Estate & Trust Administration

We represent executors and beneficiaries during the probate process and trust administration. We advise executors and trustees about how to carry out their administration in a way that satisfies their fiduciary duties under controlling law. We also help executors navigate the legal process of paying the deceased’s debts and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. And we help beneficiaries ensure that they are receiving the assets they are entitled to. When a probate or trust administration becomes contested, we bring our litigation skills to the matter to work to resolve the issue in our client’s favor while taking into account any sensitive or important relationships our client wishes to preserve.

In addition to our knowledge of Illinois probate and trust law, we bring accounting and tax knowledge to the administration process. We are able to prepare and file any state or federal trust, estate, and gift tax returns. We can advise trustees about how best to continue to carry out the intended purpose of a trust when relevant tax laws change. And in the case of probate, we advise about “post-mortem planning” aimed at minimizing future estate and income tax liabilities.

We also represent fiduciaries of guardianship estates for minors and disabled adults. We are able to advise these fiduciaries about the special duties they may have, including whether they need to monitor the progress of the estate’s beneficiary, and whether they are obligated to ensure that the beneficiary is receiving all appropriate government benefits. Finally, we advise relatives of potentially disabled adults when it is appropriate to seek a guardian for their loved one.

In trust administration, we guide trustees through any issues they may face. In addition to informing them of their fiduciary duties to the trust beneficiaries, we help trustees fulfill all the terms of the trust agreement, advise trustees on how to deal with beneficiaries with contradictory interests, and file fiduciary income tax returns required by the trust.