Having a Will in place is a great gesture to let loved ones or beloved institutions know that they were special to the Deceased person. The Will should designate who the Testator (the person who authored the Will) has nominated as their Executor- the person nominated to execute the intentions of the Will.
If you are the Executor you must file al copy of the will with the clerk of court in the county in which the Testator either: (1) had a known residence upon their death; (2) owned the greater part of their real estate; or if neither has no real property, then where the greater part of their personal estate is located. (755 ILCS 5/5-1).
The Executor should file a petition for admission of the will to probate and letters testamentary within 30 days after the sooner of (1) the death of the Testator, or (2) acquiring knowledge that they were nominated as Executor. Failure to do so could result in the disqualification of the nominated person to act as Executor. Along with the petition, the Executor will need to file an Affidavit of Heirship as well, which lays out the heirs as if the Testator did not have a will.
Within 14 days after an order is entered admitting the will to probate the Executor (or the appointed representative) must mail a copy of the court order admitting the will to probate and the petition requesting the admission of the will to all of the heirs and legatees who were required to be named in the petition with their addresses provided. If the addresses of all of the heirs and legatees are not listed or known in the petition, then a notice will need to be published in a newspaper circulated in the county where the will was probated. (755 ILCS 5/6-10).
A failure to follow these steps as an Executor could cause for delays in administering the estate, distributing funds, and managing the assets left behind for the beneficiaries. Title to real estate can be clouded or assets can remain locked up until these steps are taken care of. In the worst of circumstances missing a step in this process could give someone an opportunity to contest the validity of the will or the Executor’s authority to act.
If you or someone you know is set to act as the Executor of an estate, give us a call for more assistance.