Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Probate Request for Ancillary Proceeding

Chung I. Huang had a California will and owned real estate in DuPage County, Ill., that was worth more than a $1 million.  When he died, his daughter, I-Chih Amy Huang, petitioned for probate in DuPage County. The judge there instructed her to start first in California and then ask for “ancillary proceedings” in Illinois.

I-Chih Amy Huang appealed and the Illinois Appellate Court reversed because the California will qualified for probate in DuPage County.

After first denying the petition for probate in DuPage County, on appeal Huang asserted that the will met all statutory requirements for admission to probate and that the circuit court was therefore required to do so and erred in denying her petition. Section 5-1 of the Illinois Probate Act provides that probate, if the decedent had no known residents in Illinois, 5-1 “in the county where the greater part of his or her real estate is located at the time of his or her death.” Section 7-1 of the Act allows foreign wills to be admitted to probate in Illinois where either the will has already been admitted to probate outside the state or where “the will was executed outside of this state and in accordance with the law of this state.”

“In accordance with the law of this state” requires two attesting witnesses, attested in the testator’s presence, and the witnesses to believe the testator “was of sound mind and memory.” The appellate court agreed, noting that the decedent’s real estate valued at over $1 million was in DuPage County, and that the Act permits jurisdiction where the decedent owned property in Illinois at the time of death. This provides jurisdiction and indicates that the venue chosen by Huang was correct.

The appellate court noted that the will, though executed in California, was in compliance with all the requirements of Section 6-4 of the Illinois Probate Act. Because it met the requirements of admission, Section 7-1 specifically permits the will to be executed in Illinois without requiring that it had been already admitted to probate in another state. Because the circuit court had no discretion in doing so with a will that met the requirements, the court erred in denying Huang’s petition.

Accordingly, the appellate court reversed the decision of the circuit court and sent the case back with directions.

In re Estate of Johnny Huang a/k/a/ Chung I. Huang, 2022 IL App (2d) 210269.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois civil litigation matters, Illinois probate matters including guardianships, commercial litigation, probate and estate litigation, contract disputes, and Illinois appeals for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 45 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Schaumburg, South Barrington, Wheeling, Vernon Hills, Lake Forest, Niles, Skokie, LaGrange, Oak Forest, Country Club Hills, Chicago Heights, Chicago (Greater Grand Crossing, Woodlawn, Kenwood, Fuller Park, Douglas, McKinley Park, Chinatown, South Shore, Hegewisch, Beverly, West Pullman, Ashburn, West Lawn, Gage Park, Dunning, Albany Park, Edgewater Beach, Arcadia Terrace, Hollywood Park, Budlong Woods, Ravenswood), Park Ridge, Rosemont and Franklin Park, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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