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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/6-7: Will to Remain With Clerk

In Chicago, when someone dies and leaves a last will and testament, the original copy of the will must be filed with the clerk of Probate Court in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death. The executor named in the will is the person who generally files the will, and filing the will is the first step in the process of probating the decedent’s will, settling his or her estate, and distributing estate assets to the beneficiaries. Throughout the administration process, and even after the estate had been closed and assets distributed, the will remains with the clerk of the Probate Court. The Chicago probate administration lawyers at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help you file a petition to issue letters and guide you through the probate process until the estate is closed.

Probate

Probate is the process of proving that a will is authentic. The Illinois Probate Court will not admit a will to probate that is not valid. In Chicago, a will can be proven in two ways. A will can be self-proving. This means that the two witnesses who sign your will also execute an affidavit in the presence of the testator that states that the testator is who he (or she) say he is, that the witnesses watched the testator sign the will, and that the testator was of sound mind when he signed the will.

If the will is not self-proving, then under Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-4, Admission of will to probate - testimony or affidavit of witnesses, then the two witnesses must be located and summoned to court. Under oath the witnesses must state that he (or she) was present and observed the testator sign the will, that the will was attested by the witness in the presence of the witness, and that he or she believed that the testator was of sound mind at the time he signed the will.

Unfortunately, in some cases witnesses are difficult time since oftentimes years and even decades have passed between the time that a will is executed and the death of a decedent. If you have questions about probating a will where a witness cannot be located, contact an experienced Chicago probate administration attorney.

Administration

Once a will is admitted to probate, the Chicago Probate Court judge will formally appoint the executor and issue him (or her) letters testamentary giving him legal authority to act on behalf of the estate. There are three major steps that the executor must complete during the administration process: Inventorying the estate, paying estate bills, and distributing estate assets.

Inventorying the estate. The executor must determine the property that is part of the estate. Probate property may include personal property such as household items, clothes, jewelry, and vehicles. The estate might also include financial accounts such as checking and savings accounts and brokerage accounts. Depending on how it is titled, the decedent’s house or condo as well as other real estate would also be part of the estate. The executor must determine the value of the property in the estate at the time of the decedent’s death.

Pay estate debts. In addition to ensuring that the decedent’s property is distributed according to the terms of the will, the Probate Court is also concerned about ensuring that the decedent’s debts are paid. The executor has a duty to pay all valid debts prior to distributing estate assets.

Distribute estate assets. The final major duty of the executor is to distribute estate assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

Will to Remain With Clerk

It is important for all those who have an interest in the administration of a will to understand that the original will must be filed with the Probate Court and it will remain with the clerk permanently unless the court directs otherwise.

If you have questions related to filing a will with the Probate Court, or any of the other procedural requirements related to probate or the administration of a loved one’s estate, contact an experienced probate administration attorney in Chicago.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Petition to admit will or to issue letters: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-2
  2. Admission of will to probate - testimony or affidavit of witnesses: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-4
Illinois Probate Act, Section 6-7- Will to Remain With Clerk

All original wills which are admitted to probate shall remain in the custody of the clerk, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The probate administration 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 6-7- Will to remain with clerk, contact an attorney at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients throughout Chicago.

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