Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Too Much Power Too Soon

Six-year-old Ann’s father, Dan, knows his wife would have wanted him to take care of Ann, but his job has been needlessly complicated by the fact Abby died with no will or other estate plan.  Because he was never added to the deed for their home, Dan is only half owner of the home; Ann owns the other half. 

Dan will have to report to the probate court yearly until Ann is 18 about what he has done with Ann’s share of the house. Plus, once Ann is 18, she would be able to block or delay any sale of the home or could even try to force her father to sell or to give her cash for her share of the home.

Her mother Abby surely never intended that Dan’s decision-making on that issue to be subject to their daughter’s wishes at the age of 18.  

When a minor inherits property, the probate court must oversee the handling of that property by a guardian of her estate appointed for her, even if the guardian is her father.  And the minor is usually entitled to take control of her property at adulthood, which is age of 18 under Illinois law. 

Probate can be shortened, simplified or even avoided altogether by proper planning.  For help with your estate plan, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2014 Gruber Law Office

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