Q: Husband passed away with no will kids taking whatever they want
I was married for 21 years and have been seperated for the past 3 years. My husband recently passed away and didn't have a will and our two oldest children are just taking whatever they want from the house without even asking me what I want. We had a watch business and we have amassed quite a few watches over the years and the kids are now in posession of the watches and they have no idea how much they are worth. Am I entitled to the watch collection since we were business partners? Also I have our youngest son and I wanted to have the car but my son is insisting that he is going to get it. Please help. I'm located in Illinois
A: Under the Illinois Probate Act, the intestate estate (property of a person dying without a will) is divided between the spouse and the children. The act states at 755 ILCS 5/2-1 as follows: "Sec. 2-1. Rules of descent and distribution. The intestate real and personal estate of a resident decedent and the intestate real estate in this State of a nonresident decedent, after all just claims against his estate are fully paid, descends and shall be distributed as follows: (a) If there is a surviving spouse and also a descendant of the decedent: 1/2 of the entire estate to the surviving spouse and 1/2 to the decedent's descendants per stirpes." Under law, you are entitled to 50% of the decedent's property and the other half is divided equally between the decedent's children. If that is not being done, then someone is subject to suit for their "over-taking." Depending on the value of the estate, you may be required to open a decedent's estate in order to litigate these issues. I hope this helps. - Bryan.
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