Even in situations where a deceased person leaves a clear and uncontested will, probate can be a complex process involving many steps. In fact, even many attorneys have a limited concept of how to correctly handle probate proceedings because this area of law falls outside the range of most legal practices.

Therefore, whether you are planning management of your own affairs or handling the affairs of a loved one, it is wise to consult a Lombard probate lawyer to learn how to fulfill legal requirements and pave the way for a smooth administration of the estate. A tested estates and trusts lawyer who understands these procedures could explain the process, lay the groundwork for a smooth transition, and help guide the interested parties.

Not Every Estate Must Go Through Probate

Not every estate is required to go through probate. An estate is simply a term referring to the assets and liabilities left behind when someone dies. For instance, an estate might consist of a car, a bank account, and several debts such as credit card and utility bills.

Probate is an official process intended to ensure that taxes and debts are paid, and that remaining assets are distributed in accordance with the law. In many situations, formal probate is required only when the assets solely owned by the deceased are valued at more than $100,000.

Moreover, even when an estate must go through probate, some of the assets will not be part of the process. These include:

  • Assets held jointly with a right of survivorship such as real estate in joint tenancy
  • Assets such as retirement accounts with a beneficiary designation
  • Real estate with a transfer-on-death instruction
  • Assets held in trust
  • Life insurance proceeds with available named beneficiaries

A Lombard probate lawyer could help if there is uncertainty about whether an estate must be probated or whether certain assets should be included.

How the Process Works in Lombard

In Lombard, probate is handled by the Circuit Court of DuPage County. Generally, the person named as executor in the deceased person’s will bears responsibility for handling probate. Very often, the executor works with an experienced probate attorney throughout the process so that all necessary steps are taken within the proper timeframe.

Starting the Process

If the deceased person did not leave a will, the court will appoint an administrator who will act as an executor. The executor or their legal representative will file the will and any other required paperwork with the court. In addition, the executor is responsible for ensuring that notice of probate proceedings is published to put creditors on notice that they may want to file a claim for any outstanding debts.

Objectives That Must Be Accomplished

During probate, the executor must work to ensure that bills are paid and therefore may have to sell assets to cover costs, if necessary. In addition, the executor will establish the estate as a separate tax-paying identity with the I.R.S. and oversee payment of taxes.

If the deceased left a will and no one contests it then, in approximately one year, the estate may be closed and remaining assets may be distributed to beneficiaries. As part of closing the estate, the executor must file a final accounting.

Get Help from a Lombard Probate Attorney

Many people do not have any idea where to begin when it comes to probate. Fortunately, an experienced Lombard probate lawyer can help from the beginning, from planning to avoid issues to managing probate and closing an estate.

Preparation makes the process much easier. But even without preparation, experienced assistance can help see you through the process. To learn how a probate attorney may help you, call for a consultation.