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In re Estate and Trust of Weidner

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

December 20, 2016

In re ESTATE AND TRUST OF EVELYN K. WEIDNER, First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust, N.A., Trustee of Gerald and Laveda Weidner Trust; and James Gregory Peters, Petitioners-Appellees,
v.
Lila Jolene Peifer, Patricia Miller, Carolyn S. Baker, Lyle J. Weidner, Kevin Weidner, and Curtis Weidner, Respondents-Appellants).

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Piatt County, No. 13-CH-45; the Hon. Timothy J. Steadman, Judge, presiding.

         Affirmed.

          John T. Wozniak (argued), of Fischer & Wozniak, P.C., of Urbana, and Darrel F. Parish, of Parish & Castleman, LLP, of Decatur, for appellants.

          Denis Knipp Bates and Kenneth D. Reifsteck (argued), of Thomas, Mamer & Haughey, LLP, of Champaign, for appellee.

          Blake Weaver (argued), of Novak, Weaver & Solberg, of Urbana, for petitioner James Gregory Peters.

          Panel PRESIDING JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Holder White and Pope concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          KNECHT PRESIDING JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Respondents, Lila Jolene Peifer, Patricia Miller, Carolyn S. Baker, Lyle J. Weidner, Kevin Weidner, and Curtis Weidner, appeal from the trial court's order finding James Gregory Peters (Greg) to be a descendant of Betty Peters for purposes of distribution under the Evelyn K. and Lyle F. Weidner, Sr. Trust and the Evelyn K. Weidner Children's Trust. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On November 26, 1967, Greg was born to Ron and Patricia Peters. In 1970, Ron and Patricia divorced. Patricia was granted custody of Greg, subject to Ron's visitation rights. Greg resided with Patricia in the Champaign-Urbana area for a majority of his childhood.

         ¶ 4 In 1973, Ron moved in with Betty. In 1978, Ron and Betty were married. Between late 1982 and early 1983, Greg resided with Ron and Betty in Farmer City. From November 16, 1982, through January 13, 1983, Greg was enrolled in Farmer City schools.

         ¶ 5 On July 29, 1988, Evelyn K. and Lyle F. Weidner, Sr., created an irrevocable inter vivos trust-the Evelyn K. and Lyle F. Weidner, Sr. Trust-to provide for the extra and supplemental needs, comforts, and luxuries of their daughter Donna Weidner. The trust terminated upon Donna's death, after which any balance was to be distributed to certain then-living children, grandchildren, descendants, or descendants of the named grandchildren of Evelyn and Lyle Sr. In relevant part, the trust directed the distribution of one-fifth of the trust res to the "Settlors' daughter, BETTY JEAN PETERS, if then living; and if not then living, to her descendants, per stirpes, then living; and if there are no such descendants of said BETTY JEAN PETERS then living, then in equal portions to the [other then-living] beneficiaries."

         ¶ 6 That same day, Evelyn executed the Last Will and Testament of Evelyn K. Weidner, which created a testamentary trust-the Evelyn K. Weidner Children's Trust. In her will, Evelyn provided Lyle Sr. with a life estate in her farm real estate. Subject to Lyle Sr.'s life estate, Evelyn provided that the farm real estate was to pass to the trustee of the Evelyn K. Weidner Children's Trust. Upon Lyle's death, the income from the farm real estate was to be distributed to certain then-living children, grandchildren, descendants, or descendants of the named grandchildren of Evelyn and the trustee of the Evelyn K. and Lyle F. Weidner, Sr. Trust. In relevant part, the trust directed one-sixth of the income "to my daughter, BETTY JEAN PETERS, if then living; and if not then living, to her descendants, per stirpes, then living; and if there are no such descendants of said BETTY JEAN PETERS then living, then in equal portions to the [other then-living and trust] beneficiaries." The trust terminated upon Donna's death, after which any balance was to be distributed to certain then-living children, grandchildren, descendants, or descendants of the named grandchildren of Evelyn. In relevant part, the trust directed the ...


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