Probate is often a complex process if you are unfamiliar with the requirements. The executor of an estate in Wheaton has legal obligations to fulfill and could face a host of unpleasant consequences if these tasks are neglected or performed in a manner that does not comply with state and federal laws.

If you have been charged with tasks involving someone’s estate, a Wheaton probate lawyer could explain the duties of an executor and manage the legal obligations so that you are able to focus on family matters. Guidance from a knowledgeable trusts and estates lawyer could make the whole process manageable and efficient.

Paying Bills

One major reason the probate process exists is to make sure that creditors of the deceased person have an opportunity to receive money owed. Part of the responsibility of an executor is to ensure that creditors are notified in accordance with applicable laws. In some cases, it is necessary to place ads in periodicals to put potential creditors on notice of their limited time to file a claim.

If the debts of an estate outweigh the assets, laws specify which creditors should be paid first and when. An experienced Wheaton probate lawyer could help with the process of evaluating assets and debts and determining how creditors may be paid to avoid legal liability.

Distributing Assets

Before beneficiaries of a will or heirs of an intestate estate may receive any assets, the executor must fulfill a number of duties, although a Wheaton probate lawyer may perform many tasks on their behalf. These duties include:

  • Acting in the best interests of the estate (fiduciary duty)
  • Filing the will with the DuPage County probate court or other courts as appropriate
  • Filing a petition for probate and other required paperwork
  • Completing an accurate inventory of estate assets
  • Protecting assets until they are transferred and liquidate assets if necessary
  • Notifying creditors and heirs
  • Paying bills
  • Filing all applicable tax returns

After these tasks have been completed, the executor may distribute assets to beneficiaries or heirs. At the end of the process, the executor needs to prepare a final accounting showing expenditures and distributions. Then the executor may request that the probate court close the estate.

How a Probate Lawyer Could Assist

In most cases, a Wheaton probate lawyer could handle all matters with the court without an appearance by the executor. Even when a will names an executor, the court still needs to approve the designation and the attorney could manage that process right at the beginning.

Every estate is different, and every court has slightly different requirements, so it could be confusing for an executor to determine what to do and in what order. A probate lawyer in Wheaton could guide an executor and other interested parties through the process step by step, performing some actions on their behalf and providing assistance with other tasks until the process is complete.

Work with a Knowledgeable Wheaton Probate Attorney

Handling the legal complexities of the probate process is not usually high on anyone’s wish list when dealing with the death of a loved one. When you work with an experienced Wheaton probate lawyer, your legal advocate could handle the details to allow you to focus on the future.

Assistance from a knowledgeable probate attorney could prevent costly mistakes and remain in compliance with legal requirements. If a dispute arises, a dedicated probate lawyer could fight to protect your interests and reach an effective resolution to the conflict. To learn more about how a probate attorney could help in your situation, call now for a consultation.