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

What Happens to Your IRA or 401(k) When You Die?

Posted on February 1, 2014

Many people are not aware that your IRA and any other employee benefit plan that was tax deferred is taxable in a number of ways at your death. It may be taxed by the federal government as part of the federal estate tax. It may also be taxed by the State of Illinois for the Illinois estate tax. In addition, there are specific rules on when the money in these accounts needs to be pulled out by the recipients, which are complicated depending on the circumstances, the beneficiary and if […]

Posted in Estate Planning

How to Write a Last Will and Testament in Illinois

Posted on October 22, 2013

“When an older man or woman passes away, usually he or she has a last will and testament, usually or just a “will.” All people above the age of 18, though, should have a will that can be updated when necessary. It is important for everyone to know how to write a will and what to put write in it. Even if a person does not have many belongings or money, a will can state what is to be done with a person’s property and how that person wishes to […]

Posted in Estate Planning

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