Estate Planning & Probate

Whether you own real estate, have a family or are full or part owner of a business, an estate plan is a necessity. Today, we have more blended families than ever before. Without having an estate plan in place, your personal assets, and your portion of a business could be distributed to someone other than who you intended.

Estate PlanningWe work with people of all ages to ensure they have a plan in place to provide for their families, even after they are deceased. We will take the time to understand your unique family structure, get a full picture of your financial status, and understand your goals for your loved ones. From there, we will help you draft an estate plan that best addresses your needs and helps you meet the goals you established.

If you are a business owner, you also have a responsibility to your business, and your business partners if applicable. This means you may also need to provide certain authorities to authorize someone to take over the operational aspects of your business in the event of your disability or incapacity.

For some, a simple will is all that is necessary but for others, we understand a more comprehensive, and complex estate plan is more appropriate. We will take the time to make sure you understand what options are available to you, and then we will work to craft the necessary documents to protect your family.

Let us maneuver the Probate Process.

Losing a loved one is never easy. When grieving, the last thing on your mind should be sorting out assets and dealing with creditors. At Jayaraman Law, we go above and beyond in supporting your family, maneuvering the Probate Process – regardless of how complicated the matter. During this difficult time, our goal is always to help families and provide the utmost comfort and peace of mind. We strive to remove the stress from the process, so you can focus on what’s most important – your loved ones.

With that said, probate in Illinois is a court-supervised procedure that helps to ensure the legal transfer of assets from the deceased to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries.  Probate in Illinois is also necessary to:

  • Prove the validity of the will
  • Appoint someone to manage the estate
  • Inventory and appraise the estate property
  • Pay any debts or taxes (including estate taxes)
  • Distribute the property as direct by the will—or by the Illinois laws of intestate succession if there is no will

In Illinois, if someone has $100,000 in total assets or real property with no transfer on death instructions, they will probably have to have their assets probated.

Frequently Asked Questions About Probate:

What’s so bad about probate in Illinois …and what should I do next?

Many residents in Illinois have heard that probate is bad news.  It tends to be very expensive, it’s time-consuming, and it’s also a public process.

The easiest way to avoid the probate process is to plan. If you are now in a situation where you must go through probate courts to finalize the estate of a loved one, the best thing you can do is get educated and get help to complete the process as quickly, and cost-effectively, as possible.

How do I start Probate in Illinois?

Although any beneficiary or creditor can initiate probate, normally the person named in the will as the Executor starts the process. They file the original will with the court and file a Petition with the probate court. If there is no will, typically a close relative of the decedent who expects to inherit from the estate will file the Petition.

How do I choose an Executor?

If the decedent had a will, the person named in the will as the Executor will serve, if eligible. If that person is unable or unwilling to serve as Executor, or if there is no Will, then any interested family member or person can petition the Court to be the administrator of the Estate.

Could I Be Held Personally Liable For Making a Mistake as an Executor?

Being an Executor is a big responsibility. Illinois’ probate code contains pages upon pages of complex legal rules and procedures that an Executor must follow during the probate. Also, there are certain deadlines that an Executor must meet in filing papers with the Court. If an Executor violates any of these rules, they can be held personally liable for losses to the estate.

My loved one had a trust…will we need to go through probate?

In most cases, no.  If your loved one’s assets are owned in the name of a Trust, the family can contact a lawyer who will complete paperwork and guide the loved ones through the process with ease without the need for court involvement.

Unfortunately, many people who have a Trust think they have it all taken care of.  But time and again, family members’ of a recently passed loved one come into my office and they find out they are facing the frustration, expense and delay of a probate, even though the person they loved had a trust.

Why is that?

Often the Trust was prepared many years ago and was never updated; and often, their loved ones’ assets were not owned in the name of their Trust.  That is why it is so very important that you carefully choose your estate planning attorney. Also have regular reviews of your plan and assets so the planning you do now works as planned later.

It’s why we do things so much differently than most other lawyers and law firms, here at Jayaraman Law.

What Assets are Subject to Probate?

Assets owned solely in the name of the deceased person are subject to probate. However, assets that pass by means of title, such as real estate titled as “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship,” or bank accounts titled as “Transfer On Death” are not subject to the probate process. Assets that pass by means of a beneficiary designation, such as life insurance or some retirement accounts, are also not subject to probate. In some situations, however, assets that would otherwise pass by title or beneficiary designation can be subject to the probate process.  Talk to an attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.

How is Distribution of the Estate Handled if there is no Will?

If there is no will or trust, the estate will be distributed according to Illinois probate and intestate laws.

How long does Probate take?

The length of time of a probate will depend on several factors. We advise that it usually takes a minimum of 12 months. It can take up to two years or even longer for complex cases.

More Questions About Estate Planning and Probate?

Contact Jayaraman Law to learn more and get all your questions answered.

If you’re ready to get started with the probate process after the passing of a loved one, please contact our experienced probate attorneys at 312-722-6596.

Our lawyers will answer all of your questions about probate and guide you and your family through the next best steps.  We are committed to helping you administer your loved one’s estate as quickly and efficiently as possible. We also look forward to relieving any administrative or legal burdens you may face during this time of loss.

Again, whether you need a simple estate plan involving only a will and powers of attorney, have the need for a more comprehensive estate plan, or need the guidance of experienced Probate and Real Estate lawyers, contact Jayaraman Law today and let’s get started.