Chicago, IL asked in Estate Planning for Illinois

Q: Do I have to be informed that I'm named to a will? How can I find out if I'm also named in the trust?

I'm from Illinois. I was named in my fathers will. There is also a trust attached to the will. I am estranged from my family so simply asking the executor is out of the question. I was never notified of the will being filed in probate (I found out doing a probate search online). My question is can I contact the attorney who made up the will and trust and ask if I'm part of the trust? Do I contact the probate attorney to ask if I'm part of the trust? Do these attorneys have a duty to inform the other family members? I understand I can be named in the will but not in the trust but because the trust is kept private how to I know if I'm a beneficiary on the trust? Lastly do I have any legal recourse if I have been purposely excluded? I literally live two houses from my brother so claiming that they don't have my address is not an excuse.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Wilmette, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Being named in a will does not necessarily mean that you will inherit from the will. I doubt that the attorney who drafted the will is going to answer your questions. If the decedent's estate plan included a trust, it is very unlikely that the probate attorney will be of much help unless they are helping the trustee with the trust.

The executor has a duty to inform anyone who inherits from the will.

The trustee has a duty to inform anyone who benefits from the trust.

It is possible for a parent to purposefully disinherit a child or spouse from their estate. You could ask the court to make a ruling in your favor to inherit if you believe that the disinheritance is unjust, without merit, or made under undue influence. You could also file a motion in court requiring the trustee to provide to the court a list of beneficiaries.

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