Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Wills and Probate

Does Illinois Need an Electronic-Will Statute? December 2014 Column, Page 600 Nevada has one – how about the Land of Lincoln?
When caregivers take By Janan Hanna August 2014 Lawpulse, Page 366 A bill awaiting the governor's signature would protect seniors from being taken advantage of by a caregiver or court-appointed guardian.
Where There’s a Will, There’s an Ethical Duty By Bailey E. Cunningham July 2014 Column, Page 350 Storing your client's will? Understand the ethical obligations.
New Lawyer: Know What a Will Won’t Do By Mark S. Mathewson February 2014 Column, Page 102 Important assets pass outside probate, and lawyers should plan accordingly.
Of Traffic Tickets and Trusts July 2013 Column, Page 367 Advising commercial drivers about traffic tickets, and why the next will you draft should have a supplemental needs trust provision.
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.
Legislature considering modifications to small-estate affidavits By Adam W. Lasker April 2013 Lawpulse, Page 170 ISBA-proposed changes would make the small-estate affidavit a more effective and easier-to-use probate avoidance device, a key proponent says.
Estate Planning for Clients Who Don’t By Regina Rathnau March 2013 Article, Page 138 Even when clients resist comprehensive estate planning you can help them better prepare for the inevitable.
A well-kept secret: the Illinois deposit of wills By Adam W. Lasker July 2012 Lawpulse, Page 346 Tired of – and nervous about – storing clients’ original wills on your premises? Consider the Illinois Secretary of State’s deposit of wills.
Executor and estate attorney ordered to repay excessive fees August 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 388 Fees requested by an executor and attorney for administering an estate were not reasonable under the Probate Act, according to an Illinois Appellate Court.
Back to the Future: Estate Planning for 2010 and Beyond By Katarinna McBride November 2010 Column, Page 590 Estate planners look for ways to use this year's expiration of the estate tax to clients' advantage.
Mutual will contains embedded contract, which could govern conduct of surviving spouse November 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 564 On August 10, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, determined that a third-party beneficiary is entitled to enforce a contract embedded in a mutual will before the death of the surviving spouse.
Secretary of State establishes procedures for depositing wills October 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 508 The Illinois Secretary of State's Office recently adopted new rules governing the deposit of wills with the office of the secretary.
Increased minimum awards for surviving spouses of a deceased Illinois resident. PA 096-0968 September 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 452 Illinois lawmakers have granted surviving spouses a larger minimum award from the estate of the deceased. (755 ILCS 5/15-1) 
See comments from our readers. September 2010 Column, Page 442 Exception for commercial fraud not warranted; Two exceptions to the doctrine of election
2010 Spring Session Roundup By Jim Covington August 2010 Column, Page 404 A summary of key Illinois legislation passed this spring.
Clearer Guidance for Estate Planning Lawyers By Katarinna McBride and Graham B. Schmidt August 2010 Column, Page 433 What about clients with diminished capacity? Confidentiality and prospective clients? Here's a look.
Procedures for sterilization of a ward. PA 096-0272 August 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 400 The Probate Act of 1975 now provides guidelines regarding consent by guardians for the sterilization of a ward. (755 ILCS 5/11a-17.1). 
A murder conviction is no longer needed for application of the “slayer statute” July 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 348 On April 29, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, upheld a decision of the Circuit Court of Macon County finding that the "slayer statute" prevents an individual deemed insane for criminal purposes, but nevertheless cognizant of murdering a person, from receiving any property, benefit or other interest he may have received by a death he caused.
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.
The Anna Nicole Smith Case: an Opera in Five Acts By Katarinna McBride May 2010 Column, Page 266 Is the battle over Anna Nicole Smith's husband's estate finally over?
Compensation for Family Caregivers By Margot Gordon May 2010 Article, Page 256 Custodial claims enable family members who cared for a now-deceased relative to be compensated for their years of unpaid or underpaid caregiving. Here's how it works.
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.
Read the letters to the Editor December 2009 Column, Page 594 Use trusts, not wills in most cases; Robes, dickies, and wigs.
Where there’s another will, there may be a way By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2009 Lawpulse, Page 598 The failure to contest a will does not always bar an action for intentional interference with an expectancy of inheritance, the supreme court rules.
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.
ANATOMY OF A WILL: A Step-By-Step Guide By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2009 Article, Page 506 A step-by-step primer on simple wills for newbies, litigators, and other will-drafting novices.
Illinois’ new will repository law By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2009 Lawpulse, Page 330 Legislation headed to the governor will give lawyers a place to deposit wills for long-lost clients.
Five Wishes: “zero cases of litigation” June 2009 Column, Page 274 We're flattered that authors Koenig and Hyde ("Be Careful What You Wish For: Analyzing the Five Wishes Advance Directive," IBJ May 2009) pored over our document, and as would a law student studying a model contract, found areas that might-could-maybe-potentially become a problem.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Analyzing the “Five Wishes” Advance Directive By Ray J. Koenig, III and MacKenzie Hyde May 2009 Article, Page 242 The popular Five Wishes document helps clients think about life issues. But don't use it in place of Illinois statutory forms, these authors argue.