Even under the best of circumstances, probate can be a complicated legal procedure. Months or even years could pass between the day your family member’s will (if there is one) is submitted to the probate court to the day you are able to collect your inheritance. There are a lot of steps involved with probate, all of which need to be carefully followed to avoid delays or unnecessary expenses. The sheer complexity of probate means this process is generally best supervised by a qualified attorney who is familiar with the procedures and can handle any potential pitfalls. If you anticipate any problems popping up, it may be wise to speak with a lawyer before initiating Illinois probate.
What Issues Might Make Probate Harder for My Family?
Whether you are getting ready to begin the probate process or debating whether you should try to avoid it in your estate plan, it is a good idea to be informed of some potential issues that can slow down or complicate probate. Any of the following concerns could lead to challenges in probate court:
- Intestacy – Probate can go more smoothly when the decedent has offered guidance on how his estate property should be distributed in the form of a will. When there is no will, there is the additional step of determining who is entitled to inherit under the laws of intestacy.
- Large estate – Trying to move a large estate through probate, especially one that is subject to the federal estate tax, can be quite a long and complicated process. All assets belonging to the estate must be accounted for and appropriately distributed, which can become time-consuming and tedious when the estate holds significant assets. However, in the absence of a trust, surviving loved ones may have no other choice.
- Contests – There is always the possibility that a relative or other legitimately interested party will contest the will. Whether the challenger has a valid reason for bringing litigation or not, a will contest brings the probate process to a grinding halt. Significant expenses can be incurred in the course of addressing a will contest.
- Executor – The personal representative named in the will may not be willing to carry out his duties. Perhaps he was unaware that he had been appointed, or the situation has changed and he is no longer willing or able to serve as personal representative. This can slow down the process, as the court may have to step in and replace an unwilling or uncooperative executor.
If you anticipate facing any of these challenges during probate, it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney well in advance to prepare. Or, if you are interested in learning how you can avoid these probate pitfalls through estate planning, a qualified attorney can tell you more.
Contact an Illinois Probate Attorney
If you are facing complex probate, Lucas Law has the experience needed to get you through the process. Our skilled Barrington probate lawyers are adept at navigating even the most complex or challenging estates through Illinois probate courts. Call our law office at 847-381-8700 when you are ready to set up a free consultation.