Interested persons in Lombard probate have the right to know what is happening, has happened, or may happen to a late loved one’s estate. Even if you have been removed from a will, you may still be able to use your rights as an interested person. However, for more information, you may need to reach out to an experienced attorney.
Lombard probate law defines who qualifies as an interested person as anyone with a financial interest in the estate. From the time a will is admitted to probate, this could include both heirs and legatees. Consequentially, it is not only anyone who has a financial interest in the estate, but somebody who would have a financial interest in the estate if the person’s will was never admitted to probate.
For example, in a proceeding in which a will disinherits all the children and gives to charity, the heirs and the children are still interested persons in the estate. This is because if the will was not admitted to probate, they would no longer be disinherited because the will would be acted upon under the intestacy statute. Similarly, someone who has a financial interest in the estate includes creditors, so creditors are interested persons in the estate, as well.
Some important rights of interested persons include their entitlement to notice. For example, in the situation where a will disinherits a child or children and gives money to charity, those children are still entitled to notice as interested persons. The content of that notice is also very important because it advises them of the six-month time limit to contest the will. In addition to the six months to contest the will’s admission to probate, they also have 42 days to ask that the will be admitted under a formal proof of will situation.
The important rights of interested persons could largely be boiled down to notice. Once that six-month period has passed and there is no will contest filed, the interested aspect of those heirs goes away and the only interested persons are the legatees under the will and creditors who may have claims against the estate.
One of the main important rights of those interested persons is still notice, even if it is an unsupervised estate. There are not a lot of court proceedings, but interested persons still must get notice of what actions the executor took, such as notice of the final account and notice of the final report. It boils down to an interested person has the right to be apprised of what is going on with the estate.
Common reasons interested persons need to invoke these rights include that they may have an issue with the will that is being admitted to probate. For example, it is not a completely uncommon situation when a child finds out that they have been disinherited because they have given notice through the probate process. Maybe they thought everything was fine with their parent and then all of a sudden they receive a will in the mail saying that they have been disinherited and this other person, whether it is a sibling, neighbor, or friend, is now the one receiving all of their parent’s estate.
It is important that if there are issues with the will or a person for whatever reason has an issue with the admission of the will to probate, they need to invoke their right to challenge the will within the six-month period or they would forever be barred from challenging the will.
An interested person’s rights are limited mainly by time periods, specifically, the six-month time limit limits an heir’s right to contest the will. Additionally, interested people have 42 days to file a petition for formal proof of will. If formal proof of will requires the proponent of the will, the person trying to admit it to probate, to actually prove that the testator signed the will and when he or she did, must be of sound mind and memory. Normally in Illinois, a will is admitted in a very summary fashion, but if requested by an interested person or an heir, the court would take evidence from the witnesses.
When a loved one passes, we commonly expect that the transfer of the estate goes smoothly. However, this is not always the case, especially when receiving news of disinheritance or contests of wills. Interested persons in Lombard probate still have rights to know what is happening to an estate, even if they have been removed as an heir or beneficiary. For help contesting a will or retaining the wishes of a late loved one, call an attorney.