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appeal of order regarding Trust

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illinois--my attorney abandoned me at a crucial point in settlement of late father's Trust. Settlement agreement was unsigned and opposing counsel refused to honor it. I was unable to get new representation in time and an order has been entered, which dissolved the Trust and divided estate 6 ways, including grandchildren who, according to Trust were to inherit after all of my father's 3 children, the named benficiaries died, at which time the Trust was to automatically dissolve and remaining assets be divided equally among the grandchildren The crucial issue was whether or not Trust document allowed the grandchildren to inherit even though the Trust was being dissolved before the beneficiaries had died. I opposed since the difference to me was 1/6 of the estate, rather than 1/3.
Because I had no attorney, my siblings' petition was granted. I am now deciding whether to appeal. I have had no success so far in finding an attorney to represent on appeal. It would have to be on contingency. The amount I stand to lose is about $40,000. I will receive $30,000 since I have no children. The time to file an appeal runs out on May 16 so I am in emergency mode. I have the following questions:
1. I've been told I can file either an appeal or a petition to vacate order pro se. Which is appropriate in this case?
2. Can I file something without a lot of documentation to extend the appeal period so I may continue to seek representation?
3. Who can tell me what I need to file and where to get the forms?
4. What would be the grounds for an appeal in this case?
5. The opposing attorney has sent me notice that I should pick up my check for $30,000 and that I will be required at that time to sign a release that states I acknowledge that amount as my "full and final" share of the estate. Even if I decide not to appeal, I do not want to agree to that language. Must I? Can he withhold my money if I refuse to do so? I would be willing to acknowledge distribution or receipt of that amount, but I don't want to sign something that would make it difficult or impossible for me to prevail should there be any other avenue of recovery after the appeal period runs out. Do I have any choice?
6. If I do not pick up the check, what happens to it?

Thank you!



MAY 11, 2001


Are your father's 3 children, the named beneficiaries, going to be receiving a share of this distribution?

Are they all still alive?

What did your attorney decide to walk away from this case? It is an indication that your case is very weak.

There is a chance that if you don't accept the $30K that you could lose it if there is a provision in the trust that discusses what would happen if any amount remains unclaimed--it could possibly be distributed among other heirs. It is hard to advise you without having an attorney look at the exact trust document.

You have no legal grounds for an appeal and an attorney would never take a case like this on a contingency basis where there is 0% chance of winning.

You would be wise to sign the release and claim your $30,000 share of the trust distribution and consider the matter closed. If you feel a violation has occurred, you could file suit at a later date and the release won't really matter.


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