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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/18-2: Claim Form

When someone passes away, not only does the decedent leave behind love ones, they also leave behind property, debts, and other unfinished business. It is the job of the estate administrator appointed by the Probate Court with jurisdiction over the case to make sure that the decedent’s affairs are settled and estate assets distributed based on the procedures outlined in the Illinois Probate Act. An issue that administrators are often confronted with are claims against the estate. To learn more about estate administration process and the rules associated with it, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 18-2- Claim form, contact a skilled Chicago estate administration attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who understands Illinois estate law and Probate Court procedures.

Claims Against an Estate

A claim against an estate is a lawsuit filed against the estate of the decedent. A claim can based on contract that the decedent entered into. For example, the claimant may allege that the decedent did not fulfill his (or her) part of the contract and as a result, the decedent’s estate owes money. A claim may also be a tort claim such as a personal injury. For example, the decedent may have died as a result of a car accident. A person injured in the car accident may allege that the decedent was at fault, and file a lawsuit against the estate demanding compensation for his or her injuries and other losses.

A third type of claim is referred to as a statutory custodial claim. This claim is created by the Probate Act and gives a spouse, parent, brother, sister, or child of a person with a disability the right to file a claim against the estate of the person with a disability. In order to have a statutory custodial claim, the claimant must have cared for the person with a disability for at least 3 years. The amount to which the person is entitled is based on the level of disability of the person cared for. Under section 18-1.1 of the Illinois Probate Act, the statutory claim amount is:

  • 100% disability, $180,000
  • 75% disability, $135,000
  • 50% disability, $90,000
  • 25% disability, $45,000

This court can reduce the amount based on the circumstances of the care the claimant provided. For information about the details that must be mention in the claim, contact an experienced estate administration attorney in Chicago.

Form of Claims and Filing Rules

The Probate Act has a specific format as to how a claim must be filed. According to Illinois Probate Act, section 18-2- Claim form, claims must be in writing. In other words, it is not enough for a claimant to verbally discuss his or her claim with the administrator. The claim must also state sufficient information so that the representative understands the nature of the claim or the relief sought. Claimants must file claims with the administrator, the court, or both. If the claimant files the claim with the court, within 10 days he or she must also mail or deliver a copy to the administrator. The claimant must also file with the court proof of delivering the claim to the administrator.

Effect of Claims on the Distributions

The administrator of the estate must settle claims and pay creditors before distributing assets to beneficiaries or heirs. However, creditors must file claims during the claim period set by the administrator. The administrator must mail notice to known creditors. The notice must include the date by which the creditor must file his or her claim. In addition, the administrator is required to publish the notice for 3 weeks.

Whenever there are claims filed against an estate, the beneficiaries and heirs become justifiably concerned about their inheritances. The concern is justifiable because if the estate does not have sufficient funds to pay the creditors and make distributions, then the amount of distributions that that the beneficiaries or heirs receive may be reduced. In other words, distributions are made only to the extent that there are assets available in the estate after debts, claims, and expenses are paid.

If there are not sufficient assets to pay all claims, then the administrator must pay claims based an order of priority. The top priority is the payment of the expenses related to the funeral and burial of the decedent. After that is the surviving spouse’s award and the child’s award, followed by debts owed to the federal government such as taxes. The next priority is debt owed to employees of the decedent that does not exceed $800, unidentifiable or untraceable property held in trust by the decedent, and debts owed to Illinois or a municipality in Illinois. All other claims have the lowest priority.

Other Responsibilities of the Administrator

In addition to making sure that creditors are paid, the administrator is also responsible for collecting assets, inventorying them, and having them appraised. These steps must be completed prior to paying creditors. The administrator must know the value of the estate before he (or she) can make decisions related to paying creditors and distributing to beneficiaries and heirs.

After the debts are paid and the assets distributed, the administrator must filed a final accounting with the Probate Court. The final accounting focuses on 4 issues: assets, income, disbursements, and distributions. The document must give details as to all property that left the estate and came into the estate. Evidence to back up expenditures and income must be provided. Beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors have the right to object to an accounting, and the court can reject an accounting that is not completed satisfactorily.

If you have questions about the accounting or any other duty of an administrator or executor, contact an experienced Chicago estate administrator lawyer.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Filing of claims - mailing or delivery of copies: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-1
  2. Statutory custodial claim: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-1.1
  3. Notice - Publication: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-3
  4. Claims not due: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-4
Illinois Probate Act, Section 18-2- Claim Form

Every claim filed must be in writing and state sufficient information to notify the representative of the nature of the claim or other relief sought.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If a loved one recently passed away and you have questions about the spouse’s award, the experienced estate administration attorneys serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help. We have decades of experience representing clients in matters related to settling estates and understand the nuances of Illinois estate law including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 18-2- Claim form. 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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