Illinois Bar Journal


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Articles on Estate Planning

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 Article, 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.
Dynasty Trusts for Everyone By Mary D. Cascino August 2012 Column, Page 440 Dynasty trusts give even those of ordinary means a way to minimize estate taxes prospectively.
Estate Planning for 2012: Looming Lower Gift Tax Exclusion Limits By David A. Berek February 2012 Column, Page 110 Encourage wealthy clients to give tax-avoiding gifts now.
New Long-Term Care Medicaid Rules Finally Come to Illinois By Diana Law and William Siebers January 2012 Article, Page 30 Effective January 1, Illinois finally brought its Medicaid rules for long-term care into compliance with federal requirements. The new rules make it harder for Illinois long-term care recipients to protect their assets while preserving Medicaid eligibility. Here's what you need to know.
The Transfer on Death Instrument Comes to Illinois By Charles G. Brown December 2011 Article, Page 618 Effective January 1, Illinois law gives your clients a convenient way to transfer residential real estate outside of probate. Here's a review of the new law by one of its drafters.
Attention estate planners: new Medicaid asset transfer rules finally adopted By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2011 LawPulse, Page 550 New state regulations, passed in response to federal requirements after years of delay, make it harder for nursing home care recipients to both shelter assets and stay eligible for Medicaid.
Looking at 2011 and Beyond By Mary Cascino and Katarinna McBride November 2011 Column, Page 584 A late-2011 look how recent rulings should influence your estate-planning advice.