In re Estate of Sperry

Illinois Appellate Court
Civil Court
Equitable Estoppel
Case Number: 
2017 IL App (3d) 150703
Decision Date: 
Monday, October 23, 2017
3d Dist.
Knox Co.

(Court opinion corrected 11/14/17.) Petitioner, the independent administrator of the estate of his late sister, filed action against her ex-husband, seeking a declaration that her estate was entitled to control the design and placement of a headstone for her grave, which was located in a cemetery plot that ex-husband had purchased. After bench trial, court found that ex-husband had gifted cemetery plot to his ex-wife's estate, and that estate had the right to control the design and placement of the headstone. Ex-husband did not assert his intention to control gravesite and design of headstone until 1 year after his ex-wife was interred at the site. Given statutory right vested in Petitioner or decedent's father under Disposition of Remains Act, ex-husband had a duty to assert his right to control headstone prior to interment.Petitioner proved elements of equitable estoppel by clear and convincing evidence. (O'BRIEN and WRIGHT, concurring.)