Father in law passed away on 11/9 at 6am after being in a medically induced coma since 11/6. My wife gets access to his important paperwork and his phone and everything on the 11/13 from father in law's fiancee. History on his phone shows that his phone was accessing his work's benefits, marital status, beneficiaries, etc. upon starting to make calls to life insurance company and such, accounts were starting to be closed out days prior to us calling. Father in law and fiancee were NOT married, and we suspect that she had accessed his work benefits site and was changing his information to take his son and daughter off of all of his life insurance policies and make herself sole beneficiary. Fiancee is not being cooperative with us when it comes to providing any information, and we believe she is still holding on to his will or power of attorney paperwork, but we're not sure how to proceed from here. He resided in Illinois, we currently reside in Arizona.
3 Answers from Attorneys
I cannot stress this enough, but your wife needs to speak with an Illinois probate attorney immediately. It sounds like the fiancee has committed fraud and is attempting to take the entire estate and cut out the children from inheriting anything at all. If true, this is illegal and needs to be stopped. Time is of the essence because once she gets the money it will be hard to retrieve.
I am sorry for your loss. I agree with Attorney Goldberg. You are in a situation where this may be worth pursuing while there is opportunity, but with each passing week the likelihood of a good outcome will diminish, as will the likelihood of an attorney taking it on. Find a well-recommended probate attorney regularly practicing in the county in which your father-in-law lived.
I agree completely with the two previous answers. You need to act quickly and retain an attorney in the location where your father-in-law lived. In a case we recently handled, it was a caregiver rather than a fiancee, but very similar facts. Because we were able to act quickly, we were able to recover most, but not all, of the assets that had already been transferred but more importantly were able to stop transfers of the bulk of the assets. If more time had passed, the results would have certainly been worse.