APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, THIRD DISTRICT
Kieras, Independent Adm'r, w/w/a of the Estate of
John A. Kieras, Deceased, Petitioner-Appellant, v.
Ernest Kieras, Respondent-Appellee)
521 N.E.2d 263, 167 Ill. App. 3d 275, 118 Ill. Dec. 195 1988.IL.396
Appeal from the Circuit Court of La Salle County; the Hon. Louis J. Perona, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN, P.J., and SPITZ, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LUND
Petitioner Stanley Kieras, as administrator with will annexed of the estate of John Kieras, deceased, filed a petition for a citation to discover assets against respondent Ernest Kieras, decedent's son, pursuant to section 16-1 of the Probate Act of 1975 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110 1/2, par. 16-1). The circuit court of La Salle County granted the petition and issued the citation. The matter was heard in March and April 1987. The court subsequently ordered Ernest to pay $2,500 to the estate, and declared $47,006.58 in assets to be the property of Ernest. Stanley appeals on behalf of the estate.
Prior to 1977, the Kieras family consisted of John and Mary Kieras, and their four adult sons, Stanley, Raymond, Ernest, and Edward, all of whom were married. Stanley, Raymond, and Ernest, along with their families, lived near their father. Edward lived in Texas.
On March 23, 1977, Mary Kieras died. Shortly after her death, at a family gathering in John's home, it was decided that Stanley's name would be added to his father's savings account. Shortly before his wife's death, John executed a will which divided his estate equally among the three sons living in Illinois, and Stanley was named as executor.
On February 19, 1981, John Kieras went with his son Ernest to J. Paul Aplington, an attorney with whom John had previously sought legal help. Aplington had prepared a new will, which John executed that day. The new will named Ernest as executor, but divided John's estate evenly among his four sons. That same day, John and Ernest went to the La Salle State Bank where John transferred his bank account into a new account in his name alone, removing Stanley's name from the savings account. The balance of the account on February 19, 1981, was $17,238.23. John Kieras also executed a bank authorization card allowing Ernest to "sign or endorse checks, notes, drafts, etc., for deposit to my account, or otherwise, and to issue and sign checks or receipts against" John's savings account.
On July 13, 1983, Ernest took John to attorney Thomas R. Clydesdale, who was Ernest's attorney. John had never previously transacted any business with Clydesdale. Clydesdale prepared a deed whereby John conveyed his homestead real estate to Ernest, reserving a life estate to himself. Shortly after John's death, Ernest sold the real estate for a net sale price of $31,784.68.
On July 18, 1983, John Kieras, again in Ernest's company, withdrew, in cash, the balance of his savings account at the La Salle State Bank. The amount was $18,361.37. Later that same day, John and Ernest went to the Colonial Trust and Savings Bank in Peru, and John opened a new savings account in the joint names of Ernest Kieras and John Kieras. Two thousand five hundred dollars were put into this account. John handed $15,800 to Ernest, and Ernest deposited the money at the Colonial Trust and Savings Bank in an account in his own name. John Kieras took the remaining $61.37 home with him.
In May 1984, John Kieras was hospitalized. He remained hospitalized for three weeks, after which he was transferred to a nursing home. On May 29, 1984, he signed a power of attorney giving Ernest control of his affairs. Attorney Clydesdale prepared the document.
John Kieras died on August 24, 1984. His only assets were the household furnishings, certain cash John kept in a "tin box," and certain life insurance policies payable to Ernest. Ernest used the joint account of $2,500 plus the proceeds from the two insurance policies to pay the expenses of John's funeral. Ernest took the household furnishings and the tin box. Ernest sold some of the furniture. He also kept some of the furniture and gave some to his children.
Ernest declined to act as executor of his father's estate even though named by the will as executor. The other three sons petitioned for the appointment of Stanley as administrator with will annexed, and the petition was granted on December 5, 1984. On July 17, 1985, Stanley filed a petition for citation to discover assets against Ernest, and the court granted the petition that same day. A citation was issued directing Ernest to appear and answer questions regarding the assets in his possession formerly belonging to his father, and the court heard the matter in March and April 1987. Stanley alleged that the ...