Can I Handle Probate On My Own?

  • Illinois Probate Law
can I handle probate on my own | estate and probate legal group

Probate is the legal process of closing a deceased person’s estate. This can include paying bills and distributing the inheritance. When the estate is small, under $100,000.00, you can bypass probate court and close the estate yourself. Even if the estate is large, executors sometimes choose to work without the help of a probate attorney. Clients ask themself, ‘Can I handle probate on my own?’ Our response is that certain pitfalls inherently follow someone trying to negotiate a legal process without the help of an attorney.

What Is Involved?

Closing an estate can be a time-consuming and tedious process. It can take anywhere from 6 -12 months to close an average estate, longer if more assets and beneficiaries are involved. Being an executor of someone’s will is a challenging process that you may not want to try to do yourself. Working with a probate attorney can help you with any or all responsibilities of being an executor.

There is much more than simply distributing assets. An executor is responsible for:

  • Filing legal opening documents with the courts
  • Notifying beneficiaries
  • Paying all debts (and knowing which you don’t have to pay)
  • Filing final taxes
  • Notifying social security
  • Closing all financial accounts, including banks and investments
  • Negotiation of any disputes among beneficiaries
  • Showing your steps as an executor to all beneficiaries
  • Filing final legal documents with the courts

This is a lot for one person to take on, especially if you have never been an executor of a will before.

Can I Handle Probate On My Own?

The better question may be, why would you attempt to handle this complicated process alone? Anytime legal documents are involved, it’s best to seek help from an attorney. Especially when the estate is worth over $100,000.00, there can be some distrust that the executor is not handling the closing of the estate properly. Emotions are raw after the passing of a loved one, and it can be difficult for everyone.

Beneficiaries may not understand the entire process and distrust the executor for several reasons:

  • It’s taking too long for them to get their money
  • They are worried you are keeping assets for yourself
  • They worry the distribution of assets is unfair
  • Perhaps you are not following the wishes of the will
  • Is the will legal?

There is no reason to go through this process alone.

Working with an experienced probate attorney will take some of the burden off you. The attorney can handle filing the documents with the courts and other legal steps, leaving you to handle the items you can. And, if there is a dispute – it is best to have an unaffiliated party step in and explain the will and the law to the beneficiaries. At Estate and Probate Legal Group, we can help you with the probate process.

Cook County Probate Lawyer

Do you have questions about Illinois probate? You do not have to go through probate alone. An experienced probate lawyer can advise you on the best options for your situation. To talk to a qualified probate attorney in Chicago, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835

Areas We Serve: Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake and Will counties.