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Probate litigation: Things Illinois heirs should know

Every Illinois state must pass through a probate process when an estate owner dies. Most estates are uncontested. During probate, the assets of the estate owner are collected. Taxes and debts must be paid, and remaining property distributed among heirs and beneficiaries. If someone wishes to contest a will, he or she may take the proper legal steps for probate litigation.

Perhaps a son, daughter or other person closely related to a decedent believes he or she is entitled to a larger portion of an estate. This might be one reason a last will and testament would be contested. Another reason might be that the person filing the dispute believes the estate owner was under duress or not of sound mind when he or she signed the will in question.

Sadly, family disputes are often at the heart of such litigation. If siblings are arguing over who gets what or who is supposed to run the family business after a parent dies, the court may have to decide the issue. In many cases, there is a stepparent involved in a contested will situation. If a decedent’s children claim the stepparent is acting against their deceased parent’s wishes or is trying to undercut their inheritance, things can get messy in court.

Probate litigation can be complex and stressful. It pays to learn as much as possible about Illinois laws before heading to court. It is also less stressful if one allows an experienced estate law attorney to advocate on one’s behalf in court. An attorney can clarify the terms of a particular will or trust, and can determine a best course of action to protect a client’s rights and interests regarding an inheritance.