Publications

Articles on Wills and Probate

Disappointed Would-Be Legatees: Who Has Standing to Contest a Will?

By Ray J. Koenig and Adam S. Kornblatt
June
2005
Article
Page 294
Suppose your client was left out of a will — can he contest it? This article discusses the legal landscape.

Is the Family LLC Still a Good Asset Protection Device?

By David Berek
May
2005
Column
Page 256
 Is a debtor's interest in a family LLC still beyond the reach of creditors?

The several risks of joint representation

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
May
2005
LawPulse
Page 226
What about representing both members of a couple on an estate plan? Two or more partners to a business deal? You can do it – sometimes – if you take the proper steps.

Business Succession Planning: Lessons from True, Blount and Smith

By David Berek
February
2005
Column
Page 94
The IRS is taking a harder look at how the parties to buy-sell agree-ments for closely held businesses are calculating fair-market value.

Ademption preemption

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
December
2004
LawPulse
Page 614
Remember the ademption doctrine from your Wills and Estates class? No? Read on.

Correspondence from Our Readers

December
2004
Column
Page 610
Voluntary-dismissal abuse; small estate affidavits.

A new, higher limit for small-estate affidavits

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
October
2004
LawPulse
Page 508
The ceiling for small estate affidavits has doubled from $50,000 to $100,000. But will it make the well-meaning people who serve as affiants more attractive targets for lawsuits?

Allowing property to pass intestate cannot be considered an act of giving

September
2004
Illinois Law Update
Page 456
On June 17, 2004, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court and affirmed the circuit court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants. 

Correspondence from Our Readers

August
2004
Column
Page 386
Hall v Henn – the "court had no alternative"

Standing, for the purpose of a will contest, is not something that the plaintiff must plead and prove; it is an affirmative defense which the defendant must establish

July
2004
Illinois Law Update
Page 340
On April 1, 2004, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court's determination that the plaintiff's will contest should not have been dismissed for lack of standing.

When Can A Disabled Surviving Spouse Renounce a Will?

By Thomas A. Pasquesi
June
2004
Article
Page 310
This article reviews the murky law of will renunciation by mentally incompetent surviving spouses.

In order to satisfy the requirements of §5/18-2 of the Illinois Probate Act, a creditor must unequivocally demonstrate its intention to pursue a claim against the estate and not against the codebtor/administrator in his or her individual capacity.

March
2004
Illinois Law Update
Page 124
On December 18, 2003, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, affirmed the trial court's judgment dismissing a creditor's claim against an estate as untimely.

Getting paid, part 2: A new probate pitfall to avoid

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
February
2004
LawPulse
Page 62
If your client is seeking payment from an estate, make sure you file a claim with the probate court even if the estate representative knows about the debt; that knowledge might not put the estate on the hook, according to a new appellate court ruling.

A biological father of a stillborn child who can establish his parentage is the “next of kin.”

January
2004
Illinois Law Update
Page 16
On October 17, 2003, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court, holding that a claimed biological father of a stillborn child has standing to prove his parentage and serve as administrator of the child's estate in a wrongful death case.

Can a parent inherit from a stillborn child?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
December
2003
LawPulse
Page 594
A fascinating, if perplexing, Illinois Supreme Court opinion seems to say that a fetus can have an estate for inheritance purposes.

Found Treasure: A Primer on Unclaimed Property in Illinois

By Joshua A. Joyce and Hugh F. Drake
August
2003
Article
Page 409
Is your client entitled to, or holding, unclaimed property? Here's a review of the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.

Guardian ad litem 101

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2003
LawPulse
Page 374
Veteran ISBA members offer advice to lawyers who find themselves appointed as guardian ad litem for disabled respondents.

Probate Court 101

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
April
2003
LawPulse
Page 162
How does a sole practitioner learn his or her way around the courthouse? Start by asking.

Section 2-6.5 of Probate Act requires trial court to first find that parent satisfies one criteria for misconduct and then determine what effect that misconduct had before reducing parent’s interest in child’s estate

January
2003
Illinois Law Update
Page 14
On October 15, 2002, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, reversed in part and reversed and remanded in part the order of the circuit court of Cook County entering an adjudication of parental neglect pursuant to section 2-6.5 of the Probate Act.

Illinois Supreme Court cares for caretakers

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2002
LawPulse
Page 392
The high court upholds the Probate Act provision that allows a claim against the estate by selected relatives who serve as custodial caretakers.

Probate Court Report #1: Protect children of divorce before probate

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
March
2002
LawPulse
Page 114
Take steps during the divorce to protect ex-spouses/children after their ex-partner/parent's death, or they might get no higher priority in probate court than magazine subscriptions and utility bills.

Probate Court Report #2: Take care with heirship

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
March
2002
LawPulse
Page 114
Do a little probate work? Then take heed: failing to properly prepare an affidavit of heirship can lead to embarrassment or worse if the will falls through.

Legislation authorizes sale of a decedent’s real estate on the Internet; P.A. 92-097

November
2001
Illinois Law Update
Page 568
In July, Gov. George H. Ryan signed legislation amending the Probate Act of 1975.

The Lawyer’s Journal

By Bonnie C. McGrath
May
2001
Column
Page 226
Arbitration clauses in employment contracts are enforceable; visit the Illinois Supreme Court Web site; and more.

Court upholds decedent’s testamentary gift to dental school, which a university closed several months prior to testator’s death, because plain language of will revealed testator’s intent to provide university with a gift.

September
2000
Illinois Law Update
Page 500
On July 13, 2000, the Third District of the Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment to Northwestern University ("university").

Using the Probate Act to Recover Assets Stolen from Persons with Disabilities

By Charles P. Golbert
September
2000
Article
Page 510
How to use Article XVI of the Illinois Probate Act to discover and recover ill-gotten assets.

Nice Guys Finish Last in Wills and Estate Planning

By Anne E. Thar
April
2000
Column
Page 235
Confused elderly parents, estranged (and strange) children; estate-planning practice can pose serious malpractice risks for the best of lawyers. Here's what to watch for.

Making the Most of the New Illinois Perpetuities Statute

By Richard A. Campbell and Christopher D. Dwyer
November
1999
Article
Page 594
Illinois' recently enacted rule-against-perpetuities statute permits estate planners to create perpetual trusts, and that opens new estate-planning possibilities. The authors describe the options.

The Lawyer’s Journal

By Bonnie McGrath
October
1999
Column
Page 514
Insurance policies and the discovery rule; read the fine print.

Probate and Estate Planning Update for General Practitioners

By Donald A. LoBue
October
1999
Column
Page 544
An overview of selected recent changes in estate planning law.

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