Janus v. Tarasewicz
135 Ill. App. 3d 936, 482 N.E.2d 418 (1985)

  • Stanley and Theresa both died after eating cyanide laced Tylenol.
    • Stanley died almost immediately.
    • Theresa hung on for two days on life support before dying.
    • Both had headaches because they were mourning the death of Stanley’s brother, who had died that day from eating cyanide laced Tylenol!
    • They had also come back from their honeymoon that morning!
  • Stanley’s mother (Janus), and Theresa’s father (Tarasewicz) both claimed Stanley’s life insurance policy.
    • The policy named Theresa as the beneficiary and Stanley’s mother as the contingent beneficiary.
  • The Trial Court found for Tarasewicz.
    • The Trial Court found that there was sufficient medical evidence that Theresa had outlived Stanley.
  • The Appellate Court affirmed.
    • The Appellate Court agreed that the manifest weight of the evidence showed that Theresa outlived Stanley. Therefore she inherited his estate.
  • “Survivorship is a fact which must be proven by a preponderance of evidence by the party whose claim depends on the survivorship.”
  • The Uniform Probate Code establishes that in order to inherit, there must be clear and convincing evidence that you survived that decedent by at least 120 hours.
  • The Uniform Simultaneous Death Act has a similar 120 hour requirement, but allows for an exception if there is clear and convincing evidence that the inheritor survived the decedent, even if it was less than 120 hours.