A land dispute after grandmothers death without a will.

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A land dispute after grandmothers death without a will.

Grandma passed in ’97 without a will. The county assessor’s office lists her as still the owner and up til a couple months ago my father’s name was “in care of”. Now my aunt has replaced his name with hers and claimes inheritance. In Illinois, no will the land should be split 50/50. Can my father place a lien on the land and have her sign off because he’s maintained the land (mowing, land repairs, etc) for the past 30 yrs and paid the taxes for the past 10 yrs. Would this be a good option? My aunt never took the estate through probate.

Asked on June 2, 2009 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your father needs to see a good real estate lawyer, right away.  There are a few interesting possibilities here, and something needs to be done immediately, to respond to what your aunt has done. Finding the best option depends on having all of the facts of the case (and I'm sure there are quite a few more) reviewed by competent counsel.  One place you can find qualified attorneys in your area is our website, http://attorneypages.com

I'm not an Illinois attorney.  But my research suggests that your father's payment of the taxes for 10 years might prove to be highly significant -- and a highly unpleasant surprise for your aunt, because she might have waited too long to assert her claim.


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