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Do you have to go through probate?

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2021 | Trust And Probate Administration |

In the state of Illinois, you don’t need any special qualifications to be named the executor of someone’s will. A friend or family member might choose you to be the executor of their will after they die. You might agree to it at the time, but after that individual dies, you might find that you don’t want to deal with the responsibility after all. Are you legally required to probate a will?

What happens if you don’t go through probate?

You’re not legally required to probate a will, even if the individual specifically named you as the executor. If you don’t want to take on these responsibilities, you can file the will with the court and let them take care of it. However, you’re still responsible for filing the will within a certain time frame dictated by the state. The individual’s family members could sue you if you don’t file the will on time and allow them to receive their inheritance.

Additionally, you could face criminal charges if you stand to gain from not filing the will. For example, if an immediate family member died and didn’t leave you anything in their will, you might hide their will and claim that they didn’t write one. As a result, you might be entitled to a share of the assets according to state inheritance laws. In this case, declining to file the will would be illegal.

If your loved one died and didn’t leave behind any assets, it might seem safe to assume that you don’t have to file their will. However, it’s important to file their will so that you can’t be accused of deliberately concealing documents. The will could also be helpful if the state later discovers that the person owned a few assets.

What if you decide to go through with probate?

Being the executor of a will requires a lot of responsibility, but you don’t have to do it alone. An attorney may assist you through the probate process and help you execute the individual’s will according to their last wishes.