Twelve Years

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

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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