Estate administration, in basic terms, is the procedure of maintenance and distribution of a person's assets after they die.
If the decedent has made a will in Cook County, Illinois, the process will play out according to the instructions specified in the will.
Wills typically name an executor. The executor's role revolves around guaranteeing that the instructions in the will are implemented.
The executor generally has at least some work cut out for them. This obviously raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to guarantee that the executor does his or her job is simply to appoint the person who has the most to gain from the will. That way, they cannot inherit until the process is finalized.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a will in Cook County, Illinois does not name a person to serve as executor, or the decedent dies without having written a will, the court will assign a person to act as estate administrator.
Usually, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under Illinois's intestacy laws. "Intestacy" refers to a situation in which a person dies without a will, or "dies intestate." Every state has laws to address this situation, and there isn't a lot of variation from state to state. Usually, the decedent's property will go to his or her closest relative, and if absolutely no living relatives can be found, it will go to the state.
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any individual who has some direct interest in the result can ask to be named executor by the Cook County, Illinois court.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be accountable for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.
Can a Cook County, Illinois Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an experienced Cook County, Illinois lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-difficult process.