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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/9-8: Distribution on Summary Administration

Like most other states, Illinois has passed rules that would expedite the estate administration process for small estates. Estate administration is the process that involves an estate administrator managing the estate of a decedent and distributing the assets according to the Illinois Probate Act. If the decedent leaves a will the process is called probate and is managed by an executor. The normal estate administration or probate process typically takes 6-12 months. However, if the estate is valued at $100,000 or less, it may be eligible to take advantage of a much quicker process, called summary administration. If your loved one passed away leaving a small estate, contact an experienced Chicago estate administration lawyer to confirm whether or not the estate is eligible for distribution on summary administration.

Distribution on Summary Administration

Illinois Probate Act, section 9-8- Distribution on summary administration, in order for an estate to qualify for summary distribution, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Its gross value must be $100,000 or less
  • There must not be any unpaid claims against it
  • All known creditors and amounts owed must be listed in the petition
  • All taxes owed by the decedent to the federal government or to Illinois must be paid
  • If any surviving spouse or child’s award is owed, the amount must be listed on the petition
  • All heirs and beneficiaries must have consented in writing to summary administration
  • Each person who receives a distribution must post a bond in the amount of the distribution
  • The petition must publish a notice with details related to the scheduled hearing on summary administration

If the estate meets the requirements of summary distribution, the assets of the estate can be distributed to beneficiaries and heirs without having to go through the normal probate process which involves petitioning the court to open a probate case.

If you are interested in filing a petition for summary administration and you are not sure if the estate meets the qualifications, discuss the estate with an experienced Chicago estate administration lawyer who understands the rules related to distribution on summary administration.

Who may File a Petition for Distribution on Summary Administration

As with most petitions related to estate administration, only interested parties have the right to file a petition for summary administration. Interested parties are limited to heirs and beneficiaries.

Determining the Size of the Estate

In order to qualify for summary administration, the estate must have a gross value of $100,000 or less. Only property that is part of the decedent’s probate estate will be considered. In other words, only property that could pass to beneficiaries in a will, or property that would pass to heirs in the absence of a will. This would include most personal property, bank accounts, and vehicles. The probate estate would not include property held in joint tenancy, IRAs, 401(k) plans, other retirement accounts, payable-no-death financial accounts, and proceeds from life insurance policies. These assets will pass to the named beneficiary outside of probate and would not court toward the value of the estate for purposes of determining whether the estate qualifies for summary administration. To learn more about which property is part of a decedent’s probate estate and how to determine the value of an estate, contact an estate administration lawyer in Chicago.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Who may act as executor: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/6-13
  2. Who may act as administrator: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/9-1
  3. Petition to issue letters: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/9-4
  4. Payment or delivery of small estate of decedent upon affidavit: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/25-1
Illinois Probate Act, Section 9-8- Distribution on Summary Administration

Upon the filing of a petition therefor in the court of the proper county by any interested person and after ascertainment of heirship of the decedent and admission of the will, if any, to probate, if it appears to the court that:

(a) the gross value of the decedent's real and personal estate subject to administration in this State as itemized in the petition does not exceed $100,000;

(b) there is no unpaid claim against the estate, or all claimants known to the petitioner, with the amount known by him to be due to each of them, are listed in the petition;

(c) no tax will be due to the United States or to this State by reason of the death of the decedent or all such taxes have been paid or provided for or are the obligation of another fiduciary;

(d) no person is entitled to a surviving spouse's or child's award under this Act, or a surviving spouse's or child's award is allowable under this Act, and the name and age of each person entitled to an award, with the minimum award allowable under this Act to the surviving spouse or child, or each of them, and the amount, if any, theretofore paid to the spouse or child on such award, are listed in the petition;

(e) all heirs and legatees of the decedent have consented in writing to distribution of the estate on summary administration (and if an heir or legatee is a minor or person with a disability, the consent may be given on his behalf by his parent, spouse, adult child, person in loco parentis, guardian or guardian ad litem);

(f) each distributee gives bond in the value of his distributive share, conditioned to refund the due proportion of any claim entitled to be paid from the estate distributed, including the claim of any person having a prior right to such distribution, together with expenses of recovery, including reasonable attorneys' fees, with surety to be approved by the court. If at any time after payment of a distributive share it becomes necessary for all or any part of the distributive share to be refunded for the payment of any claim entitled to be paid from the estate distributed or to provide for a distribution to any person having a prior right thereto, upon petition of any interested person the court shall order the distributee to refund that portion of his distributive share which is necessary for such purposes. If there is more than one distributee, the court shall apportion among the distributees the amount to be refunded according to the amount received by each of them, but specific and general legacies need not be refunded unless the residue is insufficient to satisfy the claims entitled to be paid from the estate distributed. If a distributee refuses to refund within 60 days after being ordered by the court to do so and upon demand, the refusal is deemed a breach of the bond and a civil action may be maintained by the claimant or person having a prior right to a distribution against the distributee and the surety or either of them for the amount due together with the expenses of recovery, including reasonable attorneys' fees. The order of the court is evidence of the amount due;

(g) the petitioner has published a notice informing all persons of the death of the decedent, of the filing of the petition for distribution of the estate on summary administration and of the date, time and place of the hearing on the petition (the notice having been published once a week for 3 successive weeks in a newspaper published in the county where the petition has been filed, the first publication having been made not less than 30 days prior to the hearing) and has filed proof of publication with the clerk of the court;

the court may determine the rights of claimants and other persons interested in the estate, direct payment of claims and distribution of the estate on summary administration and excuse the issuance of letters of office or revoke the letters which have been issued and discharge the representative.

Any claimant may file his claim in the proceeding at or before the hearing on the petition, but failure to do so does not deprive the claimant of his right to enforce his claim in any other manner provided by law.

A petition for distribution on summary administration may be combined with or filed separately from a petition for probate of a will or for administration of an estate.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Summary administration is an attractive alternative for beneficiaries and heirs of small estates. It allows distribution of assets in a much shorter timeframe then the 6-12 months that is typical of probate. It also does not involve an executor or estate administrator performing the extensive and often complicated tasks associated with probate and estate administration. If you believe an estate of a loved one qualifies for summary administration and you would like to file a petition, contact a skilled estate administration lawyer serving Chicago. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing beneficiaries, heirs, and executors on matters related to probate and estate administration. Contact us at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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