Madill, OK asked in Probate for Illinois

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 to handle the sale of the property? She did not tell my mother until after it was done and took all the profits for herself. We assumed that she would pay my mother back as the condo was his assets prior to their marriage. Apparently, that was a mistake. My mother is still so upset about his death, that she wont say anything to her about the money. I have power of attorney over my mother (she's 80). What can I do, if anything, to get my mother the money she is entitled? When an estate goes to probate, shouldnt outstanding debts be paid first? And, I saw an article that said a living parent receives the estate in IL if there is no will. Is that true?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: 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, creditors (like your mother) would have an opportunity to file a claim so that he or she can be paid prior to the assets being distributed to the heir. If the new wife knew your mother was owed money, she should've been given a very specific notice saying this. If the new wife didn't know your brother owed money to your mother, all creditors have a 6 month period to come forward.

Depending on the timing of this, your mother may have a chance to still file a claim. Please call a local probate attorney to discuss this.

Please note, the above should not be misconstrued as legal advice, and we have not established an attorney/client relationship.

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