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Yes, the matter should go through probate. As your relatives did not leave wills, their estates will go through "intestate" succession (see: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/intestate-succession-illinois.html
As you are dealing with multiple decedents, this will require multiple probate actions to be opened. This can get unnecessarily complicated - you will probably benefit from hiring counsel to help you simplify this matter and get you in and out of probate court quickly.
You can find local attorneys using the State Bar Association
, or private directories such as www.AVVO.com
; or www.Martindale.com
(I personally find www.AVVO.com to be the most user friendly).
If none of the other heirs are interested in the property, they may be willing to sign their interests in the property over to you (they can do this as part of the probate process and you can get ownership in that way).
While paying property taxes on the property is actually one of the keys to owning property by "adverse possession" (very few people actually fulfill this element in gaining property by this mechanism), it is still a difficult way to gain ownership, you must occupy the home openly and "adversely" (so that nobody else can occupy it, and without permission from anyone else with an ownership interest) for 20 years while paying the property taxes. Then, after 20 years, you must file what is called a "quiet title" action in civil court to get clear title to the property.
It is much more efficient to simply go through the probate process and get title to the property now.