At DeLaney Law Offices Ltd, we recognize that many of you may have a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to certain aspects of Elder Law. We understand that this is a worrying and difficult time and we are always here to help. 

As experts in our field, our job is to inform you of the most accurate and up to date information that is currently available. If, however, you would prefer to discuss your issues directly, we would welcome you to call us.



Probate is the process by which the Probate Court identifies a decedent's heirs and determines the validity of the decedent's Will. It also identifies someone to be responsible for administering the probate estate (called an Executor if there is a Will or an Administrator if there is no Will), and supervises the administration of the decedent's probate estate.

Technically, probate also includes guardianship petitions and administration. When people speak of "Probate" however, they  are typically referring to the administration of decedent's estates.

Generally, a "decedent’s estate" consists only of assets titled in the decedent’s sole name, payable to the decedent’s estate, and real property held as "tenants in common" with another person.

In certain instances, joint tenancy property may be a "probate" asset if the decedent included the survivor’s name on the account merely as a "convenience", with no intent to transfer the property to the other upon death.

In Illinois, if the total amount of these assets of the decedent, in the aggregate, exceed $50,000, a probate estate must be opened.

Generally, if the estate is less than $50,000, a person (known as an "affiant") may use a "small estate affidavit" to transfer such assets. A real estate titled in the decedent’s name, however, or as tenants in common, (either in Illinois or another state), generally cannot be passed using a small estate affidavit. Furthermore, an executor may choose to open a probate estate  even if they are not required. An example of this would be if it is desirable to cut off creditor’s claims or to resolve a family dispute over the will.

Please note, that even if a probate estate will not be opened, if the decedent had a Will, it must be filed in the decedent’s last county of residence (concealing a Will can be a felony).

Part of the probate process includes creditors being notified of the death. They must then file a claim for the amounts due and If the claim is approved by the executor, the bill is paid out of the estate. If the claim is rejected, creditors must sue for payment.  If there are insufficient funds to pay debts, states have various statutes establishing who gets paid first. Executors are most likely to commence  the sale of a property to pay off approved creditor claims. Any claims remaining are pro-rated.

For federal and state tax purposes, a death will initiate two events:

* It ends the decedent's last tax year for purposes of filing an income tax return.   

* It establishes a new, separate entity for tax purposes, the "estate".

For Federal tax purposes, it may be necessary to complete and file one or more of the following, depending on the decedent’s income, the size of the estate, and the income of the estate:

  1. Final Form 1040 Federal Income Tax return.
  2. Form 1041 Federal Fiduciary Income Tax returns for the estate.
  3. Form 709 Federal Gift Tax return(s).
  4. Form 706 Federal Estate Tax return.

For state purposes, an executor must file the appropriate state income tax return plus possible estate tax, inheritance tax and gift tax returns. In many states, gift, estate and inheritance taxes have been eliminated for most small and medium-sized estates.

The requirements for filing and payment vary widely from state-to-state.


You probably don’t realize this, but you are truly angels, helping me through a most difficult time. I cannot thank you enough.

Nancy G.
Calumet City, Illinois

Your law firm was a godsend to our family in many ways at a critical and emotional time of our lives. Thank you for all you do for seniors and their families.

Diane H.
Chicago, IL

Everything you did for us was excellent and so is your office staff. You are terrific and so very professional. Your office is A#1 – First Class.

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Homer Glen, IL

It made me feel taken care of and secure knowing that I can call and have my questions answered. The attorney was kind and never in a hurry with me and always answered my questions. I don’t know how anyone could get through the Medicaid process without your expert assistance.

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Chicago, Illinois

I have referred people many times

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Oak Lawn, Illinois

Everyone in your office was kind, generous and knowledgeable. Thanks to you my stress has been removed and I am now able to start a new life.

Georgianne B.
Crestwood, Illinois

You probably don’t realize this, but you are truly angels, helping me through a most difficult time. I cannot thank you enough.

Nancy G.
Calumet City, Illinois

We were very well pleased with everything done by DeLaney Law for our family!

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Frankfort, Illinois

Amy has been very helpful in all areas of our needs and concerns.

William E.
Mokena, Illinois

I would definitely refer a friend or relative to this law firm for legal assistance.

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Palos Park, Illinois

I rate this firm excellent in all respects!

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Palos Hills, Illinois

Please accept our sincere appreciation and thanks for a job well done. You and your team provide and maintain the highest level of superior customer service in every interaction.

Patrick and Shirley F.
Oak Lawn, Illinois

Thank you very much for your professionalism and expertise. Attorney Heather Voorn and everyone at the office was very helpful and assisted me in learning about Medicaid – something I previously had no knowledge of.

James J.
Orland Park, Illinois

I appreciate the timeliness and attention to all of my cases.

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Chicago, IL

The attorneys at DeLaney Law Offices, Ltd. were very helpful and addressed all of my questions.

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Hinsdale, IL

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Oak Lawn, IL

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Chicago Ridge, IL

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Orland Park

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Tinley Park

Your services are absolutely amazing. I left my corporate job to care for my mother. I was my mother's caregiver for eleven years and went through my savings. I literally thought after I had to place her in a nursing home that I would be homeless. After working with you, I was able to keep the house. I will be forever grateful to Delaney Delaney & Voorn!

Celeste R.
Chicago, IL

Friendly, took the time to explain everything to our satisfaction, very professional.

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Orland Park

What did you like best about firm?
* Their specialty of elder law, quality of legal expertise, thoroughness, and follow-up on any unclear issues.

Nenita Q.

What did you like most about our firm?
- Ray: Professional courtesy

Orland Park

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"The friendly feeling, and you know what we needed".

West Chester

What did you like most about our firm?

Your prompt attention to all our questions, your detailed letters to keep up informed, your cheerful calls, and the courtesy of all staff. We are most grateful!


"Very professional, and treated client like family"

Chicago Heights

Friendly and professional. When I was sitting at the conference table, I was not overwhelmed by. "Lawyer talk"."


Every Person I spoke with was kind and helpful. Also very patient with me and my little knowledge of the law, sometimes my lawyer had to explain information to me more than once.

Tinley Park