COVID-19 Update: We are open and serving our clients. Learn More >>>
Richard Hellerman
Guarding Your Loved One’s Wishes 855.454.5529 Request A Free Consultation

Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/18-6: Jury Trial

The estate administration process can be challenging for the administrator, involving many different activities and challenges. One complication that may develop during the course of the process is a claim being filed against the estate, resulting in estate litigation. Claims against an estate can be time-consuming and costly. While part of the job of an estate administrator is to defend the estate against claims, it is also the job of the estate administrator to pay valid claims. To learn more about the rules associated with estate administration and settling claims against estates, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 18-6- Jury Trial, contact a skilled Chicago estate litigation attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Claims Against an Estate

A claim against an estate is basically an assertion by a claimant that the claimant is owed money because the decedent did something wrong. There are three categories of claims: contract, tort, or statutory custodial.

Contract. In a contract claim, the claimant asserts that the decedent broke an agreement. This may mean that the decedent did not pay for services that the claimant rendered, or that the claimant paid for services that the decedent did not render. For example, the claimant may allege that the decedent entered into a contract to have a complete a renovation on the decedents home and did indeed complete the renovation. However, the decedent died before paying for the work. The person completed the work has the right to file a claim against the estate for the amount due under the contract.

Tort. A claimant would have a tort claim against the decedent based on an allegation that the claimant was injured because of the decedent’s negligence. The claimant would file a claim to seek damages for medical bills and other losses. For example, the claim could be for injuries suffered in a car, bike, or truck accident, slip and fall accident, or for some other premises liability accident.

Statutory custodial claim. The Probate Acts creates a special type of claim called a statutory custodial claim. This type of claim awards a specified lump sum of money to certain families of a decedent who cared for the decedent who suffered from a disability. The statutory amount is from $45,000 to $180,000. However, the Probate Court can reduce the amount based on other factors in the care arrangement. If you have questions related to the statutory custodial claim, or any other type of claim against an estate, contact an experienced Chicago estate litigation lawyer for assistance.

Filing of Claims

A claimant must filed the claim according to the Probate Court’s established procedures. It is critical that the claimant makes sure that the estate administrator receives a copy. In fact, the claimant must file with the court proof of delivering the claim to the administrator. The successful claimant must pay any fees associated with filing the claim.

Settling a Claim Against an Estate

The law allows an claimant or counterclaimant to demand that the case be settled by a jury. However, the party desiring a jury trial must make the request at the proper time. Otherwise, the person waives a jury.

  • Claimant or counterclaimant: Must file the jury demand at the time of filing the claim or counterclaim.
  • Party opposing a claim or counterclaim. Must file the jury demand not later than the filing of his or her answer or other pleading.
  • Claimant or counterclaimant changes mind. If the claimant or counterclaimant timely demands a jury, but them waives a jury, the person opposing the claim or counterclaim has the right to demand a jury. The court will grant the demand as long as it was made promptly after being advised of the waiver.

The procedures surrounding filing and litigating a claim are highly technical requiring the expertise of a skilled estate litigation attorney in Chicago. It is important that all deadlines are adhered to and that all pleadings and other paperwork is completed and filed properly. Whether you are on the side of the estate or against the estate, failure will put your case in jeopardy.

Effect of Claims on the Distributions

The outcome of a claim may have a significant impact on the estate. If the claim against the estate is successful, the administrator must pay the claim from estate assets. This means that the amount of money available in the estate to pay distributions will decrease. As a result, the administrator may have no choice but to reduce the amount of distributions that beneficiaries receive, regardless of what the will directs.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Filing of claims - mailing or delivery of copies: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-1
  2. Claim form: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-2
  3. Notice - Publication: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-3
  4. Pleadings: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-5
  5. Procedure on hearing of claims: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-7
Illinois Probate Act, Section 18-6- Jury Trial

Any interested person may demand a jury to try the issue in accordance with the following, otherwise he waives a jury:

(a) A claimant or counterclaimant must file the jury demand at the time of filing the claim or counterclaim.

(b) A person opposing a claim or counterclaim must file the jury demand not later than the filing of his answer or other pleading.

(c) If the claimant or counterclaimant files a jury demand and thereafter waives a jury, the person opposing the claim or counterclaim shall be granted a jury trial upon demand therefor made promptly after being advised of the waiver. For good cause shown, the court may permit a jury demand to be filed after expiration of the time specified.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If a loved one recently passed away and you have questions about contract, tort, or statutory custodial claims against the estate, the experienced estate litigation 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 18-6- Jury Trial. 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.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"I’ve know Richard Hellerman for 30 plus years. I respect his judgement as well as his analytical mind. Have had the opportunity to see his high quality work as well as his unyielding dedication to his clients. Can’t recommend him enough." SB
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
855-454-5529