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What if someone tries to keep wills and trusts secret?

In Illinois and all other states, executors and trustees have fiduciary duties toward certain others. When someone has a fiduciary obligation, he or she must act on behalf of the estate owner in question in an honorable and transparent manner. This would, of course, include keeping all heirs and beneficiaries informed regarding wills and trusts or litigation pertinent to an inheritance.

Sadly, family discord often occurs if someone contests a will or if the person or people named as executors or trustees do not do their job in a forthright manner. That appears to be the case in a situation in another state where the mother of three sons recently sought advice because she believes her children are being denied their rightful inheritance. The situation involves her mother-in-law’s estate.  

It seems the decedent had executed a will that stated all remaining assets after satisfying her debts were to be equally split between her three children. A daughter was named as executor of the estate. The woman contends that, at some point, the daughter convinced both her brothers to relinquish their rights as heirs. Doing so reportedly transferred a portion of the inheritance to the woman’s three sons, after which, she claimed her sister-in-law then asked her to sign documents, relinquishing her sons’ rights as heirs.  

A testamentary trust was created that included the mother-in-law’s home. The woman said her sons lost out when the home was sold at auction without their knowledge and the sister-in-law, who is the trustee, refused to provide an accounting of the trust. It can be quite difficult to resolve problems regarding wills and trusts, which is why most Illinois residents facing such issues turn to experienced probate attorneys for support.