Identifying interested parties is a very important consideration in probate litigation in Illinois. The party who starts the contestation of a will may be surprised to discover that the number of interested parties may be significantly higher than initially thought. This is because interested parties are not limited to the parties that are listed in the last will and testament.
When a will is being contested, the family members of the decedent can be either actual parties or interested parties, even if they are not listed as beneficiaries in the last will and treatment. All of the surviving family members, as well as the parties who are listed in the last will and testament that has been filed for probate, are considered interested parties who have the right to participate in the litigation.
The parties that are listed in the contested will are considered directly interested parties. In addition to these parties, interested parties to the litigation can also include those parties who have been listed in a will previous to the one that is being contested. The petitioner has a responsibility when initiating the process of a will contest to identify all interested parties listed in any previous last will and testament apart from surviving family members who may interested parties as well.
For probate litigation purposes, it is necessary for the party contesting the will and the party defending the will to both ascertain who are the interested parties. The interested parties should be given notice and a chance to engage in the litigation.
An attorney who practices estate administration and probate may work to protect the rights and interests of clients who are interested parties to probate litigation. The attorney might be able to ensure the distribution of property of the estate is in line with the contents of the will.