Probate Put An Experienced Advocate On Your Side
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Understanding the Probate Process

When someone passes away, their heirs cannot immediately inherit property left to them, even if they are listed as beneficiaries in the deceased’s will. Their estate must first be settled in the eyes of the state government. (Note that assets placed in a trust are exempt from probate and can be transferred at any time per trust instructions.)

First, the deceased person’s loved ones will need to locate the will, which should specify a preferred personal representative. The named personal representative should petition the applicable court to initiate probate. 

If there is no will, or if the requested personal representative is unavailable or unwilling, another family member or interested party will need to start the process. The court will appoint an alternate personal representative in these scenarios.

Once the court has granted the personal representative authority over the deceased’s estate, they will be required to:

  • Notify heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors of the death and consequent proceedings
  • Locate, inventory, appraise, and protect estate assets
  • Review and resolve outstanding debts
  • File and pay the decedent’s taxes
  • Represent the estate in any claims
  • Distribute assets per the will’s instructions (or the state’s intestacy laws)

Rock Island Probate Attorney: Your Ally in Estate Administration

The scale and complexity of these responsibilities can be immense, especially if the chosen personal representative has limited legal and financial experience. Our Rock Island probate attorney can assist personal representatives with all aspects of estate administration. If the deceased left behind a small estate or implemented other estate planning tools, we work to identify and implement ways to accelerate the probate process whenever possible.

Common Grounds for Will Contests

One of the most common probate complications is a will contest. Assets cannot be distributed until these lawsuits are resolved. 

Any interested party – an heir, beneficiary, creditor, family member, or anyone who would be affected by the outcome of the conflict – has the right to challenge the entered will on certain grounds. An interested party cannot contest a will simply because they are dissatisfied with their inheritance (or lack thereof). 

An interested party can challenge a will on one of several grounds, including:

  • Improper Execution
  • Undue Influence
  • Lack of Capacity
  • Fraud
  • Revocation
  • Ignorance of the Contents of the Document

Legal Support for Will Contests in Rock Island

At Greenwood Law, our Rock Island probate lawyer is prepared to represent personal representatives who are facing a will contest. We can also help interested parties understand their legal options if they have reason to believe a will is invalid or unenforceable.

Contact us online or call (309) 790-7003 if you have questions or concerns about probate. 


Gold Star Fee Policy James D. Greenwood, founder of Greenwood Law, LLC, is a US Navy Veteran. His family has borne the costs of the wars of the United States and its Allies for generations. As such, Mr. Greenwood has specialized guidelines when providing legal services for Gold Star Family.
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