Winning the lottery may be a whimsical fantasy for many across the world, but for one Midwestern man, it became a reality. Well, at least the winning part did. The man never made it to seeing those winnings in hand as he died just days before he was to receive the winnings.
While the man's death at first seemed to be of natural causes, a suspicious relative wanted a closer examination and authorities discovered that the real cause of death was by the poison cyanide. Now, the widow is engaged in an estate dispute with the man's siblings over control of his estate and the $425,000 in prize money. The estate is valued at more than $1.2 million in total between the prize money, real estate, dry-cleaning businesses, and other assets.
Under Illinois law, the estate would be divided between the widow and the man's 17-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. However, the man's brother and sister have expressed concern over how fairly the distribution outcome would be and have hired a probate attorney to assist in the dispute. They are not seeking money for themselves, but rather the daughter. The widow already apparently tried to cash the lottery winnings but the siblings won an order by a probate judge back in September to freeze the check.
The unfortunate events of this probate dispute only go to highlight the difficulties that dying intestate present to family left behind. A will, trust, or otherwise comprehensive estate plan would have clarified the man's desires for his wealth and how he preferred to have it distributed. Now it is left up to the courts to determine, with legal fees diminishing any returns by all parties involved.
Source: abc-7.com, "Documents show battle over lottery winner's estate," Jason Keyser, Jan. 9, 2013
- If you need more information or resources on the probate process here in Miami, please feel free to visit our website.