Illinois residents who have never played the role of executor of a loved one’s estate may be confused as to what they need to do. Being an executor is not a small thing. One in this position has a big job and is responsible for getting the estate through the probate process and distributed to beneficiaries. Luckily, those picked as executors do not have to work through the probate process alone. They can seek help.

Serving as an executor may be viewed as a privilege or a burden. Some people are not cut out for all it entails. Those in this position must be ready to:

  • Find and inventory assets
  • Find estate planning documents — if there are any
  • Open a probate case — if necessary
  • Contact beneficiaries and creditors
  • Submit final income taxes for the deceased
  • Pay the deceased’s taxes and debts
  • Handle any claims made against the estate
  • Divide assets among beneficiaries
  • Officially close the estate

Some of these tasks may seem really simple, but if the deceased failed to put together an estate plan or if there are issues with the estate plan, getting through probate can be a long, drawn-out, messy affair. To top it all off, if an executor makes any mistakes, he or she may be held personally responsible for beneficiary losses. Knowing this is enough to scare people away from taking on this role.

Being the executor of an estate and getting through probate in Illinois can be overwhelming. Legal counsel is here and available to help those individuals chosen to close out their loved one’s estates. It may take some time, but with the right assistance, one can get through the probate process as quickly as possible and without error.