After a person dies, everything that he or she owned must be distributed to his or her heirs once all debts are settled. This process, known as estate administration, could play out in different ways based on whether the person had a will or other estate planning device, as well as whether anyone is disputing the contents of the will.
If your loved one recently passed away, learning about estate administration in Lombard could help you know what to expect. A seasoned estate planning attorney who places guidance, protection, and peace of mind at the forefront of your case could provide significant assistance with these complicated processes.
When a person passes, all the property, assets, and valuables that he or she owned become part of the estate, which an executor or personal representative then becomes responsible for administering. The executor might be named in a will or trust document or could be appointed by a probate court if the person died intestate.
Usually, if a person lived and died in Illinois, his or her estate would be administered according to Illinois law. However, some people create wills or trusts while living elsewhere, so the estate planning documents may require the court to follow a different state’s law.
If no one objects to the administration of the estate and there is no dispute over who should get what, the process may be relatively simple. Conversely, if an heir contests a will or trust by alleging that the deceased lacked competence or that it was made under false pretenses or duress, the executor may have to defend the estate from these claims in probate court.
In Lombard, estate administration may be supervised or unsupervised. Supervised administration requires the executor to seek the court’s approval before taking most actions to administer the estate. The court usually orders supervised administration when the decedent did not have a will, but it can also be requested by a creditor or other interested beneficiary of the will.
Unsupervised administration allows the executor to finalize the estate without attending frequent court hearings. In an independent or unsupervised administration, the executor does not have to seek court approval when selling estate assets, paying debts, or distributing property to heirs. Independent administration is normally chosen by the deceased in his or her estate planning documents.
During the administration process, the executor receives letters of office that allow him or her to transact business in the name of the estate. Often, the first step in estate administration is for the executor to open a checking account for the estate that could be used to pay the deceased’s final debts.
The executor must settle any claims against the estate before the remaining assets may be distributed to heirs. When an estate goes through probate, creditors have six months to file a claim. These creditors frequently consist of hospitals or medical centers that may have treated the deceased prior to death.
The executor is also in charge of closing any accounts the deceased may have had and paying any taxes that are required from the estate assets. Once the executor has paid off all the debts of the estate, the executor may begin distributing the remaining assets to the deceased’s heirs, as mentioned previously.
Administering an estate may be relatively simple or could require complex financial negotiations. When an estate contains a significant amount of assets or when a family member plans on contesting a will, the administration of the estate might take several months, if not more.
A knowledgeable estate lawyer can help executors follow the law regarding the distribution of assets and the payment of estate debts. If you were recently named an executor of an estate, speak with an attorney to learn more about your responsibilities concerning estate administration in Lombard.