out by yourself. An experienced probate attorney can walk you through the process, beginning to end.
What Can a Probate Attorney Do For You?
A significant amount of time and energy is spent up front to prepare a case for probate. Beyond preparing for a funeral and coping with grief from losing a loved one, the responsibilities of an executor can be overwhelming. These duties include tracking down the will and any other legal documents, gathering comprehensive information about the family tree, preparing a detailed list of all assets, determining a full list of creditors, finding tax returns, and requesting a copy of the death certificate. If you overlook any of this critical information, you risk causing significant delays in the resolution of the estate. A knowledgeable attorney knows the right questions to ask, what is needed from the beginning, and can help you get all of this necessary information.
Why is all of this information significant? Because the next steps are to: (1) file the will in the county where the decedent died; (2) determine the appropriate court to file the probate petition; and (3) draft and file the following legal pleadings:
- The petition for probate of will
- An affidavit verifying the filed copy of the will
- A bond—which must be obtained from a bond company prior to the initial hearing in the case
- An affidavit of heirship, establishing the family tree
- An order admitting the will to probate
- An order establishing the heirship
If this sounds like a lot of work, you are right. And this is just the tip of the iceberg as everything discussed above is required just to get you into a courtroom! As I have said before, probate law is intricate and complex, but an expert probate attorney can make things much easier.
I understand that this is a very difficult time. The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas can help you prepare and file your probate petition and navigate the probate proceedings to the very end. For over twenty years, I have successfully brought estates of all sizes and complexities through probate courts. I know how important it is to get things right the first time. Let my experience be an asset to you. Call us at 847-392-5893 to schedule a consultation today, or visit our website.