Illinois Bar Journal


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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.