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Probate Division

The Probate Division hears actions concerning the probate and contest of wills and testamentary instruments, claims against an estate arising in contract, tort or otherwise, actions and proceedings arising under the Illinois Probate Act of 1975, 755 ILCS chapter 5 et. seq. and the administration of estates of decedents, disabled persons, minors and wards and petitions pursuant to the Illinois Insurance Code. The Probate Division also hears actions and proceedings concerning contracts to make a will, construction of wills, the appointment of testamentary trustees during the period of administration, and the appointment of receivers pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 776.

Records Maintained

  • Case Types: Wills of deceased, estates of deceased, estates of disabled adults, estates of minors and wards of the state, guardianship of minors, and guardianship of disabled adults.
  • Dates: 1871 - Present (Some wills date from the 1850's)
  • Courts: County Court, 1871-ca. 1880; Probate Court, 1880-1964; Probate Division, 1964 - present
  • Available Indexes: Probate Deceased Indexes (microfilm) 1871-1967, Minors Indexes (microfilm 1871 - 1976, Incompetents Indexes (microfilm) 1911 - 1976, Will Indexes (microfilm) 1850 - 1976, Docket Books 1871 - present (majority stored off-site)

Claims against Estates
Arising in a contract, tort or otherwise.
Guardianship of Estate
One who has the legal authority and duty to care for another person's property as a result of that person's incapacity or disability
Guardianship of Minor Person
One who has the legal authority and duty to care for a person who has not reached full legal age; a child or juvenile. Also termed infant.
Guardianship of Person
One who has the legal authority and duty to care for another person because of the other's infancy, incapacity or disability.
One who has died without a valid will.
Settlement of Cause of Action in a Minor's Estate
Authority to accept a settlement on behalf of a minor in tort claim.
Structured Settlement Sale Approval
The authority to permit insurance companies to make payments on a structured settlement claim for personal injury to anyone other then the beneficiary of the settlement or by the beneficiary of such a structured settlement to assign the payment of the settlement to another.
Having left a will at death.
Will Contest
The litigation of a will's validity.

Q: What is Guardianship?
A: Guardianship involves the appointment by a court of a legally responsible individual or agency on behalf of a person who is not able to independently manage his or her affairs due to a mental or physical disability or minor status (person under the age of 18).

Q: How does guardianship differ from adoptions?
A: With adoption, birth parents give up all rights and responsibilities for the child. With guardianship, parents keep some of these rights and responsibilities. For instance, with a guardianship, parents can visit the child or challenge the guardian's power and they can get custody back by going to court. Also, if able, the parents must contribute money to support the child. The guardian can seek this support in Child Support Court.

Q: How does someone become a guardian?
A: A petition for guardianship (with the appropriate filing fee) must be filed in the Clerk's Office. Once guardianship papers (the petition) are filed with the court, the process takes about six (6) to ten (10) weeks. This time is used to let the parents (or interested party) become aware of all the proceedings. If the parents do not need to be given notice, it only takes about six (6) to eight (8) weeks. If they have to be informed by mail or by publication (in a newspaper), it takes six (6) to ten (10) weeks. Please note that the court will also do a background check and an abuse and neglect check) on the prospective guardian(s) and this may take between four (4) to six (6) weeks to complete. The judge reviews the petition and the background check that has been conducted on all potential guardians. Finally, the judge will make the determination of who will be appointed guardian of a minor.

 For further information and assistance contact The Office of the Chief Judge -Chicago Volunteer Legal Services - Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors at the following address and telephone number:
69 W. Washington, Room 1020
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 603-0135

Q: Can I file an order of protection in the Probate Division?
A: Yes, if the order being sought is in conjunction with a minor or disabled case.

Q: How much does it cost to file a will?
A: There is no fee for filing a will.

View All Probate Division Frequently Asked Questions

Article: Obtaining Guardianship of the Person of a Disabled Adult

In obtaining guardianship of the person of a disabled, you will do the following,

Article: Obtaining Guardianship of a Minor

The following provides information on how to obtain guardianship of a minor.

Article: To Complete Probate Division Forms

Locations where you may receive assistance completing probate division forms.

Legal Notices Specific for this department | View all Legal Notices