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  1. #1
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    Default Estate Planning in Event of a Death

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Illinois

    I hope I am posting in the relevant forum. This will be convoluted so I will try to explain the best I can. There was a farm owned by my grandfather and his brother. Originally when my grandfather passed, half of the farm was to go to his 7 kids and the other half to his brother (who was never married). When his brother died, his half was going to go to his nieces and nephews. My grandfather has passed, but his brother got married. My questions are: Is there any way to tell if he has changed his will? Is there any way to tell if he has put his wife or her child on the deed? I would like to be able to purchase this farm from everyone else involved (for a fair price), which would be easier with my aunts and uncles, but harder with anyone else involved. Long story short, I can not ask my grand uncle or his wife. They are complete liars and it would do no good. Is there anything I can do before his passing to better position myself to buy the farm with or without a lawyer?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Estate Planning in Event of a Death

    Quote Quoting patm95
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    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Illinois
    My questions are: Is there any way to tell if he has changed his will?
    Your post is a bit confusing. If I have the facts right, your grandfather (GF) died before his brother (B). GF's share of the property (which I assume he owned half) then was split with half going to B and the other half split among his kids. That would leave B owning 75% of the property and the seven kids of GF splitting the remaining 25%.

    Is B still alive? You mention him dying, but then also say that you cannot ask (or his wife) about this and ask what you can do about this before he dies, which would suggest he's still living. Did you mean to say "When his brother dies...." rather than "When his brother died..."?


    Quote Quoting patm95
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    Is there any way to tell if he has put his wife or her child on the deed?
    Deeds are public record. Contact the office where deeds are recorded for the county in which the property is located to see about finding the current deed for the property. Or get a title search company to do it for you.

    Quote Quoting patm95
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    I would like to be able to purchase this farm from everyone else involved (for a fair price), which would be easier with my aunts and uncles, but harder with anyone else involved. Long story short, I can not ask my grand uncle or his wife. They are complete liars and it would do no good. Is there anything I can do before his passing to better position myself to buy the farm with or without a lawyer?
    If you want to buy it after B dies then you'll need to make an offer to B's estate for B's share of it (or to whomever inherits it from B's estate), and then make offers to all the kids (or their beneficiaries/assigns) who now hold the other 25% of the property. It's completely up to them whether they want to sell to you. Either you make an offer they are willing to accept or not. There isn't any legal action you can take to compel them to sell you their interests.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Estate Planning in Event of a Death

    Quote Quoting patm95
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    Originally when my grandfather passed, half of the farm was to go to his 7 kids and the other half to his brother (who was never married).
    This begs several questions:

    1. Did your GF and his brother own the property as joint tenants or tenants in common (or in some other way)?
    2. I assume you're saying that your GF's brother would simply keep the half interest that he already had and that your GF's half interest would be divided between his even children. Correct? Note that, in this regard, my interpretation of what you write is slightly different than "Tax Counsel's" interpretation.
    3. Was this supposed to happen because that's what your GF's will said or because the intestate succession laws?
    4. By writing that this is what was "originally" supposed to happen, it implies that this did not actually happen. Was that your intent?


    Quote Quoting patm95
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    When his brother died, his half was going to go to his nieces and nephews.
    Why do you believe this to be the case? Are any of your GF's brother's nieces and nephews (including either your father or your mother) still alive?


    Quote Quoting patm95
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    My grandfather has passed, but his brother got married.
    Again, this begs several questions:

    5. When did your GF die?
    6. Was your GF's estate probated? If so, is probate still going on or, if not, when did it conclude? If it was not probated, why was that not done?
    7. Was your GF married at the time of his death?
    8. Is your GF's brother still alive?
    9. Is your parent who was the child of your GF still alive?

    I was going to ask you how the property is currently titled, but your post suggests that you don't know that.


    Quote Quoting patm95
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    Is there any way to tell if he has changed his will?
    Other than inquiring of him, no.


    Quote Quoting patm95
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    Is there any way to tell if he has put his wife or her child on the deed?
    One does not "put [people] on [a] deed." He may have executed a deed that transfers some or all of his interest in the property to his wife and/or his stepchild, and that's something that could be ascertained by doing a title search for the property.


    Quote Quoting patm95
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    I would like to be able to purchase this farm from everyone else involved (for a fair price), which would be easier with my aunts and uncles, but harder with anyone else involved. Long story short, I can not ask my grand uncle or his wife. They are complete liars and it would do no good. Is there anything I can do before his passing to better position myself to buy the farm with or without a lawyer?
    If you want to buy the property, you can order a title report that will tell you exactly who owns it. You can then approach those people with an offer.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Estate Planning in Event of a Death

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    Your post is a bit confusing. If I have the facts right, your grandfather (GF) died before his brother (B). GF's share of the property (which I assume he owned half) then was split with half going to B and the other half split among his kids. That would leave B owning 75% of the property and the seven kids of GF splitting the remaining 25%.

    Is B still alive? You mention him dying, but then also say that you cannot ask (or his wife) about this and ask what you can do about this before he dies, which would suggest he's still living. Did you mean to say "When his brother dies...." rather than "When his brother died..."?




    Deeds are public record. Contact the office where deeds are recorded for the county in which the property is located to see about finding the current deed for the property. Or get a title search company to do it for you.



    If you want to buy it after B dies then you'll need to make an offer to B's estate for B's share of it (or to whomever inherits it from B's estate), and then make offers to all the kids (or their beneficiaries/assigns) who now hold the other 25% of the property. It's completely up to them whether they want to sell to you. Either you make an offer they are willing to accept or not. There isn't any legal action you can take to compel them to sell you their interests.
    Thank you for this reply. My GF owned it all. Therfore 50% went to his brother and 50% to the seven kids. B is still alive. That was a typo on my part. Thank you for all this information. Very valuable. To be clear, I wasn't wanting to legally compel them to sell. I just was unsure how to find out who owned it and didn't know if I would need a lawyer to sort it all out.

    I have a couple of follow up questions. Could I possibly just buy B 50% or does it all have to be purchased at once? Another question.....I've been told that if 1 person wants to sell it, it could be forced to be put up to auction for anyone to buy. This is what I ultimately want to avoid. Is this true at all?

    Thank you!

    I will answer your questions in Red

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    This begs several questions:

    1. Did your GF and his brother own the property as joint tenants or tenants in common (or in some other way)? Good question. As far as I know my grandfather owned it 100% until he died. It was his will that shifted ownership
    2. I assume you're saying that your GF's brother would simply keep the half interest that he already had and that your GF's half interest would be divided between his even children. Correct? CorrectNote that, in this regard, my interpretation of what you write is slightly different than "Tax Counsel's" interpretation.
    3. Was this supposed to happen because that's what your GF's will said or because the intestate succession laws? GF owned 100% until death because of the will
    4. By writing that this is what was "originally" supposed to happen, it implies that this did not actually happen. Was that your intent? What I ment to say is that when GF died half of of the farm was going to B and the other half to his children, then when B dies the children get the rest of it. If this will happen remains to be seen. IDK if B changed his will since he got married. I assume that B could will it to his wife, stepdaughter, or anyone he wished? I would like to know if his will has changed to better prepare of a purchase when he dies.




    Why do you believe this to be the case? Are any of your GF's brother's nieces and nephews (including either your father or your mother) still alive? They are all still alive. I am more concerned of what his wife or stepdaughter would try to do with the farm. Could they try to sell it to someone else without us knowing or giving us a chance to buy them out?




    Again, this begs several questions:

    5. When did your GF die? 15+ years ago
    6. Was your GF's estate probated? If so, is probate still going on or, if not, when did it conclude? If it was not probated, why was that not done? I am not sure but I highly doubt it. My GF didn't really own much besides the farm and the equipment was largely shared between him and B
    7. Was your GF married at the time of his death? He was. I was told my GM had "lifetime interest" in the farm which I concluded ment she could live there and share some of the meager profits
    8. Is your GF's brother still alive? He is, although he is in his 80s and not in the best of health
    9. Is your parent who was the child of your GF still alive? He is

    I was going to ask you how the property is currently titled, but your post suggests that you don't know that. right I have no idea and that is part of my problem. It was important to my GF that the farm stay in the family and that is what I am trying to achieve. I am the only one in the family that has both the desire and means to make it happen.




    Other than inquiring of him, no.




    One does not "put [people] on [a] deed." He may have executed a deed that transfers some or all of his interest in the property to his wife and/or his stepchild, and that's something that could be ascertained by doing a title search for the property. That is good information. I had no idea.




    If you want to buy the property, you can order a title report that will tell you exactly who owns it. Thank you. I had no idea that was even a thing. There are companies that do this?You can then approach those people with an offer.


    thank you for this very detailed post!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Estate Planning in Event of a Death

    Quote Quoting patm95
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    I just was unsure how to find out who owned it and didn't know if I would need a lawyer to sort it all out.
    For that, as pg1067 pointed out, you'd do a title search to determine who the present owners are and if there are any clouds or problems with the title. A title search company is the place to contact for that. They'll provide you with a title report that tells you everything that was found concerning the state of the title to the property in a title search report.

    Quote Quoting patm95
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    Could I possibly just buy B 50% or does it all have to be purchased at once?
    Sure, you can buy B's 50% from him if he's willing to sell it to you. But make sure you want to be part owner with all the others who own interests in the property before making that offer. If there's a dispute later on regarding what to do with the property, that can become a real hassle to deal with.

    Quote Quoting patm95
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    Another question.....I've been told that if 1 person wants to sell it, it could be forced to be put up to auction for anyone to buy. This is what I ultimately want to avoid. Is this true at all?
    If one owner wants to sell and the other does not, the one wanting to sell it can go to court for a partition of the property. In a partition action, the property will be split between the owners if it is possible to do that. For example, suppose Amy and Becky each own 50% interests in Blackacre. Amy wants to sell but Becky doesn't. If Blackacre is 100 acres of unimproved land the court would typically just split the land so that Amy and Becky each get 50 acres. Then Amy is free to sell her 50 acres and Becky can keep hers. If it is not possible to do that then court will order the sale of the property, which may be done at auction, with the proceeds being split between them. Partition suits can get costly for both sides, and then if the property is sold by the court, the price that is realized from the sale is usually significantly less than a regular broker sale of the property. So it's generally a last resort option.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Estate Planning in Event of a Death

    As you've clarified the facts, I think the story is very different. Here's what it sounds like:

    Your GF owned a farm. He either owned the whole thing or owned it jointly with his wife. Even if his name was the only one on title, his wife likely had some sort of marital interest. Your GF died with a will that left half of your GF's interest to his brother and the other half to his seven children. You are not clear whether the estate was ever probated and don't know how the property is presently titled.

    There are a LOT of loose ends and potential issues here. You absolutely will need a title report to figure out who owns the property. It's possible that, if your GF's estate was never probated, title is still in his name. Getting a title report is the starting place, and hiring a real estate attorney to assist from the outset would be the best way to try and unravel all of this.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Estate Planning in Event of a Death

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    As you've clarified the facts, I think the story is very different. Here's what it sounds like:

    Your GF owned a farm. He either owned the whole thing or owned it jointly with his wife. Even if his name was the only one on title, his wife likely had some sort of marital interest. Your GF died with a will that left half of your GF's interest to his brother and the other half to his seven children. You are not clear whether the estate was ever probated and don't know how the property is presently titled.

    There are a LOT of loose ends and potential issues here. You absolutely will need a title report to figure out who owns the property. It's possible that, if your GF's estate was never probated, title is still in his name. Getting a title report is the starting place, and hiring a real estate attorney to assist from the outset would be the best way to try and unravel all of this.
    You are absolutely right. I did find out some more information today while at my parents. When my GM died, there was a "Quitclaim Deed" that transferred (half) ownership to the 7 children. It mentions nothing about B. This Quitclaim explicitly states that my GFs will was filed without probate and the Quitclaim was apparently filed when my GM died. I am not sure what a Quitclaim is yet.

    I do agree that it seems that a real estate attorney will be a good idea.

    My father has a friend from Church that is a local attorney that we would like to use, but the caveat is that this attorney wrote B's will. Will we be able to hire him? Or is this a prohibitive conflict of interest?

    Thanks to everyone for all of this help. It is starting to make more sense now.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Estate Planning in Event of a Death

    Quote Quoting patm95
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    You are absolutely right. I did find out some more information today while at my parents. When my GM died, there was a "Quitclaim Deed" that transferred (half) ownership to the 7 children. It mentions nothing about B. This Quitclaim explicitly states that my GFs will was filed without probate and the Quitclaim was apparently filed when my GM died. I am not sure what a Quitclaim is yet.

    I do agree that it seems that a real estate attorney will be a good idea.

    My father has a friend from Church that is a local attorney that we would like to use, but the caveat is that this attorney wrote B's will. Will we be able to hire him? Or is this a prohibitive conflict of interest?

    Thanks to everyone for all of this help. It is starting to make more sense now.
    You would have to ask the attorney if he would consider it a conflict of interest. A quitclaim is a type of deed transferring interest in the property from one person(s) to another person(s). I suspect that your grandfather's brother owned his half all along. He likely got it in your great grandfather's will. That would likely be why he isn't mentioned as far as the quitclaim is concerned.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Estate Planning in Event of a Death

    Quote Quoting patm95
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    My father has a friend from Church that is a local attorney that we would like to use, but the caveat is that this attorney wrote B's will. Will we be able to hire him? Or is this a prohibitive conflict of interest?
    This would not be prohibited by the laws on conflicts of interest, so it would be entirely up to the lawyer whether he would be willing to undertake the representation.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Estate Planning in Event of a Death

    Thank you to all for your help. I had no idea where to start to get this going. You all got me pointed in the right direction. Thank you.

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