What is an Affidavit of Heirship in Illinois probate law?

In an Illinois probate estate, one of the most important determinations made by the Probate Court is the heirship of the person who passed away.  The heirship of a deceased person is determined through a document called an “Affidavit of Heirship”.  This is a form that gives a detailed explanation of the heirs at law of the deceased person at the time of his/her death.  While most Affidavits of Heirship are easy to understand and are fairly straightforward, there are times when heirships can become very complicated, as can be seen in the following example:   

 

I, Peter ("Affiant"), being first duly sworn, on oath depose and state as follows: 

    

  1. The deceased, DOROTHY, died at Anytown, Illinois on January 1, 2015. 

 

  1. I am of legal age.  I reside at 123 Main Street, Anytown, Illinois.  I am the spouse of one of the decedent’s first cousins once removed. 

 

  1. The decedent was never married and never had any children.  No children were born to or adopted by the decedent.   

 

  1. The decedent was the daughter of HELEN and an unknown father, the decedent’s parents.  HELEN predeceased the decedent, and the status and whereabouts of the father are unknown.  HELEN also was married to a man named ROBERT, and they had one child, namely SUSAN.   

 

  1. The status and whereabouts of SUSAN are unknown.   

 

  1. The decedent’s maternal grandmother, MARY, predeceased the decedent.  MARY was married twice; once to HENRY, who predeceased the decedent, and they had two children; namely, HELEN, the decedent’s mother, and ANN, the decedent’s maternal aunt, who predeceased the decedent.  MARY was also married to BRENT, who predeceased the decedent and whose last name DOROTHY took as her own.  No other children were born to or adopted by MARY and HENRY, and no children were born to or adopted by MARY and BRENT. 

 

  1. The decedent’s maternal aunt, ANN, predeceased the decedent.  ANN was married but once to JAMES, who predeceased the decedent and had five children, namely, CATHERINE, MYRTLE, LORRAINE, JAMES, and MICHAEL, the decedent’s maternal first cousins.  No other children were born to or adopted by ANN and JAMES. 

 

  1. The decedent’s maternal first cousin, CATHERINE, predeceased the decedent and was married three times; once to THEODORE, who predeceased the decedent and they had two children, namely, THEODORE and AGNES, the decedent’s maternal first cousins once removed.  CATHERINE was also married to ARTHUR, who predeceased the decedent.  No children were born to or adopted by CATHERINE and ARTHUR.  CATHERINE was also married to FRANK, who predeceased the decedent.  No children were born to or adopted by CATHERINE and FRANK. 

 

  1. THEODORE predeceased the decedent, was never married and had no children.  No other children were born to or adopted by THEODORE. 

 

  1. AGNES survived the decedent and is married but once to PETER, who also survived the decedent.   

 

  1. The decedent’s maternal first cousin, MYRTLE, predeceased the decedent and was married but once to WILBERT, who predeceased the decedent.  MYRTLE and WILBERT had five children, namely, KENNETH, WAYNE, GARY, RONALD, and DENNIS, the decedent’s maternal first cousins once removed, all of whom survived the decedent.  No other children were born to or adopted by MYRTLE and WILBERT. 

 

  1. The decedent’s maternal first cousin, LORRAINE, predeceased the decedent and was married twice; once to EDWARD, who predeceased the decedent, and they had three children, namely, EDWARD, JOHN, and GREG, the decedent’s maternal first cousins once removed.  No other children were born to or adopted by LORRAINE and EDWARD.  LORRAINE was also married to ROSS, who predeceased the decedent.  No children were born to or adopted by LORRAINE and ROSS. 

 

  1. The decedent’s maternal first cousins once removed, EDWARD, JOHN, and GREG, are believed to have survived the decedent, but their whereabouts are unknown.   

 

  1. The decedent’s maternal first cousin, JAMES, predeceased the decedent and was married but once to BETTY, whose maiden name is unknown and is believed to have predeceased the decedent.  JAMES and BETTY had four children, namely, MATTHEW, JAMES, PATRICK, and DIANE, the decedent’s maternal first cousins once removed.  No other children were born to or adopted by JAMES and BETTY. 

 

  1. The decedent’s maternal first cousins once removed, MATTHEW, JAMES, PATRICK, and DIANE, are believed to have survived the decedent, but their whereabouts are unknown.  

 

  1. The decedent’s maternal first cousin, MICHAEL, is believed to have survived the decedent and was married but once to ROSE, whose maiden name is unknown and is believed to have survived the decedent.  MICHAEL and ROSE had two children, namely, TERRY and JAMES, the decedent’s maternal first cousins once removed.  No other children were born to or adopted by MICHAEL and ROSE.    

 

  1. The decedent’s maternal first cousins once removed, TERRY and JAMES, are believed to have survived the decedent, but their whereabouts are unknown.             

 

Based on the foregoing, decedent left surviving as her only heirs the following, all of whom survived the decedent, are of legal age, and are all mentally competent (or presumed mentally competent), her natural first cousin and first cousins once removed: 

 

SUSAN, a married person, adult, HALF-SISTER, whereabouts unknown; 

MICHAEL, a married person, adult, FIRST COUSIN; 

AGNES, a married person, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

KENNETH, a married person, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

WAYNE, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

GARY, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

RONALD, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

DENNIS, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

EDWARD, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

JOHN, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

GREG, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

MATTHEW, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

JAMES, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED;  

PATRICK, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED; 

DIANE, marital status unknown, adult, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED 

 

No other children were born to or adopted by the decedent.

 

                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

 

 

                                                                        Peter, Affiant 

 

Thus, if there are no immediate surviving family members of a deceased person (spouse, children, brothers, sisters, parents, etc.), the heirship will necessarily be more complicated. 

 

What happens if Illinois heirs can’t be located?

 

If heirs to an estate in Illinois can’t be located, and they receive an inheritance from the estate, then their portion of the estate escheats to the local county treasurer.  If the heirs are ever found at a later date (by an heir search company, for instance) or otherwise find out about their inheritance, they can then make a claim for their shares of the estate.  However, due to the widespread fraud associated with claims for inheritances in an estate from county treasurer’s offices, obtaining the distributions may sometimes be difficult.

 

If you have questions about an Illinois probate matter, including issues with heirship, give our office a call at (630) 898-4789 to set up a free initial consultation with an experienced Chicagoland area probate attorney.  You can also email us at office@kevinwilliamslaw.com if you would prefer to communicate with the attorney via email. 

 

We currently help families with probate matters in Kane, DuPage, Kendall, Will, and Cook County.  We will consider probate cases in other Chicago area counties as well.

 

 

The Law Office of Kevin Williams, 2295 Bannister Lane, Aurora, IL 60504, (630) 898-4789

The Law Office of

Kevin Williams

 

Serving DuPage, Cook, Kane, Kendall, & Will Counties

 

P: 630.898.4789

F: 630.658.0557

office@kevinwilliamslaw.com

 

Business Hours:

 

Monday - Thursday

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

 

Friday

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

Saturday & Sunday

Closed

Print Print | Sitemap Recommend this page Recommend this page
© The Law Office of Kevin Williams