Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 10, 2020

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Estates worth $100,000 or less can bypass the Illinois probate system completely. The successor, spouse, or adult-aged child of the decedent should file a Small Estate Affidavit requesting that the assets be released to the beneficiary without formal Illinois probate proceedings. While the Illinois Small Estate procedure has its benefits, it can be complicated if there are conflicts or incomplete information concerning the decedent’s intentions and/or estate.

Estates worth over $100,000 must default to the formal probate process, in which an executor is named to represent the estate, pay debts, notify potential heirs, and contact creditors. Formal estates stay open for at least 6 months, so it is advisable to try to avoid formal probate if you wish to see the assets distributed in a timelier manner.

You may need to hire an experienced Illinois probate attorney if there are conflicts or questions about the estate or if formal probate processes are required.

For more information, check out our article on the Basics of Illinois Probate