If you find yourself paying claims and expenses of administration in Lombard with the residual of a loved one’s estate, you may wish to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney. A probate lawyer could help you delegate finances accordingly and deal with the debt left behind by a late friend or family member.

Defining a Claim and Who May File in Lombard

In Illinois probate, a claim is basically a document that alleges that the decedent owes an individual money. It might range from a myriad of different types of debts. It could be mortgages, promissory notes, unpaid wages, or breach of contract. Basically, anyone who thinks that they are owed money could file a claim as long as they have a proper basis for it.

Duties of the Personal Representative with Debts and Claims

Personal representatives have the duty to publish for claims in Illinois, so they have to publish in an appropriate newspaper or a law bulletin stating the fact that the estate is open. It gives their name, the case number, the name of the estate, and the name of the attorney, and then it says that all claims need to be filed within the six-month publication period. There will likely be a specific date in the claims notice that tells creditors that they have six months to file a claim.

Representatives also have a duty to give actual written notices to any known creditors, such as known credit card bills, medical bills, and any other debts that they know about. They have a duty to notify creditors and then, depending on the validity of the claims, they have a duty to pay them as well.

The Claim Filing Process

In Illinois, a claimant could file a claim either with the court or with the representative. He or she may mail it to the individual representative or file it with the courts. It will likely then be placed on a claim call and heard by the court. There are two options in Illinois. The more effective one is actually filing it with the court because then it forces the personal representative to act on the claim and make a decision. If the claimant sends a claim directly to the representative, they could sit on it for some time.

Knowing of Debts but Receiving no Claims

If a personal representative knows about the debt, then they still have the duty to actually notify the claimant in writing of the debt. Many lawyers have a form letter that could be sent out as a notice.

If one sends out this notice and the claimant still does not file a claim within the requisite time period, then that claim is barred and the personal representative does not need to deal with it any longer. They do not have to pay it off or make any other further attempts to reach out to the claimant.

Limitations and Options when Paying off a Debt with Assets

In Illinois, unless provided otherwise in a will, debt claims against the estate are paid for from the residuary assets of the estate. Residuary assets refer to everything that is left over after all the specific requests and the claims have been paid. For example, if there is $100,000 in an estate, a house, and some cars, the will may request that these assets are distributed in a specific manner. All those types of requests are paid out first.

Then, if everything left is money, that money is the residuary estate, and that is the pool of money used to pay claims. Most simple estate plans deal with simple wills–they may disribute jewelry, artwork, and other kinds of cherished possessions. Everything else is liquidated and combined into one big pot called the residuary estate. Then, that estate is split a certain amount of ways. For example, if there are three surviving children, the estate may be split into thirds.

What comes off the top is any type of debt. Those could be funeral expenses, burial expenses, final medical expenses, or unpaid credit cards.

Contact a Probate Attorney in Lombard Today

If you find yourself having to represent an estate after the passing of a loved one, you might not have as much time to mourn the loss of that person if you are responsible for delegating debts. With the help of an experienced trusts and estates attorney, paying claims and expenses of administration in Lombard could be made simpler and leave you the time to grieve.