My Parent’s Death Was the Result of an Accident. Do I Need Probate?

My Parent’s Death Was the Result of an Accident. Do I Need Probate?

If your parent or spouse lived in Illinois and died due to an accident, a probate matter should be opened if your family intends to pursue the party that caused the accident for a wrongful death claim. Any type of wrongful death claim will require a probate, including the following:

  • Workplace accidents

  • Car accidents

  • Airplane accidents

  • Homicide

  • Products liability

  • Medical malpractice

Why Does a Probate Need to be Opened?

The reason for opening a probate matter in Court is so that the estate of your parent or loved one can bring a claim against the party causing the accident. The wrongful death claim may be quite substantial and there has to be an authorized party to bring the claim. The authorized party in a probate is referred to as an Executor of a Will or an Administrator of an Estate. This person will be tasked with retaining an attorney to represent the estate for the wrongful death claim. The Administrator also has the authority to settle the claim, deposit the claim, and distribute it to the estate beneficiaries.

Who Benefits From a Probate?

Depending on whether your loved one had a Will or not, the beneficiaries of the deceased person’s estate will either be the legatees of the Will, or the heirs of the estate if there is no Will. The heirs of an estate without a Will are determined by the laws of intestacy in Illinois. Generally speaking, the laws of intestacy favor children and spouses first, if any, otherwise siblings and parents, if any, otherwise more distant relatives.

Any claim settled under a wrongful death lawsuit can result in funds being deposited into the estate account. Those funds would then be distributed to the legatees or heirs. As an Executor or Administrator it is very important to analyze whether a probate should be filed since you will have a fiduciary duty to do so. The best way to determine whether it is worth pursuing a claim is to speak with an attorney knowledgeable of wrongful death claims.

How Do I File Probate?

To file for probate you will need to file the original Will and numerous other legal documents with the Circuit Court, along with attending multiple Court hearings until the matter is complete. The process is best overseen by an experienced probate attorney such as the probate attorneys at Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC. To read more about probate, see our post on probate here.

Contact the Lake County Probate Attorneys at Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC Today to Discuss Your Loved One’s Wrongful Death Claim

If a loved one of yours has passed away due to an accident caused by another person, your loved one’s estate may have a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. It is important to timely speak with a knowledgeable attorney because there are deadlines to file wrongful death claims. Contact a Lake County probate attorney at Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC today to get more information about wrongful death and the filing of probate.

Speak With a Lake County Probate Attorney Now