In the 18 plus years we’ve run this website, we’ve helped about 400,000 people. The most rewarding thing that can happen when we help someone find an Illinois lawyer is that we greatly improve their life. Every now and then though we help someone and change the law
That happened recently on a case we referred to an Illinois probate attorney. The caller had a relative who was stealing from their parent. This is financial abuse. In this case, they did it by essentially trying to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Our case lead to the passage of a new law, 755 ILCS 5/2-6.2. In a nutshell, this law states that if you are criminally convicted of financial exploitation, abuse or neglect of an elderly person, you can not inherit anything from them even if that’s what their will says. It goes on to say that if you are sued in a civil court and found by a “preponderance of the evidence” to have financially exploited someone, you can’t inherit from them either.
This is a game changer. In the past, a will or trust was controlling. So if you were a terrible person who stole from or abused the elderly, if their will gave everything to you, you’d still inherit.
Now you can’t get away with it. The law in challenging a will or trust in Illinois has been greatly strengthened. Bad people won’t get away with bad things as easily as they used to. In our case, a neighbor reported the abuse and the person was charged with four felonies. They ended up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor. Under the old law they still would have inherited, but not anymore.
Of course it’s not enough just to say someone is abusing or exploiting an elderly person. You have to file criminal charges or sue them civilly in order to prove that they are. If you do and you win the case, they will be barred from inheriting.
If this does happen, their share of the proceeds will go to anyone else who is mentioned in the will or trust. If there is nobody else mentioned it will likely be distributed based on Illinois intestate law.
Will and trust challenges are some of our favorite cases to work on. We also know lawyers who take those cases on a contingency basis which means that they only get paid if they win.
If you would like to talk to an attorney who has had success with this new law, please call our office for a free consultation any time at 312-346-5320.