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If you have established an estate plan in Chicago, our firm can ensure that your will or trust instructions are followed on your behalf. Both a will and a trust determine your assets’ distribution after you pass, but there is one big difference between the two legal documents. In an estate plan, a trust avoids probate court, and a will must go through probate court in Illinois.

What is the Probate Process in Chicago?

The term probate most literally means “to prove” a will. It covers the entire legal process necessary to settle a person’s estate after they die in Illinois. The appointed representative, usually a family member, opens the probate case in court. With the court’s help, they will work through all of the financial business that the decedent left behind. The probate process includes disposing of personal property, money, real property, or anything else that the deceased owned at the time of their death. The probate process also deals with any debts in existence at the time of death in Cook County.

Overall, the probate process can be time-consuming, costly, and is held in a public court. And probate court can be intimidating. But with the legal assistance of a Chicago probate attorney like Michael Robins, you or your loved ones can rest assured of a smooth transition when settling an estate in the Chicago probate court. At Robins & Associates we can work with you and your loved ones to draft the proper legal documents and carefully time asset transfers to navigate the probate court process together.

Understanding the Potential Duties of a Probate Lawyer

If you find yourself in probate court, it is helpful to have an idea of some common duties of the probate lawyer in the context of probating an estate:

Duty to communicate: a probate attorney has a duty to notify the beneficiaries that the estate exists, identify the Executor, provide a copy of the inventory, provide copies of court filings, generally explain documents that require a beneficiary’s signature, etc. This duty to communicate is not the same thing as an attorney-client relationship, which means there is no attorney-client privilege and, therefore, the attorney cannot give legal advice.

Duty to account: provide regular estate accountings, which includes explaining funds that will be paid out of estate accounts for expenses.

Duty to treat all beneficiaries equal: a probate attorney in Chicago is responsible for the distribution of estate funds at the same time. If any questions arise as to how something in the Will is to be interpreted, the court must interpret it, not the attorney.

Trust Your Chicago Attorney

At Robins and Associates, we can help you plan for the future and craft an estate plan fit for your needs, as well as serving as your legal guide if you or a loved one are involved in probate court. Our Chicago firm is experienced in establishing both trusts, wills, and probate administration. We can legally advise you on creating an estate plan or serve as your legal counsel in probate court. Take the first step of establishing your estate plan or find guidance in the probate process by contact our Chicago office at 312-641-9500 and schedule an appointment with us.

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