Dempsey v. Dempsey
Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District
795 N.E.2d 996 (2003)
Ralph Dempsey’s will gave subsequent life estates in property to his wife and his son, with the remainder “to the heirs of the body of my son, David Dempsey, share and share alike, and in fee simple.” When Ralph died, David had three children: David Kevin, Karen, and Ian Dempsey (defendant). Two died before their father, leaving only Ian still living. However, David Kevin had adopted two children, Jennifer and Kevin Dempsey (plaintiffs). Karen devised her estate to Ian. Therefore, Ian, Jennifer, and Kevin were David’s only surviving heirs. Jennifer and Kevin sued Ian for a declaration of rights under Ralph’s will. Ian claimed he was entitled to a two-thirds share because he had inherited his deceased sister Karen’s share. The trial court disagreed and ordered the property distributed per stirpes, one-half to Ian, and the other half to Kevin and Jennifer. Ian appealed, arguing that Ralph’s will created a fee tail estate that vested in David’s children when Ralph died, meaning Karen had a vested one-third interest that she devised to Ian.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lytton, J.)
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