Probate is the court process in which a decedent's assets are transferred to their heirs or beneficiaries. Ladewig & Basch, P.C. helps administrators and executors of estates navigate this court process, liquidate financial assets, distribute funds to the appropriate parties and close the estate with no remaining personal liability.
Settling an estate is a very detailed and potentially complex process that can be overwhelming for first time executors.The vast majority of executors have little to no experience with any court process let alone a court process involving the death of a loved one. When you retain LBPC, we will be there with you at every step of the legal process, providing sound advice and working to ensure the smooth and efficient completion of the case.
There are a number of executor duties that need to be fulfilled and documents that need to be prepared throughout the administration process. Depending on the size of the estate and the type of assets involved, the services of an experienced lawyer to help you through the process is a crucial element of effective estate administration.
Illinois executors and administrators have a number of duties to carry out. These tasks include marshaling and inventorying assets, preparing a final estate accounting, and distributing all assets to the proper heirs, legatees and claimants in accordance with the decedent's will or trust. If a person dies with no will or trust, any and all assets owned at the time of death will be distributed in accordance with the Illinois law for intestate succession.
The probate process will take seven to nine months at a minimum and will frequently last for more than a year for larger estates or contested wills. In relatively rare cases an estate can require adversarial proceedings due to charges of undue influence, breaches of fiduciary duty, erroneous claims, mismanagement of assets and accounting challenges. LBPC litigates all of these matters and more that arise as challenges to wills, trusts and other estate planning documents in probate court.
However, there are potential benefits for estates passing through the probate court. Creditor claims terminate sooner in a probate estate rather than an estate controlled by a trust. Having a court supervised process can more easily resolve potential family disputes over distributions. The probate court allows for the production of official documents proving the validity of the will, valuing estate assets, tracking down any and all beneficiaries, paying all claims and preparing and filing federal and state tax returns.
An experienced attorney can also be beneficial with general estate administration. While probate is encompassed in estate administration, assistance is often beneficial with the management and distribution of non-probate assets such as trusts, life insurance benefits, and property owned in joint tenancy. While probating of wills is a public process, the administration of non-probate assets can be done privately at the same time as probate administration.
Contact Ladewig & Basch, P.C. to assist with any estate administration or probate needs you may have.