Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Trusts

Agent-Swapping POAs and More December 2014 Column, Page 596 Should a health care POA swap out agents after a triggering event?
Supreme court declines to extend doctrine of election beyond wills to trusts By Adam W. Lasker July 2013 Lawpulse, Page 330 The Illinois Supreme Court found the doctrine irrelevant to the facts of In re Estate of Boyar, leaving the question of whether it applies to trusts as well as wills for another day.
Opportunities and Pitfalls in the New Illinois Directed Trust Statute By Daniel P. Felix June 2013 Article, Page 292 The new law allows unbundling of trustee investment and distribution responsibilities and adds a supervising trust protector.
Supreme court: decedent can’t use spendthrift trust to back out on gift By Adam W. Lasker November 2012 Lawpulse, Page 574 The ruling barred a decedent from using a spendthrift trust to effectively revoke his irrevocable gift to Rush Medical Center. Leading ISBA lawyers think it's time for the legislature to clarify Illinois trust laws.
Trusts & Trustees Act Modernized: Decanting and Directed Trusts By Mary D. Cascino, Lyman W. Welch, and Susan T. Bart November 2012 Article, Page 596 Effective January 1, the Act gives estate planners two powerful new tools. Find out what they can do for your clients.
Dynasty Trusts for Everyone By Mary D. Cascino August 2012 Column, Page 440 Dynasty trusts give even those of ordinary means a way to minimize estate taxes prospectively.
Three bills would modernize the Trusts and Trustees Act By Adam W. Lasker May 2012 Lawpulse, Page 234 Among other changes, the legislation would make nonjudicial trust modifications easier and limit the risk of liability for fiduciaries who handle specific trust-related tasks.
Attorney for the Trust: Does Attorney-Client Privilege Belong to the Trustee or the Beneficiary? By Tina N. Babel October 2010 Article, Page 524 Lawyers for trustees are sometimes surprised to learn that the attorney-client privilege actually belongs to trust beneficiaries. Here's a look at the confusing state of Illinois law.
Amendment to the Trusts and Trustees Act regarding lapse of power to withdraw. PA 096-0980. September 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 452 According to Illinois lawmakers, even if a beneficiary of a trust releases or waives his or her power to withdraw or allows it to lapse, the beneficiary still may not be considered to be a settlor or to have made a transfer to the trust. (755 ILCS 5/16.2)
Refuse the Bequest or Lose the Will Contest: The Unforgiving Doctrine of Election By Robert S. Held July 2010 Article, Page 374 Beneficiaries who accept even a small bequest can be estopped from later challenging the will - and the principle applies to trusts, too.
Personal Liability of an Executor or Trustee - Time for a Change By Timothy L. Bertschy March 2010 Article, Page 140 Illinois' common law too often makes estate and trust executors and trustees personally liable to third parties, the author argues.
The Illinois QTIP Election to the Rescue By Robert J. Kolasa December 2009 Article, Page 612 Big news for estate planners - the new Illinois QTIP lets clients use the full federal exclusion without Illinois estate tax consequences.
Read the letters to the Editor December 2009 Column, Page 594 Use trusts, not wills in most cases; Robes, dickies, and wigs.
Illinois Supreme Court upholds jewish-marriage clause in trust provision By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2009 Lawpulse, Page 546 But the court's narrow framing of the issue avoids the question of whether such religious restrictions in wills and trusts are broadly permissible.
New Law Promotes Private Trust-Administration Agreements By Lyman W. Welch and Susan T. Bart November 2009 Article, Page 562 The new Illinois virtual representation law allows more trustees and beneficiaries to resolve trust matters by private agreement.
2009 Spring Session Roundup By Jim Covington August 2009 Column, Page 396 A summary of key legislation.
Passing the Buck: Private Split-Dollar for Every Vocabulary By Katarinna McBride May 2009 Column, Page 262 Split-dollar agreements allow wealthy clients to use life-insurance trusts to avoid gift taxes and maximize estate value.
Beneficiaries can’t be given power to approve trustee accounts By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2009 Lawpulse, Page 168 A trust can't allow a majority of beneficiaries to approve the trustee's accounts, the Illinois Appellate Court holds.
Estate Planning for FDIC Coverage By Katarinna McBride November 2008 Column, Page 590 New FDIC rules provide more protection for revocable trusts.
Living trust amendment drafted by a nonlawyer ruled invalid By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2008 Lawpulse, Page 438 A living trust amendment drafted by a nonlawyer is invalid under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, the Illinois Appellate Court rules.
Trust and Trustees Act amended. PA 95-0605 April 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 180 The Trusts and Trustees Act has been amended by changing section 4 and adding section 4.26. 760 ILCS 5/4, 760 ILCS 5/4.26. 
Supremes limit trusts ability to subtract investment-advice costs By Helen W. Gunnarsson March 2008 Lawpulse, Page 118 The U.S. Supreme Court holds that trusts are subject to a two-percent floor for subtracting investment advisory fees from their taxable income.
Estate attorneys disqualified from representation of deceased client’s son February 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 72 On December 3, 2007, the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Du-Page County granting in part Northern Trust Company's motion to disqualify counsel for Peter Wright. 
Small-trust-termination amendment gets mixed reviews By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2007 Lawpulse, Page 622 It’s good to allow trustees to terminate small trusts when fees are consuming income. But should income, rather than remainder, beneficiaries automatically get the proceeds?
Year-End Planning for Trust-and-Estate Clients By David A. Berek November 2007 Column, Page 606 It's not too late to implement some tax-saving strategies for your estate-planning clients.
Estate Planning for the Rest of Us By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Article, Page 520 Most people don't have estates large enough to owe tax when they die. But they still need estate-planning advice.
Helping Parents Plan for Children with Special Needs By Kerry R. Peck and D. Rebecca Mitchell February 2007 Article, Page 82 Drafting tips to help lawyers help parents plan, financially and otherwise, for special-needs children.
Living-trust scams: all too alive and well in Illinois By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2006 Lawpulse, Page 642 Meanwhile, a recent Indiana Supreme Court opinion unambiguously declares that drafting a testamentary trust is the practice of law.
State can’t dun surviving spouse’s estate for nursing home bill By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2006 Lawpulse, Page 398 The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the state can't seek reimbursement for long-term care from a surviving spouse's estate, making the revocable living trust an even more attractive estate-planning tool. 
A trustee must serve the interest of the beneficiaries with total loyalty November 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 564 On August 31, 2005, the Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, reversed and remanded the decision of the Circuit Court of Rock Island County granting summary judgment for defendant trustees.