Every estate does not have to go through probate. Probate is the legal process to make sure that a deceased person’s debts and taxes are paid. In Illinois, a lawyer is required for probate unless the estate is valued at or less than $100,000 and does not have real estate. Many well-organized estates never go to probate because the person made estate plans that made probate unnecessary, such as trusts. The question of how long does probate take in Illinois depends on the circumstances, probate in Illinois can take from six months to several years – or even longer if the estate plan is contested. Illinois probate law requires that all estates subject to probate are required to be open for at least six months so that creditors have enough time to assert their claims after they are notified of the death.
The estate executor or estate planning attorney can estimate how long probate will take, depending on how large and complex the deceased’s estate is:
If the deceased person did not leave a will, the court will appoint an administrator who will act as an executor. Depending on the size of the estate and how backed up the courts are, probate could take months or even years.
2. Uncontested Will
If the deceased left a will and no one contests it, in approximately one year the estate may be closed and any remaining assets will be distributed to beneficiaries.
3. Contested Will
If a person’s financials and assets are complicated, and the beneficiaries, heirs or creditors contest the terms of the will, probate can go to litigation. Estate litigation can be complex and complicated and can drag on for many years, depending on the willingness of the involved parties to come to an agreement – or not.
Whether you are an heir, the executor of an estate or are planning your own estate to protect your heirs, an experienced probate and estates lawyer can advise you throughout the process. To talk to a probate, trust and estates attorney in Chicago or Lombard about how to make and store your will, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-800-0112.