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I don’t live in Illinois, but a relative of mine died in Illinois and they have no other relatives in Illinois to handle the estate.  Do I need to hire two lawyers – one to act as administrator and one to do the legal and court work?


  No!  If you have a case where your decedent died in Illinois and you live out of Illinois you can retain an attorney to handle the estate and also act as administrator.  You do not need two individuals or two attorneys to handle the estate.  Some unscrupulous individuals may tell you that you need two attorneys – one to act as administrator and one to handle the legal work.  This is not true.


Can I probate a deceased relative’s estate without a lawyer?


Generally, one should seek a lawyer’s advice with respect to any matter that has to be in court.  Only the simplest estate will not need some advice and representation by a lawyer.

Estates of less than $50,000 can be handled with very little paperwork and no court involvement.  Any estate of more than $50,000 or where there are contentious relatives probably needs a lawyer’s assistance.  This doesn’t mean that the lawyer has to do everything.  If you are very accustomed to working with financial and accounting matters and keep good records you can probably do most of the work yourself and rely on the lawyer to just do the court documents and appearances.



What is Probate?


Probate is the legal process by which the property of a dead or deceased person (the decedent) is transferred to either his heirs or persons to whom he or she wanted to give the property.


What are Letters of Office?  The bank asked me to give them letters of office.


"Letters of office" are the piece of paper that issues from the probate court to the executor or administrator of an estate, which are the proof of the executor's or administrator's authority to act on behalf of the estate.   When the executor or administrator closes a bank account or sells stock of a decedent the bank or stock company will require a certified copy of the letters of office to prove that the executor or administrator is the one in authority to close the bank account or sell the stock.


What is a "certified" copy?


A certified copy of any court document, including letters of office, is one that has the court seal impressed on it and is signed by the Clerk of Court or a Deputy Clerk.



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.

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