Probate is the process that takes place after someone dies. It is controlled by the Illinois Probate Act. If the deceased person has a will, it must be filed with the court and admitted to probate by court order to be considered valid. An executor is named who is responsible for identifying the deceased person’s property (the “estate”), having that property appraised, pays the estates debts and taxes, and distributes the probate estate property as the will directs. Simply put, you can’t legally take property after someone dies without going to a probate court.
Attorney Brynteson is committed to using his 35 years of legal experience to serve peoples probate needs in Northern Illinois, including Belvidere and Rockford.
There are two types of probates: intestate (no will) and testate (with a will). An intestate estate probate is used when the decedent does not leave a valid will. When there is no will, state law determines who receives the decedent’s assets and who the executor will be. Fights often ensue over the control and distribution of the intestate estate assets. This is why it is essential to have a written estate plan.
In a testate estate probate, the decedent has left a valid will which directs who gets the decedent’s assets, and usually names the executor. The executor is responsible for carrying out the terms of the will. Once the executor is appointed by court order, the court clerk issues “letters of office” officially authorizing the executor to step into the shoes of the deceased. Attorney Brynteson is committed to using his 35 years of legal experience to serve the probate needs of people in Northern Illinois, including Belvidere and Rockford.
Within 30 days of the decedent’s death, the last will and testament must be filed in the county courthouse in the county where the deceased person last resided. If the deceased person owned property outside of Illinois, an additional filing (an “ancillary probate”) must be filed in the state(s) where the property is owned.
The probate process takes anywhere from 6 months to several years depending on the size of the estate. The probate stays open for at least 6 months to allow creditors and any other interested parties to file claims against the estate’s assets. In Illinois, probate may be avoided using a “small estate affidavit” for estates that are valued at less than $100,000. However, if the total estate is valued at over $100,000, the will must be probated in court. Attorney Brynteson is committed to serving people in Northern Illinois, including Belvidere, Rockford, Dekalb and Sycamore.
How Probate Attorney Mark Brynteson Can Help You During Probate?
- File a Probate Petition with the court and have an executor appointed
- Identify estate assets and obtain appraisals for your home and assets
- Assist in the selection of a real estate agent and accountant
- Filing an inventory and accounting
- Distributing assets as directed by you will
- Assisting in the payment of debts and taxes
Attorney Mark Brynteson uses his 35 years of experience to provide sound legal advice to guide you through the Illinois probate administration process. He can help you move the process along quickly and facilitate a smooth transfer of assets following a loved one’s death. He serves people in Northern Illinois, including Winnebago, Boone, Dekalb, Stephenson and McHenry Counties.
Navigate Probate Litigation with an Experienced Probate Attorney Mark Brynteson
Brynteson Law’s experienced probate team will walk you through the Illinois probate litigation system quickly and efficiently. Attorney Brynteson uses his 35 years of experience to help you understand estate planning, long-term planning, long term care coordination, guardianship, estate administration, trust administration, and probate litigation in Northern Illinois and surrounding collar counties. Attorney Brynteson invites you to contact his team and learn how they can assist you with your probate litigation needs. He serves people in Northern Illinois, including Winnebago, Boone, Dekalb, Stephenson and McHenry Counties.
Experienced Probate Attorney Helping Executors and Trustees
Attorney Brynteson uses his 35 years of experience to assist clients who serve as trustees of trusts, executors of estates, or in other fiduciary capacities to establish and execute plans of administration that include:
- Prosecuting court supervised probate proceedings if they are required or when opening of a probate estate is otherwise advisable;
- Dealing with any creditors or claimants against the assets of the estate or trust;
- Identifying and inventorying assets of the probate estate or trust;
- Marshalling and liquidation of trust or estate property, as required by the will or trust;
- Hiring an accountant to prepare and file Illinois and federal tax returns;
- Minimizing the client’s liability through the use of Receipt, Release and Refunding Agreements and, where appropriate, Non-Judicial Settlement Agreements.
If beneficiaries or third parties become contentious in dealing with the estate representative, Attorney Brynteson represent them in resolving those disputes voluntarily where feasible, and in court proceedings when such disputes are not capable of a voluntary resolution. Our team invites you to contact us and learn how we can assist with your probate litigation needs. He serves people in Northern Illinois, including Winnebago, Boone, Dekalb, Stephenson and McHenry Counties.
Estate Planning Documents
The estate planning documents that are normally part of any estate plan include the following:
Last Will and Testament
The purpose of a will is to (1) identify who gets your assets after your death; (2) who is responsible for identifying and distributing your assets; and (3) who will care for your minor children, if any. In the absence of a will, the above questions are determined by Illinois law and the probate courts. The probate process for intestate estates (estates without a will) is extremely time-consuming and can cause awkwardness and adversity between your loved ones. Probate may be avoided or greatly simplified if the deceased creates even a simple will. It can reduce stress between family members and ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes.
Revocable Living Trusts
Revocable Living Trusts have become the most common type of estate plan because of its ability to avoid the probate process. A living trust is a document in which you (the “grantor”) transfer your property to a “trustee” for the benefit of others (the “beneficiaries”). The initial grantor(s) and trustee(s) are usually the same person. Upon the death of the grantor, the trust agreement will determine how property is processed and divided up without the involvement of the probate court.
Powers of Attorney for Health Care and for Property
If you become incapacitated, Powers of Attorney give a person of your choosing the authority to make your health care and financial decisions. They specifically set forth your wishes and settle any disputes about your healthcare and finances before they arise. If you do not have powers of attorney, your loved ones will need to obtain an expensive and time-consuming court ordered guardianship to make these decisions.
More advanced estate planning tools are available for complex estates which you may want to consider. These include gift trusts, family limited partnerships, qualified personal residence trusts (QPRT’s), and others. Moreover, it is imperative that professionals and others in high-liability careers safeguard their assets to ensure their assets are protected from future litigation claims or other creditors.