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Trusts and EstatesThe newsletter of the ISBA’s Section on Trusts & Estates

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Newsletter articles from 2010

2010 Bank Convenience Accounts: An exciting new tool? By Graham Boardman Schmidt May 2010 Many bank customers may find it useful to establish an account that grants possession, but not title, of funds to another individual.
2010 year-end estate planning: Navigating the uncertainty By Gregg M. Simon December 2010 While many of the usual planning techniques remain viable, the current state of the transfer tax laws provides for additional opportunities but makes 2010 year-end planning a bigger challenge than in past years.
Awarding attorney fees in fiduciary duty cases By Lawrence E. Varsek and Roman R. Okrei March 2010 Illinois courts have made clear that they will enter an award against a person who breaches his fiduciary duty when that person benefits from the breach and causes harm to the party or parties to which they owe a fiduciary duty.
Basis adjustments for 2010 estates: A navigation system for unknown routes By Alan E. Stumpf 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.
Billion dollar baby: The Supreme Court will once again review Anna Nicole Smith case By Katarinna McBride November 2010 The Court will now review if Ms. Smith (or Ms. Smith’s estate) received a proper hearing in federal courts (a procedural question), and whether state probate courts (Texas) should be the proper venue for hearing such cases.
Congress may be frozen, but the Supreme Court is acting! By Philip E. Koenig 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 plan prepared by guardian not ripe for challenge By Margot Gordon 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.
Estate planning by guardians: The next generation By Robert W. Kaufman November 2010 Although guardianship law has come a long way over the years, recent cases demonstrate there is still conflicting authority on these matters.
Estate tax or not: Reasons your clients still need estate planning By Jodie E. Distler Hanzlik 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.
Ethics corner: Courtesy or controversy—Drafting attorney-reserved power to amend or revoke client’s trust By Donald L. Shriver March 2010 The close relationship you have with your clients may be ample explanation for some unusual fiduciary relationships.
Exploring and exploiting the Internet: A guide for estate planning attorneys By Jay S. Goldenberg June 2010 Some helpful Web sites and links for Trusts & Estates attorneys.
George Steinbrenner’s estate tax homerun By Robert J. Kolasa October 2010 Since Mr. Steinbrenner died in 2010 (a year in which there may be no federal estate taxes), his heirs pitched the proverbial perfect game and escaped with a zero estate tax bill.
Legal business models: Ethical concerns of adjusting to client demands By Darrell Dies June 2010 How do the personalities and expectations of a new generation of clients affect a lawyer's practice?
Life insurance litigation post-divorce: Easy to avoid, commonly neglected By Lauren J. Wolven and Ashley Crettol August 2010 Even if a valid waiver is included in the divorce decree, practitioners should also impress upon their clients the importance of changing their beneficiary designations.
Not just a bill By Mary Cascino May 2010 HB 6477, which revises the Illinois Power of Attorney Act to minimize abuses, has passed the Illinois General Assembly and is ready for the Governor to sign.
Note from the Editor By Katarinna McBride August 2010 Where do you believe estate law is headed? E-mail your thoughts to newsletter editor Katarinna McBride.
A question of health By Jay S. Goldenberg November 2010 Suggested language to add to a statutory form so that medical information can be released to a designated person other than the primary Health Care Agent.
Record low interest rates mean good times for estate planning By Gregg M. Simon December 2010 The current economic environment presents significant opportunities for leveraging tax savings and transferring wealth to descendants on a tax-advantaged basis.
Say bye-bye to passive activity losses: A possible past-time for LLCs and LLPs By Jesse T. Coyle 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.  
Terms of engagement By Darrell Dies January 2010 If using an engagement letter is a foreign concept to you, then you will benefit from reviewing this article, which summarizes a couple of the new Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the Illinois Supreme Court that became effective January 1, 2010
Trust TBE Creditor Protection—A bonanza or a boondoggle? By Gregg M. Simon September 2010 Because of uncertainty as to how the Illinois tenancy by the entirety statute may be applied, until clarified by remedial legislation, case law or otherwise, utilization of this statute may not be prudent.