Can an executor handle all probate work without an attorney?

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Can an executor handle all probate work without an attorney?

Seems simple – there is no debt, investments, IRA or other retirement. 2 adult children who both agree. Will names them as co-executors. Illinois resident. Home value of $110K, no mortgage. $30K cash. No car, no other assets at all. So, file the will, ask court to name executors, notify heirs stated in will, publish notice in paper, take inventory, open estate checking account, pay any bills, sell house, pay any heirs per what the will directs. There are a number of forms to use, but they seem somewhat straightforward. Why is an attorney needed?

Asked on February 6, 2013 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

Victor Waid / Law Office of Victor Waid

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The attorney is a professional who specializes in probate matters and is the professional guide in the system of law. The representation is more than filling out forms and checking boxes; the forms must be completed correctly and the correct boxes checked; mistakes can be costly in money and time, and you, if you are the executor, have fiduciary responsibilities and duties to the estate and the beneficiaries;  beneficiaries have the right to sue you as the executor of the estate if you do anything incorrectly, violate your fiduciary duties to the estate or them. It is a foolish move on your part if you want to act as an executor without the guidance of a good probate attorney. I see problems in court all of the time where people try to represent estates and do not know what they are doing.


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