One of my three brothers has passed away. He had no will and no estate. He has a small checking account. Is it worth legal expen
5 attorney answers
In order to use a small estate affidavit, all the following must be true:
The total amount of personal property in the estate is worth $100,000 or less;
The person who died did not own any real estate;
A court has not given out any letters of office. Letters of office are given out by the probate court to the executor of an estate, giving them the power to give away property in the estate;
If there is a will, it was filed with the clerk of the court in the county where the person lived within 30 days of the death;
You are not aware of any fights relating to the will or the heirs of the decedent; and
If there are outstanding unpaid claims against the decedent other than funeral expenses, they are listed on the small estate affidavit, and the person who signs it promises to make sure they are paid.
If you are not sure how to proceed, and you do not want to risk being responsible for any of the unpaid bills because you signed the affidavit, you may consider contacting an attorney.
NOTE: This is for general information only. Nothing in this information should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship nor shall any of this information be construed as providing legal advice. Laws change over time and differ from state to state. These answers are based on Illinois Law. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney about your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is established.
While an attorney will want to confirm various details to assure that you are thinking through all the ramifications, if the personal estate is less than $100,000.00 and there is no risk on liabilities, then the personal estate can be collected with a Small Estate Affidavit. It is advised to work with an attorney and the cost should be limited, but if the amount does not warrant spending a few hundred dollars from the funds then it is something that can be located on the websites of various county court clerks and the Secretary of State. Worst case, the financial exposure wouldn't be that high.
The scope of this space does not afford an opportunity to adequately advise you. The response provided is intended to be informative, but not final. You are advised to arrange a consultation at which all facts and documents can be explored and terms for representation agreed. An attorney-client relationship must be formally established.
I agree with the other answers. Once you fill out the form and take it to the bank with a death certificate, you can withdraw the funds and divide it up between the heirs. If he had a wife or children, they are the heirs. If not, then the siblings are the heirs.
My answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. My answer is for general information only per the AVVO guidelines.
I agree with attorney Brabender. You should be able to access the account with a completed Small Estate Affidavit and a death certificate. There is a fillable form available on-line.
You can likely use the Illinois Small Estate Affidavit, the expenses will be minimal.
Though we strive to provide accurate legal information in our answers on AVVO, our answer should not be construed as legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Our firm only forms attorney-client relationships by written agreement signed by both our firm and the client. Please seek an in-person consultation with an attorney immediately as almost all legal matters are time sensitive and failing to meet deadlines can result in adverse consequences.