Publications

Section Newsletter Articles on Trusts and Estates

The “real” living will* By Roza Gossage Elder Law, June 2010 A few light-hearted final words.
2010 Bank Convenience Accounts: An exciting new tool? By Graham Boardman Schmidt Trusts and Estates, May 2010 Many bank customers may find it useful to establish an account that grants possession, but not title, of funds to another individual.
Basis adjustments for 2010 estates: A navigation system for unknown routes By Alan E. Stumpf Trusts and Estates, April 2010 In 2010, the basis of property acquired from a decedent is no longer automatically stepped-up. Rather, the basis is the decedent’s adjusted basis in that property or the fair market value of the property on the date of death, whichever is less.
Ethics corner: Courtesy or controversy—Drafting attorney-reserved power to amend or revoke client’s trust By Donald L. Shriver Trusts and Estates, March 2010 The close relationship you have with your clients may be ample explanation for some unusual fiduciary relationships.
Congress may be frozen, but the Supreme Court is acting! By Philip E. Koenig Trusts and Estates, February 2010 Normally, the activity of the United States Supreme Court and the Illinois Supreme Court has little effect on the work of trust and estate lawyers. In 2009, however, there were three decisions of note: one by the U.S. Supreme Court and two by the Illinois Supreme Court that are of significance and importance to trust and estate lawyers.
Estate tax or not: Reasons your clients still need estate planning By Jodie E. Distler Hanzlik Trusts and Estates, February 2010 The 2010 estate tax “repeal” has not gone unnoticed by most attorneys and certainly has been the subject of intense scrutiny, dialogue and debate among tax planning professionals.
Estate plan prepared by guardian not ripe for challenge By Margot Gordon Trusts and Estates, January 2010 In October 2009, the First District dismissed the appeal of the former caretaker and nephew-in-law of a disabled person (both of whom were named in the disabled person’s prior estate planning documents) of the dismissal of their challenge to the corporate guardian’s new estate plan for the disabled person for lack of standing.
Say bye-bye to passive activity losses: A possible past-time for LLCs and LLPs By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, January 2010 Limited liability companies (LLCs) and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are well ingrained as two of the preferred techniques used by estate planning professionals. Both LLCs and LLPs offer significant advantages that many other techniques do not: valuation discounts, retention of control, and tax efficiency. To the delight of those individuals who use LLCs and LLPs in their estate planning work, the perceived tax efficiency of these methods has improved through two recent court cases.  
Estate tax issues: ISBA’s Section of Federal Taxation liaison meeting with legislative aides, May 6 & 7, 2009 Federal Taxation, December 2009 The debate surrounding the estate tax no longer focuses on eliminating the tax in total. 
The new Illinois QTIP election: Answers to your questions and more questions By Jason S. Ornduff Trusts and Estates, November 2009 After significant discussion and lobbying, Illinois has joined 11 other states in enacting a state-qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) election separate and distinct from the federal QTIP election of I.R.C. Section 2044.
The Roth decision in 2010: Conversions and afterthoughts By David A. Berek Trusts and Estates, November 2009 2010 promises to be an opportunistic year for Roth IRA planning, and an interesting year to say the least from a tax legislation standpoint. 
‘Til death do us part, or sooner: The family law attorney meets estate planning By Michael C. Craven Elder Law, October 2009 Family law attorneys agree that their clients should review their estate plans following a divorce. However, it is equally important to do so if contemplating or in the process of a divorce.
Ethics corner: Careful with capacity By Sara Siddiqi Trusts and Estates, September 2009 ACTEC commentary on clients with diminished capacity, specifically Model Rule of Professional Conduct (MRPC) 1.14, provides additional guidance to the estate planning practitioner. Specifically, the commentary provides advice on how to address the various disability determinations that a lawyer may encounter: a client whose testamentary capacity is uncertain, borderline, or doubtful.
MINORITY REPORT: Understanding the Illinois Uniform Transfers to Minors Act By Jay S. Goldenberg Trusts and Estates, September 2009 Guardianship has been the traditional approach to dealing with a basic issue: how do you transfer property to a minor – who is legally incapable of selling or managing it – since their contracts are not valid.
The School of 529: Learning by Trial and Error By Katarinna McBride Trusts and Estates, September 2009 Section 529 plans are an attractive and convenient means of saving for college that offer substantial tax benefits.
The what ifs… Tax reflections By Katarinna McBride Trusts and Estates, September 2009 Once again the estate tax is being used as political leverage rather than being thoughtfully and appropriately revised to reflect the modern dynamics of families and wealth.
Planning for post-EGTRRA wealth transfer taxes By Sean Young Trusts and Estates, August 2009 As the days wane on the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), the legislation’s final act would be to repeal the estate and GST taxes altogether in 2010, while retaining the gift tax along with a $1 million gift tax exclusion and a maximum rate of 35 percent.
Choosing a Roth IRA By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, July 2009 The ultimate consideration in deciding whether to choose a Traditional or Roth IRA generally becomes whether you would rather pay tax now or later.
Ethics corner By Donald L. Shriver Trusts and Estates, July 2009 If you have blown the Statute of Limitations, the 1st District says just extend it to meet your own needs.    
A GRAT way to transfer wealth. Well, at least for now… By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, July 2009 If you possess assets that are appreciating fast (or at least you think they will), the GRAT is simply one of the most effective ways of transferring value at a low cost. The future of this technique is not clear, however, as proposed legislation could render it ineffective.  
Should Illinois adopt the TOD deed? By Darrell Dies Trusts and Estates, July 2009 Transfer on death of securities has worked well in Illinois for many years, so why not extend the transfer-on-death concept in Illinois to real estate and thereby allow a named beneficiary in a TODD to take direct ownership of real estate upon the grantor’s death? Let’s take a closer look at the TODD concept?
Uncertain times for estate planners: What changes loom for 2009? By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, July 2009 Several possible changes that may occur in the very near future pose great uncertainty for estate planners. The biggest uncertainty revolves around the estate tax.
Claims against a decedent’s non-probate property in Illinois By Joel A. Schoenmeyer Agricultural Law, June 2009 Dealing with claims against an Illinois decedent’s non-probate property is critical in cases where the decedent’s probate estate is insufficient to pay all valid claims, or where no probate estate has been opened for the decedent.
New virtual representation law By Lyman W. Welch Trusts and Estates, June 2009 SB 188 passed both houses of the Illinois legislature with no dissenting votes. When signed by the Governor, the new law will become effective January 1, 2010. This new law originated from the ISBA Trusts and Estates Section Council.  
Probate Act problems in proving up wills By Lawrence P. Devens Trusts and Estates, June 2009 This article examines the problem that arises when a petitioner must rely on a witness attestation clause to admit a will in a “formal proof” hearing under the Probate Act.
The Safety GRAT™ By Robert T. Napier Trusts and Estates, June 2009 Many clients believe that the greatest enemy to their wealth is the federal estate tax. The reality is that very few estates actually pay a federal estate tax and current estimates are that fewer than 20,000 estates annually will actually pay the federal estate tax. Furthermore, it is understood that quality estate planning can materially reduce, if not eliminate, any tax due.  
‘Til death do us part, or sooner: The family law attorney meets estate planning By Michael C. Craven Family Law, June 2009 Family law attorneys agree that their clients should review their estate plans following a divorce. However, it is equally important to do so if contemplating or in the process of a divorce.
Up-to-the-Minute Legislation Update Trusts and Estates, June 2009 The minutes from the most recent Trusts & Estates Section meeting.
Inside the too-speculative continuum By Alan E. Stumpf Agricultural Law, May 2009 A taxpayer advocating valuation of built in capital gains inside of the too-speculative continuum needs to start his advocacy with an understanding of what a willing buyer and a willing seller will take into account.
A matter of right: Same-sex marriage—A look at the evolving law By Ray Prather Trusts and Estates, May 2009 While Illinois does not have a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, same-sex marriages are against the public policy of the State