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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/18-3: Notice - Publication

The job of an estate administrator is to settle all of the outstanding issues related to a decedent’s estate and then transfer the remaining assets in the estate to his (or her) beneficiaries and heirs. While many believe that the primary purpose of the estate administration process is to divvy up a decedent’s estate among his (or her) loved ones, in reality estate administration rules have a second goal that is equally if not more important. This second goal is ensuring that all of the debts that the testator left behind are paid, that all claims are settled, and that all of the expenses associated with estate administration are paid. To learn more about the rules associated with estate administration, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 18-3- Notice - Publication, contact a skilled Chicago estate administration attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who can explain the nuances of the Illinois Probate Act.

Estate Administration Process

The process of estate administration has 3 basic steps: collecting assets, paying creditors, and distributing to beneficiaries and heirs.

Collecting Assets. Collecting assets involves the administrator identifying all the decedent’s probate property and taking control of them. Estate assets include everything that the decedent owned. Depending on how the property is titled, it may also include property that the decedent co-owned with others. Estate property typically includes personal property financial accounts, and real estate. In some instances the administrator may have to demand that family members and friends who are in possession of the decedent’s assets turn them over. Once the administrator has identified all of the property in the probate estate, he must determine its value. This step is critical as the administrator needs to understand the amount of assets that are in the estate that are available to pay creditors and distribute to beneficiaries.

Paying creditors. The next step is paying creditors. Common types of debts include bills that were outstanding at the time of the decedent’s death such as personal loans, utility bills, car loan, credit card bills, student loans, tax debt, and medical bills. The administrator is required to notify creditors. According to Illinois Probate Act, section 18-3- Notice – Publication, the administrator is required to publish notice and mail notices. The administrator must publish notice once a week for 3 consecutive weeks. The notice must be published in a newspaper in the county where the estate is being administered. The administrator must file proof of publication with the clerk of the Probate Court. The notice must state the date of the death of the decedent, the name and address of the administrator and his attorney, and the date that claims must be filed. The cutoff date for claims must be at least 6 months from the date of the first publication or 3 months from the date of mailing or delivery of the notice, whichever is later. Claims that are filed by that date will be barred. Thus, as a Chicago estate administration attorney will explain, whether you are an administrator, beneficiary, heir, or creditor, it is very important to understand the deadline for filing claims. He must also mail or deliver the notice to each known creditors.

It is not uncommon for an estate to have insufficient funds to pay all creditors. When this happens, the representative must pay creditors based on a priority set for in the Probate Act. There are 7 categories of claims:

  • First priority: Those that are related to the decedent’s funeral and burial expenses, expenses related to the administration of the estate, and statutory custodial claims.
  • Second priority: The surviving spouse’s award and the child’s award.
  • Third in priority: Debts owed to the United States such as federal taxes due or student loans.
  • Fourth priority: Any money due to employee of the decedent that does not exceed $800.
  • Fifth priority: Property held in trust by the decedent which cannot be identified or traced.
  • Sixth priority: Debts due to Illinois or a municipality in Illinois.
  • Seventh priority: All other claims.

To learn more about priority of claims, contact an experienced estate administration attorney in Chicago to discuss your questions and concerns.

Distributing assets. After the debts are paid, the administrator must distribute what remains in the estate to the decedent’s beneficiaries and heirs. If the decedent left a will, he will look to the will to guide him in the distribution process. The will may contain specific bequests and general bequests. A specific bequest is a gift for a specific asset such as a house, a vehicle, or a piece of jewelry. A general bequest is a nonspecific portion of an estate. For example, a testator may leave 25% of her entire estate to each of her 4 sisters.

If there are not sufficient assets in an estate to pay all creditors, then the administrator will have to apply a process of abatement. Abatement involves reducing distributions to beneficiaries in order to pay creditors.

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. Claim form: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-2
  4. Claims not due: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-4
Illinois Probate Act, Section 18-3- Notice - Publication

(a) It is the duty of the representative to publish once each week for 3 successive weeks, and to mail or deliver to each creditor of the decedent whose name and post office address are known to or are reasonably ascertainable by the representative and whose claim has not been allowed or disallowed as provided in Section 18-11, a notice stating the death of the decedent, the name and address of the representative and of his attorney of record, that claims may be filed on or before the date stated in the notice, which date shall be not less than 6 months from the date of the first publication or 3 months from the date of mailing or delivery, whichever is later, and that any claim not filed on or before that date is barred.
(b) The published notice under subsection (a) of this Section must be published in a newspaper published in the county where the estate is being administered and may be combined with any notice under Section 6-10 or subsection (b) of Section 9-5. The representative must file proof of publication with the clerk of the court.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Whether you have a claim against an estate or you are an executor, estate administrator, heir, or beneficiary of an estate against which a claim has been filed, 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 18-3- Notice - Publication. 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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