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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/24-19: Administration of Deceased Ward's Estate

If a person, whether child or adult, is in need of someone to take care of them and their affairs, the court can appoint a representative to do so. This person is also referred to as a guardian, while the person in need of care is called a ward. A guardian’s job is to care for the person and the estate of the ward. The guardian’s job can end for a variety of reasons, including the death of the ward. However, because oftentimes there are important activities that must be taken care of immediately after the death of the ward, Illinois law allows the guardian to perform those activities until a estate administrator has been formally appointed by the Probate Court. If you have questions about how to proceed with the management of the estate of a deceased ward, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 24-19- Administration of deceased ward's estate, contact a skilled Chicago estate administration attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We are here to help.

Administration of Deceased Ward's Estate

When a decedent passes away, someone must petition the Probate Court for letters that would give him (or her) authority to act as executor or estate administrator. In the case of the administration of the estate of a deceased ward, the deceased ward’s administrator has the authority to act as estate administrator until the Probate Court has issued letters as follows:

  • Administrator to collect: The deceased ward’s representative of the estate has the powers and duties of an administrator to collect.
  • Letters of administration. 30 days after the passing of the ward, the Probate Court has the authority to issue the representative letters of administration, unless someone else has petitioned the court of letters. If this is the case, the court must first review the pending petition and issue an order relating to it. If letters of administration are issued to another on a petition filed, letters may not be issued to the person who was guardian.
Administrator to Collect

Generally, the job of an estate administrator is to complete the activities necessary to settle estate of the deceased person including inventorying the estate, paying estate debts, and distributing estate asset. However, there are other types of administrators who have limited authority. The Probate Court will issue letters of administration to collect to allow an administrator to sue for and collect the personal estate and debts due the decedent and exercise the powers vested by law in an administrator. As an experienced estate administration attorney in Chicago will explain, under Illinois Probate Act, section 24-19- Administration of deceased ward's estate the person who has been serving as the representative of the ward at the time of the ward’s death has the authority of an administrator to collect until the Probate Court issues letters of administration.

Duties of an Estate Administrator

If the representative is issued letters of administration, his or her duties will be as follows:

  • Take control of estate probate assets. One of the first jobs of the estate administrator is to take control over the deceased ward’s assets. Estates assets may include money in a bank account, saving and loan, or credit union. With the letter the administrator will have the authority to access those funds. Asset may also include personal property such as clothing, jewelry, and vehicles, as well as real estate. Once the estate administrator takes control of the assets, he or she can have them appraised. The administrator has the authority to hire a professional appraiser if necessary. Appraising the property is an important step as it is important that the estate administrator understand the value of the estate in order to be able to pay creditors and eventually distribute assets to the deceased ward’s heirs. As an experienced Chicago estate administration lawyer will explain, the administrator must also file the inventory with the Probate Court.
  • Pay estate debts. Another important step in the estate administration process is for the estate administrator to pay the debts of the estate. The estate administrator must also settle any claims against the estate such as outstanding disputes including estate litigation. Claims against the estate and debts owed by the estate will impact the amount of money and value of property available to distribute to heirs and beneficiaries.
  • Distributing estate assets. As an estate administration attorney in Chicago will explain, the final major step of estate administration is for the estate administrator to distribute the estate assets to the beneficiaries based on the terms of the will, if any, or to the decedent’s heirs according to the laws of intestate succession.
Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Letters of administration to collect: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/10-1
  2. Powers and duties of administrator to collect: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/10-4
  3. Appointment of guardian: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-5
Illinois Probate Act, Section 24-19- Administration of Deceased Ward's Estate

(a) Without order of appointment and until the issuance of letters testamentary or of administration or until sooner discharged by the court, a representative of the estate of a deceased ward has the powers and duties of an administrator to collect.
(b) When 30 days or such further time as the court allows have elapsed after the death of a ward, letters of administration may be issued to the person who was guardian of the estate of the deceased ward upon his petition therefor, unless a petition for letters has theretofore been presented to the court of the proper county, in which case the court shall first dispose of the pending petition before issuing letters to the representative. If letters of administration are issued to another on a petition filed, letters may not be issued to the person who was guardian.

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 24-19- Administration of deceased ward's estate. If you have questions or concerns related to the administration of a deceased ward’s estate, or any other matter related to estate administration, estate litigation, or fiduciary responsibility, contact an attorney in our office attorneys at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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