Illinois Personal Representative Lawyer
Hiring an Illinois person representative lawyer is one of the first things you should do if you have been appointed to handle the administration of a loved one’s estate and are not clear about what is expected of you.
What Is a Personal Representative in Illinois?
Per Illinois probate act 755 ILCS5/1-2.15 defines a personal representative as an administrator, executor, standby guardian, temporary guardian and administrator of a deceased person’s estate. An administrator to collect is a representative who has been named by the probate court after that person has put forward a petition for serving in the probate action. That administrator is then charged with preventing waste, embezzlement or loss of probate estate property. However, the two most common people involved in this process are executors and administrators. If you are interested in learning more about either one of these roles or have recently been named in a loved one’s will, it is a good idea to speak with an Illinois personal representative attorney about your specific concerns.
The executor and administrator hold similar roles and, in some cases, might even be indistinguishable from one another. However, it is important to verify your next steps.
How Does a Rep Get Appointed?
Whether or not a personal representative has been appointed typically depends on whether or not the deceased individual left a will. If a last will exists and was crafted by an estate planning attorney, that document will name an executor to serve in the role of probate estate. If a person passes away without a will, then the court must still appoint an administrator or personal representative. This occurs when the case is classified as intestate.
There is also the possibility of a third and more complicated scenario in which either no executor has been named in the will or the executor named in the will will not or cannot act. The court then still must appoint someone to manage the process of probate just as if there is not will.
One other thing to understand as far as a difference between administrators and executors is some executors must post a surety bond. This requires that every individual representative takes and files and oath that they will faithfully discharge their duties and post a bond to back this up. The surety bond is acquired from an insurance company and the probate code in Illinois sets out the amount of the bond at one and one-half times the value of the probate estate’s personal estate, which means that all non-real estate assets are included. These surety bonds can be expensive.
The estate representative has numerous different roles that they must undertake and complete effectively when preparing for probate. This includes things, such as:
- Filing and proving a will
- Gathering all of the probate assets
- Investing or managing estate assets
- Maintaining and operating those assets if necessary
- Preparing estate tax and income tax returns
- Notifying all potential creditors about the existence of the estate
- Paying valid claims against the estate from estate funds
- Putting together inventories and accountings of estate assets
- Distributing remaining assets inside the estate to those who are entitled to take distributions from it.
It can be daunting to take on this role if you have never served in it before. This is a big reason why retaining a personal representative attorney in Illinois is strongly recommended so that you can conduct the step by step process and minimize the possibility for claims against you.
You are not required to go through this on your own and it’s advisable that you don’t. To avoid some of the challenges mentioned above when it comes to trying to handle this on your own, hire a lawyer sooner rather than later.