What are my rights if my deceased uncle has no spouse or no biological children and I, the niece, is his closest next of kin? 4 Answers as of February 14, 2017

I had a close relationship with my uncle (dad's brother). He has a home worth over $100,000.00, a boat, pickup truck and two cars. He had a girlfriend. He’s been dealing with off and on for 20 years. Apparently, she was at his home at the time of his death and unfortunately I was not able to get any of his documents that were in his home. As a technical engineer for a large company for 32 years, I didn't see him leaving his financial business in order. One of the girlfriend’s daughter stated to me (also recorded). There was a will that had my name and another uncle that is now too deceased. Last week, there was a will filed but not notarized by girlfriend’s daughter and my name was not on it.

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Law Office of T. Phillip Boggess | T. Phillip Boggess
You could use that information to try and contest the will. If the will is found to be invalid, then everything may go intestate. If your uncle had not spouse or kids parents are dead siblings are dead then it would go to the nieces and nephews (kids of his siblings).
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 2/14/2017
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
If the Will filed by the girlfriend is valid then it will control the distribution of your uncle's estate. A Will does not require a notary public acknowledgment but it does require witnesses. The girlfriend will have to prove up the Will and you can challenge the Will if you think it was not properly witnessed or it there was some other problem, such as coercion. You should meet with an attorney and discovery your options and the procedures that must be followed. It may be in your interest to open a probate and deal with the Will head on. If that Will is not valid, and no other Will turns up, then the statute on descent and distribution will determine the distribution of your uncle's assets. If your uncle had no spouse or children then the statute looks to the parents and siblings of the decedent. If your uncle's parents predeceased him then his siblings share in his estate. If the siblings predeceased him then the children of the siblings divide the share that would have gone to the siblings. If your father was your uncle's only sibling then your father's descendant's, you and brother and sisters, if any, will share the estate. If your uncle had other siblings, then the descendants of those siblings will also receive a portion of the estate. You should see a probate attorney to review the entire situation and determine your best course of action.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 2/14/2017
Shimberg and Crohn, P.C. | Jonathan Shimberg
A will does not need to be notarized to be valid. It requires 2 witnesses over 18 years of age. You should discuss these issues with a probate atty as they tend to be complicated.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 2/14/2017
Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
If a will was filed and if it's admitted to probate then it will likely stand unless it's successfully challenged. You really need to hire a probate attorney to dig into the situation.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 2/14/2017
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