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The loss of a loved one is an emotional and difficult time, which can sometimes be complicated by the unfamiliar, statutory process called probate. Probate is the court process of estate administration that takes place after the death of an individual. The probate of assets may be necessary for a variety of circumstances including where required to simply distribute assets and pay liabilities or when an estate is contested.

ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

Illinois law provides for the distribution of assets and payment of debts in a structured fashion following death.  Individuals can direct the distribution of assets and appointment of an executor of their estate by executing a valid will (testacy).  In the event the decedent did not execute a will (intestacy), the assets will be transferred according to the laws of intestate succession.  For smaller estates, the personal representative may be able to pay debts and transfer assets through a document entitled “Small Estate Affidavit”  rather than through the probate estate.  If probate administration is required, then the executor named in the will is expected to conduct a legal process filled with rules to follow until the court permits distribution of those assets.

At the Law Offices of Edward P. Graham, Ltd., we will provide guidance and assistance to you as personal representatives (executors, administrators and sometimes trustees) of a deceased person’s estate.  If you have been nominated to act as a personal representative, we can support you in fulfilling your duties to prepare all necessary documents, provide direction and advice, and ultimately to properly distribute the decedent’s assets.  Call our office to schedule a consultation.

GUARDIANSHIP

“Guardianship” grants an individual legal authority to manage the affairs of a dependent minor child or disabled adult person who is unable to make their own decisions due to physical or mental incapacity. The court appoints a guardian, but there are several steps that must be completed before a person can be appointed, including filing and serving the appropriate legal documents and attending multiple court proceedings.  Other forms of guardianship (known as “short-term” or “standby”) may be established on a short-term basis without court proceedings.

Our firm can explain the changes and duties that the guardianship appointment will put into effect. We will work closely with you to draft a short-term guardianship or to begin legal proceedings to form a permanent guardianship. We will educate you on the required legal procedures such as gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses that will be required in establishing a guardianship.  Contact our office for assistance in establishing the necessary legal relationship.

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