El Paso, TX asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Illinois

Q: My father died without a will. His wife is selling their home. Are his children entitled to any profit from the sale?

His estate went to probate court at the time of his death, 3 years ago. Nothing came from it.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Drew R. Ball
Drew R. Ball
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Illinois statutes contain “Intestacy Laws” that determine who receives a deceased person’s assets in the absence of a valid will. These laws apply only to probate property; as a review, probate property must be distributed by the court and include assets which are owned solely by the deceased individual and which has no designated beneficiary.

In Illinois, the relevant intestate laws applicable to your father and you seems to be as follows:

-Deceased person is survived by spouse & descendants: the spouse receives half the property & the children split the remaining half

-Deceased person is survived by spouse & no descendants: the spouse receives the entire probate property

-Note that the laws also call for the estate to pay any outstanding debt or taxes of the deceased person before making any distribution to heirs.

That said, if the estate went to probate 3 years ago and nothing came of it, then it sounds as if his property was either not owned solely by him and thus not apart of his estate, or had a designated beneficiary. Nonetheless, it may be wise for you to both make a list of the real property you believe your father owned, and gather the probate court records and then reach out to an attorney to review both items to determine if you are entitled to any of his property. I wish you the best.

Ray Choudhry
Ray Choudhry
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Moline, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: After an estate is opened, the Administrator has 60 days to file an inventory and send a copy to all the heirs.

As an heir you would have received a copy.

It looks like the house was in joint tenancy with the wife and when he died it went to her.

You can get a copy of the inventory from the court.

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