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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/4-13: Effect of Order Admitting Will to Probate

In Illinois when someone passes away with a will, the executor named in the will has the job of managing the estate, and eventually distributing the assets in the estate to the beneficiaries named in the will. However, before the executor can begin this process the probate court has to officially appoint him (or her), giving him the legal authority to wind up the testator‘s affairs and distribute the estate assets. In Illinois, the probate process starts by someone, typically the executor named in the will, filing a petition with the probate court to admit the will to probate. If you were named as the executor in a will, or if you are a beneficiary or heir and would like more information about how probate works, contact an experienced Chicago probate administration lawyer to discuss your concerns.

Commencing Probate

In Illinois the person who is in possession of a will, usually the executor, has a legal obligation to file it with the court. The petition for probate must include the following information:

  • Name and place of residence of the testator at the time of his death
  • Date of the will
  • Approximate value of the estate
  • Names and addresses of the beneficiaries listed in the will as well as their addresses
  • Name and address of the executor

The probate court judge will review the petition and the will. If there are no objections, the probate court judge will admit the will to probate and formally appoint the executor.

Effect of Order Admitting Will to Probate

The effect of order admitting will to probate and formally appointing the executor is that the executor will have the legal authority to take control of the testator’s estate. The duties of the executor include:

  1. Collect, inventory, appraise, and secure all of the decedent's assets. This includes locating all household and personal property, taking possession of assets in a safe deposit box, locating real estate deeds, mortgages, and locating valuables. It also includes collecting money owed to the decedent.
  2. Pay creditors and valid claims against the estate. In order to pay estate debts, the executor must first determine value of estate and determine liquidity needs. If necessary, the executor has the authority to liquidate assets. As a Chicago probate administration lawyer will explain, the executor has a duty to pay only valid claims against the estate and to defend the estate against improper claims.
  3. Pay taxes. The executor must pay any state and federal taxes that may be due, file income tax returns for the decedent, and file estate tax return if required.
  4. Distribute estate assets. One of the last duties of the executor is to distribute estate assets to the beneficiaries mentioned in the will.

In Chicago probate typically takes a minimum of 6 months and often takes up to a year. If there are complications during probate such as estate litigation, the process can take significantly longer.

Property Passing Outside of Probate

While the effect of order admitting will to probate is that the executor has the authority to manage that property and distribute it to beneficiaries, the decedent may have also owed property that was not subject to probate. As a probate administration attorney in Chicago will explain, property such as pension plans, insurance policy proceeds, real estate held in joint tenancy is not probate property and would pass to the beneficiaries outside of probate. Thus, an order admitting a will to probate would not affect the distribution of these types of assets.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Capacity of testator: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-1
  2. Testamentary powers of appointment: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-2
  3. Signing and attestation: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-3
Illinois Probate Act, Section 4-13- Effect of Order Admitting Will to Probate

Every will when admitted to probate as provided by this Act is effective to transfer the real and personal estate of the testator bequeathed in that will.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

In order to ensure that probate proceeds in the most efficient manner given the specifics of the estate involved, it is important that the interested parties understand the process and their legal rights and obligations. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates is experienced in representing beneficiaries, heirs, and executors in estate matters in Illinois Probate Court. We will help you make the process as simple and painless as possible under the circumstances. Contact a probate administration attorney serving Chicago 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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