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Do you need to know the basics of probate?

Whether you are putting together an estate plan or are responsible for administering a loved one's estate, having the right information can make your task easier. Understanding the basics of what happens during probate may change how you would create your estate plan. It may also give you an idea of what your responsibilities are as executor of a Georgia estate.

First, you need to know that an Illinois court will be supervising your efforts. The ultimate goal of a probate is to distribute the decedent's property to his or her heirs. This requires you to identify, gather and protect all of the assets of the estate in anticipation of distributing them at some point.

As you identify all of the assets, you may discover that some of them do not have to go through probate because they are either jointly owned with a surviving individual, passed through a trust or were otherwise disposed of outside the will. You need only gather and protect the assets that must go through probate in order to transfer ownership from the decedent to the heir. You will also be responsible for handling all of the deceased individual's debts and taxes, as well as those of the estate, collecting any income coming into the estate and resolving any disputes that may arise.

If this sounds like a big job to you, you may be right. For this reason, many Illinois residents seek out the help and guidance of a probate attorney. He or she can help you with the paperwork, court deadlines and hearings and other aspects of settling the estate. You do not have to take on these duties alone.

Source: FindLaw, "The Probate Basics", Accessed on Oct. 8, 2017

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