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Questions Answered by Stephanie Sexauer
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Illinois on
Q: What can the disabled ward do? When the ward and guardian disagree? What options does the ward have
Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Jan 17, 2022

A Ward has the opportunity to seek to restore himself or herself at any time. This request can be made to the Judge directly or to the Guardian ad Litem (if one was appointed). Though it's not required, it would aide the Judge in making a determination that your circumstances have changed so... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Illinois on
Q: Hello, My wife's mother passed away a week ago. My wife has been estranged from her family for several years.

We are unsure if there is a will. How do we find out if there is one? My wife's sister is currently living in the house my mother in-law owned. There is life insurance policies, bank accounts and other assets. If there is no will and we are not on speaking terms with her sister, how do we go... Read more »

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Jan 14, 2022

John, I'm sorry to hear what you're all going through.

In Illinois, wills are required to be signed and witnessed by two people. If there is a will, all wills need to be filed in the county in which the Decedent resided within 30 days of death. If there is a valid will, and it...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Illinois on
Q: Mom passed away,had no will. Brother is on the house deed with her, can he keep the house, how can he transfer car title

She put him on the deed last year, can he transfer the car into his name? There are 3 siblings but we have all decided everything is his we do not want anything. The small estate affidavit states there can be no property. He can not even get the mlney out of her bank account to settle some of her... Read more »

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Jan 12, 2022

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom; I hope you're all hanging in there.

If the property was owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship, your brother is now the sole owner. A small estate affidavit can then be used to transfer other property, so long as it's cumulative...
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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Illinois on
Q: Can I buy my 91 yr old Mom's home and then rent it to her without impacting her possible future Medicaid eligibility?
Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Jan 7, 2022

I see you're located in Wisconsin, but posted this for an Illinois attorney, so I'll respond regarding Illinois law.

There is a 5 year Medicaid look back period. If your mom sells you her home for less than fair market value and she does require a nursing home stay during that...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: My mother passed away in July. There is a will that states to split evenly between me and my sibling.

He paid for funeral, paid off her car, her house payment, some bills (like electric and so on until the house was sold last week. What expenses are considered acceptable? Now, when splitting the money. Does he get to factor in those expenses and basically leave me with nothing? Just doesn't... Read more »

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Nov 5, 2021

I'm so sorry to hear about your mother; I hope you're hanging in there.

Yes, it's appropriate for most costs in "finalizing" your mother's affairs be deducted from an estate before any heir receives their share. All bills of an estate must be paid, and...
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4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: At what size Net Worth should I consider a Trust instead of a Will?
Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on May 5, 2021

Hi there,

Congratulations for considering an estate plan! It's so important to do this as soon as you're able, but we know most people don't (which makes their estates ultimately much messier and more expensive when they become disabled or die). I'm assuming you're...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Illinois on
Q: My mother lent my brother 55k dollars to pay for his divorce 15 yrs ago. He only paid her back about 29k before he died.

As part of the divorce settlement, he kept the condo in Chicago. He remarried 2 years ago, but didnt put his wife's name on the property. He was literally at the condo getting it ready to sell when he died (massive heart attack). He did not have a will, so his current wife contact 2 lawyers... Read more »

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Apr 26, 2021

Hi there,

I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. I hope you're all hanging in there.

In Illinois, if your brother didn't have children, his assets (that don't name a beneficiary or joint owner) would pass to his wife. If there was a probate proceeding,...
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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: My mother passed away with an irrevocable family trust. Under the terms I am the beneficiary. How do I get assets?

My father is executor and for two years has refused to give me info unless I sign 1/2 to him. This was from my grandparents estate. What actions need to be taken?

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Mar 1, 2021

Hi there,

To start off, I'm really sorry to hear you're going through this. From what you say, it sounds like your father is wrongfully withholding/assets from you. I'd be happy to speak with you about some options, if you'd like to give me a call at (312)300-4743 or...
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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law, Estate Planning and Elder Law for Illinois on
Q: How does Guardianship relate to marital rights? My husband had a stroke July1 and his kids showed up with signed Power

of Attorney forms that he didn't remember signing. They completely took over...changed locks on husband's house, closed all of our joint accounts leaving me with no phone, no car insurance and no house insurance. They took over finances and I haven't seen a cent of his money since... Read more »

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Feb 4, 2021

I'm so sorry to hear about these circumstances. I think you may need to consider hiring an attorney to have better communications with your husband's children to reach a resolution.

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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Elder Law for Illinois on
Q: My mother fell in her apartment and wasn't found for a period of time. She was not able to give the hospital my number.

Now she a ward of Illinois. I live in California and have identified myself as her daughter to the guardian. What do I have to do to have it dropped? No one (hospital lawyer, social worker) will assist me. Thank you.

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Jul 18, 2020

If by "ward of Illinois", you mean she's now legally a disabled person and the Office of the State Guardian was appointed to be her guardian, I think it would make sense for you to reach out to them. They take care of a lot of people who don't have family, and if you're... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: My husband passed with no will. His children are telling me they want his 2 trucks, motorcycle and trailer?

Do I have any right to the value of these after 30 years of marriage

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Jun 16, 2020

I’m SO sorry to hear about this; how awful.

A surviving spouse is entitled to half the assets of a deceased spouse. Please call me at (312) 300-4743 to discuss, if you’d like.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: My dad passed (no spouse) and in his will left everything to my sister and myself.

Six weeks after his death my sister passes. She had a husband but no children. I am the executor and wondering if I have to pay out half my father's estate to her husband. Nothing has been distributed yet and they were talking about a divorce so it feels wrong to pay half of my dad's... Read more »

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Jun 11, 2020

I'm so sorry to hear of your recent losses. It must be an awful time for you.

Unfortunately yes, now that your sister passed away, her half will go to he heirs, which happens to be her husband. \

If you'd like to discuss this by phone, I'd be happy to. My phone number is (312)300-4743.

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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Elder Law for Illinois on
Q: dementia diagnosis and guardianship

My grandma is 89 she has symptoms of dementia to my knowledge she has not been formally diagnosed by her physician her physician will not speak to me because he does not have a release to do so anytime anyone tries to help my grandma with anything she gets irate and violent she does not have a... Read more »

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Jan 8, 2020

I'm so sorry to hear of what's been going on.

You're right that this sounds like a guardianship issue. You should contact an estate or guardianship attorney in or near your town, as soon as you can, to get the process started.

I hope for the best for you all!

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Illinois on
Q: I am an heir/legatee in an estate. There were several court dates and I was not notified nor given the filed motions.

What recourse do I have? I thought that the court required all interested parties to be notified of all court activity.

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Nov 14, 2018

You're correct; if you're an heir or legatee of an estate, the court will require the attorney for the proposed executor or administrator to send notice (when to send notice depends on whether the Decedent died with or without a will). It's possible the matter has been continued to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: Is there a monetary amount under which my heirs won't have to pay estate taxes?
Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Oct 20, 2018

Heirs don't pay estate taxes; the estate itself might pay estate tax, if the estate exceeds $11,180,000.00 in 2018. The estate may also be subject to income tax if the Decedent earned income that year (the same way a person pays their own income tax each year), or other taxes. Please note, you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Illinois on
Q: I am looking to find out, as my sister's POA, on how to handle a settlement from a class action suit.

My sister, who is in an assisted living facility and on medicaid, will be getting part of a settlement of a class action suit from the village she lived in before moving to the living facility. Our mom lived with her and got sick drinking the water in their condo and filed with the class action... Read more »

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Oct 20, 2018

I'm sorry to hear about this situation. An easy solution might be to spend the money in the months its received an a Medicaid-eligible purchase, such as a prepaid funeral/burial. In this case, as in all cases, you should connect directly with an elder law attorney and discuss the specifics... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: If I handwrite my will, is that considered a legal document as long as I signed it?
Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Oct 20, 2018

I agree with Mr. Choudhry.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Illinois on
Q: Question regarding my dad and his bank account. He passed away the 25th of august.

Im next to kin. When I went to get his ashes they also gave me his debit card. We werent talking at the time he died. I highly doubt he has anymore than a few hundred dollars in it, if that. Him and his wife were on a motorcycle and hit a semi head on. Both pronounced dead at the scene. His bank... Read more »

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Oct 20, 2018

If dad passed without owning real property and the assets total less than $100,000.00, it's possible you can use what's called a small estate affidavit to pass the property. Please note, if you use one, you'd be swearing by penalty of perjury as to its contents, which you might not... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: If I drafted my will in Montana do I need a new one now that I live in Illinois?
Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Aug 22, 2018

In my experience, you should. All estate planning documents should be drafted to be specific to the state where you live, by an attorney who knows the laws of Illinois.

You should contact an attorney near you who practices solely in estate law.

Best of luck to you!

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Illinois on
Q: After four months since publication of notice is up, no challenges or creditors, what happens next? Back to court?

Arizona: Informal probate.

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Aug 18, 2018

Hi there,

I hope you feel comfortable with the attorney you've likely hired to assist you in the probate process. I am not an Arizona attorney and can't speak to Arizona law, but in Illinois, we have a 6 month creditor/claims time period. Very little happens in that time; we...
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