When a person passes away without an estate plan of any kind, or even if he or she had a Last Will and Testament, estate assets must go through a government controlled process known as Probate before they can be distributed. Probate is typically a frustrating, time-consuming and needlessly expensive process. It is also open to the public. At Borkus Law P.A., we design and implement customized plans that allow individuals and families to avoid the probate process entirely. However, we also assist families in probating their estate. We do so with compassion for the loss you have suffered, and strive to make the process as stress-free as possible.
Many people wonder what is required to probate an estate? While every situation is different, a “typical” probate involves all of the following:
- Filing a petition with the probate court
- Notice to heirs named in the Will or, if there is no Will, to statutory heirs
- Petition to appoint an Executor (if there is a Will) or an Administrator
- Inventory and appraisal of all estate assets
- Payment of estate debt to creditors
- Sale of estate assets
- Payment of estate taxes
- Final distribution of assets to heirs
If you are facing the difficult prospect of probating an estate, our Illinois probate lawyers can guide you through the process compassionately and efficiently. You are not alone—contact us today for a personal meeting.
The loss of a loved one is difficult enough without the stress of making important financial decisions about the decedent’s estate that can dramatically impact you and your family for years to come. If you have been called upon to oversee the administration of an estate and its trusts, you are most likely wondering what is involved. While every estate is unique, here is a partial list:
- Prepare application for tax identification number if there is no surviving spouse
- Prepare and mail out date of death valuation letters to determine the value of accounts
- Prepare signature cards for estate bank accounts
- Close decedent’s bank accounts and credit cards
- Open estate checking and savings (or money market) accounts
- Transfer assets to name of succession
- Change decedent’s mailing address
- Cancel subscriptions, etc. and request refunds for unexpired terms
- Extend insurance coverage to protect estate for home, motor vehicles, etc., titled in decedent’s name
- File life insurance claims and request copies of Federal Form 712
- Complete Sworn Descriptive List detailing any expenses/liabilities the estate has incurred (such as funeral expenses)
It is important to note that some estates and trusts can be considerably more complicated. During this difficult time, you are probably feeling overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and grief over your loss. To make matters worse, if the estate and/or trust assets are improperly accounted for in violation of Illinois law, the executor and/or trustee can be held personally liable. In addition, strategies and tools capable of minimizing taxes and reducing costs might be overlooked. There could also be confusion over which beneficiaries are entitled to certain assets. Unfortunately, all of this can lead to litigation, family infighting, costly delays in the transfer of assets, and even devastating financial consequences.
At BorkusLaw, Ltd., we can work with you to resolve any outstanding debts and expenses; distribute assets to the proper beneficiaries as quickly and efficiently as possible; minimize estate taxes; administer trusts in conjunction with your family’s existing advisors and fiduciaries; and help you avoid the types of mistakes that can leave you subject to personal financial liability. You do not have to go through this process alone. Our experienced attorneys are here to assist you every step of the way. Contact us today for a personal consultation.