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Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37003
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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Father died without a will (in Illinois). His estranged 3 minor

Customer Question

Father died without a will (in Illinois). His estranged 3 minor children lived out of state in Wisconsin. After he died, his family (mother, sister, etc) didn't notify the children of his death (the children found out on their own over a year later). No probate was ever opened. The children know nothing of what his estate contained, and anything he had was taken by his mother (the children received absolutely nothing). Do the children have any recourse or rights as intestate succession should have gone to them and not his mother? If so, is there a statute of limitations (the children are now adults)?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
Yes, if no probate case was ever filed, then there is nothing that would prevent the children from filing a petition to open a probate case to settle his estate. If there was no will, the the intestate laws of IL would control what happens to his estate.
Under the intestacy statutes, the spouse would inherit half the estate and the children the other half to split between them.
But there is no statute of limitation on filing a probate case to settle an estate. The only problem they would face is tracing back assets to the date of father's death and figuring out what was in his estate as any jointly owned assets would pass to mother outside probate. Only assets that he owned solely in his name would be included in his estate.