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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/4-8: Contract for Sale

When you create a will you, you indicate which of your beneficiaries are to receive property from your estate upon your death. For example, you can leave your beneficiaries your house, your personal property, and your financial property. However, in the months or years after you write your will, you may make changes in your estate. You may decide to sell property that is mentioned in your will. If you do sell property that is mentioned in your will, it is important that you update your will to reflect the change in your estate. If you have sold or purchased property since you executed your will, we recommend that you review your will and other estate documents with an experienced Chicago estate administration lawyer who will help you update your estate documents to reflect the assets that remain in your estate.

Contract for Sale

Many people buy and sell real estate, cars, and other property throughout their lifetime. Thus, it is not unusual for a testator to decide to sell property that he (or she) mentioned in a will. However, when a testator does decide to sell property that is mentioned in his will, he should update the will to avoid complications during probate. However, if a testator makes a contract for sale of a house, a car, or other real or personal property, but the does not close the sale prior to passing away, property still passes to the beneficiary. However, the property would be subject to the contract for sale.


Jack owned a summer home. He promised his nephew Seth that he would leave him the house, and stated so in his will. Ten years later Jack decided to sell the summer house as he visited it infrequently. Jack found a buyer and signed a contract for sale of the house. Unfortunately, Jack was killed in a car accident. At the time of his death Jack had not closed on the house, and his will still stated that Seth was to receive the house. Despite objections for other beneficiaries, during probate the executor of the estate completed the sale of the house and, as required by the Illinois Probate Act, distributed the proceeds of the sale to Seth.

Reviewing Estate Documents

As a Chicago estate administration lawyer will explain, it is a good idea to regularly review your will and other estate documents to make sure that they still reflect your wishes and the property in your estate. Life events which may prompt you to want to change your will include:

  • Births
  • Deaths
  • Marriages
  • Divorces

In addition, major changes in your financial status or in your estate may also be a reason for your to review your will and make changes.

Requirements for Changing a Will

In order to change your will or revoke you will, you must follow the requirements of the Probate Act, otherwise the changes will not be valid.

  • Changes. In order to make changes to your will, you must execute a document with the changes and execute it in the same way as you execute a will. The document must be signed by you and must be witnessed by two disinterested individuals.
  • Revocation. There are variety of ways to effectively revoke your will including burning it, tearing it, executing a new will with language revoking the prior will, or executing a document revoking the prior the will. Keep in mind that if your revoke your will, it is important that you execute a new one with the help of a estate administration attorney in Chicago as you do not want to risk passing away intestate.
Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Effect of alteration: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-9
  2. Effect of child born after will: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-10
  3. Legacy to a deceased legatee: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-11
Illinois Probate Act, Section 4-8- Contract for Sale

If after making his will the testator makes a contract for the sale or transfer of real or personal property specifically bequeathed therein and the whole or any part of the contract remains executory at his death, the disposition of the property by the contract does not revoke the bequest but the property passes to the legatee subject to the contract.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Having a will that is outdated may result in conflicts among beneficiaries and delays in probate. In order to help avoid such problems, it is important that you review your estate documents regularly and revise when necessary to reflect you current preferences. The estate administrations attorneys serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing individuals, executors, beneficiaries, and heirs in estate matters. Contact a skilled will attorney in Chicago at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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