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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/10-1: Letters of Administration to Collect

“Letters” is a document issued by the Illinois Probate Court giving someone the authority to act as administrator for a decedent’s estate. Before having the legal the authority to act on behalf of the estate, a petition must be filed with the court requesting that the court appoint the administrator. If the petitioner is the person a decedent named executor in his or her will, then the letters are called “Letters Testamentary” and the administrator is the executor. If the decedent did not leave a will, the letters are called “Letters of Administration” and the administrator is called the estate administrator. While in most cases the letters are general, authoring the administrator to take the steps necessary to settle an estate, there are some cases where letters are issued for authorizing specific task such as collecting the estate and debts owed to a missing person. To learn more about the process related to the issuance of letters of administration, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 10-1- Letters of administration to collect, contact an experienced Chicago estate administration attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Issuance of Letters

Typically letters are issued by an Probate Court judge to a petitioner to give him (or her) the authority to settle a decedent’s estate. However, under Illinois Probate Act, section 10-1- Letters of administration to collect the Probate Court may issue letters to a petitioner authorizing him or her to serve as administrator to collect with the power to sue for and collect the personal estate and debts due the decedent or missing person and by leave of court to exercise the powers vested by law in an administrator under two conditions:

  • Delay. When something happens that leads to a delay in the issuance of letters of office and it appears to the Probate Court that the estate of the decedent is liable to waste, loss or embezzlement
  • Missing person. When a person is missing from his or her residence or cannot be located while in the military service.
Persons Eligible to Receive Letters of Administration to Collect

As an experienced estate administration attorney in Chicago will explain, in determining to whom to issue letters of administration to collect, the court will use the same standard as would be used to appoint an administrator under normal circumstances. If the decedent left a will, then the court will first consider the person named as executor in the will. In the absence of a will, or where the person named in the will is unwilling, unable, or not qualified to serve as administration, under Illinois Probate Act, section 9-3- Persons entitled to preference in obtaining letters, the Probate Court will consider those with an interest in the estate in the following order of priority:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse
  • Beneficiaries who are children of the decedent
  • Other beneficiaries named in the will
  • The decedent’s children, grandchildren, parents, or siblings
  • The closest relative to the decedent
  • The representative of the estate of a deceased ward
  • The Public Administrator
  • A creditor of the decedent

Even if you are at the top of the priority list and would like to serve as administrator, the court will approve your petition only if you meet the statutory qualifications of serving as an administrator. If you have questions about whether you have the right to appointment or whether you qualify, contact an experience Chicago estate administration attorney.

Related Statutory Provisions

  1. Petition for letters of administration to collect : Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/10-2
  2. Administrator to collect for missing person - notice: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/10-3
  3. Powers and duties of administrator to collect: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/10-4
Illinois Probate Act, Section 10-1- Letters of Administration to Collect

(a) Upon the filing of a petition of any interested person or upon its own motion, the court may issue letters of administration to collect: (1) when any contingency happens which is productive of delay in the issuance of letters of office and it appears to the court that the estate of the decedent is liable to waste, loss or embezzlement or (2) when a person is missing from his usual place of residence and cannot be located or while in military service is reported by the federal government or an agency or department thereof as missing or missing in action. In order to act as administrator to collect one must be qualified to act as an administrator under this Act.
(b) The selection of an administrator to collect for the estate of a decedent is in the discretion of the court, giving due consideration to the person named as executor in the will or, if there is no will or if no executor is named, to the preferences in Section 9-3. The selection of an administrator to collect for the estate of a missing person must be in accordance with the preferences in Section 9-3.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are an interested party in an estate where there is a delay in the issuance of letters, or where there is a missing person, it is important to understand the rules related to how to move forward with the administration process, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 10-1- Letters of administration to collect. The skilled estate administration attorneys serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing clients in estate matters before the Illinois Probate Court, including complex matters involving delays in the issuance of letters, missing persons, and estate litigation. Contact an attorney in our office at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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