Publications

Articles on Estate Planning

Acknowledged Estate Planning Documents Are Self-Authenticating Evidence

By David M. Madden
November
2017
Article
Page 44
Having a document acknowledged by a notary when it's executed can overcome a challenge to its authenticity at trial and ensure it will be admissible into evidence.

From the Newsletters - 10 tips from a veteran estate-planning lawyer

November
2017
Article
Page 36
Why should you advise your clients to sign testamentary documents in blue ink? And should they leave a dollar to that disinherited heir? Read on and find out.

From the Newsletters - 5 estate planning steps for divorcing clients.

October
2017
Article
Page 38
Divorcing clients should change beneficiary designations and take other steps to make sure their soon-to-be ex doesn't reap an unintended windfall if they die before the divorce is final.

No fiduciary duty for POA successor agents, high court rules

By Matthew Hector
August
2017
LawPulse
Page 12
A recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling makes life less perilous for successor agents of POAs for property.

Estate planners vulnerable to dormant legal malpractice claims

By Matthew Hector
April
2017
LawPulse
Page 22
There's a six-year statute of repose for legal malpractice - unless the alleged act or omission isn't discovered until the client dies. Estate planning lawyers want more protection.

A fiduciary can successfully rebut the presumption of fraud when transfers are made with donative intent to family members, and the principal expresses free desire to make such gifts

February
2017
Illinois Law Update
Page 20
Petitioner brought a citation to discover against respondent and others to recover transfers that a disabled person, Agnes Spinnie, had made before the petitioner became her guardian.

Managing Your Electronic Estate: The New Digital Assets Act

By Mary D. Cascino
November
2016
Article
Page 28
What happens to our password-protected online accounts when we die? A new Illinois law establishes the procedures that allow fiduciaries to get access to "digital assets."

Digital Assets Act gives access to decedents’ online accounts

By Matthew Hector
September
2016
LawPulse
Page 12
After a false start in 2015, the legislature delivered and the governor signed a bill this year that gives fiduciaries the power to access email, social media, and other digital assets of a decedent.

Overturning Mendelson: Bill would forbid conveying real estate to trust without deed

By Matthew Hector
May
2016
LawPulse
Page 10
Proposed legislation would amend the Trusts and Trustees Act to require that all transfers of property into a trust be evidenced by a written conveyance and acceptance by the trustee.

Sales to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts: The Risks and Rewards

By Aaron D. Evans
February
2016
Article
Page 34
Making installment sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts can be a valuable estate-freezing strategy. But there are pitfalls posed by recent IRS scrutiny.

How to Avoid Estate Planning Malpractice Claims

By Zachary J. Freeman, Thomas M. Staunton, and Arthur W. Friedman
December
2015
Article
Page 32
A look at the unique malpractice risks - including the third-party beneficiary rule and the extended statute of repose - faced by estate planning lawyers.

Probate and ‘Underwater’ Real Estate: The Promise of LaPlume

By Fredric Bryan Lesser and Jeffrey P. O’Kelley
June
2015
Article
Page 24
A groundbreaking appellate case holds that probate courts can sell an estate's "underwater" real property free and clear of all liens, including mortgage liens.

Proposed law would give fiduciaries easier access to decedents’ Facebook, other accounts

By Matthew Hector
June
2015
LawPulse
Page 10
The proposed Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act would make it easier for executors and others to access the growing body of electronic data Illinoisans leave behind.

Estate Planners Adopt and Adapt the New HCPOA Form

By Ed Finkel
April
2015
Cover Story
Page 20
Illinois has a new, plain-language statutory health care power of attorney, and lawyers are getting used to it – and, in some cases, tweaking it to suit their practices.

Lawyers as POA Agents, Estate Planning for Digital Assets

March
2015
Column
Page 48
Can you be the agent for your client's POA? And what about digital art in estate planning?

Legislative fine-tuning makes the small-estate affidavit more useful

By Matthew Hector
November
2014
LawPulse
Page 518
A new law makes the small-estate affidavit better for rounding up stray assets that didn't make it into probate-avoiding trusts and more palatable to banks and other entities.

“Residential real estate” redefined for transfer on death instruments

October
2014
Illinois Law Update
Page 472
Residential condominium units as well as parking units or units specified by a declaration to be allocated to a specific residential condominium unit now fall under the penumbra of "residential real estate" in the Illinois Residential Real Property Transfer on Death Instrument Act.

Estate Planning and the American Taxpayer Relief Act

By Stephen M. Margolin and Lindsey Paige Markus
February
2014
Article
Page 92
Thanks to ATRA, a married couple with a properly structured estate can pass more than $10 million free of federal estate tax. But beware income and state-estate tax consequences.

Bump in social security benefits

December
2013
Illinois Law Update
Page 612
The allowance for aged, blind, and disabled recipients of supplemental security income (SSI) recently increased from $519.90 to $531.90. 89 Ill. Adm. Code 113.

Making Constitutional Challenges to the Illinois Tax on Trust Income

By Robert J. Kolasa
November
2013
Article
Page 584
Under Illinois law, income from a trust created by an Illinois resident is taxable even if the trust is not otherwise connected to Illinois. But is the state tax constitutionally infirm?

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.

Illinois Supreme Court recognizes doctrine of equitable adoption

By Adam W. Lasker
May
2013
LawPulse
Page 222
If parents treat a child they have not legally adopted as their own, he can pursue an inheritance even in the absence of their express or implied contract to adopt him, the high court rules.

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.

Real Estate and Avoiding Probate: The Case for Land Trusts

By David J. Lanciotti
February
2013
Article
Page 86
While both land trusts and transfer on death instruments allow residential real estate to transfer outside probate, the land trust has important advantages for some clients, this author argues.

Making Gifts Can Reduce Illinois Estate Taxes

By Robert J. Kolasa
December
2012
Article
Page 646
Recent Illinois legislation established higher estate tax exclusion amounts. Learn how clients can use gifts to substantially reduce Illinois estate taxes.

Illinois Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax return

November
2012
Illinois Law Update
Page 580
The Attorney General recently implemented revisions to the regulations governing estate tax treatment of civil unions. 86 Ill. Adm. Code 2000.

Paying for Long-Term Care in Illinois

By William Siebers and Zach Hesselbaum
October
2012
Article
Page 536
There are five ways to pay for long-term care in Illinois. This article discusses all five and brings you the latest on the ever-shifting Medicaid and Veterans' Administration rules.

New Medicaid law will limit estate-planning, other options

By Adam W. Lasker
September
2012
LawPulse
Page 458
The new Medicaid law means tighter regulations, higher costs, and reduced coverage for recipients, a family lawyer observes.

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