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I’ve seen it time and time again. A client comes in who has added a son, or a daughter, or a grandchild, or a niece or nephew, or someone else to the client’s bank account… or that is the client’s plan. It seems like a good idea. It gives another person access to the bank account for the payment of bills and other obligations. If anything happens to the account holder, the other person added…
Fear of Estate Planning, as in doing a Will or Trust (or both) is a common malady. Everyone knows they should do something, but few people know exactly what that something is they should be doing. Fear of the unknown often keeps people from doing what they know they should do. That “something” we should begin doing starts with learning what we don’t know so that we know what we should be doing. There is…
These last few years have seen a flourish of changes, both large and small in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).  The most recent changes to the IMDMA affecting the maintenance provisions are the result of recent changes to the tax code by the Trump Administration.  In the past, maintenance or alimony payments were deductible by the payor on his or her individual tax return and were included as income on the…
If you are getting together with your family members this holiday season it may not seem like a great time to talk about dying, but actually it is! Hollywood has combined death and holidays for years. Well, truth be told, Dickens started it. A Christmas Carol is a look at the world without Scrooge, and the effect he had on people’s lives. But Dickens isn’t the only one. “It’s a Wonderful Life” focuses on George…
A new law takes effect on January 1, 2019, in Illinois, protecting visitation rights for the family members of elderly adults. Before this new law takes effect, guardians have effectively had the unilateral authority over visitation privileges and could prohibit, without recourse, family members and others from visiting with their elderly loved ones in another family member’s care. I have witnessed the unfairness of a family member taking control of a parent to the exclusion…
A new law takes effect on January 1, 2019, in Illinois, protecting visitation rights for the family members of elderly adults. Before this new law takes effect, guardians have effectively had the unilateral authority over visitation privileges and could prohibit, without recourse, family members and others from visiting with their elderly loved ones in another family member’s care. I have witnessed the unfairness of a family member taking control of a parent to the exclusion…
The Illinois Power of Attorney Act was recently amended. The Act requires an agent to maintain an accounting of everything the agent does with the assets and the funds over which the agent has control, and the new amendment puts some teeth in that requirement. In a previous blog piece, A Word of Warning About Powers of Attorney, I cautioned that, “Powers of Attorney are a very useful tool, but they can be abused…
In 2003, experts estimate that an estimated 37 million individuals will need some form of long-term care by 2050.[1] According to the AARP, approximately 65% of seniors will need some form of long-term care during their lives;[2] of those, 35% will enter a nursing home at some point.[3] Whether it is home health agencies, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice, residential care communities, or adult day service centers, an individual can spend…
When people die leaving debts, other obligations and property and funds to be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries, the default mechanism for handling those things is called probate. Probate is the process of handling the estate of someone who has died. This includes paying all of the debts and final bills, satisfying any lingering obligations, and identifying the property and other assets of the decedent so that the net assets can be distributed to the…
Anyone who is contemplating a divorce, is in the process of obtaining a divorce, or is recently divorced should think about estate planning. If you are still married, your spouse is considered your heir. So, an untimely death before your divorce is finalized will result in your spouse receiving some or all of your estate. If you are recently divorced, your ex-spouse may still receive a portion of your estate unless you make changes to…