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Lombard estate planning attorneyOne of the most important decisions in the estate planning process is selecting who will be named as executor of the estate. The executor is the person who is responsible for overseeing and protecting the assets of the deceased person. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the wishes of the decedent are carried out, as well as maintaining any property of the estate until disbursement, paying the debts of the estate, and any taxes owed. It is critical for the person who is appointed executor to understand how to manage the estate. If they mismanage estate assets that add up to a loss to the beneficiaries of the estate, they can be held liable for those losses.

Important Duties

Unless arrangements have been made before the person’s death, it is typically the executor’s responsibility to handle the financial arrangements for the deceased’s funeral and burial expenses. The funeral parlor also provides copies of the death certificate to the executor. It is important to obtain several copies of the death certificate since a copy will be necessary in order to access financial accounts and canceling government benefit checks (i.e. Social Security). A copy is also required to be filed with the final federal tax return of the estate.


Posted on in Family Law

Lombard family law attorneyAfter retirement, many people feel that their time for making huge life decisions are behind them. They have completed a career, raised families, and now is the time to enjoy the life they created. Many by this point in time are single due to divorce or the unexpected death of their spouse. The option of marrying late in life is often overlooked, but in the right situations may be just what is needed.

Cohabitation vs. Marriage: The Great Debate

A growing trend in the population of those over 65 years of age is cohabitation rather than marriage. These couples still may wish to marry, but due to their reasons, they have made the decision not to do so. For many, the decision stems from the financial benefits of staying single along with a variety of other factors. Those who choose to take the plunge again, or perhaps for the first time, are in a portion of the population that is reducing each year. However, those who do often find marriage to be much more straightforward with less outside influence.


Lombard estate planning lawyersIn a recent post on this blog, we talked a little bit about how to decide if and when you should challenge the will of a recently-deceased loved one. Such a decision is never easy and must be made with great care. But, what about the other side of the equation? Is there anything you can do to help prevent a contest of your own will, if and when the time comes? In fact, there are a few things that can be done, including a provision that can be included right in the will itself. It is known colloquially as a non-contest clause and can be a useful tool in simplifying matters after your death.

What Is a No-Contest Clause?

A no-contest clause is sometimes referred to as an in terrorem provision. In terrorem translates from Latin as “about fear,” and such a clause in a legal document provides some sort of penalty to a party who challenges the document and loses. In the realm of estate planning, no-contest clauses may be used in the creation of wills or trusts to discourage most challenges from named heirs or beneficiaries.


DuPage County family law attorneyIf you are a divorced or unmarried parent whose child spends time with your former partner, you undoubtedly have concerns that they are being well-cared for and protected. This is hard enough when there is no rational reason to suspect a problem. When your child’s other parent is battling issues with alcohol use, however, the stakes get very high, very quickly. While you may not be able to control the other parent’s behavior, parenting style, or lifestyle choices, there are ways that you can ensure that your child is protected.

Determine the Scope of the Problem

The first thing you will need to do is determine how serious the other parent’s problem is or could be. One good way of estimating this is by considering how you learned about the possible issue. Was alcohol a problem for him or her during your relationship? If so, was it simply a need to drink or was it a binge-drinking problem? If you have heard rumors from friends or have seen on social media that the other parent is out partying from time to time, you will need to look deeper. If, on the other hand, your child tells you that the other parent had too much to drink and passed out on the sofa while your child was still awake—and it happens regularly—you need to take action. Reports of drinking and driving with your child in the car must also be taken very seriously.


Posted on in Adoption

Lombard family law attorneyWhile it may seem cold and impersonal to reduce family relationships to mere statistics, the numbers can hardly be disputed. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that, thanks to increasing rates of remarriage and other factors, some 1300 new stepfamilies are formed every single day in the United States. It has become much more common and expected for a child to have a separate relationship with each parent and their respective new partners following their remarriages. In some cases, a child’s relationship with a particular stepparent becomes so strong that the stepparent may be inclined to legally adopt the child.

If you are thinking about adopting your stepchild, however, there are a number of things you will need to consider, including:

You Assume Full Parental Rights and Responsibilities


Lombard estate planning lawyerIn the days and weeks after the death of a loved one, you are likely to remain focused on getting back to some semblance of normalcy in your life, especially if you were very close to the decedent. Just as things start to settle back down emotionally, new concerns can arise when your loved one’s will is presented for probate. When the provisions in the will are finally made known, you may be surprised to learn that your loved one has made some unexpected decisions. Such surprises may lead to you to think about filing a will contest, but there are some factors to consider before you do so.

Hurt Feelings Will Not Invalidate a Will

The first thing you need to remember is that, following a person’s death, there will almost always be someone who feels that they got ignored, left out, or the short end of the stick. They may have been led to expect a certain portion of the inheritance or a particular piece of property, only to find out later that such “promises” were never formalized in the will. If you feel slighted by your loved one’s decisions regarding his or her will, that is not sufficient grounds for challenging the document.


Posted on in Family Law

Lombard family law attorneysIn today’s world, more and more couples are drafting and executing prenuptial agreements before they walk the down the aisle. While each couple may have their own reasons for doing so, there are certain cultural trends that have made such agreements more necessary now than perhaps ever before. Research shows that young people are waiting longer to get married, which means that each partner is likely to have accumulated wealth or property prior to marriage, creating the need for financial discussion ahead of time.

Similarly, those who are considering getting married for the second or third time are well served by a prenuptial agreement. In these situations, a prenuptial agreement can be used to secure financial matters and to protect the inheritance rights of children from previous relationships.

Keeping It Reasonable


DuPage County estate planning attorneyWhen most people think about estate planning, their minds immediately turn toward dividing the tangible assets of a recently deceased person among his family members and loved ones. Such a concept is not inaccurate, but it does not really tell the whole story. Traditional assets like homes, cars, cash savings, and furniture, of course, must be accounted for in your estate plan, but what about considerations made possible by modern technology like digital downloads and your Facebook account? An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you address such concerns so that your privacy is fully protected along the way.

Digital Assets

If you use your computer, tablet, or mobile phone with any regularity, chances are good that you have at least digital assets. These may include songs and movies downloaded through iTunes, funds left in a PayPal account, or scanned financial documents electronically stored on your computer. With internet security becoming such a hot-button issue, it can be difficult for a family member—presuming that he or she knows about the asset in the first place—to log in, make changes, or delete the account.


Lombard divorce attorneyWhen divorce becomes more of an eventuality than a possibility, you will need to begin thinking about the attorney you will hire to protect your interests. Technically speaking, you are not required to retain legal counsel during a divorce, but to proceed without one can be a costly mistake.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of attorneys to choose from in the greater Chicago area, so how do you know which one is right for you? During your search, you should compile a list of several law firms or lawyers whose values seem to align with yours, then schedule an appointment to meet with them. It is also helpful to prepare a list of questions that can help you determine the best choice. These may include:

  • How long have you practiced family law? – While young lawyers certainly deserve a chance to prove themselves, there is no substitute for experience. It is also worth finding out how much of the attorney's practice is dedicated to divorce and family-related matters. If your candidate is a personal injury lawyer who handles one or two divorce cases per year, you may want to look elsewhere.
  • Will I speak directly with you each time I call? – This question addresses two concerns at the same time. First, how accessible will your attorney be? Your divorce can be slowed considerably if you are not able to communicate well with your lawyer. The second concern is that of the division of labor. Is your attorney planning to remain active in your case or will legwork be handed off to an associate, paralegal, or secretary?
  • How much do you charge? – Again, this question includes multiple components. Some attorneys offer divorce representation for a flat rate, which can be suddenly disregarded later as your case becomes more complex. Most, however, charge an hourly rate, so it is important to know what constitutes billable time and what the smallest billing increment is. For example, if you attorney says that time spent answering your email is billable, will he or she charge in increments of 6 minutes—tenths of an hour—or 15 minutes—quarters of an hour? The difference between the two can add up quickly.
  • How committed are you to reaching an amicable settlement? – Studies have shown that a negotiated divorce agreement is often more stable and easier to follow than a judgment issued by the court. If such an agreement can be reached, you and your attorney should remain committed to the process until a resolution is found. Some attorneys are quick to push for litigation, while others all but refuse to enter the courtroom. By asking questions, you can ascertain where your candidate stands and whether the intended approach matches your needs.

Of course, there are dozens of other questions you may have. These are just a few of the most basic ones to get the ball rolling.


Lombard family law attorneyWhile there are certain exceptions, most children fare best after divorce when they have a lasting and healthy relationship with both of their parents. Unfortunately, there are situations in which one parent tries to interfere with the bond that the child has with the other parent. This is known as parental alienation, and it can have a serious impact on the mental and emotional well-being of a child. Learn how to spot its symptoms, and what to do if you suspect that it is happening to you and your child.

Symptoms of Parental Alienation

During and after a divorce, emotions are high and couples are often struggling to find a new way to communicate and get along. This is just a part of the process, and there are bound to be a few bumps along the way. After all, it can take time to perfect the drop-off, pick-up, and parenting time schedules. This is different than parental alienation, which is an intentional interference with another parent’s relationship with their child. Symptoms that indicate this insidious and damaging behavior may include:


Lombard estate planning lawyerWhen most people think about estate planning, they think of wills, inheritances, and other ways to pass down a person’s property and assets to their heirs. Such an image is not necessarily wrong, but it certainly does not tell the whole the story. There are a number of reasons for estate planning that have very little to do with money and possessions, which makes the process important for every family, regardless of wealth or net worth.

1. Control Over Privacy

Without proper planning, your estate will be required to go through the process of probate, which is often long, cumbersome, and unpredictable. Probate is also a matter of public record, meaning your family’s affairs are made available to the general public. By taking steps in advance, you can limit the impact of the probate process and possibly avoid it altogether. In doing so, you can keep your personal details within your chosen circle.


Posted on in Visitation

Lombard family law attorneyAs a parent, there is nothing more important to you than the safety and well-being of your child. If you share parenting responsibilities or even just parenting time with your former partner, you can only hope that he or she shares your focus on your child’s best interests. But, what if he or she does not? What if he or she is not able to separate his or her own wants and needs from those of your child? Can you do anything about it? The answer—as with most aspects of divorce and family law—is that it depends on the specifics of your situation and whether your child is in serious danger.

Be Objective

Illinois law provides a court with the authority to limit a parent’s time with his or her child if such parenting time presents a serious danger to the child’s physical, emotional, mental, or moral health. What constitutes a serious danger is left to the interpretation of the court. You, as a parent, are very close to the situation, and you may find it difficult to determine what is a serious danger and what is simply parenting in a different manner than yours.


Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning lawyerIt seems that, with each generation, the golden age of retirement increases. Decades ago, many people retired at 62. Then that number was pushed to 65, where it hovered for quite some time. However, over the past few years, many people are encouraged to keep working until they are at least 67 years old, or even older. But, does working past 65 help or hurt your retirement objectives or your estate planning goals.

There are benefits to continuing to work past 65. You will be adding more funds to your retirement accounts and allowing the interest to accumulate. The longer you are earning income, the shorter the time will be that you will actually be relying on retirement funds to support you. If you do keep working, however, there are definitely issues you will have to address in order not to be penalized.



Posted on in Divorce

Lombard family law attorneyA divorce, as most people are aware, can be a nasty, volatile affair. Parties who were once so in love that they agreed to spend the rest of their lives together can quickly become fierce rivals who can no longer stand to be in the same room as one another. Each aspect of such a divorce becomes a small battle in the war to see who will “win” in the end.

Many who are considering divorce fear that their situation will deteriorate to similar levels of contentiousness and hostility. The reality, however, is that divorce does not need to be this way. Rather, it is possible for a couple to end their legal marriage while remaining civil, respectful, and even somewhat friendly throughout the process.

Redefining Winning


Lombard family law attorneysIn today’s fast-paced world, we can communicate more quickly than ever before. While the telephone has been around for almost 150 years, only recently have we developed the technology to take our phones—and now our computers—with us wherever we go. Now, we can instantly reach and out touch friends and family members anywhere in the world with just a few taps on our smartphones. Instant communication, however, can also be a curse, especially for a divorced parent who is prone to angry outbursts, as texts and emails full of insults and vitriol can quickly find their way in front of a judge.

Reaching an Equilibrium

If you are a parent who has gone through or is going through a divorce, you have probably experienced highs and lows in your post-separation relationship with your former partner. It is entirely understandable that you will have disagreements. You may have different philosophies regarding life in general, as well as many various aspects of parenting. There is a reason—probably many reasons—that you are no longer together so a somewhat tenuous relationship is to be expected.


Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning lawyerAs you look ahead to a time when you will no longer be around to care for your loved ones, you have probably given a great deal of thought to those who rely on you the most. You may have a son or daughter or even a sibling with a disability or other types of special needs who is unable to care for him- or herself. While you may have been able to care for a loved one with special needs during your lifetime, providing for him or her after your death could present significant challenges and may require you to establish a special needs trust in your loved one’s name.

What Is a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust, sometimes called a supplemental needs trust, is a tool that can allow the assets placed under the trust to be used for the care of a person with a disability or special needs without affecting his or her eligibility for government assistance programs. Special needs trusts are often funded by large, lump-sum settlements or through gifts and inheritances. Without a properly-drafted special needs trust, leaving part of your estate to a loved one with disabilities could potential disrupt the delicate balance of government aid programs upon which he or she relies.


Lombard adoption lawyersThe Chicago Tribune reports that there are currently more than 17,000 children in Illinois who are in foster care, with over 6,000 of them being cared for by non-relatives. In addition, there are approximately 1,000 children available for permanent adoption in the state on any given day. With so many children in need of loving homes, state officials are always looking for more couples and families who are willing to provide stability and care.

“We just don’t have enough people who have stepped forward,” said Susan McConnell, founder of a regional nonprofit group that advocates for adoption and foster care. Her group, Let It Be Us, has joined with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to promote participation in the state’s adoption and foster care programs among gay and lesbian parents. “We think that in the (LBGT) community,” McConnell continued, “there are people who would be good parents.

Increased Rates of Participation


Lombard family law attorneyAlso referred to in the state of Illinois as a POLST—practitioner orders for life-sustaining treatment—a do-not-resuscitate order can give you and your loved ones great peace of mind knowing your health wishes are officially documented should you be unable to make decisions about your own health matters. In the event of severe injury or illness, a DNR becomes a valuable advance directive document, so you may decide to include one when making your other estate planning arrangements.

How a DNR Is Different

Generally, federal law requires that every person admitted to a health care facility is informed of their to right to make an advance directive. The Patient Self-Determination Act requires not all, but many, providers to present information on advance directives to patients under their care. Unlike other advance directives, such as a power of attorney or living will, a do-not-resuscitate order exists to specifically address the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should your heart or breathing stop. Additionally, its purpose is to express your desires regarding any life-sustaining treatment.


Posted on in Divorce

Lombard family law attorneyNo one would ever deny that getting a divorce is a difficult and painful process. You had intended to stay married to your partner forever, and, now, your plans for the future are falling apart. Divorce is never the first option for those who are married, but going through one does not mean your life is over. After you have processed the sadness and pain of divorce is, you may notice a few potential benefits of the separation. For example:

Time to Pursue Hobbies and Interests

Managing a marriage and a family can be time consuming, but after a divorce, you may be sharing custody of children with your ex-spouse. This means that you suddenly have those nights without the children free. Even if you did not have children, you may notice that you have more time to spend how you choose anyway, as your time is yours alone. You could learn how to paint, take up a community sport, adopt a pet, or start practicing yoga. The door to your marriage may have closed, but many windows of opportunities have opened. 


Lombard estate planning attorneyAs with most estate planning arrangements, you, thankfully, have a say over who you appoint as your “agent” when it comes to your health care power of attorney. Under this planning tool, you are considered the “principal” and the person you appoint as “agent” is granted various permissions regarding your health care.

In short, a health care power of attorney, or POA, is a type of advance directive which allows you to designate someone you trust to make decisions about your health, on your behalf, in the event you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself due to illness or debilitative condition. You can create a binding power of attorney for your health by using the standard state form or by writing your own.

How the Powers Are Determined

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners
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