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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/14-1: Inventory

When someone passes away, the executor or the estate administrator is responsible for managing the state. Managing the estate involves a number of different activities with the ultimate goal of closing the estate and distributing the estate assets to the beneficiaries or heirs. Before the property can be distributed, the property in the estate must be inventoried so that the executor or estate administrator understands exactly what property is part of the decedent’s probate estate. The Illinois Probate Act has specific rules related to completing the inventory. If you are the administrator of an estate, it is important that you understand the rules related to the administration of an estate, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act section 14-1- Inventory, contact the experienced Chicago estate administration attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Responsibilities of the Executor or Estate Administrator

An administrator appointed by the Probate Court is responsible for administering a decedent’s estate. If the decedent died testate, the administrator is the person named in the will to serve as executor. If the decedent died intestate, the administrator is the person appointed by the court to serve as estate administrator.


Once the will has been admitted to probate, one of the first jobs of the administrator is to take control of the estate and inventory the assets. The administrator must identify the assets that are part of the decedent’s probate estate and take control of them. Estate property may include real estate such as the decedent’s house, condo, or co-op. The decedent’s personal property is also included in his or her estate, such as a vehicle, clothing, furniture, and jewelry. Furthermore, estate property is likely to include financial property such as bank accounts and investment accounts. As a skilled Chicago estate administration attorney will explain, not all property owned by the decedent is classified as probate property subject to the Probate Court’s administration process. Certain assets such pension plans, trust property, and life insurance is the impacted by a will or by intestacy. Instead, it will pass to beneficiaries outside of the probate process.

Inventorying estate assets is more than simply making a list of the assets. The administrator must file a verified inventory with the Probate Court. Under Illinois Probate Act, section 14-1- Inventory, the administrator must file the inventory within 60 days after the court issues letters to the administrator. The list must include all real estate and any improvement made thereto and encumbrances thereupon. The list must include all personal property and money. Furthermore, the administrator must provide the court with information about any cause of action on which he or she has a right to sue.

Other Responsibilities of the Administrator

The administrator must also pay debts owed by the decedent or the estate. Debts of the estate include debts owed by the decedent at the time of his death such as credit card bills and a car note. Debts of the estate may include bills associated with managing the estate such as attorney’s fees, property insurance, and utility bills. In addition, the executor must also pay taxes owed by the decedent or by the estate.

After the property is inventoried and debts are paid, the administrator must transfer title to the estate property to the appropriate beneficiaries based on the term of the will. In the absence of a will, the property will be transferred to the decedent’s legal heirs. As an estate administration attorney in Chicago will explain, a decedent’s legal heirs typically include his (or her) surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, and parents. Under intestate succession rules a decedent’s friends, organizations, non-blood relatives, and even certain blood relatives will not be legally entitled to inherit.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Appraisal: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/14-2
  2. Inventories and appraisals as evidence: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/14-3
Illinois Probate Act, Section 14-1- Inventory

(a) Within 60 days after the issuance of his letters the representative of the estate of a decedent or ward shall file in the court a verified inventory of the real and personal estate which has come to his knowledge and of any cause of action on which he has a right to sue. If any real or personal estate comes to the knowledge of the representative after he has filed an inventory he shall file a supplemental inventory thereof within 60 days after it comes to his knowledge.

(b) The inventory must describe the real estate and the improvements and encumbrances thereon, state the amount of money on hand and list all personal estate.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

There are several steps involved in the administration of an estate, and procedural rules that must be followed. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over 20 years of experience representing clients in estate matters, including matters related to probate and administration. If you have concerns related to the administration of an estate including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act section 14-1- Inventory, contact an experienced probate attorney serving Chicago attorneys at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients throughout Chicago.

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