Probate administration in Illinois comes in two basic types: Independent Administration and Supervised Administration.
What Is an Independent Administration In Illinois?
An independent administration means that the Illinois probate court will just review the opening and closing of the estate, but will not generally get involved in the administration of the estate in between.
The independent administrator does not need to get court approval for steps taken on behalf of the estate during the administration process. For example, an independent administrator can pay debts, sell assets, and transfer title to estate property without court permission. The independent administrator must, in most Illinois probate courts, retain an Illinois probate attorney to represent them in the administration process.
The court might have to get involved in the probate administration during an independent administration if there is some sort of dispute that needs to be resolved.
When Is an Independent Administration Allowed?
An independent administration is allowed in Illinois when the decedent’s will directs an independent administration, or when all of the estate beneficiaries sign written consents. See 755 ILCS 5/Art. XXVIII.
What Is a Supervised Administration In Illinois?
A supervised Illinois probate administration is one overseen by the court. The attorney for the estate fiduciary must get court permission for most actions taken in the estate. The actions can include anything involving real property, the sale of personal property, and interim distributions (distributions made before the final distributions) to the beneficiaries.
An Illinois supervised administration means more court filings, and the disclosure of more information to the court, as opposed to only the interested parties in the estate.
When Might a Supervised Administration Be Required?
The court might order a supervised administration to protect the interests of unrepresented minors, or when issues with the administration are anticipated. An interested person can also request a supervised administration if there are problems that have arisen in the independent administration of the estate.
If the estate is intestate (no will), any heir can demand a supervised administration, without giving any reason for the request. The court will order a supervised administration when there is no will.
Another scenario when the court will grant a supervised administration is when the will is silent on independent administration. Just like an intestate estate, the Illinois court will grant a supervised administration if the will does not provide for an independent administration without the need to give a reason for the request.
Finally, if the will directs an independent administration, then a supervised administration will only be granted by the Illinois court upon a showing of good cause.
Sometimes supervised administration is the best route to take if there is a lack of trust or discord between the interested parties in the estate. A supervised administration allows all parties to be accountable to each other and the court, and is sometimes worth the extra expense and delay.