The loss of a loved one can be devastating.  Not only are you mourning the death of your family member but you are also faced with managing their affairs, which can include gathering their assets, paying debts, renting or selling their real estate, and distributing their property to family members.   Property includes more than real estate.  It also includes:

  • Real estate
  • Bank Accounts (checking, saving, money market accounts, CDs, etc.)
  • Insurance accounts
  • Retirement accounts (401k, pension funds)
  • Personal property like jewelry, furniture, cars, etc.
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The level of difficulty in settling their affairs usually depends on how much property your loved one owned and whether they had a will or living trust (Testate) or died without an estate plan (Intestate).  In some instances, your loved one may have a Small Estate, which means the didn’t own real estate and/or the property is valued at less than $100,000. Illinois law allows you to settle a Small Estate using the Small Estate Affidavit.  However, if the estate includes real estate and/or property valued at more than $100,000, you will likely have to go through the Probate Court process to settle their affairs.


    What Happens in Probate Court?

    The probate laws of Illinois are very technical and govern 3 types of proceedings:

    1. Settling the affairs of the deceased.
    2. Guardianship of Minors
    3. Guardianship of disabled or incapacitated adults.

    Click Here to download “How to Manage the Affairs of a Loved One: to learn more 

    As long as no disputes between family members arise, there are 4 Steps of the Probate Court Process.

    1. Identifying Property and Assets Belonging to your Loved One,
    2. Getting Control of the Property through the Court,
    3. Paying Bills and Necessary Expenses, and
    4. Distributing Property to Beneficiaries.

    In Cook County, judges generally require you to be represented by a lawyer in a probate proceeding because the process is very long and technical.  Attorney Smith and her team pride themselves on providing compassionate and effective legal representation.  Our goal is to use plain English to explain the process to you and handle the court process.  We strive to lessen the burden of probate so that you can gain the blessing of peace of mind.   To learn more about our services, please contact Attorney Smith at 312-868-0781 or for a FREE 30-minute phone consultation.