Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/24-8: Accounting to Distributee
When someone passes away, an administrator is appointed by the Illinois Probate Court to manage the activities necessary to settle the decedent’s estate and transfer ownership of the property in the estate to the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries. While the administrator has a great deal of control over the estate during administration, the Probate Court oversees the administrator’s activities and the administrator must follow orders of the court. If an administrator fails to fulfill his (or her) duties as required, beneficiaries nd heirs have the right to initiate a legal action against the administrator. If you have an interest in an estate in which the administrator is not discharging his responsibilities according to the law, it is important that you understand what the law requires, including the rules of Illinois Probate Act, section 24-8- Accounting to distributee. Contact a skilled Chicago estate administration attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who has the experience and resources to ensure that your rights are protected.Steps in Administration
Administration is the process performed by the administrator that involves settling a testator’s estate and distributing assets. The general steps include:
Collect assets . The administrator needs to know what assets are part of the decedent’s estate and their value. Assets may include real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, jewelry, furniture, collectible, vehicles, and other personal property. The administrator must also prepare an inventory which is a complete list of all assets owned by the decedent and their fair market value at the time of the decedent’s death. The administrator must also safeguard the assets. This means he must take steps to protect them from being wasted. For example, the administrator should make sure that a house that is part of an estate has proper locks and that it is insured.
Pay creditors. The administrator must pay bills owed by the estate. While one of the main purposes of estate administration is to transfer title of the decedent’s assets to his 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 decedent at the time of his death, as well as bills accumulated by the administrator in the process of settling the estate.
The administrator is responsible for paying only the claims that are filed timely. In order to make sure that creditors are aware that the decedent’s estate is going through the administration process, the administrator must notify creditors, by mail and by publication. The notice will state the last day to file claims. The date must be at least 6 months from the date of the first publication or 3 months from the date of mailing or delivery of the notice. As an experienced Chicago estate administration attorney will explain, any claim that is filed late will be barred.
Distribute assets. Once debts are paid and the claim period has passed, the administrator can distribute the assets that remain in the estate to the decedent’s beneficiaries and heirs.
File accounting. The administrator is also required to file an account of his 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 is a detailed report of all of the activities of the administrator related to the esate. This would include details about the inventory, income to the estate, disbursements from the estate, and distributions. The court has the right to reject a problematic inventory and interested parties have the right to object to an accounting. In fact, it is not uncommon for accountings prepared without the help of a skilled estate administration attorney in Chicago to be sent back so that adjustments can be made.Failure to pay Claims or Distribute Assets
If despite an order of the court directing him to do so, the administrator refuses to pay a claim, filing an accounting, or make a distribution, the recourse of anyone who is entitled to a distribution is to file a lawsuit against the administrator demanding his or her share or an accounting.Related Statutory Provisions
- Duty to account: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-1
- Notice of accounting - effect: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-2
- Duty to account - ward's estate: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-11
- Accounting for a deceased representative or a representative under legal disability : Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/24-13
If a representative has taken possession of all or a part of the estate of the decedent and refuses or fails to pay the claims, to account or to pay the distributive share to any distributee including a co-representative who is entitled to a distributive share, after being ordered to do so by the court, the distributee may maintain an action for an accounting and to recover the proportion of the estate belonging to or due him.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
If a loved one recently passed away and you have questions about the required accountings or distributions, the experienced estate administration attorneys serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help. We have decades of experience representing clients in matters related to settling estates and understand the nuances of Illinois estate law requirements, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section24-8- Accounting to distributee. 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.