If you know the location of your relative's safety deposit box, skip to step 2.
If you do not know the location of your relative's safety deposit box, contact the Illinois Safe Deposit Association at 312-243-4535 and request a "Search Your Records" for any deposit accounts owned by your relative. The Association can provide you with the location of your relative's safety deposit box.
Prepare an Illinois Safety Deposit Box Opening Act affidavit.
Prepare an affidavit stating that:
1. You are related to [insert the name of your deceased relative], deceased, as [insert your relation to the decedent] and are an "interested person" for purposes of the Illinois Safety Deposit Box Opening Act; and
2. You believe that safety deposit box number [insert safety deposit box number] at [insert bank name and location] contains the original Will and/or burial instructions of the decedent.
If you have questions about the form of the affidavit, you should consult with an attorney or ask the bank if they have a form affidavit you can fill out.
Present the affidavit.
Go to the location of your relative's safety deposit box, present the affidavit, and request access to the safety deposit box for the limited purpose of searching for an original Will or burial instructions.
Remove the original Will from the box.
If you find the original Will or burial instructions in the box, you may remove the Will and/or burial instructions, and nothing else. You may wish to make note of the other contents of the box. Knowing what assets are in the estate will be helpful in deciding whether probate or an alternative procedure will be required.
Make copies of the Will.
Make at least one photocopy of the Will. Be sure to leave the Will stapled together. A re-stapled Will may not be considered to be as reliable by a judge as an originally-bound Will.
File the original Will with the probate clerk of the county court.
In Cook County, Illinois, all original Wills should be filed with the probate clerk in room 1202 of the Hon. Richard J. Daley Center, 50 W. Washington Street, Chicago, IL. To file the Will, you will need to provide the probate clerk with information about the decedent's date of death. Be sure to get a receipt to prove that you have filed the Will.
Contact a probate attorney.
To find out what you should do after filing the Will, you should contact a probate attorney, who will be able provide guidance on your options.
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