Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Twelve Years in Probate

Ann is at that magical age of 6, a great source of joy for her parents.  Her parents, Dan and Abby, are too busy to go to a lawyer for estate planning but figure they have plenty of time. Unfortunately, tragedy overtakes Abby in a highway accident, and Dan and Ann are left to do the best they can without her.  

     First, Dan must go to probate court to transfer ownership of Abby’s property to the people who are supposed to inherit. Under Illinois law for people who die without a Will, the surviving spouse takes half the property transferred through probate with any surviving children taking the other half. 

Because Dan was never added to the deed of the house which Abby had owned before they married (too busy for the lawyer again), 6-year-old Ann now owns half the house with her father. 

And it will be 12 long years before she is 18, which is the minimum amount of time her father will have to deal with the probate court regarding their home, even though a typical Illinois probate only takes from 6 months to 2 years. 

Next week, we will explain why Dan will be in probate court so long.  Probate can be shortened by proper planning, and it can even be avoided altogether.  For help planning your estate, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office

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