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Does the probate court follow the exact terms of the will?

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2022 | Estate Planning |

When a loved one passes, the will they leave behind is likely to go through the probate process. This is necessary for confirming the validity of the will and ensuring that the proper legal authorities oversee the distribution of assets in a fair and just manner.

In Illinois, matters of probate are the jurisdiction of the circuit courts. When the court begins probate procedures for your family member’s will, you might wonder if they will truly carry out the intentions of the deceased to the letter.

Can probate affect the terms of a will?

The probate court and the assigned executor of the will have an obligation to carry out the terms provided by the deceased as closely as possible. If there is no valid challenge presented during probate, then there will be no reason to alter the execution of the will. Most wills go through probate uncontested, and the process typically proceeds smoothly according to the provided terms.

What circumstances call for an alteration to the will?

Any individual mentioned in the will or who otherwise stands to benefit from the deceased’s estate may raise a challenge during probate. Valid reasons to contest a will include fraud, duress and a lack of testamentary capacity at the time of writing. If the court finds such claims to be true, then it may be necessary to alter or void the affected areas of the will.

Though probate can be strenuous or even tedious in some cases, the process does not typically alter the terms of the will as written by the testator. In rare cases, however, a challenge against the will backed by evidence can change the execution of the deceased’s estate.