What happens if my mother inherited 1/8 of an estate but then passed away before it was legally in her possession?

Now it passes on to me, but I must first open an estate in her name. That gives creditors a chance to make a claim on anything they are owed. She was on medicaid for several years, so they will likely take the 1/8 of the estate I was hoping to get. My family that is getting the other 7/8 of the estate is pushing me to open the estate for my mom. I don’t see any reason I should make any moves. Should I make my family pay me to move on this, since I have no incentive to do anything? What if I do nothing? My family really wants to close the estate.

Asked on October 17, 2013 under Estate Planning, Illinois


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If your Mother passed away before the inheritance transferred to her then it is her estate that has a right to the funds.  And yes, you do have to open an estate for her in order to obtain possession and yes, it will be subject to the liens by creditors, medicaid being one of them (and probably the one with priority). No one can force you and they do not have to pay you to open the estate but they can request a public administrator to do so if you choose not to act.  Good luck.

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