Durable Power of Attorney for Property

Durable Power of Attorney for Property is one of the most basic forms of estate planning, and one which every adult should consider executing.  POA for Property will specify an agent-in-fact, and a successor agent, who will step in and make financial decisions in the event you are no longer able to do so for yourself.

Such . . . → Read More: Durable Power of Attorney for Property

Estate Planning Guidelines

Estate Planning Guidelines are questions and issues which should be well thought-out and considered prior to meeting with your estate planning attorney.    When putting together an estate plan, you may want to have conversations with individuals whom you are considering naming as executors, trustees and, in particular, guardians of minor children.

Here are some estate planning issues for . . . → Read More: Estate Planning Guidelines

General Duties of a Trustee

General Duties of a Trustee:  One of the more important considerations when discussing estate planning options is the institution or individual named as Trustee or Successor Trustee.  If one of the estate planning vehicles being considered is a revocable or “living” trust, with the grantor acting as the initial trustee, the individual or institution named as . . . → Read More: General Duties of a Trustee

Benefits of a Revocable Trust

The Benefits of a Revocable Trust are numerous.  Also known as a “Living Trust,” a Revocable Trust is formed by a grantor during his lifetime, and becomes irrevocable upon the death of the grantor.  The typical revocable trust consists of all or more of the grantor’s property, whth the trustee keeping the property and assets invested, and . . . → Read More: Benefits of a Revocable Trust

Estate Planning – Wills

Estate Planning – Wills – basic planning for the distribution of assets after death.  Drafting and executing a Will is a major component of estate planning.   A Will is an instrument executed by a competent person, whereby property is deposed of after death.

In Illinois, a Will:

Must be in writing
Must be signed by the testator
Must be witnessed . . . → Read More: Estate Planning – Wills

Problems with Internet-based Estate Planning Services

Problems with Internet-based Estate Planning Services:  Saving money by utilizing an internet-based estate planning service, such as LegalZoom, may ultimately cost consumers more money and angst.   A class action suit, filed in California by Katherine Webster, as Executor of the estate of Anthony Ferrantino and Trustee of the Anthony J. Ferrantino Living Trust, alleges that the . . . → Read More: Problems with Internet-based Estate Planning Services

New Illinois Power of Attorney Act

New Illinois Power of Attorney Act:   Effective on July 1, 2011, the Illinois General Assembly via Public Act 96-1195, has made sweeping changes of the Illinois Power of Attorney Act.  The goals of the changes in the New Illinois Power of Attorney Act were to make the statutory forms more user-friendly, yet more protective of the principal . . . → Read More: New Illinois Power of Attorney Act

Fiduciary Relationship – Significance

While a fiduciary relationship is created under a Power of Attorney, or between a trustee and a beneficiary, certain circumstances may exist between an individual and another which will result in a finding of the existence of a fiduciary relationship without a formal agency.

Relevant factors to consider in determining whether a fiduciary relationship exists are:

The degree . . . → Read More: Fiduciary Relationship – Significance

Undue Influence – Will Contest

Undue Influence:  The use of undue influence on a testator is a major cause of a subsequent will contest.   Elderly individuals, who live alone and lack caring friends and family nearby, are particulary susceptible to undue influence by someone who is less than ethical and motivated by money and greed.

If there is a fiduciary relationship between . . . → Read More: Undue Influence – Will Contest

Lack of Testamentary Capacity – Illinois Will Contest

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A finding of a Lack of Testamentary Capacity at the time of the execution of a will can be the basis for a successful will contest.  In Illinois, there is a presumption that the testator possessed testamentary capacity at the time the will was executed, if the will is properly executed (signed) in . . . → Read More: Lack of Testamentary Capacity – Illinois Will Contest