After someone passes away in Illinois, their estate may need to go through a process known as probate. Probate is a legal proceeding that validates a Will and appoints a Personal Representative (a.k.a. an Executor). This person will oversee the administration of the estate, which includes paying debts and taxes and distributing any balance to inheritors.
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It’s important to note that probate isn’t always necessary in Illinois. There are certain instances where it can be simplified or avoided altogether (and we’ll look at those below).
However, if you do end up having to go through probate, there will be costs associated with the process. How much? It will depend on the number of factors, including:
The size and complexity of the estate
How effective the Estate Planning is
How much an attorney costs (if one is used)
And other things
All that said, it’s difficult to clearly state a concrete average cost of probate in Illinois, but we can go over some of the basics.
Common Probate Fees in Illinois
There are some fees and costs you can expect to pay, such as:
Court costs, attorney fees and filing fees
Executor’s (Personal Representative’s) fee (Illinois is a reasonable compensation state)
Professional fees for any Accountants, Appraisers, Land Surveyors, etc.
Surety Bonds - typically required in all probates, but there are ways to avoid or use alternative acceptable methods
On average, for a fairly simple estate with an effective Executor and no disputes, probate in Illinois can cost around $4,000 - $6,000. This price can go up or down.
Common Questions About Probate in Illinois
How Long Does Probate Take in Illinois?
How long probate takes to close out in Illinois depends on multiple factors. The average is at least 12 months.
How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in Illinois?
Probate attorney fees in Illinois will depend on various things regarding the estate (how big, how many heirs, how many assets, etc.). It will also depend on how experienced the attorney you go with is.
How Can You Avoid Probate in Illinois?
Not all the estates in Illinois have to go through probate. Actually, most states do not need probate to be administered fully and properly. In Illinois, you can avoid probate if you:
Have a Revocable Living Trust
Don’t meet the small estate threshold (see below)
Have up-to-date beneficiary designations (including contingents listed)
Have property titled as Joint Ownership
What is Considered a Small Estate in Illinois?
In Illinois, smaller estates can avoid probate. At the very least, you could take advantage of a simplified probate proceeding known as a summary probate. Or, you might be able to sign an Affidavit statement and wait a period of time before assets can be distributed.
Summary probate procedure in Illinois - May be possible for estates valued less than $100,000 if all inheritors give written consent
Affidavit process in Illinois - May be possible for estates valued at less than $100,000 (does not include mortgages, etc.)
Who Pays Probate Fees in Illinois?
Curious about who pays probate fees in Illinois? Don’t worry - the total cost (even probate lawyer fees in Illinois) comes out of the estate, not the surviving family members’ pockets.