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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/7-6: Disposition of Personal Estate of Nonresident Decedent

When someone passes away, the property that they leave behind is referred to as his or her estate. The estate must be settled and disbursed. Estate administration is the process of managing the decedent’s estate. The process is carried out by an administrator who is called either an executor or estate administrator. The process of estate administration will take a minimum of 6 months and often lasts up to 12 months. It can take longer if complications develop. One of the final steps in the administration process is distributing the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries named in the will or to the decedent’s heirs. If you are an executor nominated in a loved one’s will, beneficiary, or an heir and you have questions related to the administration of an estate, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act section 7-6- Disposition of personal estate of nonresident decedent, contact the experienced Chicago probate attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Responsibilities of the Executor

Once the will has been admitted to probate, the administrator is tasked with the job of setting the decedent’s estate and disbursing estate property to the beneficiaries. Prior to transferring the assets, the executor must take control of the assets and pay estate debts.

  • Take control of estate probate assets. One of the first responsibilities of the administrator is to identify the assets that are part of the decedent’s probate estate and take control of them. This is where the letters of administration from the court are critical. With the letters of administration, also called letters testamentary, the administrator has the legal authority to take control of estate assets and take other steps to manage the estate. The administrator can access the decedent’s financial accounts and other property, and he or she can open accounts in the name of the estate. In addition to financial accounts, estate property may include real estate and personal property. As a skilled Chicago probate lawyer will explain, not all property owned by the decedent is probate property subject to the Probate Court’s administration process. Some assets such as life insurance, 401(k)s, trust property, and IRAs are not part of the probate estate and will pass to beneficiaries outside of the probate process.
  • Pay estate debts. While probate and estate administration are often thought of a processes that are solely about transferring assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries, it is not. One of the primary goals of Illinois estate law and the administration process is the make sure that creditors of the decedent and the decedent’s estate are paid what they are owed. When the executor takes control of estate assets and inventories them, he (or she) must also determine the value of each assets in order to understand the total value of the estate and what is available to pay debts. Debts of the estate include debts owed by the decedent at the time of his death, claims made against the decedent after his death, and expenses associated with estate administration. In addition, the executor must also pay taxes owed by the decedent or by the estate.
Distributing Estate Assets

One of the final steps in estate administration is distributing estate assets based on the terms of the will. While the decedent’s will provides the roadmap as to how the estate’s assets should be distributed, there are a number of circumstances that could develop that would make asset distribution complicated. For example, if a gift is no longer part of the estate, if a beneficiary predeceases the testator, if beneficiaries have a dispute over a legacy, or if the estate has insufficient assets to distribute according to the terms of the will, the executor must determine who to distribute the assets in a manner that is both consistent with the will and the law.

There are also special considerations if the estate includes personal property that is located in another state.

  • If a nonresident decedent provides in his (or her) will that the disposition of his personal estate that is located in Illinois is to be construed and regulated by the laws of this State, the validity and effect of such disposition shall be determined by Illinois law.
  • As for a nonresident decedent's personal estate that is located in Illinois, the court may direct the administrator to distribute such personal property directly to the appropriate beneficiaries named in the decedent’s will or to the persons entitled to receive the decedent's personal property under the laws of the decedent's domicile.
Intestate Distribution

As a probate attorney in Chicago will explain, if the decedent passes away without having executed a will, or if the Probate Court declines to admit the will to probate, then the decedent’s property will be distribute to his or her next of kin based on the laws of intestate succession. This means that only surviving spouse and specific blood relatives are your potential legal heirs. In the absence of a valid will, if the decedent is survived by a spouse, but had no children, 100% of his probate estate will go to the surviving spouse. If the decedent is survived by a spouse and has children, the spouse will receive 50% of the estate, and the rest of the estate will go to the children in equal shares. If the decedent passes away with no spouse but with children, the children will share equally in 100% of the estate. Illinois intestate succession rules also provide for when parents, grandparents, siblings, and other blood relatives will be entitled to receive a portion of your estate.

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. Proof of foreign will by copy: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/7-3
  4. Original proof of foreign will in this State: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/7-4
Illinois Probate Act, Section 7-6- Disposition of Personal Estate of Nonresident Decedent

If a nonresident decedent who is a citizen of the United States or a citizen or subject of a foreign country, provides in his will that the testamentary disposition of tangible or intangible personal estate having a situs within this State as defined in Section 5-2, is to be construed and regulated by the laws of this State, the validity and effect of such disposition shall be determined by such laws. In respect of a nonresident decedent's tangible or intangible personal estate having a situs within this State, as defined in Section 5-2, the court may direct and, in the case of a decedent who was at the time of his death a resident of a foreign country, shall direct the representative appointed in this State to make distribution directly to those designated by the decedent's will as beneficiaries of the tangible or intangible personal estate or to the persons entitled to receive the decedent's personal estate under the laws of the decedent's domicile, as the case may be.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Estate administration is sometimes routine, but can also become complicated due to the location of assets, the type of assets, the size of the estate, and disputes that develop during the process. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over 20 years of experience representing clients in estate matters, including matters related to probate and administration. If you have concerns related to the administration of an estate including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act section 7-6- Disposition of personal estate of nonresident decedent, contact an experienced probate attorney serving Chicago at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients throughout Chicago.

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