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My 97-year-old mother-in-law has sworn for years she does not have a Will and won't make one. She owns her home outright and her children just figured it would go to probate when she passes away. However we learned recently that she did make out a Will back in the 1950's after she was widowed, but she doesn't have a copy. We live in Cook County, Illinois.

Is there anyway of tracking this Will down or should we just wait til "the day" to see what happens? She is quite healthy for her age but having received this news we just want to be informed if possible, since her youngest son and I are her 'caretakers.' We know basically what the will states, so there are no surprises nor infighting. Just some guidance on next steps.

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Sorry, my answer got interrupted. The state then tries to locate the owner, but not very hard. Eventually the state may auction off the contents and hold the proceeds to return to the owner when a claim is made. The state treasurer's office usually has this responsibility. Check the state website and look for unclaimed property.
Then, think outside the "box".
Other places to look for a will are where someone might stash important papers, like inside a bible or other book, a special box of memorabilia or letters, or given to the executor named in the will. Good Luck.
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It may have been filed, but that is unlikely. Most people don't make a public record of their plans and assets in this way. How did you find out that a will was done over half a century ago? That might give you clues. Was a lawyer involved? Did she have someone help with legal matters when she was widowed? Would those people know? Does she have a safety deposit box? People often keep a will there. If she might have had one in the past and forgotten to pay the rent over the years it's possible that the bank had to open the box. They then turn the contents over to the state which is responsible for try
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Try the Cook County Clerk's office, it should have been filed there.
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