- Associated Press - Monday, December 7, 2015

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - An insurance company is asking a southern Illinois judge to decide who should inherit the $50,000 death benefit of the son and ex-husband of an Illinois woman convicted in the deaths of her two baby daughters.

Paula Sims is serving a life sentence in a northern Illinois prison. She was convicted in 1990 of first-degree murder for one daughter’s death, and later pleaded guilty to charges in the death of the other daughter.

Sims’ ex-husband, Robert, and son, Randall, died in June when their Jeep was forced off an Interstate 55 overpass in Mississippi. Madison Mutual Insurance Co. has filed a complaint in Madison County asking that a judge decide on the beneficiaries of their estate, including whether Paula Sims should be included.

“This is a very recognized method by which insurance companies asked the court who the appropriate beneficiaries should be,” Edwardsville attorney Kevin Babb, who represents the insurance company, told the Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/1Tw0HuO ).

The decision by a judge would clarify how the death benefit money will be divided. Robert Sims remarried and his wife would be the sole heir to his estate, and Paula Sims would be her son’s heir.

But Babb said the decision isn’t that simple. He said if Robert Sims died before his son, some or all the money would be left to the son. And when the son died, his share would go to his mother, Paula Sims.

“This cause of action will clarify any possible implications as to the order of death,” Babb said.

Robert Sims’ wife and his brother have both made claims for the money, according to Madison Mutual’s complaint.

Paula Sims has filed an affidavit saying she wants everything from her son’s estate given to her ex-husband’s wife. But Babb said that affidavit may not be enough to remove her from inheriting part or all of the estate.

“It’s up to the judge,” he said.

A judge hasn’t yet been appointed, and no court date has been set for a hearing.

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Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com

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