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Inheritance Disputes

Illinois Inheritance and Probate Dispute Attorneys

Probate courts in Illinois regularly deal with disputes over inheritances.   These disputes often involve family members (or others) fighting over a will, an estate, a trust, or assets.  There is legislation that protects the interests of the beneficiaries.  The following are just a few:

A trustee is only allowed to charge reasonable fees for his services. Also, any expenses made in administration of the trust must be proper.

Typically, a trustee must give the beneficiaries an account of the income and disbursements of the trust at least once a year (or more regularly if the trust provides).  Also, once the trust terminates, the trustee typically should give beneficiaries a final account of the income, disbursements and inventory.

A trustee has to invest prudently.  The following are some examples where one may allege that a trustee does not act prudently:

1.  Fails to diversify the investments of the trust.

2.  Fails to review trust assets within a reasonable time of accepting the trusteeship. Review of trust assets may include determining whether to retain or dispose of the original investments.

3.  Does not consider the interests of all the beneficiaries.  This may include situations where the trustee fails to consider future interests.

A trustee has to act solely for the interest of the beneficiary.  This means that the trustee not only has to refrain from self-dealing but also cannot act in the interest certain third parties.  The following are some acts of which the trustee may be prohibited from carrying out:

1.  Use of trust property or funds (whether it be for his own benefit or for the interest of a third party). For example, a trustee may be unable to use trust money in his or her business or lend trust money to him or herself.A trustee may be liable if he or she commingles funds.

2.  Obtains a benefit out of the administration of the trust (except for reasonable compensation for services).  For example, a trustee may not be able to accept any gift, bonus or commission for an act if it was related to his administration of the trust.

3. Purchases trust property when he is the seller.  If may also be problematic if the trustee sell the trust property to a third person just so he could then subsequently buy the property from that third person.

Even if the trust document allows for some of the general prohibitions, a trustee can still be liable if he acts dishonestly, in bad faith or fails to fully disclose all the facts to the beneficiary.

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