The term “probate” is used to describe the legal processes involved in transferring the property of a deceased person, the decedent, to the new rightful owner(s). While many a great movie has been written about the dramatics surrounding the reading of a will, the reality of probate is more complicated, but it can often seem just as mysterious. Understanding your rights and preparing your estate will ensure your property ends up exactly where you intend and save your loved ones valuable time and energy.
No. A probate proceeding is not required but is generally the most efficient and convenient way to transfer a decedent’s property. In Illinois, a probate proceeding begins once a party files a petition with the Clerk of Court. The Clerk will then set a hearing before a judge. A probate estate reduces the amount of time a creditor can bring a claim against the estate from two years to six months. Where real estate is involved probate allows for the transfer of full and clear title. Interested parties, not just creditors, must state their claim against the estate during the probate proceeding; where there is no probate, claims can be made years later.
When an estate goes through probate, all interested parties are allowed to contest who the new rightful owner(s) should be. The interested parties may be descendants of the deceased, creditors of the deceased, or charities who believe they are entitled to a share of the property. Unfortunately this can often place relatives or friends in a position of battling over a decedent’s property. Proper preparation will avoid leaving those closest to you in this uncomfortable position.
If you own property and wish to determine who the next owner will be, an estate planning lawyer will help make that happen. Protect your property and your loved ones by contacting Orlowsky & Wilson today by calling (847) 325-5559.