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Probate 101: Do I Need to Probate If I Have a Will?

Woman holding cutout of house

The process of probate can be confusing and frustrating, especially if you're already dealing with the death of a loved one. If you live in Illinois and are wondering if you need to go through probate if there is a will, this blog post is for you.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the legal process of administering a person's estate after their death. The purpose of probate is to give the deceased person's creditors a chance to be paid and to distribute the deceased person's assets according to their will (if they had one).

In most cases, the executor of the estate (the person named in the will) will file for probate with the court. Once probate is granted, the executor will have the legal authority to pay debts and distribute assets. In some cases, however, an estate may not need to go through probate.

Do I Need to Probate If I Have a Will?

Whether or not you need to probate a will depends on a few factors, including the value of the estate and whether the deceased person owned any property in joint tenancy with someone else.

In Illinois, if the value of the estate is less than $100,000, probate may not be necessary. Additionally, if all of the deceased person's assets are held in joint tenancy with someone else (meaning that the surviving joint tenant will automatically inherit the asset), probate may not be required. However, even if an estate doesn't technically need to go through probate, the executor may still want to file for probate to clear up any potential questions about ownership of assets or to make sure that creditors are paid.

If you're not sure whether or not your loved one's estate will need to go through probate, you should speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. They can help you understand the probate process and determine whether or not it's necessary in your case.

Get in touch with our Rockford estate planning attorneys at (815) 987-4050 to schedule a consultation!

The blog published by Reno & Zahm LLP is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing blog posts, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney, and readers are urged to consult legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.