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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/6-9: Failure or Refusal to Qualify - Death, Resignation or Revocation of Letters - Non-Designation

The executor is the person tasked with the job of settling a decedent’s estate and distributing assets. Typically, if the decedent wrote a will, he (or she) will name the person or persons who he wants to serve as executor. However, before a named executor has the legal authority to act as executor and represent the estate, the Chicago Probate Court must formally appoint the person or persons and issue a document called letters testamentary. Letters testamentary are a legal document issued by a Probate Court judge that prove that the person named in the letters has been appointed to serve as executor. With letters the executor is able to conduct transactions at banks and other financial institutions in the name of the estate including opening accounts, and conduct other business. Because executors are trusted with caring for the assets of the estate, including cash, securities, and real estate, the Probate Court will issue letters only to eligible petitioners. To learn more about the requirements for being appointed executor or administrator, including the rules outlined in Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/6-9, Failure or refusal to qualify - death, resignation or revocation of letters - non-designation, contact an experienced Chicago estate administration lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Qualifications

It is common for testators to name who they want to serve as executors. However, in doing so a testator is merely nominating someone. While the court would prefer to defer to the wishes of the testator, under Illinois law, a nominated person must also meet the legal qualifications. According to Section 6-13 of the Illinois Probate Act, there are 4 requirements that petitioners must meet in order to serve as executor:

  • The petitioner must be an adult, meaning he or she must be at least 18 years old
  • The petitioner must live in the United States
  • The petitioner must not be mentally incapacitated
  • The petitioner must not suffer from a disability as defined in the Probate Act
  • The petitioner must not be a convicted felon

If you have concerns as to whether or not you or someone else meets the requirements to act as executor of a loved one’s estate, discuss your concerns with an estate administration lawyer in Chicago.

Failure or Refusal to Qualify - Death, Resignation or Revocation of Letters - Non-Designation

If a nominated executor is not able to qualify or serve, then the law allows another person to petition the Probate Court to be named estate administrator. Under section 6-9 of the Illinois Probate Act, if an executor fails or refuses to qualify, dies, resigns, or his or her letters are revoked, the Probate Court will issue letters of administration with the will annexed to a qualified petitioner based on the preferences stated in Section 9-3 of the Probate Act. The preference order is as follows:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse or the person named by the surviving spouse
  • The decedent’s beneficiaries who are his or her children or persons named by them
  • Other beneficiaries if the decedent, or persons named by them
  • The decedent’s children who are not beneficiaries or persons named by them
  • The decedent’s grandchildren or persons named by them
  • The decedent’s parents or persons named by them
  • The decedent’s siblings or persons named by them
  • The closest relative to the decedent or persons named by that relative
  • The representative of the estate of a deceased ward
  • The Public Administrator
  • A creditor of the decedent

As a Chicago estate administration attorney will explain, even if you are at the top of the preference list and would like to receive letters of administration, the court will approve your petition only if you meet the statutory qualifications.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Petition to admit will or to issue letters: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-2
  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. Persons entitled to preference in obtaining letters: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/9-3
Illinois Probate Act, Section 6-9- Failure or Refusal to Qualify - Death, Resignation or Revocation of Letters - Non-Designation

Unless otherwise provided by the will, (a) if one of several executors named in the will fails or refuses to qualify and accept the office, letters testamentary shall be issued to the executor who qualifies and accepts the office, (b) if one of several executors to whom letters have been issued dies or resigns or his letters are revoked, the remaining executor shall continue to administer the estate, and (c) in either event the remaining executor has all powers vested in all the executors named in the will. If no executor is named in the will or the named executor fails or refuses to qualify and accept the office or, if after letters are issued the sole executor or all the named executors die or resign or their letters are revoked, letters of administration with the will annexed shall be issued in accordance with the preferences in Section 9-3 upon petition under Section 6-2 and notice as provided in Section 9-5.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are interested in serving as the administrator of a loved one’s estate, it is important that you understand the process for being appointed, the qualifications, and the duties and responsibilities of the job. The estate administration lawyers serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have extensive experience working closely with executors, estate administrators, personal representatives and other fiduciaries in estate matters. If you have concerns related to the administration of an estate including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act section 6-9- Failure or refusal to qualify - death, resignation or revocation of letters - non-designation, contact a skilled attorney at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients throughout Chicago.

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