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How Can You Challenge an Estate Planning Document?

 Posted on May 23, 2024 in Estate Planning

Wheaton, IL estate planning lawyerDealing with a dispute over an estate is the last thing anyone wants after the passing of a loved one. Unfortunately, there are sometimes occasions when it is necessary to challenge an estate planning document. If you are wondering whether you can challenge an estate planning document such as a will, there are specific grounds on which an estate planning document can be contested. An Illinois lawyer can help you explore these reasons and explain the steps involved in challenging an estate plan.

The Validity of the Document

One of the primary reasons to challenge an estate planning document is that there are concerns about its validity. In Illinois, a will must be signed by the testator (the person making the will), and witnessed by two individuals. If these requirements are not met, the will may be deemed invalid. The document can be challenged if there is evidence that the testator lacked the mental capacity to create the will or was under undue influence.

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Things Not to Say in Divorce Mediation

 Posted on May 16, 2024 in Mediation

Lombard, IL divorce lawyerMediation is a great legal tool that helps parties in a dispute come to a settlement before ever getting to court. In a divorce, spouses who disagree on elements of the divorce often can resolve their differences in mediation. This helps both parties avoid a costly and messy court battle.

While you are not required to have an attorney present in mediation, it is highly recommended. An Illinois divorce attorney can help you navigate the mediation process and negotiate the best outcome. But whether you bring an attorney or attend mediation on your own, know that saying certain things can hurt your chances of a positive result.

This article will discuss what mediation is and what to avoid saying during a mediation session.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is where two parties negotiate with the help of a mediator. A mediator is a professional negotiator and neutral party appointed by the court. Some mediators are former judges who use their skills and experience to help parties settle a dispute.

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Will My Ex Go to Jail for Not Paying Child Support?

 Posted on May 06, 2024 in Child Custody

DuPage County, IL child custody lawyer

Child support is taken seriously by Illinois law. Parents who willfully do not comply with child support orders can face severe consequences.

The key word, however, is “willfully.” The law understands that sometimes circumstances change. The parent who was ordered to pay child support — also referred to as the payor or obligor — may have a valid reason for no longer being able to make payments. But if payments are withheld deliberately, the parent will face serious penalties.

The best way to understand how Illinois law will view your case is to contact a qualified Illinois child support attorney.

What Are the Penalties for Withholding Child Support?

The penalties for withholding child support largely depend on how much has been withheld or for how long. These and other factors determine whether a parent is guilty of a felony or misdemeanor under Illinois law. For example:

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Common Grounds to Contest A Will

 Posted on April 30, 2024 in Estate Planning

Lombard, IL estate planning lawyerWhen a loved one passes away, his or her last will and testament often become the focus as families determine how assets get distributed. However, there are situations where a will may not accurately reflect the deceased’s true wishes or follow proper legal procedures. In such cases, contesting the will in probate court allows interested parties to challenge its validity. An Illinois lawyer can help you determine if you believe you have grounds for contesting a will.

Lack of Testamentary Capacity

For a will to be valid in Illinois, the testator (the person making the will) must have been of “sound mind and memory” when executing the document. This means he or she possessed the mental capacity to understand the nature and extent of the property, knew who his or her heirs were, and could make a rational plan for distributing assets. If the testator suffered from dementia or another condition that impaired mental abilities, this could serve as grounds to contest the will.

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What Are the Pros and Cons of Open Adoption?

 Posted on April 22, 2024 in Adoption

Lombard, IL adoption attorneyThere are three types of adoption in Illinois when it comes to involving the biological parents: open adoption, semi-open adoption, and closed adoption. 

  • In an open adoption, the biological parents remain involved and maintain a relationship with the child. 

  • In a semi-open adoption, the biological parents are somewhat involved in the child’s life but are not in frequent contact. 

  • In a closed adoption, there is no contact with the biological parents at all. The adoption is handled strictly through a third party like an adoption agency, which fields all communication between the biological and adoptive parents.

Open adoption can be an attractive option, but it is not for everybody. This article will discuss the pros and cons of open adoption.

If you are unsure which type of adoption may be right for you, consult with an Illinois adoption attorney who will talk to you about the adoption process and what is in the best interest of the child.

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The Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan After Divorce

 Posted on April 11, 2024 in Estate Planning

DuPage County, IL estate planning lawyerGoing through a divorce is tough, and it can turn your whole world upside down. Through all the emotional turmoil, it is important not to neglect the practical matters, like updating your estate plan. If you have recently divorced, make sure to review and revise your estate planning documents with an Illinois estate planning lawyer who understands how divorce can affect estate plans.

Why Updating Your Estate Plan Is Essential

Under Illinois law, divorce automatically revokes any provisions in your will that benefit your former spouse. However, this automatic revocation does not apply to other estate planning documents, such as trusts, beneficiary designations, or powers of attorney. If you do not update these documents, your ex-spouse may still have control over your assets or healthcare decisions, even after your divorce is finalized.

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Is Mediation the Right Move for My Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on April 03, 2024 in Mediation

Lombard, IL divorce mediation lawyerAs soon as people realize they are going to get a divorce, they often feel stressed and overwhelmed. Some of that stems from the truth that they will need to figure out how their assets, finances, property, and parental responsibilities will be divided. Some of it stems from preconceived notions about acrimonious divorces based on scenes portrayed on TV.

However, there are ways to end a marriage that are aimed at finding the best resolution for both parties and a minimum of negativity. If you are hoping for as cooperative a way as possible to end your marriage, you might consider divorce mediation. Speak with a knowledgeable DuPage County, IL divorce lawyer to find out more.

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

For couples considering divorce who are not interested in a combative process, mediation offers a smoother approach. A mediator is appointed to facilitate communication. She is neutral and her goal is to foster the creation of a settlement that both spouses can accept. By focusing on communicating openly and honestly and cooperating, mediation can encourage creative thinking to find acceptable solutions to complicated issues.

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What Should I Know Before Adopting a Stepchild in Illinois?

 Posted on March 28, 2024 in Adoption

IL family lawyerWhen you adopt a stepchild, you become the child’s legal parent. This means that you will be granted certain rights and have legal responsibilities toward the child as if he or she were born to you. Adoption, therefore, requires careful planning and attention to the legal process. Adoption law can be complex, which is why you should consult with an experienced attorney who can walk you through it. 

Factors to Consider Before Adopting a Stepchild

Here are a few basic questions you might want to ask yourself before adopting a stepchild:

  • How old is the child?
  • Where are the child’s parents?
  • How is your current relationship with the child?
  • What needs does the child have and can you meet those needs?
  • Is this adoption in the best interest of the child?
  • How long will the adoption process take?

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Two Reasons to Give Someone Power of Attorney in Illinois

 Posted on March 21, 2024 in Estate Planning

Il estate lawyerBy nature, humans are an optimistic species. We do not want to think of a future where we can no longer take care of ourselves and need hired help to get us through the day. While many people end up living in nursing homes, most of them probably never pictured that when they were younger, preferring instead to imagine they would be forever young, healthy, and strong. Unfortunately, that is not the reality for most of us.

While it is human nature to prefer focusing on a rosy future, people can also manage to overcome that to plan for a hypothetical future that may not be so grand. That is why people draw up savings plans for rainy days, prenuptial agreements, wills, and even business contracts - they are forcing themselves to think about negative things that might happen and thus protecting their future selves in case that comes to be.

This same mindset is what leads people to sign over power of attorney to someone they trust. Again, no one wants to think of a future where they are incapable of making decisions for themselves, but power of attorney is there to protect them in the hypothetical event that it happens. If you have been thinking about this as well, let an experienced Lombard, IL estate planning attorney answer your questions and arm you with more information.

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How Does Testamentary Capacity Impact Contested Wills in Illinois?

 Posted on March 13, 2024 in Estate Planning

IL estate planning lawyerPeople draw up wills to dictate how their assets will be distributed after they die. In general, whatever is included in a will is respected as the last wishes of the person whose will it is, otherwise known as a testator. However, there are some circumstances in which the people left behind challenge a will because they do not believe it reflects the real wishes of the person who signed it. There are various reasons given for such doubt, but a major claim is that the person lacked testamentary capacity when they signed it. This can be a very complicated claim to prove since you are attempting to determine the state of mind someone was in before they died. If you wish to contest a will, a Lombard, IL estate planning lawyer can provide guidance that is tailored to your specific case.

What is Testamentary Capacity?

Testamentary capacity is a person’s ability to understand the implications of their will. If it can be proven that someone didn’t have testamentary capacity when drawing up their will, the stipulations in the will can be contested. To demonstrate testamentary capacity, a person needs to:

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