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Illinois Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
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... Read more »

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Jun 16, 2021

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: Good Morning, I am writing to you because my mother is 83 years old and wants to get her estate done.

We do not know to go about it so if you steer us to the right direction, we would really appreciate it. Also you can let us know what would she need to get her things in order. Thank you

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Jun 10, 2021

Good Morning!

Your mother should contact a few estate planning attorneys to find one she is comfortable working with on her estate plan. The attorney can discuss options based on the initial consultation about how she might best set up her estate plan.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: My dad passed away and without my knowledge my sister sold his home and kept the money.What can I do to receive my part?
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jun 5, 2021

Without knowing the specific facts it is hard to tell what is going on here. For example, if your dad had transferred the real estate to her during his lifetime, then she is within her rights to sell the property as she is the rightful owner. You could check with the Recorder of Deeds in the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: I am moving to the suburbs and I have a condo I want to give the condo to my son .

There is still a mortgage on it and just want to know as long as he takes over the mortgage I want to give him the property

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on May 10, 2021

There is not a question, only a situation. And it really isn't estate planning.

You cannot give him the property as long as he takes over the mortgage. How do you plan on giving him the property, and when? Is this transfer to be done in your will? Will you deed the property over...
Read more »

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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...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: Can you fight the family of a deceased transgender woman, who legally changed her name, on trying to bury her as a “him”
J. Richard Kulerski Esq.
J. Richard Kulerski Esq. answered on Apr 10, 2021

The law school that I went to never touched this subject. I would suspect that there is no authority whatsoever answering your question.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: There's a trust fund and it's my brother & I but he's refused to let me see any of the paperwork do I have a right

There's also a house he claimed he bought from my parents I asked him

Show proof he will not its part of the asset well time is up and he will not add the house just wants to split the trust as is what is my legal right he also had to take money out of the trust fund to pay off this... Read more »

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Apr 8, 2021

If you are a beneficiary you have a right to see at least some of the trust paperwork, and likely all of it. Some trusts may include language limiting information which can be shared. It sounds like your brother is the named trustee. To start, you can ask to see the names of trustees in the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: Thank you. I do understand that to be true.... 1 family member however that is wanting to sell, does not want to...

Give up their mineral rights to the land... can they really have the best of both worlds & ultimately screw the other 2 family members.

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Mar 29, 2021

When it comes to selling and buying, most everything is negotiable. If they are not willing to sell 100% of their share, then the value of that share may be greatly diminished. The remaining plaintiffs could sue in court demanding that the sale include mineral rights, although nothing is... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law and Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: So for the family members that don’t want to sell

Isn’t there any way to stop this?

It has been in our family a very long time & it is not divided up...

this isn’t right - there has to be away to stop it

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Mar 27, 2021

Those who don't want to sell can buy the fair market value of those who want to sell. Otherwise, there may be language in the will or trust which has provisions regarding the sale of items such as a specific number or % of beneficiaries required to sell assets.

2 Answers | Asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law, Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: Inherited undivided interest in a large amount of land, that has mineral rights. Can one of the family members force the

The other family members to sell the land? This land has been in our family for an extremely long time & some don’t want to sell.

J. Richard Kulerski Esq.
J. Richard Kulerski Esq. answered on Mar 27, 2021

Those who want to sell can file a lawsuit for Partition. They will win. This will give the court the power to sell the property at auction and divide the proceeds among all the owners. An auction sale is not likely to bring in as much money as a regular sale.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Illinois on
Q: How do add a relative to your home, so they can continue living their if one should pass away?

I live with my mother, helping her with bills and running errands for her since she had been on oxygen, she just had a stroke and is now in the hospital. I am one of 3 sons. One brother has legally been left in charge of her finances, the other in charge of her medical. She was wanting to put me on... Read more »

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Mar 25, 2021

To say which is "best" is subjective and would depend on many factors. However, the three most common ways to accomplish the goal of leaving you the house are:

1. Adding your name to the title.

2. She can leave it to you in her will.

3. She can put it in a trust...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: I was part of a family estate lawyer then I hired my own attorney, there is no family disput.... since money is comin

Out my share does the estate attorney still work for me also? I'm in Illinois

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Mar 10, 2021

It is very likely that the initial attorney represents the executor of the estate, not the individual beneficiaries. The executor would be entitled to pay that attorney out of the estate funds, so yes, your share as well. The attorney you hired to represent you personally will be paid by you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: When a family member passes, how can you be sure that the house goes to the intended beneficiary?

My father want to be sure that I maintain his home when he passes, but we're not sure how to accomplish this. We're in St. Clair County Illinois. When we called the county, we were told to reach out to a lawyer.

Erik K Jacobs
Erik K Jacobs answered on Mar 8, 2021

There are a few options. First, your father can leave the home to you in his will. Second, your father could execute and record a Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI). This document should be immediately recorded in the County Recorder's Office and becomes effective upon your father's passing.

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...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: good morning question my father inlaw set up a s trust for his family for the business he owned

he is now deceased but his wife is still alive and she wants change it she thinks its unfair

please let me know

thank you

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Feb 24, 2021

The devil is always in the details. In general, the trust can only be changed by the grantor (the one who created it). Once the grantor passes away, the trust is as it is.

However to fully address the issue it would be best to give all relevant documents to a lawyer for review. The...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: Deceased gave & sold away items while living knowing that was dying. Now that passed away the family is threatening

Threatening legal actions saying that it’s illegal for anyone to have these items deceased gave to them & have to return to them or risk arrests. Deceased had no legal will, though does have a video of one on social media. Deceased was married however ended many years ago but never legally... Read more »

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Feb 13, 2021

An owner has every right to sell, gift, give away, trade, barter, destroy, or otherwise dispose of any or all of their worldly possessions. There is no law against eliminating the burden of "stuff" of one's own free will.

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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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: Who is responsible for defending the integrity of a legaly issued will written by a lawyer and witnessed by 2 attorneys
Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Jan 13, 2021

The responsibility falls on the estate, through the executor. Part of the executor's duties is to manage the estate the for the benefit of the beneficiaries as well as adhere to the wishes and direction of the grantor.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
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... Read more »

Bryan R. Bagdady
Bryan R. Bagdady answered on Dec 9, 2020

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking and Probate for Illinois on
Q: RE: illinois unclaimed property of my deceased 2012 mother.

My mother's name is on the Illinois unclaimed property list, by my neglect and procrastination. Must I go through the State of Illinois/Cook County, where she resided and died, to claim this property? I would prefer to go back to the sources (Chase checking account on which I am joint holder;... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 17, 2020

In most states once assets are escheated (turned over) to the state, that is your exclusive way to recover those assets. You must go to the state as the holders of these assets have turned them over to the state. If your state is anything like PA, this process is very detailed, complex and time... Read more »

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