In movies and on television, we often see families gathered at the attorney’s office to read the will after a person passes away. The family and loved ones gather, cry, and sometimes fight about the contents of the will. And while this may have been done decades ago, there really is no procedure for the reading of the will anymore. In fact, once the probate process begins, the will is a public document that all beneficiaries may receive a copy of.
It is not common today for the family to gather and listen to the executor ‘read the will’ and tell how the assets will be distributed.
If a person dies with a will, the named executor will be responsible for closing the estate and distributing assets. If the person dies without a will (dying intestate), the probate court assigns an administrator.
The executor of a will can be a close relative or loved one, but it can also be a 3rd party. The first step of the executor or administrator is to understand the extent of the estate. They will assess and gather all the person’s debts and assets. The next step is to identify all heirs or beneficiaries and notify them that they are either named in the will, or a possible heir to the estate.
Did you know… The difference between an heir and a beneficiary is that an heir is a direct family member, while a beneficiary is not necessarily related but is named in the will.
The executor or administrator has specific duties to complete when closing an estate. Some of these duties include:
With all this work, it’s understandable that closing an average estate in Illinois can take 6-12 months. This time can be longer if it is a large or complicated estate. Closing the estate can also take longer if one or more people contest the will.
With the required duties that an executor or administrator must follow, it’s easy to see why you may want to seek the help of an experienced probate attorney. When working with a probate lawyer, they can be as involved with the process as you need. They can offer guidance, do some of the work for you, or handle all of the probate process.
Talk to the experienced probate attorneys at the Estate and Probate Legal Group about the contents of a will. Working with an experienced attorney can help guide you in your unique situation. Contact us today at 630-864-5835.
AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties