What Are the Duties of an Executor of a Will in Illinois?

By A.L. Kennedy

An executor of a will is responsible for making sure the will is carried out as written. He is also responsible for following state probate laws and working with the probate court. The duties of an executor of a will in Illinois are found in the Illinois Probate Code.

Filing the Will

Illinois probate law requires a will to be filed in the probate court of the county where the testator lived. If the testator did not live in Illinois, the will must be filed in the county where most of the testator's real property is located, or where most of his personal property is located if he had no real property. There is no fee to file a will with an Illinois Probate Court, according to the Cook County Probate Courts.

Notifying Heirs and Beneficiaries

When the executor files the will and accepts the power of executor from the probate court, she must also notify the estate's heirs and beneficiaries that the will is in probate, according to the Illinois Probate Act. The heirs are the people who would inherit the estate if there was no will, and the beneficiaries are the people who are listed in the will to receive something from the estate. The executor must notify both the heirs and beneficiaries so that they may file a will contest in Illinois if they believe the will is invalid.

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Defending the Will

The executor of a will in Illinois has the duty to defend the validity of the will if one of the heirs or beneficiaries brings a will contest to challenge the will's validity. According to the Illinois Probate Act, the heirs and beneficiaries have 60 days from the day the will is filed in the probate court to file a petition to challenge the will. The executor may hire an attorney at the estate's expense to defend the will, if necessary. The court may also require the executor to file an appeal if the probate court finds the will is invalid.

Inventorying the Estate

In Illinois, an executor has 60 days from the day he becomes executor to make an inventory of the estate. The inventory must include all "the real and personal estate which has come to his knowledge and of any cause of action on which he has a right to sue," according to the Illinois Probate Act. It must describe any real property the estate has, list how much money the estate has and list the personal property in the estate.

Managing the Estate's Assets

The executor of an estate in Illinois has the duty to manage the estate's assets for long enough to pay the bills and distribute the remaining assets to the people listed in the will, according to the Illinois Probate Act. The executor has the power to sell, lease, or liquidate the estate's personal and real property to pay the bills, if necessary.

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