Thanks for your question and good afternoon.Since he left no will here you can make application for court supervised probate here in Illinois.I would suggest an Illinois lawyer to file this on your behalf.You may be appointed personal administrator of the estate.You would gather assets, pay any creditors, taxes and the rest is distributed to the legal heirs under the Illinois laws of intestacy( no will).You are permitted to be paid a fee for your work as personal administrator in this matter as well.Once you are appointed then you would have access to nay bank accounts or other assets here and you would then gather them into an estate account.You would apply for an EIN number for the estate from IRS.This takes the place of his social security since he has deceased.EIN number informationhttp://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-%28EIN%29-OnlineYou also are entitle to a small death benefit from social security.You can apply for this once you are named personal representative.This process takes roughly a year to 18 months from start to finish.Here is Illinois lawyer referral for you.You want a probate lawyer.http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/lris/directory/main.cfm?id=ILIllinois laws of intestacy--note stepdaughter would not be an heir..You may well get all of it unless there are other siblings.The court makes this determination using these laws in probate as part of administration.http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/intestate-succession-illinois.html
Under Illinois law law, personal representatives are entitled to "reasonable compensation" for their services. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1985, ch. 110 1/2, pars. 27-1, 27-2.) The decision as to what constitutes reasonable compensation is a matter peculiarly within the province and discretion of the trial court. (In re Estate of Thomson (1986), 139 Ill.App.3d 930, 94 Ill.Dec. 316, 487 N.E.2d 1193; In re Estate of Rumoro (1980), 90 Ill.App.3d 383, 45 Ill.Dec. 737, 413 N.E.2d 70.) There is no clear-cut rule to guide the court in ascertaining what constitutes a reasonable fee, and consequently, the determination must be based on the facts and circumstances of the particular case before the court. (In re Estate of Brown (1978), 58 Ill.App.3d 697, 15 Ill.Dec. 916, 374 N.E.2d 699.)
More here about the probate process in Illinois
As the fees must be submitted to the probate court for approval, you would keep good records of your time and what you did by date, and you will have to prove the number of hours worked on the estate matters and usually the customary hourly rate is between $20-$40 per hour (depending on complexity and experience of personal representative).
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Here are the probate laws for Illinois skip down to Article 9 where it talks about administration --this is the situation where there is no will and court supervises the entire process..http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60Also know the lawyer fees for the estate as any other debts and reimbursement say your travel would come out of the estate here befoer distribution.Thanks again.
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