When a person dies, all their property, assets, and valuables become part of their estate. Someone has to distribute the deceased’s personal property, pay the estate bills and taxes and following the directions in their will. The person who is legally responsible for managing the deceased’s estate is called the executor. The executor might be named in a will or trust document or could be appointed by a probate court if the person died intestate (without a will).
People who lived and died in Illinois will have their estate managed according to Illinois law unless they had a will made while living in another state.
Being the executor of an estate can be very simple or very complicated. State laws differ on who can be named an executor, but generally, will executors tend to come from the close ranks of a family—spouses, children, parents and siblings.
In Illinois, an executor must be:
• at least 18 years old
• a U.S. resident
• of sound mind
Illinois prohibits people from serving as an executor if they
• have felony convictions
• fail to provide for their family by gambling, abusing alcohol or drugs, “being idle,” or engaging in “debauchery”
• have a mental or physical incapacity that prevents them from managing his own affairs
• are diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome
Illinois law allows that the executor is paid “reasonable” compensation for the work they must perform in administering your estate. Illinois may require an executor who does not live in the state to post a bond.
1. Make arrangements to care for dependents and pets
2. Notify family, friends, employers and other relevant contacts
3. Hire an attorney
4. Get a decree naming you Executor so you can execute your responsibilities
5. Keep accurate records of all actions, documents and expenses
6. Order death certificates
7. Notify banks, credit card companies, employers, insurance companies and government agencies of the decedent’s death
8. Set up a bank account for incoming funds and pay any onging bills
9. File an inventory of the estate’s assets with the court
10. Pay the estate’s debts and taxes
11. Distribute assets
12. Dispose of other property
When you work with an attorney to create a will and name an executor, they can the options to best manage your estate. To talk to a Chicago attorney contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois at (630) 800-0112.