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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/6-2: Petition to Admit Will or to Issue Letters

Before probate can begin in Chicago, a Probate Court judge must approve a petition to admit will or to issue letters. In most cases it is the executor who submits the will of the decedent to the court and files the petition to admit it. The executor must also petition the court to issue him (or her) letters in order to have legal authority to take control of the estate and perform the administrative duties necessary to wind up the affairs of the decedent and distribute estate property. If you are the executor or beneficiary and would like to make sure that you understand the process to petition to admit will or to issue letters, contact a Chicago probate administration lawyer who can support and guide you through the probate process.

Petition to Admit Will or to Issue Letters

The executor named in the will must petition the court to admit the will. The Probate Act specifies the information that must be included in the petition to admit the will, including the testator’s last address, the place of death, the names and address of the beneficiaries listed in the will, the names and addresses of the testator’s legal heirs, the approximate value of the decedent’s estate, and the name and address of the executor.

If the person the testator named in the will as the executor is unable or unwilling to serve as executor, then another person can petition the court to be named as the “administrator with the will annexed”. If the person petitioning the court seeks letters of administration with the will annexed, in addition to all of the information required for petitioning the court to admit the will, the petition must also include the reason for the issuance of letters, details as to why the petitioner has the right t act as administrator, and the name and address of the person seeking to be named administrator.

In some instances a petitioner seeks letters of administration with the will annexed because after the will has been admitted to probate and letters issues to the name executor, the executor resigns or is removed. If this is the case, the petition seeking letters of administration with the will annexed must also include the date the will was previous admitted to probate. To learn more about the process of replacing an executor, contact an experienced estate probate administration attorney in Chicago.

Probate Process

Once the letters of administration have been issues to the executor, he must go about the business of settling the decedent’s estate and distributing the assets. One of the first things that he must do is figure out what is included in the estate. This means locating and securing personal property such as clothing, jewelry, collectibles and vehicles. While most personal property may be in the decedent’s residence, some may be elsewhere. The executor must also take control of financial accounts such as bank accounts and investment accounts that are part of the estate. He is also must take control of real estate. This may involve finding deeds, paying mortgages, paying leases, collecting rents, paying utilities, and paying insurance on the properties. As an experienced probate administration lawyer serving Chicago will explain, the executor must determine the value of the estate so that he knows what is available to pay bills and distribute to beneficiaries.

The executor is also responsible for paying estate bills using estate funds. If there are not enough liquid assets in the estate, then the executor may have no choice but to sell property in order to get cash to pay bills. Ultimately, the executor distributes the property that remains in the estate after bills and expenses are paid to the beneficiaries named in the will.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Letters revoked when will is produced: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-3
  2. Who may act as executor: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-13
  3. Who may act as administrator: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/9-1
  4. Petition to issue letters: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/9-4
Illinois Probate Act, Section 6-2- Petition to Admit Will or to Issue Letters

Anyone desiring to have a will admitted to probate must file a petition therefor in the court of the proper county. The petition must state, if known: (a) the name and place of residence of the testator at the time of his death; (b) the date and place of death; (c) the date of the will and the fact that petitioner believes the will to be the valid last will of the testator; (d) the approximate value of the testator's real and personal estate in this State; (e) the names and post office addresses of all heirs and legatees of the testator and whether any of them is a minor or a person with a disability; (f) the name and post office address of the executor; and (g) unless supervised administration is requested, the name and address of any personal fiduciary acting or designated to act pursuant to Section 28-3. When the will creates or adds to a trust and the petition states the name and address of the trustee, the petition need not state the name and address of any beneficiary of the trust who is not an heir or legatee. If letters of administration with the will annexed are sought, the petition must also state, if known: (a) the reason for the issuance of the letters, (b) facts showing the right of the petitioner to act as, or to nominate, the administrator with the will annexed, (c) the name and post office address of the person nominated and of each person entitled either to administer or to nominate a person to administer equally with or in preference to the petitioner and (d) if the will has been previously admitted to probate, the date of admission. If a petition for letters of administration with the will annexed states that there are one or more persons entitled either to administer or to nominate a person to administer equally with or in preference to the petitioner, the petitioner must mail a copy of the petition to each such person as provided in Section 9-5 and file proof of mailing with the clerk of the court.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Whether you were named as the executor, before you can legally act as an estate administrator you must be formally appointed by the Probate Court judge. If you have questions or concerns about the process, please contact an attorney who has experience petitioning the Illinois probate court. The Chicago probate administration attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients in estate matters before the Illinois Probate Court. Contact us at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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