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Key constraints in the Illinois probate process

| Apr 28, 2021 | Estate Administration/Probate |

Going through probate is a legal process that has filing deadlines and other constraints. We will cover some of the most crucial deadlines and facts to remember when proceeding through the probate process.

Constraints for mandatory probate filing

Most wills do not require probate. In Illinois, probate is only a necessity under two conditions: 

1) A person with over $100,000 in assets dies without designating a beneficiary.

2) The decedent has real estate listed only in his or her name.

Filing deadlines

The executor must file the will with the probate court within 30 days of becoming aware of the testator’s death. Parties wishing for formal proof of the will must petition for it within 42 days after the effective date of the will’s admission to probate.  

Any party desiring to contest the will must do so within six months of the will’s admission to probate court. A surviving spouse can renounce the will and opt to take the statutory share. This amount is usually a third of the probate estate regardless of the length of the marriage. The surviving spouse has seven months from the date the will is admitted to the probate court to renounce the will.

Time constraints surrounding selecting a new executor

The executor can opt to refuse to act on the will as the executor. When choosing to do so, the executor has 30 days to inform the probate court of this decision. 

If there is no will or no executor, interested parties can file a petition for Letters of Administration. This action allows someone else to apply to be the executor of the state. The surviving spouse will receive priority placement. The applicant must file this petition within 30 days after the death of the estate owner. 

Time constraints on the duties of the executor

The law establishes deadlines on the executor to keep the probate process moving towards prompt completion. Executors have 60 days after their formal appointment to catalog and account for all the property of the assigned estate. 

Once the executor settles all the debt of the estate and completes the distribution of the estate property, it is time to close the estate. The executor has 14 months from the date of appointment to complete this task. If the executor is unable to close the estate within 14 months, then he or she must explain the reason to the probate court.