Our condolences on your loss. It is difficult dealing with the loss of a loved one on many levels. If you have agreed to serve as a successor trustee or the executor or administrator of an estate, you may have many questions. The attorney’s at Semmelman & Semmelman, Ltd. are experienced in all of the facets of estate and trust administration. We can answer your questions. We are ready, willing and able to assist you in all phases of the administration of the trust and/or estate.

Estate and trust administration has its own language. Some of the terms that are commonly used include:

(a) Will:  A will is a written document, signed by the testator (the person making the will) and at least two witnesses. There are other things that might invalidate a will but if the document doesn’t meet those basic requirements, it is not a will.


(b) Trust:  A trust is a document with terms that define how the assets are to be managed and distributed. A person can make a trust during her lifetime (sometimes called a “Living Trust”) or a trust can be created by the terms of a will (known as a testamentary trust).


(c) Probate:  Probate is a court procedure meant to insure the orderly administration of an estate.


(d) Testate or Intestate:  If the deceased made a valid will then he or she died testate. If, on the other hand, the deceased did not leave a valid will he or she died intestate.


(e) Executor:  An Executor is an individual or an institution in charge of an estate where the deceased left a will.


(f) Administrator:  An Administrator is an individual or an institution in charge of an estate where the deceased did not leave a will.


(e) Trustee:  A Trustee is an individual or an institution in charge of an estate where the deceased left a will.


Executors, Administrators and Trustee’s share certain responsibilities.  Some of those responsibilities are:

  To be fair to all of the beneficiaries;

  To follow the terms of the document and the law scrupulously;

  To avoid self-dealing;

  To keep accurate records of the assets, income and expenses of the trust or estate;

  To invest the assets of the trust or estate wisely;

To file income and estate tax returns for the trust or estate as necessary.

Contact Us

Semmelman & Semmelman, Ltd.

900 North Shore Drive

Suite 250

Lake Bluff, IL 60044

Phone: 847-234-4438

Fax: 847-234-4674





Other Considerations





In a Relationship

Loss of Spouse or Parent

Purchase/Sale of Home

The Golden Years

Going on Vacation


Remarriage/Blended Family

Death of a Loved One.

Semmelman & Wisneski, Ltd. serves clients in Illinois such as Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Highland Park, Mundelein, Gurnee, Grayslake, Wadsworth, Ingleside, Antioch, Wauconda, Lake Zurich and the rest of Lake County.


Regional Nicknames: Lake County, Illinois


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