When a person dies, all their property, assets, and valuables become part of their estate. Someone has to manage and organize the deceased’s personal property, pay the estate bills and taxes, distribute any remaining assets to the deceased’s heirs and follow the directions in their will. The person who is legally responsible for managing the deceased’s estate is called the executor, or the estate administrator. The estate administrator might be named in a will or trust document, they could be the deceased’s attorney or they could be appointed by a probate court if the person died intestate, without a will. If there is not a family member who was assigned to be the estate administrator, or if the responsibilities are too big for the person who was named as the executor in the will, it may be advisable to hire a professional estate administrator.
Undertaking the responsibilities of an estate administrator can be overwhelming, and time consuming. Most people don’t know how to perform the role of an estate executor, and the legal requirements for closing an estate. If you are the executor of a will, or involved with settling the estate of a family member or loved one, hiring a professional estate administrator can help you close the estate.
If you need to hire a professional to settle a family member’s estate, the deceased’s estate planning attorney can refer you to some qualified professionals, and help you know what questions to ask:
• What is your experience in settling estates in our area?
• What are your qualifications as an estate administrator, ie lawyer, certified financial planner?
• What are your fees?
• How frequently will we hear updates from you?
• Will you be doing the estate management work yourself, or will it be someone on your team?
The estate administrator falls under the jurisdiction of the local probate court, so it’s important that the executor you choose have experience in your jurisdiction. There are many legal documents and important deadlines that must be met, or it will cost the estate – and the deceased’s heirs – time, money and stress.
Do you have questions about Illinois estate planning? To schedule a consultation with the experienced attorneys at Estate and Probate Legal Group, call us at 630-864-5835.
AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties