Filing Claims Against an Estate in Probate

If a person who owes you money dies, you have the right to file a claim against the decedent’s estate to attempt to obtain the compensation you are owed. It is a possibility that the deceased person had a last will and testament and their estate is in the probate process. If probate has not been commenced, you the creditor may have a right to commence the probate proceeding to bring your claim in court. The claim you will file will go through the probate court. While filing this claim in probate court does not guarantee you the money you are owed, it will put the probate court and the representative of the estate on notice regarding the debt. If you are attempting to collect a debt in probate court, make sure to follow the steps listed below. But please note, the probate claim procedure is very technical and it is strongly advised that you seek guidance from an experience probate lawyer such as the probate lawyers at JTLG LLC. If the claim process is not filed correctly, you may be barred from every collecting on your debt.

This cannot be stressed enough, but there are various statutes of limitation involved with collecting debts from decedent’s estates. It is incumbent on you to understand those deadlines and file your claim accordingly. If you fail to do so, your claim will be barred and you will not recover the debt. If you are concerned about statutes of limitation, speak with a probate lawyer.

Confirm Your Debt

Your first step is to confirm what the deceased owed you, locate proof of the debt, and any additional evidence or information. A probate court will require that you submit evidentiary proof of your claim as a creditor. It is imperative that if you were notified that the debt was discharged in bankruptcy, that you cease attempts to collect on the debt.

Locate the Probate Court

The probate proceedings will be handled in probate court, which is a legal process that determines the transfer of the deceased’s estate to their beneficiaries and heirs, and ensures that all creditors and taxes are paid appropriately. Before the transfer of assets to the beneficiaries, the probate court will settle all debts of the estate. You can call the different probate courts in the area where the debtor lived and provide the name of the debtor to the clerk of the court to attempt to determine if the estate is being probated in that court. Some counties require you to visit the court in person.

Visit the Probate Court

Once you have determined which court the estate is being probated through, you will need to visit the court and bring all evidentiary proof of your debt with you. You may be able to obtain an online form regarding your claim before you arrive. The clerk of the court will also be able to provide the official case number and a creditor’s claim form. You will need to submit this claim form, and officially file it with the court. Always retain a court-stamped copy of your claim for your records.

Letter to Personal Representative

If it is not possible for you to visit the probate court in person, you may request to handle the matter through the mail. Additionally, you may be able to request that your debt be paid by writing a letter to the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Oftentimes, this may be enough to establish yourself as a creditor and be paid for any available funds of the decedent’s estate.

Contact an Experienced Illinois Probate Attorney Today

Navigating the probate process can be challenging and complex if you are a creditor. The Illinois estate attorneys of Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC  have dedicated their practice to helping people receive the compensation they are owed. If you have a claim against an estate in probate our experienced attorneys can help you file your claim. Call us today at (847) 549-0600 or email us at to schedule a free consultation.


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