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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/24-5: Distribution on Presumption of Death - Deposit in Court or in Depositaries

Typically the estate administration process is initiated when someone passes away. The executor, friend or family member of the decedent initiates the administration process by bringing the death certificate to the Probate Court. There are occasions, however, where circumstances require friends or family members to presume that their loved one has passed away. In such a circumstance, there are special procedures that must be followed in the estate administration process whether there is a presumption of death. If you are involved in the administration of an estate where there is a presumption of death of the decedent and you have questions about the process, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 24-5- Distribution on presumption of death - deposit in court or in depositaries, contact a skilled Chicago estate administration lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Petition for Administration Based on Presumption of Death

Because there is no death certificate, before the Probate Court will allow an administrator to move forward with settling the estate, it must be convinced that the person is indeed deceased. Thus, the petition must include the following information.

  • The circumstances raising the presumption that the person is deceased
  • The last known address of the person
  • The name and address of each person in possession or control of any property of the person
  • The names and addresses of the person’s beneficiaries or legal heirs
  • The approximate value of the decedent’s estate

The law also requires that the petitioner send a notice related to the person who is presumed to be dead at his or her last known address. In addition, the notice must be published for 3 consecutive weeks. As a Chicago estate administration lawyer will explain, there have been instances in which someone who was presumed dead was not in fact dead. Thus, the Probate Court wants to be certain that the person has indeed passed away.

Estate Administration Process

The steps in the estate administration process include:

  • Inventorying estate assets. The estate administrator must take control of estate assets, inventory them, and determine their value. It is important that the administrator understand the value of the decedent’s estate at the time of his or her death.
  • Safeguarding estate assets. The administrator has a duty to protect the estate assets in order to preserve their value and prevent waste.
  • Paying debt. Before estate assets can be distributed, the administrator must pay all debts and claims against the decedent and estate that are timely filed.
  • Distributing assets. The final major step in the administration process is for the administrator to distribute assets to the beneficiaries and heirs.
Distribution on Presumption of Death

Before the Probate Court will permit the administrator to make a distribution from the estate of a person presumed to be dead, the distributee must give bond payable to the people of the State of Illinois. The amount of the bond must be twice the value of the distributive share to be paid. This is required so that if the person presumed to be dead is actually alive is actually alive, will receive a refund based on the value of the property distributed. To learn more about the administration process with respect to someone presumed to be dead, contact an experienced estate administration attorney in Chicago.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Duty to account: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-1
  2. Notice of accounting - effect: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-2
  3. Order of distribution, abatement and contribution on settlement of estate: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-3
  4. Distribution before the expiration of the period when claims are barred: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-4
Illinois Probate Act, Section 24-5- Distribution on Presumption of Death - Deposit in Court or in Depositaries

(a) Before distribution is made to a distributee of the estate of a person presumed to be dead, the distributee or someone for and on behalf of the distributee must give bond payable to the people of the State of Illinois in double the value of the distributive share to be paid, with surety to be approved by the court, conditioned to refund to the person presumed to be dead, if alive, or to any other person lawfully entitled thereto, the share received by the distributee. The bond may provide that it is binding on the surety for a period of not to exceed 10 years from the date thereof, but the release of the surety at the expiration of the 10 years does not release the distributee from liability to refund the distributive share received by him.
(b) In any case where funds have been deposited pursuant to the order of any court in the office of the county treasury or any other depositary for the benefit of any person and have there remained for a period of 20 years or more without lawful claim being made therefor, the funds are thereafter distributable to the heirs or legatees of such person under the presumption of death testate or intestate, as found by any court of competent jurisdiction, upon the entry into bond by each distributee, without surety, conditioned to refund on demand, to the presumed decedent, if alive, or to any other person lawfully entitled thereto, all money and other property or assets received by the distributee as heir or legatee; and in all cases of distribution there shall not thereafter be any recourse to, or liability on the part of the treasurer, depositary or any representative or officer of court.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The process of estate administration often has many challenges. Estate administration involving the presumptive death of a loved one can be particularly difficult. If you have questions related to the procedural requirements of estate administration, it is important that you discuss the process with an experienced estate administration attorney serving Chicago who understands the technical requirements, including the rules described of the Illinois Probate Act, section 24-5- Distribution on presumption of death - deposit in court or in depositaries. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients in matters related to estate administration, estate litigation, and other estate matters. 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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