After a loved one passes away, family members and friends can be dealing with considerable grief. Having to settle the person's affairs often makes this difficult situation even more upsetting, and many people don't know what to do.
In this post, we will discuss briefly what happens during probate in an effort to make the process a little easier.
What is probate?
Backing up, we should explain that probate is the process through which the courts verify a person's will and distribute the person's assets. This happens once a person (typically the estate executor) opens a probate case with the courts. If there is no will, state laws will dictate how to distribute property.
What happens in probate?
During probate, a number of tasks must be completed. This includes:
- Notification of creditors
- Notification of heirs
- Resolving debts
- Paying taxes
- Locating assets
- Distributing assets to heirs
Considering all that happens during probate, it is not unusual for disputes to arise, which can extend and complicate the probate process. For instance, during probate, a party might contest the validity of the will, or beneficiaries might take issue with an executor's actions and file a complaint alleging breach of fiduciary duty.
It is possible to avoid probate. This can happen if an estate is very small or if a person gives away all his or her assets before passing. If the decedent left all his or her property in a trust, those assets will not go through probate, which can also mean avoiding probate.
Every case is different
This post is intended to give readers a general idea of what happens during probate in Illinois. However, it is crucial to understand that every case is different and depends on the decedent's wishes, the assets involved and the personal relationships. As such, anyone with specific questions or concerns regarding the probate process should consider discussing an individual case with an attorney.