Estate Planning

Naperville Estate Planning Attorney Offers Five Ways Your Will Can Become Obsolete

Posted on October 13, 2017

As you probably realize, a will often provides the foundation for a comprehensive estate plan. In some cases, a person’s will is the only instrument used to transfer his or her assets to heirs and beneficiaries. This is not uncommon, particularly among individuals with modest estates and few complex holdings. In my practice as an estate planning lawyer, I have helped hundreds, if not thousands, of clients draft and execute wills. I have also worked with many individuals in updating wills that have become outdated or obsolete. While a will […]

Posted in Estate Planning

Naperville Estate Planning Attorney Discusses Stepparents and Stepchildren

Posted on August 9, 2017

In many ways, the concept of estate planning is similar to that of healthy living. Most people are aware that both are good ideas, but it can be very difficult to even get started. Much like eating right and exercising, estate planning is one of those things that many people will do eventually. Unfortunately, some wait too long and never actually get around to it. As an estate planning lawyer, I know that the process of creating a will or trust is not as challenging as many fear it will […]

Posted in Estate Planning

Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer Discusses Handwritten Wills

Posted on February 24, 2017

For most people, a last will and testament is one of the most important documents they will ever create. Your will is likely to contain provisions that dictate how your assets are to be divided among your chosen beneficiaries but may also include many other considerations. You can use your will to establish guardianships for your children and make arrangements for heirs who may not be capable of managing their own affairs. Your will is also likely to name an executor to manage your estate and to oversee the distribution […]

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The Basics of Intestate Succession From a Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer

Posted on August 12, 2016

For many people, even beginning the conversation about estate planning can be difficult. It is not easy to confront the fact that you will not live forever and drafting a will, trust, and other estate planning documents forces you to look beyond the end of your life. As an estate planning attorney with decades of experience, I truly understand the challenges involved in the process, but I also recognize how crucial it is to have a plan in place. If you die without having executed a will, there is a […]

Posted in Estate Planning

Attorney-Client Privilege During a Will Contest

Posted on March 26, 2015

Lately, I have been hearing a great deal of talk about a case currently before the Illinois Supreme Court. The high court recently heard oral arguments in a case called Brunton v. Kruger, which asks the court to consider the scope of the accountant-client privilege during probate. Specifically, the court must determine what happens to the privilege after the client dies and to what extend this privilege can be waived. Here are the basic facts of the case: An elderly couple hired an accounting firm to perform estate planning services. […]

Posted in Estate Planning

The Rights of Surviving Spouses and Dependent Children

Posted on January 26, 2015

Preparing an estate plan is a wise decision. However, even with a valid estate plan in place, your express wishes might not be carried out. For example, Illinois probate law affords special rights to surviving spouses and minor children that could contravene specific provisions in your will. Electing to Take a Statutory Share The surviving spouse has the right to renounce the decedent’s will in favor of taking a statutory (or elective) share of the decedent’s probate assets. This statutory share amounts to one-third of the estate if there are […]

Posted in Estate Planning

Filing a Claim against a Decedent’s Estate

Posted on January 12, 2015

When a person dies in Illinois, anyone who has a claim against a decedent’s estate —whether it is a contract, tort, or statutory custodial claim—may file that claim with the estate representative or with the court. (Note that if you file the claim with the representative, he or she has no obligation to file the claim in court.) The claim must be in writing and provide enough information so that the representative understands the nature of the claim and the relief sought. For example, someone who entered into a contract […]

Posted in Estate Planning

Modifying an Existing Will

Posted on November 19, 2014

When a will is created, it must be in writing and signed by the testator—the person for which the will is made—or by a person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction. Additionally, it must be attested in the presence of two or more credible witnesses. Can Wills be Modified? Illinois probate law permits testators to make additions to their lawfully executed wills with a codicil—a supplement that alters, amends, or modifies a will instead of replacing it. A codicil republishes the will, which means that probate is […]

Posted in Estate Planning

How to Proceed in Probate When the Life Status of the “Decedent” is Unknown

Posted on April 29, 2014

Nine years after Samuel Zagaria disappeared, his sister Joanne petitioned the Cook County probate court for a presumption of death. The court complied and appointed Joanne, Zagaria’s only heir, the administrator of her brother’s estate. But in the course of administering the estate and trying to collect insurance benefits, Samuel turned up alive. Unfortunately for Samuel, that was not the end of the story. The physical fact of his existence did not immediately invalidate the legal presumption of death. Samuel had to ask the court to revoke the presumption and […]

Posted in Estate Planning

Convenience Account or Joint Account?

Posted on February 1, 2014

Many times our clients will add a name to their bank accounts, making the account a joint account. Sometimes that client wishes to have the person who was added to the account handle the account for the convenience of the client. It may be that the client is an elder person and wishes to have an adult child help to pay bills, reinvest the amounts in the account from time to time. This account would be considered a convenience account. It may also be that the client intended that the […]

Posted in Estate Planning

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Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.

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