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When conditions are placed on heirs and beneficiaries

Illinois residents and others often execute thorough estate plans before they die. For those of high-net worth value, it is always a good idea as it allows estate owners to control what happens to their assets after they pass away. Some estate owners place conditions on money they wish to leave for heirs and beneficiaries. In fact, a woman in another state recently sought advice because she feels that her grandmother's inheritance conditions were unfair.

The woman is hoping she has legal recourse to override a condition her wealthy grandmother placed on hers and her sisters' portions of inheritance. Her grandmother left instructions for her seven figure inheritance to be equally divided among her three granddaughters, providing that they marry spouses who practice the same religion as her. In two of the sisters' cases, the condition poses no problem because their husbands happen to share the grandmother's faith.

One of the sisters, however, is married to a man who practices a different religion. She believes her grandmother's stipulation was unfair and is hoping to be able to take legal action to protect her portion of the inheritance from which, according to her grandmother's written conditions, she is now excluded. The woman sought advice from an online legal columnist who suggested that she meet with an experienced estate planning attorney in her area to discuss the case.

Illinois heirs and beneficiaries, as well as those in other states, are sometimes able to challenge a will. For instance, if an heir can show evidence that his or her now-deceased loved one was not of sound mind when the estate documents were signed, it may be grounds for a challenge. The court decides such issues on a case-by-case basis, according to applicable laws.

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