APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION
al., Respondents-Appellants, v.
Lucille C. Lane, Petitioner-Appellee)
518 N.E.2d 400, 164 Ill. App. 3d 959, 115 Ill. Dec. 875 1987.IL.1860
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Frank R. Petrone, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. McMORROW, P.J., and JIGANTI, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN
Following the death of Warren W. Degner, the guardian ad litem for Degner's disabled adult child applied for an award of support pursuant to section 15-2 of the Probate Act of 1975 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110 1/2, par. 15-2.) The executors challenged the applicability of the statutory support award on the ground that the decedent was not providing support for his adult child, Loretta, at the time of his death. The trial court ruled in favor of Loretta Degner and awarded her the statutory minimum of $12,000. On appeal, the executors contend that the scope of the statute is limited to dependent children who are in fact receiving financial support from the decedent at the time of death.
Warren Degner died testate on July 9, 1985. He was survived by eight children, all of whom except Loretta are residuary beneficiaries under the will. James Degner, the decedent's son, and his wife were appointed co-executors of the estate.
Loretta, then 41 years old, has been diagnosed as mentally retarded. She also suffers psychiatric and neurologic disorders. According to statements taken by investigators on behalf of the guardian ad litem, Loretta was known to be retarded by the time she was six or seven. She also suffered a severe head injury while in elementary school. Apparently she was mistreated by her parents, beaten and scorned, and at the age of 20, Loretta was thrown out of her parents' home.
Loretta has spent much of her life in institutions, dependent on public aid to pay for her care. She also receives childhood disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, based on her father's earnings. Such benefits are available for children who become disabled before they reach the age of 22. *fn1 In connection with the grant of these benefits, the Social Security Administration determined that Loretta was disabled prior to the age of 18.
The guardian ad litem applied to the probate court for the statutory child award and received the sum of $12,000 on Loretta's ...