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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/7-3: Proof of Foreign Will by Copy

In Illinois probate is a process that is initiated when someone dies and leaves a will. The purpose of probate is to ensure that the document that is filed with the Probate Court is authentic. If there is evidence that the will is not authentic or evidence that the will was made under illegal circumstances, than the probate court judge will not issue an order admitting the will to probate. While in it is common for probate petitions to involve wills that were executed in Illinois, it is also that probate petitions involve wills that are “foreign” because they were executed in another state or another country. Regardless of where the will was executed, the Illinois Probate Court must have evidence of the will’s authenticity before it will be admitted to probate. If you have questions related to the process of probating a will from another state or country, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act section 7-3- Proof of foreign will by copy, 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.

Probating Will in Chicago

In Illinois, probate is initiated when someone, typically the person nominated in the will to serve as executor, petitions the court to admit the will to probate. Before the judge will issue an order admitting the will to probate, the judge must be convince that the will is authentic. This involves statements from the two people who witnessed the signing of the will that they did indeed witness that testator sign the will and that at the time the testator signed the will, he or she was not suffering a mental incapacity.

If a beneficiary or heir has reason to believe that the will should not be admitted to probate, he or she can file an objection. Common grounds for will challenges include fraud, duress, undue influence, and lack of testamentary capacity.

As an experienced Chicago probate attorney will explain, there are special rules that must be followed if the will a foreign will. The probate court judge will admit the will to probate only if two requirements are met. The will was signed by the testator. The second requirement is that the will must have been admitted to probate in another state or country, or it must have been executed in manner consistent with Illinois Probate Law, consistent with the law of the place the where the will was executed, or consistent with the law of the place where the testator lived.

Proof of Foreign Will by Copy

In addition, the Illinois Probate Act has rules related using a copy of a foreign will when filing a petition for probate. If a will was admitted to probate in a jurisdiction outside of Illinois, then an authenticated copy of the will is sufficient for probate in Illinois. If the will is from a state or country that does not require a will to be probated, then the petitioner would need to submit an authenticated certificate from the legal custodian of the will confirming that the copy is indeed a true copy and that the will is valid. There are jurisdictions that allow notarial wills. A notarial will is a will that is signed in the presence of a notary, and the notary declares that all necessary legal formalities were followed. If the jurisdiction requires that a notarial will remain in the custody of a notary, then it may be admitted to probate in Illinois by introducing a copy of the will that was authenticated by the notary who has custody of the will.

The rules related to proof of foreign will copy are complex. To ensure that all such rules are followed when petitioning to have a foreign will probated, contact an experienced probate attorney in Chicago

Administration

Once the will is admitted to probate, the executor can move forward to administer the estate. First, he (or she) must inventory the estate, secure estate property, and appraise the property in the estate. Next the decedent’s debts must be paid. The court will allow the executor to distribute estate assets based on the terms of the will.

Probate and administration typically take about 6-12 months. However, complications may arise that may cause the process that take longer. For example, if any interested party is upset about any aspect of the process, he or she can initiation estate litigation that can delay the administration process and the distribution of the assets.

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

(a) A written will admitted to probate outside of this State is sufficiently proved to admit it to probate in this State by introducing in evidence an authenticated copy of the will and the probate thereof.
(b) A written will from any state or country whose laws do not require a will to be probated is sufficiently proved to admit it to probate in this State by introducing in evidence an authenticated certificate of the legal custodian of the will that the copy is a true copy and that the will has become operative by the laws of that state or country.
(c) A notarial will from a state or country whose laws require the will to remain in the custody of a notary is sufficiently proved to admit it to probate in this State by introducing in evidence a copy of the will authenticated by the notary entitled to the custody of the will.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are involved in probating the will of a loved one that is classified as foreign will, there are special rules related to probate that must be followed. Otherwise, probate may be delayed or denied. It is critical that you are represented by a probate attorney serving Chicago with experience filing probate petitions with the Illinois Probate Court. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have decades of experience representing clients in complex probate and estate matters. If you have concerns related to probate including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act section 7-3- Proof of foreign will by copy, or any other estate matter, contact us attorneys at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients throughout Chicago.

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