If an executor lives in a state different from the one in which the maker ofa Will died, in what state should the executorhire a lawyer?

My mother passed away and I’m executor on her Will. She died in IL were she had residence. Do I have to get an attorney there or is OK to get one in NC where I live?

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


S.J.H., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The will must be probated in the state in which the testator( your mother) passed away and must follow the laws of that State. Thus, you need to hire an attorney in Illinois so that they can properly navigate the probate process. If the estate is a small estate (often under $10,000) you can have the will probated by mail without the need for an attorney or to even appear in Court. However, if your mom had a house and other assets, an attorney would be needed. My suggestion is to contact a local attorney in the Illinois County in which she passed to find out hte filing fees and other fees involved in probating the estate and then let them take care of it. Otherwise you yourself will have to appear in Illinois and fill out the appropriate forms to obtain letters testamentary. Without these letters, you will not be able to do anything to further your mom's estate.  

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