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Principled Advocacy For Families And Individuals With Disabilities And The Professionals Who Serve Them

Estate planning: What you should know about the probate process

| Jul 28, 2020 | Estate Planning

Whether you have recently lost a loved one or you wish to plan your estate, it is helpful to understand the probate process. Knowing the details behind the process can help you arrange your estate in such a way that will simplify matters for your family.

In Illinois, the probate process is not required in all cases. However, the legal procedure is necessary in cases where the estate is worth more than $100,000.

What does the probate process entail?

Probate procedures assist in finalizing the estate and ensures that the right heirs named in the last will and testament receive the property and assets left behind by the deceased. The executor, or estate administrator, is responsible for overseeing the estate through the probate process, according to the American Bar Association.

First, the court determines whether the deceased’s last will and testament is valid. Next, the executor gathers up the estate’s property and assets, and calculates the estate’s value. It is up to the executor to ensure the estate is protected against vandalism or theft.

Any outstanding taxes or bills owed by the estate are paid out of the value. The court then distributes the remaining property to the beneficiaries named in the last will and testament.

When is probate unnecessary?

Any assets held in a living revocable trust do not need to go through probate, as they are often transferred directly to the beneficiary of the trust. Assets and/or property that are jointly-owned are also transferred over to the other holder of the property. Finally, retirement accounts, term life insurance policies and 401k plans that have a beneficiary named can avoid probate as well.