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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/7-1: Foreign Will Admitted to Probate

In Illinois, the Probate Court has jurisdiction over legal matters related to the administration of estates. This includes issuing letters of administration, distributing the estates of intestate individuals, resolving will contests, and other related matters. Every state has a similar court system and has its own rules related to the requirements for a will to be valid. In Chicago, a will is considered a “foreign” will if it was executed outside of the State of Illinois. If the will was executed in another state, but the testator was resident of Illinois when he (or she) passed away, the Illinois Probate Court would have jurisdiction over the estate. If you have questions related to the process of probating a will and administering an estate, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act section 7-1- Foreign will admitted to probate, contact the Chicago probate attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who have decades over experience skillfully representing clients in a variety of estate matters before the Illinois Probate Court.

Probate Process

In Illinois, a probate proceeding it typically initiated when the executor named in the will submits a petition to the Probate Court asking that the court admit the will to probate and issue letters testamentary. The court will review the will, review the testimony of the witnesses, and determine whether the will should be admitted to probate and letters issued. If so, then the judge will issue the executor letters testamentary, giving him or her the authority to administer the estate of the decedent.

In order for a will to be valid in Illinois, the testator must have been at least 18 years old at the time he (or she) signed the will and must have been of sound mind. In addition, the will must not have been executed based on duress, fraud, or undue influence. In order for a will to be properly executed, the testator must sign it in the presence of two witnesses. The two witnesses must also sign the will.

Admitting a Foreign Will

As an experienced Chicago probate attorney will explain, a foreign will can be admitted to probate in Illinois if:

  • The will was signed by the testator
  • The will must have been admitted to probate outside of Illinois, or the will must have been executed in manner consistent with Illinois Probate Law, in accordance with the law of the place the where the will was executed, or in accordance of the law of the place where the testator lived.
Objections to Probate

Regardless of whether a will is a foreign will or one that was executed in Illinois, the law allows those with legal standing to file a will challenge if the objector believes that the will does not represent the final wishes of the testator even if the will appears to be valid. Those with standing to file an objection include beneficiaries and heirs who were listed in the probate petition. Grounds for a will contest include fraud, undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, and duress.

If you have concerns related to the validity of a will of a loved one, contact an experienced probate attorney serving Chicago as in order for your challenge to be successful not only must you have legal standing to object to the will, you must also have evidence of fraud, undue influence, duress, or some other unlawful circumstance.

If a will contest is successful and there is not a prior valid will, then the decedent’s estate will be distributed based on the rules of intestate succession. This means that instead of the decedent’s property going to the family, friends, and institutions of his or her choosing, the property will go to his or her legal heirs. This typically means that the only people entitled to inherit would be the surviving spouse and children. If there are children and no surviving spouse, then the entire estate will be divided equally among the children. If there is no spouse and no children then the intestate succession rules determine which of the blood relatives will receive the estate.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Petition to admit will or to issue letters: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-2
  2. Procedure for probate of foreign will: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/7-2
  3. Proof of foreign will by copy: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/7-3
Illinois Probate Act, Section 7-1- Foreign Will Admitted to Probate

A will signed by the testator when proved as provided in this Article may be admitted to probate in this State when (a) the will has been admitted to probate outside of this State or (b) the will was executed outside of this State in accordance with the law of this State, of the place where executed or of the testator's domicile at the time of its execution.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are an executor, beneficiary, or other interested party in a probate proceeding and you have questions or concerns related to admitting a will to probate, contact a probate attorney serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Our skilled attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in complex probate and estate matters before the Illinois Probate Court. If you have concerns related to probate including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act section 7-1- Foreign will admitted to probate, or any other estate matter, contact one of our skilled attorneys attorneys at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients throughout Chicago.

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