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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/7-2: Procedure for Probate of Foreign Will

When someone passes away testate, that person’s property will be distributed to his or her beneficiaries based on the terms of the will. However, there is a procedure that must be followed before the beneficiaries can take ownership of the decedent’s property. The will must be submitted to the Chicago area Probate Court with jurisdiction. The court will then review it and ensure that it is authentic. Once that is done, the court will allow the executor named in the will to move forward with the steps required to distribute the decedent’s property to the beneficiaries. Such steps must be followed regardless of whether the will was executed in Illinois, in another state, or in another country. 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 7-2- Procedure for probate of foreign will, contact the Chicago probate attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who understand the steps required to probate a domestic or foreign will as well as the steps required to administer an estate.

Place of Probate of Will

According to the Illinois Probate Act, the petition for probate must be filed in the clerk’s office of the Probate Court in the county where the decedent resided at the time of his or her death. If the decedent’s residence was unknown, but he or she had property in Illinois, then the will must be filed with the Probate Court in the county in which the majority of his or property was located at the time of his death.

Petition to Admit Will or to Issue Letters

The executor who was named in the will is typically the person who files the petition with the Probate Court to admit the will to probate. The petition must include the decedent’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, and the approximate value of the decedent’s property. The executor must also include his or her name and address.

There are instances in which the person named in the will to serve as executor is not willing to serve, or is not able to serve. There are also instances in which the testator failed to name an executor. If this is the case, then another person who has an interest in the estate can file a petition with the Probate Court to be names the “administrator with the will annexed”.

While in many cases the will submitted to probate in Chicago is a will that was executed in Illinois, there are also many instances in which the will was executed outside of Illinois and, therefore, is considered a foreign will. As an experienced Chicago probate attorney will explain, a foreign will can be admitted to probate in Illinois if it was signed by the testator, it was already admitted to probate outside of Illinois, or it was properly executed based on Illinois law or the law o the jurisdiction where the testator lived.

According to the Illinois Probate Act, section 7-2- Procedure for probate of foreign will, if the will is foreign will, the rules for submitting the probate petition are the same.

After Will is Admitted

Once a will is admitted to probate and letters testamentary are issued to the executor, the executor has the authority to move forward with the settling the decedent’s estate. The major activities involved include taking control of estate assets, paying estate bills, and distributing estate assets.

  • Take control of estate probate assets. The executor must identify the assets that are part of the decedent’s estate and take control of them. Estate assets may include real estate, personal property, vehicles, and financial accounts. The executor must locate them, secure them, determine their value, and manage them.
  • Pay estate debts. The Probate Court has a strong interest in ensuring that all estate debts are paid. Thus, before assets are distributed, the executor must pay timely filed, valid claims against the estate. To learn more about how claims against an estate must be handled, discuss your concerns with an experienced probate attorney in Chicago.
  • Distributing assets. Ultimately, the executor must disburse estate assets to the beneficiaries named in the will based on the terms of the will. Typically that involves handing over personal property to beneficiaries, or transferring title of assets to the appropriate beneficiary.

In Chicago probate typically takes 6-12 months. However, it may take longer if there are complications such as a will contest or any other type of estate litigation.

Related Statutory Provisions

  1. Foreign will admitted to probate: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/7-1
  2. Proof of foreign will by copy: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/7-3
  3. Original proof of foreign will in this State: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/7-4
Illinois Probate Act, Section 7-2- Procedure for Probate of Foreign Will

The provisions of this Act concerning the procedure for the admission to probate of a domestic will govern the procedure for the admission to probate of a foreign will sought to be admitted to probate as provided by this Article, except for the manner of proof.

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 foreign will to probate in Chicago, 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 7-2- Procedure for probate of foreign will, or any other estate matter, contact one of our skilled attorneys at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients throughout Chicago.

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