Publications

Articles on Wills and Probate

Wills and codicils modified or executed by disabled testators are presumed void

October
2015
Illinois Law Update
Page 18
The Probate Act of 1975 has been amended to require clear and convincing evidence of a testator's testamentary capacity in order to execute a will or codicil.

A contest over Mr. Cub’s will?

By Matthew Hector
April
2015
LawPulse
Page 10
Ernie Banks' family has said they'll challenge his will, which was executed before Illinois' tough new Presumptively Void Transfers Act took effect.

A New Weapon Against Elder Abuse: Presumptively Void Transfers to Caregivers

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
January
2015
Article
Page 24
A new section of the Illinois Probate Act presumptively voids testamentary gifts to unrelated caregivers. It's a powerful weapon against financial abuse, but beware the unintended consequences.

Probate Act of 1975 allows delegation of expert witness fees

January
2015
Illinois Law Update
Page 16
The Illinois General Assembly has added language to the Probate Act of 1975 regarding the use of expert witnesses and payment for such services during the adjudication of disability and for appointment of a guardian.

Does Illinois Need an Electronic-Will Statute?

December
2014
Column
Page 600
Nevada has one – how about the Land of Lincoln?

When caregivers take

By Janan Hanna
August
2014
LawPulse
Page 366
A bill awaiting the governor's signature would protect seniors from being taken advantage of by a caregiver or court-appointed guardian.

Where There’s a Will, There’s an Ethical Duty

By Bailey E. Cunningham
July
2014
Column
Page 350
Storing your client's will? Understand the ethical obligations.

New Lawyer: Know What a Will Won’t Do

By Mark S. Mathewson
February
2014
Column
Page 102
Important assets pass outside probate, and lawyers should plan accordingly.

Of Traffic Tickets and Trusts

July
2013
Column
Page 367
Advising commercial drivers about traffic tickets, and why the next will you draft should have a supplemental needs trust provision.

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.

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.

A well-kept secret: the Illinois deposit of wills

By Adam W. Lasker
July
2012
LawPulse
Page 346
Tired of – and nervous about – storing clients’ original wills on your premises? Consider the Illinois Secretary of State’s deposit of wills.

Executor and estate attorney ordered to repay excessive fees

August
2011
Illinois Law Update
Page 388
Fees requested by an executor and attorney for administering an estate were not reasonable under the Probate Act, according to an Illinois Appellate Court.

Back to the Future: Estate Planning for 2010 and Beyond

By Katarinna McBride
November
2010
Column
Page 590
Estate planners look for ways to use this year's expiration of the estate tax to clients' advantage.

Mutual will contains embedded contract, which could govern conduct of surviving spouse

November
2010
Illinois Law Update
Page 564
On August 10, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, determined that a third-party beneficiary is entitled to enforce a contract embedded in a mutual will before the death of the surviving spouse.

Secretary of State establishes procedures for depositing wills

October
2010
Illinois Law Update
Page 508
The Illinois Secretary of State's Office recently adopted new rules governing the deposit of wills with the office of the secretary.

Increased minimum awards for surviving spouses of a deceased Illinois resident. PA 096-0968

September
2010
Illinois Law Update
Page 452
Illinois lawmakers have granted surviving spouses a larger minimum award from the estate of the deceased. (755 ILCS 5/15-1) 

See comments from our readers.

September
2010
Column
Page 442
Exception for commercial fraud not warranted; Two exceptions to the doctrine of election

2010 Spring Session Roundup

By Jim Covington
August
2010
Column
Page 404
A summary of key Illinois legislation passed this spring.

Clearer Guidance for Estate Planning Lawyers

By Katarinna McBride and Graham B. Schmidt
August
2010
Column
Page 433
What about clients with diminished capacity? Confidentiality and prospective clients? Here's a look.

Procedures for sterilization of a ward. PA 096-0272

August
2010
Illinois Law Update
Page 400
The Probate Act of 1975 now provides guidelines regarding consent by guardians for the sterilization of a ward. (755 ILCS 5/11a-17.1). 

A murder conviction is no longer needed for application of the “slayer statute”

July
2010
Illinois Law Update
Page 348
On April 29, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, upheld a decision of the Circuit Court of Macon County finding that the "slayer statute" prevents an individual deemed insane for criminal purposes, but nevertheless cognizant of murdering a person, from receiving any property, benefit or other interest he may have received by a death he caused.

Refuse the Bequest or Lose the Will Contest: The Unforgiving Doctrine of Election

By Robert S. Held
July
2010
Article
Page 374
Beneficiaries who accept even a small bequest can be estopped from later challenging the will - and the principle applies to trusts, too.

The Anna Nicole Smith Case: an Opera in Five Acts

By Katarinna McBride
May
2010
Column
Page 266
Is the battle over Anna Nicole Smith's husband's estate finally over?

Compensation for Family Caregivers

By Margot Gordon
May
2010
Article
Page 256
Custodial claims enable family members who cared for a now-deceased relative to be compensated for their years of unpaid or underpaid caregiving. Here's how it works.

Personal Liability of an Executor or Trustee - Time for a Change

By Timothy L. Bertschy
March
2010
Article
Page 140
Illinois' common law too often makes estate and trust executors and trustees personally liable to third parties, the author argues.

Read the letters to the Editor

December
2009
Column
Page 594
Use trusts, not wills in most cases; Robes, dickies, and wigs.

Where there’s another will, there may be a way

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
December
2009
LawPulse
Page 598
The failure to contest a will does not always bar an action for intentional interference with an expectancy of inheritance, the supreme court rules.

Illinois Supreme Court upholds jewish-marriage clause in trust provision

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
November
2009
LawPulse
Page 546
But the court's narrow framing of the issue avoids the question of whether such religious restrictions in wills and trusts are broadly permissible.

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