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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37837
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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My mom recently passed away with no will. She wanted my son

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My mom recently passed away with no will. She wanted my son to have her car, and she wanted me to have the property in Alabama that was given to her in a divorce. She passed away in Illinois. The car is a 2005 Hyundai Sonata. I have no idea what the property in Alabama could be worth, but it was a very small lot in rural Alabama. I believe her ex-husband is still on the deed.
Do you believe it would be worth the legal trouble?

If your mother's ex-husband is still named on the deed, then this could be a major roadblock to your inheriting the property. Here's why:

1. If the divorce judgment, specifically describes the property and awards it to the ex-husband, then he or his heirs would be entitled to the property, no matter how the deed actually divides the property.

2. If the divorce judgment says nothing about the property, and the ex-husband held title as "husband and wife," "tenants by the entireties," or as "joint tenants," then the ex-husband would own the property outright at the instant of your mother's death, no matter what the court says.

3. Only if the divorce judgment awards the property to your mother, outright, are you likely to be able to inherit it free of the ex-husband. So, the first thing you need to do is get a copy of the deed, and a copy of the divorce judgment, so that you can review them and see whether or not you have any chance of inheriting.

Concerning the vehicle, a similar circumstance exists. You would need to review the vehicle certificate of title to determine if it is owned by your mother alone. If only her name is XXXXX XXXXX title, then your brother may be able to transfer title to himself without much trouble. See this link for information on using a "small estate affidavit" to transfer vehicle title in Illinois.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
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