Probate Services

Chicago Probate and Trust Lawyers

The Chicago probate and trust attorneys at John J. Pembroke & Associates LLC assist executors and administrators of wills, trusts and estates to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that the executor or administrator has no remaining personal liability after the process is completed. We also assist with filing estate and final income taxes.

An executor or administrator of an estate in Illinois has a multiplicity of duties, including:

  • Marshalling assets
  • Conducting a thorough inventory of the estate
  • Compiling an accurate final accounting
  • Providing detailed reports to the probate court
  • Distributing the assets to heirs in accordance with the controlling document for both will and trusts included in the decedent's estate

If there is no will or trust, the assets are distributed under Illinois' law of intestate succession. Many people view probate as a necessary evil. However, there are many benefits to probating an estate including providing an orderly forum for the disposition of an estate and for protecting the estate from creditors.

Probate generally takes eight to nine months, at a minimum, and can last much longer if the will or a trust is contested and probate litigation is needed. If there are questions surrounding the contents of a will, a will caveat can be filed to prevent the probate process from starting.

Many of our wealthy clients choose to have at least some of their assets go through the probate process because it provides a court-supervised forum to resolve family disputes over who gets what. Probate also allows estates to cut off potential creditor claims sooner than in an estate controlled by a trust.

Estate administration includes assets that need to go through the probate process (those assets controlled by a will) as well as non-probate assets such as trusts, life insurance benefits, and property owned in joint tenancy. While probating of wills is a public process, the administration of non-probate assets can be done privately at the same time as probate administration.

If the estate contains hard-to-value assets, such as businesses and real estate, our Chicago probate attorneys will advise you to retain enough assets to pay any additional taxes if the value is challenged by the IRS. Since the executor or administrator is personally liable for estate taxes, you will want to retain enough money from the estate to pay any additional taxes that are owed.

Our Park Ridge Estate Administration Attorneys Are Here to Help You

We invite you to contact a probate attorney at John J. Pembroke & Associates, LLC to schedule a consultation.