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Last Will and Testament document and pen

Probate

Probate refers to court processes to handle the affairs of a person who is incapable of handling his or her own affairs. These include decedents, minors, and disabled adults.

Sharp-Hundley, P.C. practices in all these areas.

Persons who die with real estate or significant personal property in their own name generally need to have their affairs probated. In this process, an executor (if the decedent died with a will) or an administrator {if there was no will) is appointed to manage the winding-up process. Property is gathered up, specific property is distributed to the legatees if there was a will and if other assets are sufficient to pay all creditor claims, creditors are given notice of the need to file claims, and approved claims are paid. Remaining assets are distributed according to the will (if there was one) or according to the Illinois Intestate Estates Statute (if there was no valid will).

Youth under 18 who have no parents (or parents whose parental rights have been terminated) may need the appointment of a guardian, either of the youth’s person or of his or her financial estate. This too is accomplished through probate.

An adult who because of mental deterioration, physical incapacity, mental illness or developmental disability is not fully able to manage his person or estate, or who because of “gambling, idleness, debauchery or excessive use of intoxicants or drugs so spends or wastes his estate as to expose himself or his family to want or suffering”, or who has fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects, may need a guardian appointed for his or her person or estate. This too is accomplished through the probate court.