Illinois statutes establish specific laws pertaining to the probate of estates in the state. These laws govern probating estates with or without a will. The process of probating estates in Illinois largely is the same under the law whether or not the deceased individual created a will during his lifetime.
Petition to Admit Will
The estate laws of Illinois direct that the probate of a will commences with the petition to admit the will to the probate process. The petition is filed in the court in the county where the deceased individual resided. Illinois law requires that the original will be attached to the petition as an exhibit.
After a petition to probate a will is filed, the court ultimately issues what are known as letters testamentary pursuant to Illinois law. Letters testamentary grant legal authority to the executor named in the will to oversee the affairs of the estate during the probate process.
Petition for Administration
When an Illinois resident dies without a will, an estate is opened on behalf of that person through a petition for administration. The petition for administration requests the court establish an estate and to appoint a person to serve as the administrator of the estate.
Letters of Administration
When the court opens an estate through a petition for administration, the judge also grants letters of administration. The letters of administration grant legal authority to a specific individual to oversee the affairs of the estate. The court typically appoints a family member or an attorney to serve as the administrator of an estate of a person who did not prepare a will before death.