Previously when paper filing in the Probate Division in Cook County, the basic procedure for opening a probate estate was to file a Probate cover sheet and a Petition for Probate of Will and For Letters Testamentary. After you filed those documents with the clerk and paid the filing fee, you would then step over to the hearing counter to obtain the initial hearing date. Nothing else was needed to be filed to obtain the hearing date. At the hearing, the attorney would tender the supporting documents: Affidavit of Heirship, bond, any waivers, and proposed orders.
Unfortunately, the new eFiling system has not streamlined this procedure. Currently, you will need to perform two separate eFiling transactions in order to obtain the initial hearing date, and to file the supporting documents, (except do not file any proposed orders).
To comply with the new electronic filing procedure for Cook County’s Probate Division, you will have to submit your paperwork in two separate filings.
In the first transaction, start a new case and file the Probate cover sheet, Petition for Probate of Will, and For Letters Testamentary. Once you have paid the filing fee and completed the first filing transaction, you will need to start another transaction. In the second transaction, file the supporting documents, e.g. Affidavit of Heirship, bond, and any waivers. This time though, be sure to add the word “motion” to the Case Cross Reference Number field to prompt the hearing calendar to schedule your hearing.
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Tisha Delgado is a senior litigation paralegal and e-discovery specialist at Golan Christie Taglia, where she maintains complex databases and assists clients in collecting and exporting electronically stored information and social media. An educator, trainer, and thought leader, Tisha is frequently called on to speak at paralegal schools and legal education conferences. She currently advises legal professionals on e-filing rules and procedures, and how to create successful workflows to accommodate an evolving e-filing system in the Illinois state courts. Tisha is a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association and presently serves as its Vice President and Litigation Section Chair.