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This is not an official court website.  The website address for the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois is: 

http://www.cookcountycourt.org/

 

 

 

Circuit Court Of Cook County

Richard J. Daley Center

50 W. Washington St.

Chicago IL 60602

 

Chief Judge Timothy J. Evans

Room 2600

Richard J. Daley Center

50 W. Washington St.

Chicago, IL 60602

(312) 603-6000

 

Chief Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy A. Brown (312) 603-5071

Room 1001 Richard J. Daley Center

 

Probate Division

This Division is located in room 1202 of the Richard J. Daley Center. Jennifer Smith, Esq., Chief Deputy Clerk  312/603-6441

Chief Judge Probate Division Henry A. Budzinski Room 1803, (312) 603-7545

 

To search Probate Court Records or to order copies go to:

http://198.173.15.31/forms/pdf_files/Probateform.pdf

 

Cook County has a case monitoring system for which attorneys can sign up and get access and monitor their cases.  There also is an on-line case information service for most divisions of the Cook County Courts, but this service does not have this information for Probate cases yet.

 

For those who are interested in a little bit of history, Cook County maintains an Archive of historical and other cases, such as:

 

The Black Sox Scandal

Louis Armstrong’s Divorce

The Haymarket Affair Case

Dean C. O’Banion Probate Case (famous Chicago Prohibition Era mobster)

Nelson Algren Case

Iroquis Theater Fire

Leopold and Loeb – Crime of the Century – Defense by Clarence Darrow

John Wayne Gacy criminal trial

 

Cook County being an extremely large county; therefore, the Judiciary has adopted a Calendar System for arranging Court business.  Matters are assigned randomly to calendars by computer when they are filed in the Clerk's office.  The following calendars are assigned to the respective Judges, who handle the types of matters indicated.

 

While the information below indicates that certain matters are technically set for 10:30 AM, as a practical matter the Judges in the probate division really hear cases in the order in which one checks in with the courtroom clerk.

 

 

Room 1807

Judge Henry A. Budzinski

(312) 603-7545

Minor Settlements and vouchers in Personal Injury Actions; Appointments of Guardians of the Estate of Minors; Current and Final Accounts in all Minors Estates.

 

All motions, except motions of course, should be filed with the courtroom clerk in Room 1807 at least three working days prior to the date the motion is noticed for hearing.

 

9:00 AM - Vouchers in Minor Settlements

10:00 AM - Motions of Course

10:30 AM - Accounts and Final Reports

11:00 AM - Set Matters

2:00 PM - Minor Settlements (Mondays and Tuesdays in Room 1803)

2:00 PM - Set Matters (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays)

 

Calendar 1

Room 1803

Judge Gregory M. O'Brien

(312) 603-6466

All proceedings in Decedents' Estates filed prior to January 1, 1978, in even numbered files and assigned Decedents' Estates.

10:00 AM - Motions of Course, including Applications for Letters and Proof of Heirship and Accounts and Final Reports

11:00 AM Set Matters

2:00 PM  Set Matters

 

Calendar 2

Room 1810

Judge Henry A. Budzinski

(312) 603-7545

Special Assignments

Decedent esates previously assigned to Probate Calendar 3 Compliance

 

Calendar 3

Room 1808A

Judge Lynn Kawamoto

(312) 603-6440

Disabled Estates

 

Calendar 6 This calendar terminated effective 12-2-02and all cases assigned to Calendars 2, 7, 8, and 11 effective 12-02-02by random assignment.

 

 

Calendar 5

Room 1802

Judge James G. Riley

(312) 603-6492

Assigned Decedents’ Estates.

 

10:00 AM – Motions of Course, Application for Letters and Proof of Heirship, Accounts & Final Reports

11:00 AM – Set Matters.  

2:00 PM – Set Matters.

 

 

Calendar 7

Room 1801

Judge Mary Ellen Coughlin

(312) 603-5964

Assigned Decedents’ Estates.

10:00 AM – Motions of Course, Accounts and Final Reports.  Also, Application for Letters and Proof of Heirship

11:00 AM – Set Matters

2:00 PM – Set Matters

 

Calendars 8

Room 1806

Judge Susan M. Coleman

(312) 603-4684

Appointment of Guardians of the Person of a Minor; All Withdrawals in closed Minor Estates including mail requests; Assigned Cases. 

 

10:00 AM – Motions for Withdrawals and Guardianships

2:00 PM – Motions for Withdrawals and Guardianships

 

Calendar 9

Room 1811

Judge Kathleen M. McGury

(312) 603-6499

Assigned Disabled Persons Estates

10:00 AM - Motions of Course and Accounts

11:00 AM - Guardianships and Set Matters

2:00 PM - Motions and Set Matters

 

Calendar 10

Room 1804

Judge Lynn Kawamoto

(312) 603-6440

Assigned Decedents’ Estate

 

10:00 AM – Motions of Course, Application for Letters and Proof of Heirship.  Also, Accounts and Final Reports

11:00 AM – Set Matters

2:00 PM – Set Matters

 

Calendar 11

Room 1814

Judge Jeffrey A. Malak

(312) 603-6472

Assigned Disabled Persons’ Estates. 

 

10:00 AM - Motions of Course and Accounts

11:00 AM – Guardianships and Set Matters

2:00 PM – Motions and Set Matters

 

Calendar 12

Room 1809

Judge Maureen E. Conners

(312) 603-6469

Assigned Disabled Persons’ Estates.

 

11:00 AM – Set Call

 

Calendar 13

Room 1809A

Judge James G. Riley

(312) 603-6492

Special Assignments and Mediation/Pretrials Settlements

 

Calendar 14

Room 1812

Judge Arthur C. Pervolidis

(312) 603-4463

Assigned Disabled Persons’ Estates. 

 

10:00 AM – Motions of Course and Accounts

11:00 AM – Guardianships and Set Matters

2:00 PM – Motions and Set Matters

 

 Calendar 15

Jane Louise Stuart

Room 1812

(312) 603-4616

10:00 AM Motions of Course and Accounts

11:00 AM Guardianships and Set Matters

2:00 PM Motions and Set Matters

Calendar 16

Room 1811

Judge Cheryl D. Cesario

(312) 603-5943

Assigned Disabled Persons Estates

10:00 -  AM Motions of course and Accounts

11:00 AM -  Guardianships and Set Matters

2:00 PM - Motions and Set Matters

 

Calendar 17

Judge Gregory M. O'Brien

Room 1807

(312) 603-6466

10:00 AM Set Call

 

Calendar 18

Judge Cheryl D. Cesario

Room 1811

(312) 603-5943

No Calendar Assigned to Judge Mary Ellen Coghlan, (312) 603-5964

 

Calendar 19

Judge John J. Fleming

Room 1808A

(312) 603-6498

 

 

An estate is opened by filing the appropriate forms in the Clerk of Court’s office, which is on the 12th Floor of the Daley Civic Center.  As you get out of the elevator you will see a counter with several people behind it or near it.  These people are bondmen who sell surety bonds that are needed in estates.  If you are an attorney who does any amount of probate work you are well advised to befriend one or more of these bondsmen, who will set matters for hearing and are able to answer many procedural questions in addition to writing surety bonds for you.  To your left as you look at the bondmen’s counter is the office of the Probate Court Clerk.  As you enter the room on your immediate right is another counter.  Behind this counter are one or more people who work for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, which can do the publication that is needed in an estate.  Directly ahead you as you enter the Clerk’s office you will see and long counter which stretches to your left down the Clerk’s office.  Looking to the ceiling you will find labels which will direct you to the right places.  There is a place for looking at wills and files at the end of the room.  There is a place for filing wills.  When you file a will you will fill out an index card like form, the clerk will sign it and give it back to you as a receipt.  He or she will ask you to write your name and address in the will book before giving you a receipt. There is also a place for filing your papers to open an estate and to the right of that place is a cashier’s cage with cash registers – this is where you pay any fees, such as a filing fee or a fee for copies, etc.  To the right of the cashier is an area where you can order certified copies.  To the right of that is where you can check the claims calendar and obtain probate court forms.

 

In the center of this room is another counter, under which you can find the will index for older cases.  Docket Books show all the court action that has happen during the administration of an estate can be found on the 18th floor. More recent records are kept on computers and these are along the wall running parallel to the Clerk large counter on the left side of the room.  As you leave the Probate Court Clerk’s office you will see another doorway across the hallway where the bondsmen’s counter is.  This room contained old case files and you can obtain court forms in bulk there.

 

The Probate Courtrooms are on all on the 18th floor of the building.  To get to the 18th floor from the Clerk’s office on the 12th floor you must take an elevator down to the 7th or 1st floors and transfer to an elevator that goes to the 18th floor.

 

Cook County Probate forms can be found on the web at:   http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/?Section=FormsPage&FormsPage=4200&FORMNAME=&TITLE=order&Submit=Submit

The forms can be downloaded in Adobe Acrobat format (i.e. as PDF documents).

 

To search for forms go to:http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/?Section=FormsPage&FormsPage=4200&FORMNAME=&TITLE=order&Submit=Submit

 

 

Cook County for some reason doesn’t have a form for the heirship affidavit.  You have to prepare your own affidavit of heirship in narrative form.  Heirship Affidavit Example.

 

Decedent’s Estate

Small Estate Affidavit

If the total value of the Decedent’s estate, excluding real estate, is less that $50,000.00 the assets can be transferred to those entitled to them either under a will or by intestate succession by the execution and delivery to those holding the assets of the decedent (i.e a bank, stock transfer company, safe deposit box company or the Illinois Secretary of State for auto titles) of a Small Estate Affidavit.  Frequently, banks and stock transfer companies will ask for letters of office; however, a small estate affidavit will usually serve the same function.  The Illinois Secretary of State small estate affidavit for automobile transfers is found here.

 

Indemnity Bond

Another alternative to letters of office or the small estate affidavit is the transfer indemnity bond.  However these bonds may cost more than having an estate probated. 

 

The complete small estate statutes should be read before using this affidavit for transfers.  It can be found at Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 5/25-1 through 5/25-4. The online address for the Small Estate Act is:  http://www.legis.state.il.us/.  Click on the Illinois Compiled Statutes button, scroll down to Chapter 755 and look for “Small Estates” then click on that listing.   In addition, the Secretary of State driver’s license offices provides these forms for transfer of auto titles. The DuPage Circuit Court Clerk provides these forms also. 

 

Summary Administration

 

A summary probate estate administration of an estate of $100,000 or less may also be used to transfer assets and keep the costs to a minimum; however, this procedure really requires complete agreement by the heirs and anyone else entitled to the assets of the estate.   While the persons entitled to the assets may obtain them faster under this procedure, the expense will probably be nearly the same or slightly less than a regular probate proceeding but places those receiving a distribution at some risk for debts of the decedent.

 

 

Probate Administration

 

For a Decedent Estate don't forget to tell them whether you want the forms for a Testate or Intestate Estate and whether this will be a Supervised Administration or an Independent Administration.

 

A Testate Estate is one where the decedent left a will.  An Intestate estate is one where there is no will. 

 

Independent administration is where the personal representative (Administrator of Executor) does not have to get certain actions approved in advance by the probate court judge. 

 

In a Supervised Administration, the personal representative must have their actions approved by Petition and Order signed by the probate court judge before the action is taken.  In Supervised Administration an inventory must be filed within 60 days of the appointment of the personal representative. 

 

In Independent Administration the inventory is not due until the estate is being closed and then it is due not less than 30 days prior to filing of the representative’s final report and accounting.  Also, an Independent Administration will be converted to a Supervised Administration by the Petition of any interested person.  If such a petition is filed there is no way to stop the conversion to Supervised Administration.

 

 

Forms Needed

 

In Cook County you will need a "cover sheet" whenever you file to open any new estate.  This "cover sheet"  is a clerical information sheet used by the Clerk's office to determine what kind of estate is being opened and by whom.

 

Testate Estate:

 

Petition to admit will to probate and for letters of administration

Affidavit of heirship (See notation above re Heirship Affidavit)

Affidavit of attesting witnesses (if the will does not have such an affidavit attached to it)

Affidavit as to copy of will (with a copy of the will attached to it)

Oath of Office

Surety Bond or Non-surety Bond

Order declaring heirship

Order admitting will and appointing representative (i.e. Executor)

Notice to heirs and legatees

Appearance and Consent to proof of will by Affidavit (where notice is waived by heirs and/or legatees) or Appearance on proof of will

Publication Notice

 

Intestate Estate:

 

Petition for Letters of Administration

Affidavit of heirship (See notation above re Heirship Affidavit

Appearance for Letters of Administration (where notice is waived by heirs)

Oath of Office

Surety Bond

Order declaring heirship

Order appointing representative (i.e. Administrator)

Publication Notice

Notice of hearing (to heirs)

Independent Administration – Publication Notice

 

Disabled Persons Estate:

 

Petition for appointment of Guardian for Disabled Person

Report of Physician

Statement of Right to Discharge Guardian

Order Appointing Guardian ad Litem for Allegedly Disabled Person

Summons for Appointment of Guardian for Disabled Person

Summons (copy)

Oath of Office for Guardian of Minor of Disabled Person

Order of Appointment - Plenary Guardian or Disabled Person

Bond of Legal Representative – No Surety or

Bond of Legal Representative – Surety

 

Minor’s Guardianship Estate:

 

Petition for appointment of Guardian

Nomination for Guardian of Minor (where Minor over 12 years agrees to Guardian)

Order Appointing Guardian ad Litem

Summons

Summons (copy)

Oath of Office for Guardian of Minor or Disabled Person

Bond of Legal Representative – No Surety or

Bond of Legal Representative – Surety

 

 

When preparing the forms to open a Probate Estate be sure to make as many copies as you will need to send to heirs and legatees in addition to the originals.  When you have filed the Petition in the Court Clerk’s office on the 12th floor the Clerk will keep the original and give you back your copies, along with the original affidavit of heirship, oath and bond, and orders admitting will and appointing executor or administrator, as the case may be.

 

Look at the receipt you get from the cashier and you will find out what calendar you have been assigned to and the name of the Judge and his courtroom number on the 18th floor.   When you are ready to set the matter for hearing to open the estate go to the courtroom for your case and see the Clerk, who sits to the right of the Judge’s bench.  The Clerk will put your case into the calendar for that courtroom for the date and time it is to be heard.  If no Clerk is there and the courtroom door isn’t locked, then wait around for the Clerk to return.  If the courtroom is locked and it is around noon, then the Clerk and Judge are probably out to lunch.

 

On the day set for hearing of your case, organize the originals forms and give them to the Clerk.  Cases are ordinarily called on a first come, first serve basis and not necessarily in the order they appear in the calendar book of the Judge.

 

After you have had your hearing and the Order of Appointment has been issued you will receive the letters of office in the mail in a few days.

 

In Cook County courtroom the clerks will stamp you documents “Filed” or your Orders “Entered” with the appropriate date and the name of the Judge, which is good because you will have in your file a record of all documents filed and orders entered.  And you can take a copy of an Order with the “Entered” stamp and the initials of the Courtroom clerk down to the Clerk’s office on the 12th floor and get certified copies.

 

The fees charged in Cook County for filing and certified copies can be found on the Cook County web site at:  http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/

 

Probate Automation Training Classes

 

The Honorable Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, has a new automated Probate Division Electronic Docket.  The new Probate Electronic Docket will be available at public access terminals at various Clerk's Office locations.

 

For persons using the system, the Probate Division currently offers free user training classes at the Daley Center.  To reserve a training space, please call (312) 603-6441.

 

  Public Access to Court Records:
New File Security Measures


(3/21/2002)

 

Effective April, 1, 2002, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County has require a File Request Form and a valid photograph identification card (Attorney Identification Card, Driver's License, State Identification Card, etc.) in order to inspect or obtain copies of public records. File Request Forms and Rules regarding File Use are available at all file request counters located in the various divisions of the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court. To view the full text of the Clerk's Policy and Procedure on Public Access to Court Records visit the Clerk's Files and Records page.  It is also available in hard copy at the Clerk's Office.

 

 

Cook County Circuit Court Rules and Orders can be found at: http://www.cookcountycourt.org/rules/

 

Cook County’s Clerk’s information about the Probate Division of the Court can be found at: 

http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/General_Info/Divisions/Probate/probate.htm

 

 

Information checklist of information needed to probate a decedent estate.

 

Timetable for administration of a decedent estate.

 

Disabled and Minor Guardianships

 

 

Circuit Court Cook County Ads.

 
Counties Included:
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This material provided by: The Law Offices of PAUL P. DIDZEREKIS, Attorney at Law, 610 W. Roosevelt Rd., Wheaton, IL 60187 (630) 653-7710, Fax (630)653-7731,
E-Mail: PPD@paul-didzerekis.com.

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