In Illinois, all wills must be filed with the court when the person who made it dies, even if the will does not need to be probated. If the probate process is required, and the deceased resided in DuPage County, you begin the proceeding by filing a petition for probate with the clerk of the court.
Will Filing Requirement
If you are in possession of a will of an Illinois resident who died, you have 30 days from the date of death to file that will with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county in which the decedent resided. This includes any original will and all codicils, or will amendments. You must file a will even if you believe it to be superseded by a more recent one. You may have to pay a fine if you fail to do so and, if your failure is deliberate, you can be charged with a felony for concealing the will.
DuPage County Courts
The trial court level throughout Illinois is called the circuit court, and includes everything from small claims to probate. Dupont County Circuit Court has 15 circuit judges and 26 associates. The court administration for the county is managed by the clerk of court, an elected official, whose staff is charged with keeping all of the files and records of the court. To file a will, take it to the clerk's office at 505 County Farm Road, Wheaton, Illinois, during business hours and hand it to one of the clerks. Note that the only wills that should be filed in DuPage County are those of people who resided in that county before they died.
If you want to open probate on an estate, the filing is separate from the will filing. You fill out and file a petition for probate and the case is set for hearing before a probate judge. You may want to consult an attorney to help determine whether you'll need to take the will through the probate process. Generally, if the estate is worth more than $100,000, it goes to probate. Property that passes outside of probate, like life insurance and pay-on-death accounts, are not included in the total value of the estate for probate purposes. In DuPage County, as in all counties in Illinois, probate cannot wrap up before six months since the law allows creditors that time to file claims.
Wills as Public Documents
A will is a private document while the person making it is alive. When the person dies, however, and the will is filed with the court's office in DuPage County, it becomes a public document. Any member of the public can visit the clerk's office during business hours and ask to see the will. For a small fee, you can obtain a copy of the document.
Read More: Is a Will a Public Document?
Teo Spengler earned a JD from U.C. Berkeley Law School. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an MA and an MFA in English/writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.