Post-Death Distribution

It is with extreme gratitude and thanks that I write this letter to you. I don’t know what I would have done without the help I received from you this year. When Joe and I set up our trust documents with your offices in April 2008, we could never have dreamed that we would need them so quickly. Losing a spouse is awful, but I can’t imagine losing a spouse and not knowing where to turn for guidance. 


After a loved one has passed away, the Kiselstein Franckowiak Law Group assists the Trustee or Executor in “administering” the deceased person’s assets. The Executor or the Trustee would become a client of the firm during this process.  We may also represent beneficiaries of estates and trusts who need assistance in  understanding their interests and rights.  While representing Executors and Trustees, we provide detailed explanations and instructions with respect to their role and responsibility as a “fiduciary” and guide them through the estate administration process.

The estate administration process has many steps and involves such items as gathering an inventory of assets, obtaining values of those assets, contacting each financial institution to retitle assets into the beneficiaries’ names, redeeming any insurance policies, annuity contracts, and retirement plans, payment of expenses and enforceable claims, record-keeping of all income and expenses, payment of taxes, and ultimately, the distribution of assets to beneficiaries or heirs.

Trust administration is done without the involvement of the local Probate court.  If a person dies without a trust or their trust was not properly funded with their assets, then a Probate proceeding may be necessary.  The Probate process is a court proceeding that allows the court-appointed Personal Representative (Executor or Administrator) to retitle assets from the decedent’s name into the names of the decedent’s beneficiaries.

A Probate is necessary in Illinois when a person dies with more than $100,000 of assets titled solely in their individual name that do not have a beneficiary designation or “pay on death” designation, or if an individual own real estate solely in his or her name.  If a decedent passes away with less than $100,000 of assets in his or her individual name, a Small Estate Affidavit can be prepared to transfer the assets to the beneficiaries or heirs, without a Probate proceeding.

Whether you are acting as a Trustee or an Executor, competent legal counsel is necessary to ensure you carry out your responsibilities in a manner that minimizes your personal liability. If the estate administration is handled improperly, you may be subject to personal liability and you may even be personally responsible for payment of taxes and payments to creditors. We provide the Trustees and Executors whom we represent, with clear and easy to understand instructions so they know what legal obligations they have and can avoid making costly mistakes.

Our extensive experience allows us to assist Trustees and Executors with all aspects of the administration process, including dealing with difficult beneficiaries.  After our initial estate administration meeting, our clients leave feeling relieved and confident that we will competently navigate them through the complexities of the estate administration process.

If a loved one has recently passed away, and you have questions about what to do next, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your expertise, sensitivity, and professionalism in helping me settle my mother’s estate. Working with you was a great reassurance during a most difficult time. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and help, and wish you the very best.

Thank you very much for your kind closing letter of my mother’s Trust Administration. The long and exhausting disease of my mother and her final departure, made me feel sad, tired and confused. I was very lucky for having had your qualified help in dealing with my mother’s Trust. Without your help, I could have never gone through all the problems that came up in transferring all of my mother’s assets to me.