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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/18-9: Costs

The process of settling the estate of a decedent has three major steps: inventorying estate assets, paying estate debts, and distributing estate assets to the beneficiaries or heirs. The estate administrator is the person responsible for the estate administration and the Probate Court has jurisdiction over the process. Typically the process takes at least 6 months and may last 12 months. However, complications such as litigations initiate against the estate may cause the process to extend more than 12 months. It is up to the estate administrator to defend the estate against claims. If you are an interested party in a claim involving an estate, and you have questions concerning the process including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 18-9- Costs, contact a skilled Chicago estate litigation lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Claims Against an Estate

A legal claim is a set of facts that if proved would result in the defendant owing the claimant something—typically money or property. In the case of a claim against an estate, generally the circumstances that resulted in the claim occurred before defendant passed away, but the issue was never settled. As a result, the claimant files an action against the estate of the defendant. There are three different types of possible claims against an estate: statutory custodial, tort, and contract.

Statutory custodial claim. While contract and tort claims are based on common law, a statutory custodial claim is based on statutory law. The Probate Act provides a person would be entitled to a statutory amount of money from a decedent’s estate. In order to be eligible to file a statutory custodial claim, the person must be a spouse, parent, brother, sister, or child of a person with a disability whom the claimant cared for for at least 3 years. 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.

Contract. A contract law claim is based on one person breaching an agreement with another person. There are many different types of contracts, but in all cases one person agreed to do something in exchange for something from another person. If one of the parties to the agreement failed to live up to the terms of the agreement, then there would be a breach. If a decedent breached a contract, then the other person who performed his or her part of the agreement has the right to sue the estate.

Tort. A tort claim is one that is based on one person causing injury to another. A common type of tort claim is a personal injury claim where the claimant alleges that the defendant was negligent and as a result the claimant was seriously injured. Personal injury claims often are based on car accidents, bike accidents, slip and fall, and medical malpractice.

Filing of Claims and Fees

The claimant must file his or her claim according to the rules set forth by the probate court. Failure to do so may result in the claimant’s claim being dismissed. In addition, under Illinois Probate Act, section 18-9- Costs, if the claim is paid, then the claimant must pay the filing feel. The court has the discretion to determine who will be required to pay other costs of the proceedings associated with the claim.

Settling a Claim Against an Estate

A claim can be settled by a jury or by a judge. Either the claimant or counterclaimant has the right to demand that the case be settled by jury. However, the party desiring a jury trial must make the request at the proper time. Otherwise, the person waives a jury.

The substantive law and procedural law related to filing and litigating a tort, contract, or statutory custodial claim are highly technical and require the expertise of a skilled estate litigation attorney in Chicago. The claim must include the proper information and must be timely filed. Otherwise, you may lose your case on a technicality.

Effect of Claims on the Distributions

Estate administration is concerned with two main things: that estate debts get paid and that beneficiaries and heirs receive estate assets. However, distributions can be made only after debts are paid. Thus, if a claimant wins, depending on the size of the claim and the size of the estate, the winning claim could have a significant impact on what is left in the estate to distribute to beneficiaries and heirs. In fact, the amount that the distributees would have otherwise received may be significantly reduced.

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. Notice - Publication: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-3
  5. Pleadings: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/18-5
Illinois Probate Act, Section 18-9- Costs

If a claim for which a filing fee is required to be paid is filed, the clerk of the court shall collect the filing fee from the claimant. All other costs of proceedings with respect to claims and counterclaims shall be awarded in the discretion of the court.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If a loved one recently passed away and you have questions about claims against his or her estate, the experienced estate litigation attorneys serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help. We have over 20 years of experience representing clients in matters related to estate litigation, disputes with creditors, and estate administration, and understand the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, 18-9- Costs. 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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