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Adult children wonder if they have grounds for probate litigation

Adult children in Illinois facing problems regarding their parents’ final wills may want to consider points raised in a recent online article about a similar situation in another state. Siblings who recently mourned the loss of their father say they believe their stepmother is robbing them of their inheritance. Several legal issues may come into play as they try to resolve their problems and determine if they have grounds for probate litigation.

The gist of this particular disagreement is that the adult children say they have reason to believe their dad wanted to give them an inheritance from the thousands of dollars he had in his stock portfolio. They also say they were shocked to learn that he had signed everything over to his current wife in his final will. They claim with certitude that their father intended their stepmother to given them half of the money and that she is refusing to do so, saying she deserves it for all the time she cared for him in ill-health.

Many people might agree that it would be morally right for the stepmother to share the money with her husband’s children, but she is not necessarily obligated to do so. Adult children facing similar disagreements will want to establish certain facts before determining whether they have grounds for legal action. First, it’s critical that a person be of sound mind when signing a final will or any estate document. In this case, the children say their father suffered from dementia.

The timing of the signing of a will may also be important; for instance, if a prior will had already been signed, then a new will executed after signs of dementia were diagnosed, it would likely impact the situation. The bottom line is that no parent is obligated to leave an inheritance to his or her children. No stepparent is obligated to share an inheritance left to him or her in a final will. However, there may indeed be issues that prove adult children have grounds for probate litigation if their parent was under duress or not acting in sound mind when he or she signed a will. Illinois residents with questions regarding such matters may seek experienced legal guidance.

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