When a loved one passes away, family members face the prospect of navigating the court-supervised administration process guided by state intestacy law or the decedent’s will. Many people devise a living trust to avoid the expense, delay, and lack of privacy associated with formal probate proceedings. Although a living trust is administered outside the courtroom, trust administration still involves management and distribution of the trust by the successor trustee. Chicago Estate Administration Lawyer Richard J. Arendt has nearly forty years of legal experience, which includes providing legal advice and guidance to executors and trustees engaged in performing their fiduciary duties.
Our Illinois probate and trust administration law firm represents clients in the following legal matters:
- Probate of Estates
- Administering Trusts
- Preparation of Estate Taxes
- Contested Probate
Attorneys Administering Probate Estates in Illinois
At the Law Office of Richard J. Arendt, we recognize that efficient handling of the probate process can facilitate the disposition of a decedent’s assets according to his or her preferences promptly. While the process can seem complex and confusing, probate in Illinois in basic terms involves the distribution of assets of a decedent under the terms of a will or state intestacy law in the absence of a will or trust. The will administration process is coordinated by a personal representative (referred to as the “executor”) under Illinois law. The executor has a fiduciary duty to distribute assets according to the terms of the will to creditors, heirs, and legatees (those designated to receive an inheritance from the will).
Comprehensive Representation through All Stages of Administration of a Will
The probate process informally begins once a person dies. If the decedent has a will, all copies of the will must be filed with the Clerk of the Court in the county where the decedent resided at the time of his or her passing. When the decedent dies without a will (or living trust), the distribution of assets of an estate will be distributed according to statutory priorities outlined in Illinois intestate succession law. While the probate process for every estate is unique, Mr. Arendt regularly guides clients through the common steps of the probate process, including but not limited to the following:
- Filing of a petition with the proper court to commence the probate process
- Providing required notice to heirs identified in the will or intestacy statute
- Submission of a petition appointing an Executor of the will or Administrator for the estate
- Gathering the assets of the estate and creating an inventory of the assets by the Executor/Administrator
- Obtaining appropriate appraisals and valuations of the assets comprising the estate
- Satisfaction of debts and obligations of the estate, including payment of creditors
- Selling of estate assets
- Paying of estate taxes (depending on the value of the estate and other facts)
- Distributing net assets according to the terms of the will (or state law if no will or living to trust exists)
Administration of Trusts in Illinois
Mr. Arendt draws on his experience handling large complex estates during his 38 years practicing law to provide insightfully and skilled legal representation to beneficiaries and trustees. We recognize that efficient trust administration enables your loved ones to maintain their standard of living by ensuring that trust assets are distributed to beneficiaries promptly.
When a trust must be modified because one spouse pre-deceases the other, our law firm can help you navigate this process and make sure you understand your options. When the surviving spouse subsequently passes away, we provide assistance to trustees in performing duties that include management of estate assets as well as the distribution of real property, cash, investments, stocks, and other property. We counsel and work with trustees in the performance of their fiduciary duties which includes satisfying tax obligations and financial obligations along with making distributions to beneficiaries.
Chicago Area Trust and Probate Administration Lawyer Richard J. Arendt specifically customizes his representation to the pursuit of the express wishes of the decedent and the needs of his or her family. We offer a no obligation free consultation so that we can evaluate your situation and answer your questions.