Law Office of Ronald Runkle & Associates, P.C.

Home Estate Planning Medicaid Planning Real Estate Business Formation About Us Contact Us

Estate Planning

Will I avoid probate?

Your assets can be divided into different categories (in determining whether your assets will have to go through the probate process).  The assets under category 1 have to be totaled (not counting household and personal possessions, and not counting the value of your real estate).  If the value of the assets under category 1 totals more than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), then opening a probate estate would be necessary in Illinois.  (Assets held in a revocable living trust, an irrevocable trust, or a land trust avoid probate.  Assets in any of those various trusts avoid probate.)  Real estate in another state would be governed by the probate laws of that state. 

1.  Individually-owned Assets Not Passing by a Beneficiary Form (and not passing by a payable on death account or transfer on death account)  {Real estate in another state is governed by the probate laws of that state.}

2.  Jointly-owned assets(where there is a survivor)

3.  Individually-owned Assets Passing by a Beneficiary Form where there is a surviving beneficiary(IRAs, life insurance policy, annuities, 401k plans)

4.  Trust Assets

These assets need to be counted to decide if a probate estate must be opened.  If the deceased person’s assets total more than $100,000 (then probate would be necessary in Illinois).  If the assets are less than $100,000 in value (then opening a probate estate probably wouldn’t be required).  However, if there is real estate, then a probate estate could be necessary if any of the “heirs” are minors(not age 18) – meaning an heir isn’t of age to legally sign a deed and other documents required in a real estate sale situation – or any heirs won’t agree to sign the deed and other documents.  

These avoid probate.

These avoid probate

These avoid probate.

*  Joe dies as an Illinois resident.  Joe owns the following in his individual name (and those assets aren’t passing by TOD/POD accounts or beneficiary forms):  car worth $10,000; savings bonds worth $6,000; $50,000 certificate of deposit; $15,000 checking account; $28,000 savings account; $14,000 in stocks.  The total is more than $100,000 and thus a probate estate would need to be opened (with an executor appointed by the probate judge).   


Copyright 2008 Ronald Runkle

Law Office of Ronald Runkle & Associates, P.C.
236 Center Street - Grayslake, IL 60030
Tel: (847) 548-5950 Fax: (847) 548-6085