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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/24-17: Devastavit

A representative of an estate, such as an executor or estate administrator, has a fiduciary duty to beneficiaries and heirs to manage estate property lawfully and for their benefit. If the representative does not properly discharge his (or her) responsibilities, he may have committed a devastavit. “Devastavit” is a Latin term meaning "he has laid waste" In the context of estate administration, it means mismanagement. If a representative commits a devastavit on an estate, he or she may face liability for any losses suffered as a result of his or her actions. If you are an interested party in an estate administration matter and you have concerns related to the management of estate assets by the administrator, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 24-17- Devastavit, contact a skilled Chicago estate attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss your concerns.

Devastavit

An estate administrator has the duty to follow an order of the court to deliver money or other property to a beneficiary, heir, creditor, or other individual who the court deems is legally entitled to the property. If the estate administrator fails to do so 30 days after it is demanded that he or she do so, then a proceeding may be commenced upon the estate administrator 's bond.

Bond

A surety bond is essentially a contract between three parties: the principal, the obligees, and the surety. If the principal fails to perform the obligation, the surety pays the obligee. As a Chicago estate attorney will explain, the reason that estate administrators are required to post a bond is that as part of their responsibilities involved in settling a decedent’ estate is that they often have almost unrestricted access to estate property, including cash, investments, real estate, and personal property. They are charged with managing the property, receiving income, and paying bills. They also have the responsibility of distributing assets as required by order for the probate court. As a result there is a risk that either by negligence, ignorance, or fraud, the estate administrator could cause the estate to suffer a financial loss. If that happens, creditors and distributees may not get what is legally due them.

Amount of Bond

The amount of bond depends on multiple factor such as the value of the personal property in the estate and the type of surety. A surety can be an individual or a company. Under Illinois law if the surety is an individual the amount of bond required will be more than if the surety is a company.

  • Individual surety: If an individual acts as surety, the bond will be at least twice the value of the personal property in the estate. The probate court judge can choose to raise the amount based on the circumstances of a particular case.
  • Surety company: If a surety company issues the bond, the bond will be at least 1.5 times the value of the personal estate property. The probate court judge can choose to raise the amount based on the circumstances of a particular case.

If you have questions related to the posting of bond, including circumstances that may result in an action on the bond, contact an experienced estate attorney in Chicago.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Accounting by surety on bond of representative: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-14
  2. Stating an account: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-15
  3. Citation - attachment: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-16
  4. Liability for mismanagement: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-18
Illinois Probate Act, Section 24-17- Devastavit

The failure or refusal of a representative to pay any money or deliver any property to the person entitled thereto in pursuance of the lawful order of the court within 30 days after demand therefor amounts to a devastavit and an action upon the representative's bond may be forthwith instituted and maintained. The failure or refusal to pay or deliver is sufficient breach of the condition of the bond to authorize a recovery thereon against the representative and his surety, or either.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The skilled estate administration attorneys serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have decades of experience representing clients in a wide range of estate matters, and understand the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 24-17- Devastavit. If you have questions or concerns related to the duties and responsibilities of an estate administrator or executor, or any other matter related to estate administration, estate litigation, or fiduciary responsibility, 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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