Probate Administration in Frankfort

In Illinois, probate administration is the court-supervised legal proceeding that is necessary to manage a deceased person's estate and transfer the assets to the beneficiaries. While this seems straight forward, the process can be complicated and confusing without proper legal representation.

Located in Frankfort, Massari Law, LLC is dedicated to helping families navigate the probate process in the Chicago Metro Area. We have considerable experience administering estates in the probate courts in Cook, Dupage, Lake and Will Counties and work closely with executors to help them navigate the process. In the event that someone dies without a will in place, we are also familiar with the state's intestacy laws and the steps involved in administering these cases.

Is Probate Necessary in Illinois?

The fact that someone has created a will does not mean the probate process can be avoided. A formal probate court proceeding is required if the value of the estate assets is greater than $100,000 and the deceased's assets were owned solely, not jointly.

If the estate is valued at less than $100,000 and does not contain real estate, a formal probate proceeding is not necessary. In this situation, the beneficiaries can file a small estate affidavit with the probate court. Although this form document is not difficult to complete, an experienced probate attorney can help ensure your interests are protected.

In addition, certain property does not go through probate, including:

  • Property in which title was held jointly
  • Real estate subject to an Illinois transfer-on-death deed
  • Property owned by a living trust
  • Retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s, with designated beneficiaries
  • Life insurance policies
  • Bank accounts with “pay on death” (POD) designations

The Probate Process

Probate cases in Illinois are typically handled by the Circuit Court of the county in which the decedent lived, although courts in larger counties have a special probate division. The person named as executor is responsible for carrying out the deceased person's instructions. If there is no will in place, a close relative or friend of the deceased must ask the court to be appointed as the administrator. 

The role of an executor includes: 

  • Validating the will with the probate court
  • Filing all required notices
  • Inventorying and appraising estate assets
  • Paying outstanding debts and disputing creditor claims
  • Preparing, filing and paying estate taxes, if applicable
  • Final distribution of the estate assets
  • Closing the estate

Probate Litigation

At times disputes may arise among surviving family members regarding the validity of the will, the disposition of the assets, or the capability of the person named as executor. A conflict that rises to the level of litigation is referred to as a will contest, which can be a costly, emotional burden. At Massari Law, we design wills with an eye toward minimizing the potential of disputes. If a will is contested, we believe that parties are better served by negotiating a settlement, but we are prepared to litigate these matters in the probate court.

Probate Administration at Massari Law

At Massari Law, we work closely with executors and administrators throughout the probate process. We routinely prepare court filings and are well versed in rules and customs of the probate courts in Cook, Dupage, Lake and Will Counties. We know that losing a loved one is a difficult experience, and we offer all our clients knowledge, skill and compassion during this challenging time. If you have been named an executor of a loved one's estate or have any questions about probating a will, call our office today for a free consultation.

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21146 Washington Parkway, Frankfort, IL 60423
| Phone: 708.487.6080

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