Publications

Section Newsletter Articles on Trusts and Estates

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
Private annuities By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, May 2009 A private annuity can be an effective way of transferring wealth to a family member, freezing the estate, avoiding estate and gift tax, and ensuring a lifetime stream of income.
Appraisal opportunities and challenges in down markets By Tony Garvy Trusts and Estates, April 2009 By understanding the approach of appraisers to determining the value of closely held business in the current market conditions, estate planners can better service their clients during the market downturn.
Estate planning in a low-interest-rate environment By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, April 2009 This article discusses the mechanics of techniques such as intra-family loans, SCINs, installment sales to grantor trusts, GRATs, CLATs and charitable gifts of personal residence remainders, and how they flourish in a low-interest environment.
The fine art of fine art investments By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, April 2009 Investing in art can be an exciting opportunity for many individuals to make great profit, diversify a portfolio, and to add aesthetic beauty to an individual’s home. But as with all investments, engaging in the collection of art for investment purposes carries its own unique risks that should thoroughly investigated and evaluated.
Observations on Illinois House Bill 0151—The Will Deposit Statute By William L. Cleaver Elder Law, April 2009 Illinois House Bill 0151 was introduced January 14, 2009. As an amendment to the Illinois Secretary of State Act, a new Section 5.15 would become part of 15 ILCS 305. It may serve to assist in addressing a problem, the solution to which has been elusive. At the same time, it also raises a question of whether there might be alternatives to what the Bill would accomplish.  
T & E Ethics Corner Trusts and Estates, April 2009 Some guidelines for jointly representing spouses in estate planning.
Tips for working with the fighting family By Martin W. Siemer Elder Law, April 2009 Some tips and suggestions for dealing with a fighting family.
Ahoy, Ahoy! A Tax Bill on the Horizon By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, March 2009 In a bi-partisan effort, U.S. Representatives Mark Kirk (Republican) and Harry Mitchell (Democrat) introduced H..R. 498 ( “Tax Bill”), legislation designed to address the problems with the estate tax and capital gains tax. But in order to become law this bill still has a few significant hurdles to pass.
The Doctrine of Merger: A vanishing rule Agricultural Law, March 2009 The Merger Doctrine still sees use in the state, although like many common law rules its position has changed over the years. As recently as 2008, the Illinois Supreme Court dealt with a case primarily focused on the doctrine, Czarobski v. Lata, 882 NE2d 536 (Ill 2008).
A life to die for: A case study on life insurance settlements By Stephen M. Margolin Trusts and Estates, March 2009 A fictional story illustrating why life insurance policy issuers may wish to re-examine their negative outlook on the life insurance settlement business.
Trusts and Estates Section Council Legislative Update By Ray J. Koenig, III and MacKenzie Hyde Trusts and Estates, March 2009 This article reviews bills pending in the 96th Session of the Illinois General Assembly that impact our practice areas.
Bonds and the original issue discount: Easy does it By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, February 2009 With the investment landscape changing investors have shown interest in more secure and conservative investment vehicles. Many clients have expressed an interest in bonds. However, the complexity of the varying bond vehicles and the income tax implications is often something that clients fail to understand.  
SCINS, GRATS and IDGTs: Acronyms that present planning opportunities in a low-interest environment By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, February 2009 With interest rates at historical lows, several wealth transfer techniques offer high net worth individuals an excellent opportunity to transfer wealth to their descendants at a minimal cost. These techniques benefit from low interest rates. Two sophisticated estate planning techniques that benefit from a low interest rate environment are the SCIN and the GRAT.  
Uniform Principal and Income Act 2008 Amendments: Coming to a state near you? By Adrienne M. Penta and Lauren J. Wolven Trusts and Estates, February 2009 Anyone serving as a trustee of a trust subject to a principal and income act should be aware of the amendments to the uniform act discussed in this article. 
The Charitable Gift Annuity: A valuable financial tool for the elder non-affluent client who has an inter vivos charitable intent By Dennis J. Jacknewitz Elder Law, January 2009 This article will attempt to illustrate to its readers how a charitable gift annuity can be a valuable tool for the elderly client who is not affluent, who has limited taxable income, who has a current charitable intent and who is not confronted with Medicaid issues.
Foundational changes for private foundations: All gains and no losses By Katarinna McBride Trusts and Estates, January 2009 After this year, private foundations may not carry capital losses forward to future years. However, these rules only apply to losses. There is no rule blocking recognition of gains. This tax change has the effect of “stepping up” the foundation’s cost basis in appreciated securities to fair market value tax-free. If foundations have realized capital losses in their foundations’ portfolios, they should consider whether to sell securities to realize an offsetting capital gain before year-end.  
A year-end opportunity to wash your dirty stocks: Harvesting losses with wash sales By David A. Berek and Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, January 2009 The Internal Revenue Code Section 165(a) permits deductions for any loss sustained during the taxable year and not compensated for by insurance or otherwise. The broad language of Section 165 seemingly allows deductions for almost any type of loss. Logically, the language has of this Section has resulted in abuse, causing Congress to respond by creating limitations on the deductibility of losses. One of the deductions that Congress has disallowed is the deduction for losses resulting from wash sales of stock or securities.  
Year-end tax tips By Jesse T. Coyle Trusts and Estates, January 2009 Before the calendar year ends, consider the following tax planning techniques.
Estate and gift tax changes for 2009 By Mike Drone Agricultural Law, November 2008 Several changes in the estate and gift tax law go into effect in 2009.