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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/6-17: Witness to Appear for Probate - Penalty

Probate is the legal process that occurs when someone passes away leaving a will. Before the decedent’s assets can be disbursed to the beneficiaries named in the will, the will must be proven. In other words, the Probate Court in Chicago must be satisfied that the will is valid. This is accomplished by the witnesses who were present at the signing of the will providing statements indicating that they were present at the signing of the will. While there are several ways that the witnesses can provide such statements, one way is for them to appear in the court and testify under oath. If a witness is subpoenaed to testify, he or she must do so. To learn more about the requirements for being appointed executor or administrator, including the rules outlined in Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/6-17, Witness to appear for probate – penalty, contact an experienced Chicago probate lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Requirements for a Valid Will in Illinois

In order for a will to be valid, it must have been executed in the following manner:

  • It must be signed by the testator, or signed by another person at the direction of the testator and in the presence of the testator
  • Two or more witnesses must have been present at the signing
  • The witnesses must also sign the will.

In addition, the fraud must not have been involved in the execution of the will such as forgery, undue influence, or duress.

Requirements for Admission of Will to Probate

As an experienced probate attorney in Chicago can explain, under Illinois law in order for the Probate Court to admit a will to probate, the following must requirement must be met:

  • The 2 attesting witnesses must state that the he (or she) was present at the time that the testator signed the will and observed it, that the will was attested by the witness in the presence of the testator, and that he believed that the testator was of sound mind at the time that he signed the will.
  • The statements may be made either in the will itself it is self-proving; by affidavit signed by the witness at the time of attestation, or by testimony in Probate Court.

The court will then admit the will to probate unless there is evidence of forgery, fraud, or some other improper conduct sufficient enough for the court to conclude that the will is invalid. If you are concerned about the validity of a will of a loved one, discuss your concerns with an experienced Chicago probate lawyer.

Once the will is probated and the executor appointed, the executor can proceed with settling the decedent’s estate and ultimately distributing assets according to the terms of the will.

Witness to Appear for Probate – Penalty

If a witness is asked to come to court to testify as a witness related to the execution and validity of the will, the witness is required to show up. Under the Illinois Probate Act, section 6-17, failure of a witness to show up to court when subpoenaed may result in civil or criminal penalties.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Power of executor before issuance of letters: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-14
  2. Executor to administer all estate of decedent: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-15
  3. Power of administrator with the will annexed: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-16
Illinois Probate Act, Section 6-17- Witness to Appear for Probate - Penalty

It is the duty of a witness to any will executed in this State to appear before the court at the hearing on the admission of the will to probate and testify concerning the execution and validity of the will unless proof of will is made by another method as provided in this Act. The court may attach and punish by fine and imprisonment, or either, any witness who, without a reasonable excuse, fails to appear and testify when subpoenaed.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The probate attorneys serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over 20 years of experience skillfully representing clients in a wide range of estate matters before the Illinois Probate Court. If you have concerns related to an estate matter, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act section 6-17- Witness to appear for probate - penalty, or any other issue, contact an experienced attorney attorneys at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients throughout Chicago.

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