Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Illinois

in Illinois: Is probate needed when a home is fully owned ?

My parents are both on the title, my Mom passed away 9 years ago, and my Dad passed 2 weeks ago. he had 6 kids all who are alive and no disabilities. My Dad's will leaves his estate in equal shares to all 6 kids.

Other than the house (worth approx $160k in todays market), all other assets are "non-probatable" due to named benificiares or joint-tenancy/joint-accounts ( i.e., I'm on the checking and savings accounts).

Ruff value of debts ( I got a transunion credit report):

$10,500 on one credit card acct.

$ 500 due 5/2010 for Home Insur.

$ 1,800 approx due 11/2010 for Property tax

$ 2,000 due for Nursing-home.


$ 14,800

Are there other options available other than going through probate to clear the title & either transfer it to one of the kids if they want the house or to allow us to sell the house ?

Like "small estate affidavit" maybe ?

Asked on 4/07/10, 4:07 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Jeffrey R. Gottlieb Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Gottlieb, LLC

Small estate affidavit cannot be used to transfer real estate. From your fact scenario, probate is probably the most realistic option. The only other option would be a bond in lieu of probate from a title company, but you'd have to pay all know debts off in full first, and then each of you would have to sign personal commitments with the title company and pay the bond premium.

Probate would allow closure on the possible claims, and allow you to settle them, and shorten the time period in which they can file claims.

Please feel free to call me to discuss.

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Answered on 4/12/10, 4:15 pm
Steve Raminiak Law Offices of Steve Raminiak, P.C.

I agree with all of Mr. Gottlieb sentiments. In the end, it boils down to which route is likely to be cheapest: (a) probate, or (b) bond in lieu of probate. I suspect that a probate might be cheaper in this case, and a probate would also provide you with certain other advantages. Feel free to call me to discuss this further.

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Answered on 4/13/10, 6:54 am
Gregory Turza Law Offices of Gregory P Turza

If you are going to sell the property then you don't need either a bond in lieu or probate as long as a title insurance company will guarantee title to the buyer. Give me a call if you like. Go to

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Answered on 4/13/10, 2:35 pm

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