Estate Settlement by Independent Administration

This is Dial-Law with information on streamlined procedures for settling estates of Illinois residents by independent administration, regardless of value. All of this information applies to Illinois law only. If the deceased was not a resident of Illinois, we suggest that you consult the local county bar association where he or she resides.

Independent administration in Illinois permits the settlement of an estate with less supervision from the court. It does not matter whether the independent representative is an executor of a will or an administrator of an intestate estate (that is, an estate where there is no will). This procedure can save considerable time for the lawyer and executor or administrator, so the expense of settling the estate may be significantly reduced.

Independent administration must be permitted by the court unless it is specifically prohibited by the will or unless an "interested person" objects. An interested person is an heir, beneficiary, estate creditor, or personal representative involved with the estate. At any time during independent administration, an interested person may petition the court for a hearing on any matter relating to the estate. The court also may terminate independent administration in favor of supervised administration for sufficient cause.

If it appears to the executor or administrator who is administering the estate that there are sufficient assets to pay all taxes, claims and expenses, distribution may be made to the person entitled to the remainder of the estate at any time. However, distribution prior to the end of the time during which creditors can file claims will require a refunding bond from the beneficiaries. For that reason, usually distributions will not be made before the expiration of the time during which creditors may file claims against the estate, generally, six months from the date the creditor receives notice.

After the estate has been fully administered, the executor or administrator must file with the court a report certifying that (1) all taxes, claims and expenses have been paid or provided for, (2) that all statutory requirements have been compiled with, and (3) that all assets have been distributed to the persons entitled to them. The report also must state that the fees paid to the executor or administrator and/or his attorney have been approved by all interested persons or by the court. The report must be accompanied by a receipt from each received. In the absence of any objections from an interested party, the estate then will be closed and the executor or administrator discharged.