Avoiding Probate in Illinois

A last will and testament resting on a desk with books, a pen, a compass, an American flag, and a bookshelf in the background.

Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person. It involves validating the will, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. Probate can be costly, time-consuming, and public in Illinois. Here are some reasons why you should consider avoiding probate in Illinois:

- Probate fees: Probate fees can eat up a substantial portion of the estate's value. These fees include court costs, attorney fees, executor fees, appraisal fees, and accounting fees. Depending on the complexity and size of the estate fees can consume a substantial portion, or less frequently all, of the estate.

- Probate delays: Probate can take a long time to complete in Illinois. A typical probate process takesĀ 10 to 18 months, but it can take longer if there are disputes, creditors' claims, or tax issues. During this time, the beneficiaries cannot access their inheritance and the assets are exposed to risks such as depreciation, theft, or damage.

- Probate publicity: Probate is a public process in Illinois. The will, inventory, and accounting of the estate are filed with the court and become part of the public record. This means that anyone can access the information and learn about the deceased person's assets, debts, and beneficiaries. This can compromise the privacy and security of the estate and the heirs.

One of the ways to avoid probate in Illinois is to use a living trust. A living trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer your assets to a trustee who manages them for your benefit during your lifetime and for your beneficiaries after your death. Unlike a will, a living trust does not usually have to go through probate. This means that your assets may be distributed quickly and privately to your heirs according to your wishes. A living trust also gives you more control over your assets and can help you avoid estate taxes and creditors' claims.

Depending on your circumstances probate may offer advantages such as people who have significant professional or personal liability risks. However, for many, probate is an unnecessary burden and should be avoided. If you encounter difficulties with probate, you can call us for a free consultation.