PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options. Learn More
Open: Menu Lesser Lutrey Pasquesi & Howe, LLP
Call Now to Begin a Consultation
Open: Practice Areas

Heirs have been entangled in dispute since 1954

A situation regarding ownership of an 11-acre island has been ongoing for decades now. Illinois landowners planning their estates may want to take note of this case to help their heirs avoid similar problems in the future. A key factor in this particular situation appears to be the way the estate owner worded things (or failed to stipulate them) in her last will and testament.

The island in question is located in another state. Before she died, the woman who owned the island reportedly gave the land to a religious community so it could open a retreat center there. The problem is that her gesture was apparently not properly recorded in her will or a deed to the property. When the woman died, there were 36 people listed in her last will and testament with reversionary rights to the property. If an Illinois estate owner grants reversionary rights to someone, ownership of the property would revert to that person (or entity) if a prescribed event (such as using the property for other than what was specified) were to happen. 

The situation is further complicated by the fact that 33 of the heirs have relinquished their rights but three others have not. The three claimants who have not signed quitclaim deeds (to formally renounce their rights to the property) are scheduled to appear in a Connecticut court in the near future. The reverend, however, claims that all 36 heirs  already lost their reversionary rights in 1970 due to a claim of adverse possession and because the statute of limitations has expired. It remains to be seen if those allegations will be upheld in court. Complex situations like this are often easier to resolve if those involved rely on experienced legal representation in court.

Anyone in Illinois with questions regarding reversionary rights may want to reach out for legal support before executing an estate plan in order to seek clarification of any and all laws that may affect use of inherited or gifted property once the estate owner has died. Anyone listed as an heir or beneficiary in someone's will also benefits by consulting with an experienced estate planning and administration attorney, especially if he or she has legal concerns regarding an inheritance. As in the situation mentioned earlier, litigation is sometimes necessary to resolve disputes that arise after an estate owner's death.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

How Can I Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy


Lesser Lutrey Pasquesi & Howe, LLP
191 E. Deerpath Suite 300
Lake Forest, IL 60045

Phone: 847-295-8800
Fax: 847-295-8886
Lake Forest Law Office Map

Chicago Office
161 N. Clark Street
Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 847-295-8800
Fax: 312-523-2001
Chicago Law Office Map

  • Facebook
  • Linked In
  • Twitter