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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/18-5: Pleadings

Estate administration is a process that occurs when someone passes away. The Illinois Probate Court has jurisdiction over estate matters, and an administrator appointed by the Probate Court is responsible for the activities necessary to settle a decedent’s estate. Part of the estate administration process is settling claims that people file against the estate. It is up to the estate administrator to review each claim, defend the estate against claims, and pay valid claims from the assets in the estate. When filing claims against an estate, there are several procedural rules that apply, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 18-5- Pleadings. To ensure that your legal rights are protected, it is important that you have experienced representation. Contact a skilled Chicago estate administration attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss your concerns.

Claims Against an Estate

A claim against an estate is a lawsuit filed against the estate of the decedent. A claim can based be a contract, tort or statutory custodial claim.

  • Contract claim. A contract claim is based on a dispute over a contract where the claimant believes that that the decedent failed to fulfill his or her obligations under the contract.
  • Tort claim. A tort claim is based on a claim that the decedent’s negligence resulted in harm to a person or to property.
  • Statutory custodial claim. A statutory custodial claim is based on a provision of the Probate Act that 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 qualify for this type claim, the claimant must have cared for the person with a disability for at least 3 years. The statutory amount to which the person is entitled is based on the level of disability of the person cared for and can be from $45,000-$180,000. However, the court can reduce the amount based on the specific arrangement under which the claimant provided care. For information about the details that must be mention in the claim, contact an experienced estate administration attorney in Chicago.
Filing a Claim

Whether the claim is in contract, in tort, or a custodial claim, it must be filed properly. First, the claim must be in writing. Second, the claim must include sufficient details so that the estate administrator understands the nature of the claim, the relief sought, and the estate’s involvement in the matter. In addition, the claim must be properly filed and the administrator must receive a copy of the claim.

Furthermore, according to Illinois Probate Act, section 18-5- Pleadings, anyone whose rights may be affected by the allowance of a claim filed against the estate has 30 days to file a claim or a counterclaim. Such a claim may be either in favor of the estate or against it.

Any interested party may demand a jury trial at the time of filing the claim or counterclaim, or at the time of filing an answer opposing the claim or counterclaim or other pleading.

Effect of Claims on the Distributions

If a claim against the estate is successful, the administrator must pay the claim from estate assets. Any debts that are paid from estate assets, impacts the amount of property available to distribute to beneficiaries and heirs. Distributions can only be made from the estate after debts, claims, and expenses are paid. The amount of distribution may be reduced in order to ensure that claimants are paid. If you have questions related to the affect that claims on estate have on distributions, contact a Chicago estate administration attorney.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Jury trial: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-6
  2. Procedure on hearing of claims: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-7
  3. Claim of representative or his attorney: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-8
  4. Costs: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-9
Illinois Probate Act, Section 18-5- Pleadings

(a) The representative or any other person whose rights may be affected by the allowance of a claim or counterclaim may file pleadings with the clerk of the court within 30 days after mailing or delivery of the copy of the claim. A claim or counterclaim may be filed in favor of the estate and against any claimant named in the claim.

(b) The court may order the claimant, the representative or any other interested person to file such pleadings as the court directs.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have questions about claims against an estate, 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, estate litigation, disputes with creditors, and understand the nuances of Illinois estate law including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 18-5- Pleadings. 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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