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What is the name of your state?
Indiana, but my question concerns Illinois, as that is where my father lived, and passed away.

my father passed away in early october after a short fight with cancer. i am the eldest of his biological children. we are all grown adults the youngest being 31.He was an only child, 61 years old, and his wife..my stepmother, persuaded my grandmother to move in with them in 1994, they further persuaded her sell her house and give them all the money to build a home for all of them to live in. I have no problem with that, but when she passed away in 1997, we discovered that the sizable inheritance that she promised to us was left entirely to them. My father told us that they did that so that they could invest the money, and that when he died, we children would be set for life. We trusted our dad, who was very smart and we thought was looking out for our best interest. being a family was more important and we just never spoke of such matters, but he brought it up on several occasions, always the same thing. "when i pass away, you kids will be wealthy". He owned a huge home in Ill and a even bigger home on the lake in Wisc, time shares, stock and bonds you name it, he was doing O.K. for himself. imagine our surprise when we finally get a look at the will by going to the courthouse and discover that he had drafted a will 3 years ago, and left to his wife, everything, the wording stated that we, his children would only inherit a share if she died within 30 days of his passing and further worded that she has an independnt will of her own with no contract to his. am i to assume that the legacy my father worked so hard to provide and promised to us, will become a massive inheritance to her children,(who were not my dads). She has been cold and manipulating to us as long as we can rmember, and hated the love that my dad had for us. she will not even allow us access to my grandmothers material items that my father had in his possesion. like family photo albums, and the only copy of my grandma and grandpas wedding picture. I can't believe that my dad was not a man of his word, but i also know he had no obligation to provide for us either so is there any thing i can do?..also the attorney involved in all this is her long time friend, so he too has been no help and has been rather rude in our dealing with him, should i contact an attorney in my area or am i just to assume that there are no grounds for any recovery, and to just leave it, and move on and contend with the intense grieving period that i am still trying to recover from



Don't get your hopes up since there is a will your father left which specifically states his wishes.

However, why are you letting "HER" attorney tell you what you can or can't do? The family should be hiring their own attorney (probate attorney) and having this person look into contesting the will.

As I said, it's a long shot, but the only one you have.


Senior Member
Relationships are the damndest things. Simply put, your dad lied to you.
Unless it was a huge estate you are not going to find a lawyer willing to fight the terms on a contingency fee basis. You will have to front the considerable costs yourself. Your dad was not senile and those were his wishes. You will lose. For whatever reasons, Wills and Trusts are payback time.
Try a lot of sugar and perhaps you will manage to obtain some of the mementos you desire.
Good luck.

Dandy Don

Senior Member
So sorry about your loss. I truly believe that your father did love you enough to want to provide for you children.

Do you have any way of knowing whether or not an attorney helped your father prepare his will, and if so, do you know who that attorney may have been?

Examine the will that you have and look at his signature--does it look genuine (if you could possibly compare it to his signature on other documents) or perhaps forged?

How many witnesses are there and are they people who would normally have been his friends or relatives, or are they people that were mostly the wife's friends?

The advice you received to visit a probate attorney and have them review it to see whether you have grounds for contesting is most excellent advice.

I somehow get the feeling that this evil stepmother may have sweet-talked or persuaded or even coerced your father into signing a will that perhaps she had drawn up by her attorney friend. The suspicious wording "children would only inherit a share if she died within 30 days of his passing" (this is something that she knew probably would not happen--and it is also untrue, and perhaps she knew it was not true, hoping you all would foolishly believe it) and that "she has an independent will of her own with no connection to his" (almost everyone knows that a will only applies to the decedent's estate and of course would have no connection to anyone else's)--this language sounds like something the stepmother came up with to cover her tracks, not realizing how somewhat stupid it sounds.

It may be expensive in upfront legal fees for you to contest, so don't do it unless you have found out from your probate attorney whether you have a strong case for winning if you decide to contest.

DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA ([email protected])

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