From a blog fan who pointed out an interesting legal concept that is alive and in force in Illinois
The Summary from the Reporter of Decisions:
In an action arising from a dispute over the trust established by
petitioner’s father during his lifetime, the trial court properly dismissed
the surviving son’s petition challenging an amendment naming
respondent as the trustee on the ground that under the election doctrine,
the son’s acceptance of benefits under the trust prohibited him from
contesting the validity of the trust, notwithstanding the son’s argument
that the doctrine applied only to wills, since it applies equally to wills and
trusts, his taking of personal property belonging to the trust as a partial
distribution of his interest in the trust ratified and confirmed the trust in
its entirety and precluded him from challenging the operation of the
document, regardless of his claims that the property taken was “nominal”
and that he lacked full knowledge of the circumstances when he took the
Upshot: if you’re thinking of contesting a will or trust, do NOT accept anything under that will or trust before you get your motion to oppose on file.
But, you should also be aware that in Illinois that “drop dead” clauses in wills and trusts are valid also. These are clauses whereby if you contest the will or trust you take nothing or just a small percent of the estate.
I have drafted “drop dead” clauses for quite a few parents out there who had squabbling siblings.