Cook County Probate Attorneys Reda Ciprian Magnone Chicago

What's best for the client, not what's best for the attorney.


How much is this going to cost? A short history of Illinois probate fees (Part 2)

If fee schedules are out, how are attorney’s fees in Illinois probate estates to be determined?  The Illinois Code of Professional Responsibility cites several factors that are to be considered in determining the reasonableness of any attorney’s fee. These include, (a) the time and labor required (b) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved (c) the likelihood that acceptance of the assignment by the attorney precluded other employment (d) the amount involved and the results obtained (e) the experience and reputation of the attorney.  Illinois courts have held in the probate context that the most important of these elements is the number of hours worked on the assignment by the attorney.  Therefore, the most important evidence in a probate petition for attorney fees are the attorney’s time records indicating how much time was put in and the tasks accomplished.  The time records should be detailed with regard to the date and time expended and the nature of the task accomplished.  The time records will have more evidentiary value if they were kept contemporaneously with the work done (as opposed to reviewing the file at the end of the assignment and trying to compute the time expended). Read More


What is probate in Illinois?

What is probate?  From an etymological view, the word derives from the Latin word “probare”–to prove or examine.  From a grammatical point of view, it is a noun, a verb and an adjective.  It is a place—the Probate Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County is located on the 18th floor of the Richard J. Daley Center in downtown Chicago.  It is a process–”to probate a will” or “probate an estate” means to commence a probate proceeding in the Probate Division of the Circuit Court and follow the procedures set forth in the Illinois Probate Act, the statute that governs probate proceedings.   It is a type of asset–the term “probate assets” is generally taken to mean assets that must pass through the probate process.  Probate assets are those assets standing in the decedent’s name alone at the time of his or her death.   Assets that were held in joint tenancy by the decedent and another are not probate assets since, by virtue of the joint tenancy, those assets pass immediately upon death to the surviving joint tenant.  Likewise with assets held in a trust or held in a “pay on death” format.  Those assets vest in the designated recipient immediately upon the death of the decedent.  Not so with “probate assets”–they need to go through the probate process.

It is an interesting word “probate”.  But it is an even more interesting area of law practice.  More about that later.