The Simplified Probate Process

Many people simply do not leave behind sizeable estates when they pass away. In fact, so many people leave “small” estates behind that if probate courts had to fully flesh out these cases, the entire probate system would collapse with completely unmanageable dockets. The Illinois state legislature recognized this, as well as the fact that small estates are generally less complex than larger ones. As a result, it created an expedited process to bring a case through probate, also known as the simplified probate process.

What are the Requirements of a Simplified Probate Process?

The simplified probate process, was created as part of the Probate Act of 1975, Section 755 ILCS 5/9-8 (“Distribution on Summary Administration”). This section allows for any interested person to file a petition for summary administration before the proper probate court if they can meet the following requirements:

  1. The interested person must file a petition that itemizes all of the descendant’s assets.
  2. Demonstrate that the gross value of the estate (both real and personal property) does not exceed $100,000.
  3. Show that all creditors have been paid, or if they have not, they have been identified in the petition with a list of the amount due to each creditor.
  4. Show that there is no outstanding IRS tax debt, or the debt has been paid.
  5. That all heirs and legatees to the estate have consented in writing to the distribution through the simplified process.
  6. Provide notice in person or by publication of the death of the descendant and the petition for simplified probate, as well as a notice of hearing on the petition.

If the petitioner can demonstrate that they meet these requirements, the probate court may approve the simplified probate and authorize the petitioner to pay claims and distribute the estate.

What are the Benefits of a Simplified Probate?

The simplified probate process, if applicable to your circumstances, brings several benefits:

  • It minimizes the amount of time you or your attorney has to spend before a probate judge.
  • The expedited nature of the simplified process and fewer court appearances significantly reduces attorney and court costs. This makes sense as a smaller estates should not be unfairly depleted by unnecessary court oversight.

Despite the simplified nature of this process, I would still advise that you consult with an attorney to make sure that your petition, pleadings, and citations meet the requirements of the law. In addition, an attorney can help perform the due diligence necessary to ensure that the information you provide in your petition is accurate. Call my office for a consultation. I can review your petition and walk you through all of your options. Contact the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas by telephone at 847-392-5893 or visit our website.

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