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Probate litigation: Sibling questions brother's actions

Many Illinois elders have several adult children in their families. It is not uncommon, however, for one of numerous siblings to be most active in helping an aging parent take care of his or her finances, medical issues or estate planning. With regard to executing a last will and testament, every state has its own laws about such matters, but all states require that an estate owner be of sound mind and not under duress when he or she signs an estate planning document. In another state, a person is questioning whether there are grounds for probate litigation, because several siblings believe a brother has not been forthright regarding their mother's will.

The siblings' mother passed away approximately four years ago. The siblings say they were aware of a last will and testament their mother had signed, and that her assets were to be divided equally among all her children. However, one of the woman's sons says she signed a new will before her death.

The son has since reportedly stated that his mother's new will left everything to him, and he has sold his mother's vehicle, two homes and many of her other belongings. The siblings are questioning his actions. For one, they say their mother suffered from dementia, and they also believe their brother may have manipulated their mother, if she did sign a new way before she died. Whether or not the siblings are able to file a petition in court regarding the situation depends on the statute of limitations in the state in question, as well as other factors.

Probate litigation can be highly stressful, especially when family members are pitted against each other. It is always best to have a good understanding of Illinois law before heading to court. It is also a good idea to know where to seek legal support when a particular obstacle arises that makes it difficult or impossible to achieve a solution under the circumstances.

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