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Illinois Estate Planning Questions & Answers
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...
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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...
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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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: I have a question about estate and executor doing things he shouldn’t.

Our dad passed recently, the brother who is the executor has taken assets without the other siblings consent and sold them or is keeping them and not returning them. He is not following what is supposed to be done. We need to know what we should do, tried talking to him but he ignores us and is... Read more »

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

You need to immediately retain an estate litigation attorney to bring an action for his immediate removal for breach of his fiduciary duty as executor and for him to make a complete accounting. A surcharge action needs to brought against him for losses that the estate has incurred by him stealing... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: Executor of estate is possibly going against what is written in the will.

My father recently passed away. One of the siblings is the executor, but my other sister and I feel that the other sister is going against what the will says. She’s not letting us in the house, (we fear she’s already taken things that were meant for everyone to have a fair chance to pick out... Read more »

Bryan R. Bagdady
Bryan R. Bagdady answered on Nov 3, 2020

The executor is lawfully charged with the obligation and the right to marshall the estate assets. Part of the obligation of marshalling includes protecting assets. The executor would be within her rights to secure the house. Having said that, the executor is also obligated to file an inventory... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: Can my ex husband and I we setup a bank account (trust fund) for our daughter who we share 50/05 custody?

My ex husband and we will be receiving a lump sum amount for a settlement. It will be split 3 ways our child is a minor and would like to setup a account where both parents would need to be present to be able withdraw funds and show proof for what it would be used for. If our child whether is a... Read more »

T. J. Jesky
T. J. Jesky answered on Oct 30, 2020

In the question itself, I think you meant to say 50/50 not 50/05.

What's the difference if it's you ex or stranger, you are setting-up a trust account for your daughter.

It seems she will be the beneficiary of the Trust. It all comes down to the Trust Agreement to protect...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: My mother passed and there is no will, my sisters and I agree to sell the home and split the money, how do we do that?

My mom had nothing in writing, but the 3 kids are in agreement to sell the home and split the money, how do we do this? I actually want to buy my sisters out. I am currently living in the home, I moved in to pay the bills while mom was to be in a nursing home for an indefinite amount of time, she... Read more »

Bryan R. Bagdady
Bryan R. Bagdady answered on Oct 5, 2020

If a decedent passes without a will and the estate has a value exceeding $100,000, then you need to open an estate and someone must be appointed as the Administrator of the intestate estate. There is a slew of information the court will want at the beginning stages in order to determine who should... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: Do I have to appear in IL estate court if I get a subpoena during covid while concerned for mine & spouse's health?

I received a supoena for IL estate court for my deceased father's estate & and I am concerned for my health (asthmatic) & my spouse at home with prexisting health issues. If I raise this concern, can I be relieved from attending?

Cheryl Powell
Cheryl Powell answered on Oct 4, 2020

Call the lawyer that subpoenaed you. Or the Circuit Clerk's office in the county where you are supposed to testify. Ask if you can appear by zoom instead. Although you are in Benton, I am not sure in what county you are supposed to testify. We have Zoom court for most civil things in... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: Can they put a lien on my moms house over my deceased dads debt that she didnt agree to?

My dad died in january. Before he died he had roof work done on our house. They lied to him and promised insurance would cover the roofing, but insurance only covered a small amount. My mom now cant afford their 6k bill and kept the 2k check from allstate as well. Now the roofers are threatening a... Read more »

Robert Shipley
Robert Shipley answered on Sep 10, 2020

I am assuming that the home was owned jointly by your mother and father. That being the case, if the contractor completed the work, if they choose they can record a lien for the value of the work which has not been paid.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: I live in Illinois, Im turning 18 in 5 days, when i turn 18 im wanting to go live with my boyfriend in Pennsylvania.

Im going to drive to him, but my car is in my parents name and my phone also that they gave me. if i go to him can they take my stuff from me?

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Aug 24, 2020

The car and the phone belong to your parents because they are titled under their name. Yes, your parents have total control over their use. These items were not "gifts" but things which your parents own and let you use. If you do take the car and phone and refuse to return them if... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: I recieved a check made out to my deceased brother. Can I cash it by signing it in his name and undersigning it in mine?

I am his brother. Also the executor of his will and the only person named in his will.

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Aug 15, 2020

Typically a bank will not accept that. Signing your brother's name is a forgery. Acting as though your brother has signed the check over to you is a fraud. More important is from whom or where is the check? Does your deceased brother deserve the money? If you take the money, and it turns... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: I live in IL. My CA friend wants to make me her power of attorney. How do we go about this?

I cannot travel due to pandemic. How can this be carried out the easiest. She also needs her will revised. Do any attorneys make house calls? She is 92.

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Jul 20, 2020

Your friend needs to contact a local attorney in California. You do not need to do anything for her to make you her power of attorney or for her to revise her will. That will be handled between her and her attorney who is licensed to practice law in California.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: My step mom owns an apartment building that she wants to sell that was left in a will to her from her deceased mother

My step mom owns an apartment building that she wants to sell. Her mother owned it then passed away and on her Will left it for my step mom. My step mom never had it switched over to her name but has been having people live there and taking care of it for two years. How long does it take to switch... Read more »

Robert Shipley
Robert Shipley answered on Jul 13, 2020

The property must be in your step mother's name for it to be, ultimately, legally transferred. I would recommend you speak with an attorney whose focus is in Probate. Since the mother passed away 2 years ago, a probate estate will probably have to be opened so that the property can be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: Dad died & step-mom selling marital home. His Will names only current wife for all assets but title is tenants in common

Father died & step-mom is selling their marital home. His Will only named his current wife. Upon selling their marital home of 30 years she remembered the title is joint tenancy with 50% to her and 50% to his 4 heirs (2 are her biological children with him and 2 are only his biological... Read more »

George W. Svoboda
George W. Svoboda answered on Jun 29, 2020

It seems you have property rights in the home. I believe she is mistaken that your property rights will be wiped out in the probate court. You were given the property before your father died, which means that part of the property does not go through probate. I would not sign the quit claim deed if... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: If I am the appoint administrator of my child’s estate in a lawsuit am I the one who would distribute the money?

I am legally divorce with my husband but we both signed a document appointing me adminIstrator of the estate we are finalizing a lawsuit. Am I the one who distributes the funds to him and our children or who is the one responsible to do that ?

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson answered on Jun 19, 2020

Yes, the administrator of the estate is responsible to ensure the bills are paid, the taxes are paid, the assets are accounted for, any specific gifts are properly distributed, and the remainder of the estate is then distributed per the wishes of the grantor.

There can be co-administrators....
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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: My husband passed with no will. His children are telling me they want his 2 trucks, motorcycle and trailer?

Do I have any right to the value of these after 30 years of marriage

Stephanie Sexauer
Stephanie Sexauer answered on Jun 16, 2020

I’m SO sorry to hear about this; how awful.

A surviving spouse is entitled to half the assets of a deceased spouse. Please call me at (312) 300-4743 to discuss, if you’d like.

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