Whether you draft a will or not before you pass away in Elgin, Illinois, your estate will go through probate afterward. Usually, it is supposed to be distributed through a will, but if you fail to make one before your death, the state will decide how it should be distributed. Basically, the process decides whether all valid taxes and debts were paid or not by the deceased and clarifies who inherits their properties.
What Goes Into the Probate Process?
If you don’t have an executor, a court appointed executor will handle the process. Here are some of the things they need to do:
- Get the assets of the deceased appraised to determine their value.
- Prove the will of the deceased is valid.
- Determine and inventory the assets of the deceased.
- Distribute the property as it is mentioned in the will or as per state law in case there is no will.
Is Probate Necessary?
Whether a probate is required or not usually depends on the assets that the deceased owned. A valid will may or may not affect the decisions made in court. In Illinois, a formal probate hearing is deemed necessary only if:
- The assets of the deceased are worth more than $100,000
- There are some assets the deceased owned on their own, not with someone else.
However, not every asset needs to go through this process. These include those that:
- Cannot be distributed if beneficiaries are not designated (such as retirement accounts).
- Are held in trust.
- Are owned jointly or via tenancy by entirety.
- Includes real estate that is dependent on the transfer-on-death deed in Illinois.
Why Putting Off a Will Is a Bad Idea
The bottom line is your estate will go through this process whether you make a will or not. The only difference is that if you make one, you can ensure your property does not go to the wrong people. For example, if you have children and don’t have a will, there is no guarantee the state will give them enough to survive without a parent helping.
A well-documented will that is regularly updated, organizes your debts and personal property will stand in court and ensure your beneficiaries get what you want them to have. It is also the best way to ensure the executor you designate can ensure your last wishes are adhered to completely. Just keep in mind this individual must be a U.S. resident to qualify.
This is where James P. Casement from the Casement Group can prove invaluable. As a certified public accountant and principal attorney, he spent 25 years in the finance industry before actively pursuing law. Get in touch with him whether you are drafting a will, want a second opinion or want to dispute a claim from the member of the family regarding a will. Call 847-888-9300 for a consultation before it is too late and your family ends up suffering.