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How to Probate a House

When someone passes away, before his (or her) property can be distributed to his beneficiaries or heirs the estate must go through a process called probate. Probate involves the executor of the estate or the estate administrator winding up the affairs of the estate and at the end of probate, distributing the estate assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs. Oftentimes the probate property includes different types of property including financial property, personal property, and real estate such as a house. There are different considerations depending on the type of property and how the property is owned. If you are an executor, estate administrator, beneficiary, or heir and are wondering how to probate a house, contact a Chicago probate lawyer who will be able to explain to you the process and help ensure that the probate process is completed in a manner that is consistent with the requirements of Illinois law. Probate Process

The probate process is initiated when the executor files the will with the court. A notice must be sent to the decedent’s beneficiaries and heirs, and a notice must be published in a local newspaper in order to alert creditors. The judge will review the will and if there are not any glaring issues with it, it will be admitted to probate.

Then the executor has to go about the business of settling the decedent’s estate and distributing the decedent’s assets to beneficiaries mentioned in his will. The duties of an executor include gathering, inventorying, appraising, and safeguarding the assets in the estate. Once the executor understands what property is in the estate and the value of that property, the executor must pay estate bills. This may include any bills that the decedent owed to creditors at his death, and may also include expenses related to managing the estate. If there are outstanding claims against the decedent or the estate, the executor must settle them and pay any valid claims. Thus, it is important that the executor determine the market value of any property in the estate including houses and other real estate.

Once all claims are settled and bills paid, the executor must distribute assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will. If the decedent passed away without a will, then the estate administrator will have to distribute the assets to the decedent’s heirs according to the rules of intestate succession.

How to Probate a House

Houses and other real estate have particular considerations related to probate. In order to understand how to probate a house, the first thing the executor must determine is the ownership of the house. In order to determine who owns a house and how it is owned, it is necessary to check the real estate ownership records at the county. The official record will govern who owns the house. If you are unsure as to who owns the house and how the house is owned, contact an experienced Chicago probate lawyer who will help you determine the legal ownership of the house.

Joint tenancy. It is not unusual for a residence to be owned by more than one person. For example, spouses typically own the family home in joint tenancy. If a home is owned in joint tenancy it is not subject to probate. The house automatically goes to the other joint tenant.

Individual ownership. On the other hand, if the house was owned solely by the decedent, then the house would be part of the decedent’s probate estate and will go through probate.

Tenancy in common. If the house is held in tenancy in common, then the decedent’s interest in the house would go through probate. However, the other tenants in common, meaning the other person or people who have an interest in the house would retain that interest. So, whoever inherits the decedent’s interest in the house will own it as a tenant in common with the other people who retain an interest in the property.

Contents of the House

As an experienced probate attorney in Chicago will explain, the contents of the house is separate property from the house itself. This means that the decedent can give the contents of the house which is personal property, to one person and give the house itself to another person.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
How to probate a house can be complicated, particularly if the house is jointly owned by others. Furthermore, the process can be further complicated if it is occupied by someone who has no ownership interest in it. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have extensive experience representing beneficiaries, heirs, and executors in estate matters related to probate. We are here to help. Contact a probate attorney serving Chicago in our office at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent individuals and estates throughout Chicago.

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