Citation Proceedings

Citation proceedings are a common form of probate litigation, and are used to both discover if there are assets and/or property that belong to an estate that are in the hands of another party, and to recover misappropriated estate assets. 755 ILCS 5/16-1.

The appropriate venue for a citation proceeding is the court in which the probate estate is pending.  Citation proceedings can take place in a decedent’s estate and in the case of a minor or disabled adult, a guardianship estate.

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Grounds for issuing the citation must appear in the petition.  A petition for a citation to discover assets need not state a cause of action, and a court will issue a citation to discover is the petition states that some person has property which possibly belongs to the estate, or some person may have information or knowledge of property that the petitioner may need to obtain recovery of property.  Thus, upon issuance of a citation to discovery, the petitioner is afforded all of the discovery tools allowed by the Code of Civil Procedure, including subpoena power.

A citation to recover assets allows a petitioner to recover possession of specific property to the estate.  If the property has been converted, the value of the property is brought back into the estate.  Unlike a petition for a citation to discovery, a petition for a citation to recover must state a cause of action, such as breach of fiduciary duty, fraud or conversion.

The executor has standing to bring citation proceedings, as does any other person interested in the estate.

There are various legal presumptions that arise in the context of citation to recover proceedings, including the presumption of fraud in any transaction by a fiduciary, and the presumption of a gift in cases involving joint tenancies.