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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/24-11: Duty to Account - Ward's Estate

A ward is a person who is legally incapable of taking care of his (or her) own affairs and needs the help of another person. A ward can be a child—someone under the age of 18, or an adult with a disability. The person appointed by the court to take care of the person’s affairs is type of representative called a guardian. Upon the death of a ward, a representative is appointed by the court to serve as an estate administrator. Just like an estate administrator or executor of the estate of any other person, the administrator of the estate of a ward has specific duties and responsibilities related to the administration of the ward’s estate, including a duty to account. If you have questions about the steps involved in the administration of a ward’s estate, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 24-11- Duty to account - ward's estate, contact a skilled Chicago estate administration attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who understands the statutory requirements of estate administration.

Steps in Administration

While each ward’s estate is different, there are basic steps necessary to settle any estate.

Inventory assets . The administrator needs to know what assets are part of the ward’s estate and their value. The inventory must be filed with the probate court. Estate asset typically include a combination of cash, investments, personal property, and real estate. Determining the value is critical as this allows the administrator to understand the amount of assets available to pay creditors and distribute to beneficiaries and heirs. The administrator must also safeguard estate assets in order to avoid the value of the estate to diminish due to waste.

Pay creditors. The administrator must pay bills owed by the estate. While one of the main purposes of estate administration is to turn over the assets of a decedent to heirs and beneficiaries, another purpose is to make sure creditors are paid what is owed to them. Estate bills may include debts owed by the ward at the time of his or her death, as well as bills accumulated by the administrator in the process of settling the estate.

File accounting. The administrator is also required to file an account of his or her administration to the probate court within 30 days after the expiration of one year after the issuance of letters, within 30 days after the termination of his office, or such time as the court directs. The accounting must include information about the assets in the estate, assets that let the estate to pay bills, income to the estate, and distributions from the estate. As an estate administration attorney in Chicago will explain, the inventory must be detailed and supported by evidence. The court has the right to reject a problematic inventory and interested parties have the right to object to an accounting.

Distribute assets. Once debts are paid, the administrator must transfer title to estate assets to the ward’s heirs or beneficiaries. If the administrator is not able to locate a distributee, the administrator can petition the court to sell the asset and deposit the net proceeds with the county treasurer. If you have questions related to the distribution of assets, including the requirements of, Illinois Probate Act, section 24-20- Deposit of unclaimed money, contact an experienced Chicago estate administration attorney for assistance.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Who may act as guardian: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-3
  2. Termination of office of a representative of a ward : Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-12
  3. Accounting for a deceased representative or a representative under legal disability: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-13
  4. Administration of deceased ward's estate: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-19
Illinois Probate Act, Section 24-11- Duty to Account - Ward's Estate

(a) The representative of a ward's estate shall present a verified account of his administration to the court which issued his letters within 30 days after the expiration of one year after the issuance of letters or within such further time as the court allows; within 30 days after the termination of his office or within such further time as the court allows, and whenever required by the court until the office is terminated; provided however, if no time is set by the court, the representative shall present a verified account within 30 days after the expiration of 3 years from the date of the preceding account or within such further time as the court allows. The account shall state the receipts and disbursements of the representative since his last accounting and all personal estate which is on hand, and shall be accompanied by such evidence of the disbursements as the court may require. On every accounting the court may require the representative to produce satisfactory evidence that he has in his possession or control the personal estate shown by the account to be on hand.

(b) If the estate of a ward is derived in whole or in part from payments of compensation, adjusted compensation, pension, insurance or other similar benefits made directly to the estate by the Veterans Administration, notice of the hearing on any account filed in the ward's estate and a copy of the account must be given to the Veterans' Administration Regional Office at least 10 days before the hearing. If notice of the hearing on any account except the final account of a representative is served at least 10 days before the hearing on the account and the court appoints a guardian ad litem to represent the ward at the hearing, in the absence of fraud, accident or mistake the account as approved is binding upon the ward. Notice of the hearing on any final account of a representative must be given to the ward if he is living and to such other persons and in such manner as the court directs.

(c) On final settlement of the estate of a ward or sooner if the court directs, the representative shall pay and deliver the estate and title papers of the ward in the hands of the representative or with which he is chargeable to the person entitled thereto.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Estate administration requires that the representative follow a number of procedural rules, including rules related to submitting accountings to the court. If you have questions related to these rules it is important that you discuss the process with an experienced estate attorney serving Chicago who understands the requirements related estate settlement, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 24-11- Duty to account - ward's estate. Contact an experienced attorney in the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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