Probate & Estate Administration Lawyers in Libertyville
Probate and estate administration are processes that can be complex and overwhelming, particularly in the wake of a loved one's passing. Many tasks will need to be undertaken by those designated executors of the deceased person’s will and those who will administer the transfer of all aspects of the estate, including non-probated assets.
As Libertyville probate and estate administration lawyers, we at Evans Legacy Law Group LLC are committed to helping you navigate these intricate processes. Our team is highly qualified to assist executors, administrators, and beneficiaries in these often complicated administrative tasks.
We can help you and your family avoid pitfalls and potential disputes with legal guidance, clarity, and practical advice. Should disputes become contentious, we can help you resolve them through negotiation or litigation as a last resort.
Probate in Illinois
Probate is a court-supervised proceeding that occurs after a person's death to identify and distribute the deceased person's assets, pay off any debts, and settle their estate. Probate is a specific legal process involving only property and assets that fall under probate law. Generally, a formal probate court proceeding is necessary in Illinois only if the estate's assets are worth more than $100,000 and were owned solely by the deceased person.
The process begins when the executor, named in the will, files a petition with the probate court. If no will exists, the court appoints an administrator. The assortment of tasks involves identifying and inventorying the deceased person's property, having the property appraised, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining property as the will directs or as Illinois law requires, making a final accounting of the process to the court if it is a supervised administration, and closing out the probate process.
If no will exists or it proves invalid, the court appoints an estate administrator to manage the settlement of the assets and property.
Two types of estate administration can occur in the probate process: supervised and independent. Supervised administration requires the executor or administrator to obtain court approval for specific actions, while independent administration allows the executor or administrator more freedom to act without court supervision. The type of administration is determined by the will or the court if there's no will.
Estate administration is a broader term encompassing all the tasks involved in managing and settling an estate, whether or not probate is required. As mentioned above, this involves managing all of a deceased person's assets under Illinois probate. However, it may also include those assets that do not need to go through probate. The probated assets may be only one part of an entire estate administration.
These “non-probated” assets may include assets held in joint tenancy, like life insurance proceeds or retirement accounts, “payable upon death” accounts, and assets held in a trust. They pass directly to the named beneficiaries without needing court supervision.
Fiduciary Duty in Probate & Estate Administration
One critical aspect of both probate and estate administration is fiduciary duty. The executor or administrator, serving in a fiduciary capacity, is obligated to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. This duty requires honesty, good faith, and complete transparency in all dealings related to the estate.
Breaches of fiduciary duty can occur due to fraud, conflicts of interest, self-dealing, failure to disclose relevant facts, mismanagement of assets or funds, or failure to communicate with beneficiaries. If such a breach occurs, the executor or administrator can be held personally liable for any financial losses that result from their failure to carry out their duties properly. This means they may have to pay out of their own pocket to cover these losses.
Work with a Proven Team at Evans Legacy Law Group LLC
Navigating probate and estate administration in Illinois can be daunting for everyone who is a party to the process. That can include executors, administrators, heirs and beneficiaries, trustees, creditors, guardians or conservators, or other interested parties.
Our experienced Libertyville probate and estate administration attorneys offer comprehensive support throughout the process. We provide clear guidance on fulfilling fiduciary duties, help address any disputes that may arise, assist with asset valuation, and ensure accurate and timely filing of all necessary documents and tax returns.
At Evans Legacy Law Group LLC, we are dedicated to alleviating the stress associated with probate and estate administration, including any disputes that may arise. We aim to provide you with peace of mind during this challenging time and ensure the fair and efficient management of a loved one's legacy.
The Family Estate & Legacy Client Care ProgramOur Family Estate & Legacy Program offers a comprehensive approach to estate planning. As a member of this program, you'll have 24/7 access to your legal documents and our estate planning team for any questions or concerns. You'll receive legal updates, simple amendments to your trust, end of year estate plan reviews, and access to educational programs and workshops.
Building a Living & Lasting LegacyLearn more about our trademarked Estate Planning process in this interactive brochure.
Your Estate Planning GuideDiscover the advantages to Illinois and Missouri estate planning and strategies to create your best estate plan. Learn more in this free book, authored by your estate planning guide, Shanise Evans.
Register for an Event or Inquire about a Speaking EngagementShanise has a true passion for educating and serving her community on the value of wealth generation and the importance of leaving a legacy for the efficient and meaningful transfer of that wealth, she is available for speaking engagements and has routinely presented before various professional and community organizations.