Taking certain precautions when drafting estate-planning documents can help to avoid future legal challenges by disgruntled family members. One common will contest involves allegations that the family members were incompetent when they drafted their wills. Others may involve arguments that the testators were unduly coerced when they drafted their wills or that the wills were not properly executed. A legal challenge is far less likely to prevail if the decedent demonstrated his or her competence. Spouses may want to hire separate attorneys to prepare their wills in order to prevent future conflicts. Read More
Probate law will likely change under the new presidential administration. Trump calls for a repeal of the estate tax. He also proposes a capital gains tax on assets left behind over $10 million. The details are still unclear, but an experienced probate lawyer can answer questions about estate planning. Read More
Approximately 12% of the US population is physically or mentally disabled. Many of these individuals reside with or receive financial support from their parents or other family members. Estate planning for these dependents is crucial for ensuring their long-term care and welfare. Read More
Some economists are predicting that rampant student debt (i.e. “tuition debt”) is the new speculative bubble that could sink the economy. Speculative bubbles are periods of rapid, unsustainable economic activity in a particular industry or service. These rapid buildups result in “bubbles” which continue to expand until they reach a tipping point when they are no longer sustainable. Once the “bubble” bursts, it results in an economic recession. Read More
While individuals can put intra-family loans together themselves, the services of an experienced estate planning attorney and possibly a tax advisor should be considered to avoid possible complications or having the loan contested by the IRS. Read More
People who choose to file for bankruptcy protection in Illinois must be honest, and if they are not, they could face criminal charges and have their bankruptcy petitions dismissed. While criminal charges are not always filed, bankruptcy courts may still impose other penalties against people who try to hide or conceal assets or who lie on their schedules. When a person is honest with his or her bankruptcy attorney and with the trustee, then it will pay off in the long run when the person obtains financial relief through his or her bankruptcy discharge. Read More
A special needs trust can allow a disabled loved one to receive supplemental care while maintaining their Medicaid and/or SSI benefits. Drafting and administering the trust must happen with a clear understanding of how the SNT works in conjunction with government benefits. If the trustee, or their special needs trust attorney, does not follow the process correctly, the beneficiary could lose their government benefits.
Estate tax laws were overhauled by the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (“Improvement Act”), by IRS proposed regulation § 2801, and by a series of cases which addressed estate planning issues. These recent developments, while not expansive, could significantly impact some estate and individual tax returns. Furthermore, Congress expanded the number of tax returns that could be subjected to penalties and interest for improper or late filings. Read More
Bankruptcy can affect people from all walks of life. Even celebrities and politicians aren’t exempt from bankruptcy. Anyone can face financial troubles, and bankruptcy lawyers can provide guidance for a smooth process.