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Stephanie Sexauer

Stephanie Sexauer

Owner, Probate Practice, Sexauer Law, P.C.
  • Probate, Elder Law, Estate Planning...
  • Illinois
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Ms. Sexauer focuses her practice on probate matters, including: elder law, guardianship, estate planning, wills, trusts, and will contests. She is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association. Stephanie speaks Spanish fluently and is regularly selected by Cook County judges to serve as a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem for disabled adults. Stephanie also serves on the Judicial Evaluation Committee of the Chicago Bar Association.

Practice Areas
  • Probate
  • Elder Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Nursing Home Abuse
  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • English: Spoken, Written
  • Spanish: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Owner, Lawyer
Sexauer Law, P.C.
- Current
Ruben Garca, P.C.
The John Marshall Law School
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Dean's Scholarship
The John Marshall Law School
Professional Associations
Illinois State Bar # 6311374
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Articles & Publications
2014 Supplement of Guardianship for Disabled Adults, Advance Directives and Mental Health Law
Speaking Engagements
Vice Chair, CBA Young Lawyer Section's Estates and Trusts Group Annual Seminar, Chicago Bar Association 321 S. Plymouth Court Chicago, IL 60603
Chicago Bar Association
Moderated a 3 hour panel on pitfalls in estate planning, estate administration, and guardianship.
Vice Chair, CBA Youn Lawyer
Center for Conflict Resolution
Websites & Blogs
Sexauer Law PC
Legal Answers
32 Questions Answered

Q. I am an heir/legatee in an estate. There were several court dates and I was not notified nor given the filed motions.
A: You're correct; if you're an heir or legatee of an estate, the court will require the attorney for the proposed executor or administrator to send notice (when to send notice depends on whether the Decedent died with or without a will). It's possible the matter has been continued to give notice. It's also possible the attorney does not have your contact information, which means he or she merely needs to publish a notice in the newspaper. If you want to make sure you're notified of all proceedings, you should consider hiring an attorney of your own who will file an appearance on your behalf. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Q. Question regarding my dad and his bank account. He passed away the 25th of august.
A: If dad passed without owning real property and the assets total less than $100,000.00, it's possible you can use what's called a small estate affidavit to pass the property. Please note, if you use one, you'd be swearing by penalty of perjury as to its contents, which you might not have a grasp on since you've been out of his life. You should contact a probate attorney near you to discuss this further. This is not legal advice and we have not established an attorney/client relationship.
Q. Is there a monetary amount under which my heirs won't have to pay estate taxes?
A: Heirs don't pay estate taxes; the estate itself might pay estate tax, if the estate exceeds $11,180,000.00 in 2018. The estate may also be subject to income tax if the Decedent earned income that year (the same way a person pays their own income tax each year), or other taxes. Please note, you should consult with an estate planning attorney to clarify this question, as it was vague. This is not legal advice and we have not established an attorney/client relationship.
Q. If I handwrite my will, is that considered a legal document as long as I signed it?
A: I agree with Mr. Choudhry.
Q. I am looking to find out, as my sister's POA, on how to handle a settlement from a class action suit.
A: I'm sorry to hear about this situation. An easy solution might be to spend the money in the months its received an a Medicaid-eligible purchase, such as a prepaid funeral/burial. In this case, as in all cases, you should connect directly with an elder law attorney and discuss the specifics further. Please note, this is not legal advice and we have not established an attorney/client relationship.
Q. If I drafted my will in Montana do I need a new one now that I live in Illinois?
A: In my experience, you should. All estate planning documents should be drafted to be specific to the state where you live, by an attorney who knows the laws of Illinois. You should contact an attorney near you who practices solely in estate law. Best of luck to you!
Q. After four months since publication of notice is up, no challenges or creditors, what happens next? Back to court?
A: Hi there, I hope you feel comfortable with the attorney you've likely hired to assist you in the probate process. I am not an Arizona attorney and can't speak to Arizona law, but in Illinois, we have a 6 month creditor/claims time period. Very little happens in that time; we simply wait for potential creditors to file a claim. Eventually, yes, it's likely your attorney will need to appear again in court to either close the estate or deal with potential creditors, if there are improper claims. You should speak directly with an Arizona probate attorney to further clarify, Best of luck to you!
Q. I've heard certain estates are exempted from probate. How do I know if mine does too?
A: Generally, estates are subject to probate in Illinois if there is more than $100,000.00 or the person owned real estate. If there's no real estate, or the amount of other assets is less than $100,000.00, a document called a Small Estate Affidavit can be used. However, some people choose to do things like joint ownership on accounts, payable on death beneficiary designations, etc. to try to avoid probate. These plans sometimes work, and sometimes they're big failures, for a variety of reasons. I can name twice as many disasters as I can success stories of using a plan like those. You should speak with an estate planning attorney who you trust to discuss your specific situation. Powers of Attorney are extremely powerful documents that you don't mention, and anyone over 18 should consider having them. They are relevant during life, not at death. Please feel free to give me a call if you have anymore questions.
Q. Do heirs have rights to any paperworks receipts,etc of an estate? Brother/I being refused info by attorney & executor
A: You should be able to consult with the executor and his/her attorney. Alternatively, you can go to the court clerk's office and request to look at the file yourself. Additionally, you can hire an attorney whose job it is to advise you of our rights and secure access to information.
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150 N. Michigan Ave Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60601
Telephone: (312) 300-4743
Fax: (312) 300-4893