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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55700
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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My Dad died June 23rd. I am his only daughter. His wife died

Customer Question

My Dad died June 23rd. I am his only daughter. His wife died in 2010. He has two wheels one was made before his wife died and named her as executor. The other one is an unsigned will. His dead wife's granddaughter was raised by him. She is refusing to share either of the wills. She is not adopted by him she does not share his name. Do I have any recourse?
JA: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: He lived in Springfield Missouri I live in Bloomington Illinois.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I have left on Greene County's website and have found no filing
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I am his closest living relative besides his sister and step brother. I just want to know if I should wait and be patient and see what this girl does or if I should be more proactive
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

Hi! My name is Richard & I will be helping you today! It will take me a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

Yes, you have have recourse. The key is whether or not your father had a will. If he did, which seems to be the case...only the signed will has any legal validity, then the terms of the will control his probate estate. If he did not, then he will be deemed to have died intestate and the Illinois intestate succession laws will apply. If his wife's granddaughter is in possession of the will, she needs to file the will with the probate court in the county in which he resided at his death, usually within 30 days of the date of death. Once it is filed with the court, it becomes public record and you can obtain a copy from the probate records. The will should name an executor who will then need to be officially appointed by the probate court as executor which will then give that person official authorization to administer the estate. Until that time, no one has any authority to do anything with your his probate assets. Your father's estate and his assets are not your dad's wife's granddaughter's personal piggy bank. If she doesn't produce the will and cause it to be filed within 30 days of the date of your father's death, you can file your own petition with the court asking the court that he be deemed to have died intestate and that the state's intestate succession rules govern his probate estate. That will force her either produce a will or live with the Illinois intestate succession laws. Under the Illinois intestate succession laws, when there is no surviving spouse and you are the only child, you would be entitled to his entire probate estate.

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Customer: replied 2 months ago.
It has been 30 days today. Should I give her a heads up or proceed without her knowledge?Btw, Does Illinois law prevail if my Dad resided in Missouri?
Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

Thanks for following up. Yes, I would first give her written notice of the information I provided. I apologize I mixed up the two states....Missouri law would apply, but it's the same as Illinois law on this issue. :)

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Cool. Would written mean via text?
Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

Yes...a text would be fine. Just save it so you have proof you sent it. :)

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
This young lady is now telling me that her grandma who is dead was the executor and hence she has now petitioning to be the executor. I asked who is the executor now and do I have to do anything because I'm next of kin? She said in Missouri children don't have any responsibilities. So I said responsibility? She replied the only time the next of Ken matters is if it's a spouse.
Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

This is absolutely false. The will controls and if there is no will, the intestate succession laws apply. Because she has no blood relation to your father, she has no legal right to inherit anything under the intestate succession laws or to be an executor if there is no will.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
We still have not received a death certificate and my Dad died on June 23rd. His step grandaugher who has no relation beyond marriage has access to his bank accounts. I finally have copies of his wills. One is signed and the other is not. Said "granddaughter" has informed me she is petitioning to be executor. Might I send you the wills so you could tell me what to do next?
Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

Good morning. The signed will is going to be the only will that is valid; an unsigned will is not valid. I'll be happy to review the signed will. I can do that for you through the Premium Services option offered by JustAnswer. If that would be helpful, let me know and I'll extend that offer and you can then decide whether or not to accept. Fair enough?