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Can an Illinois Divorce Lawyer Represent Both Me and My Spouse? 

 Posted on March 28, 2022 in Family Law Blog

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_2003213273.jpgEven for spouses who get along fairly well, divorce in Illinois can be a complex and expensive affair. Spouses may wonder whether sharing a divorce attorney could save them time and money, especially if they want to cooperatively reach a resolution on issues like asset division and child custody.  

However, no matter how well-intentioned spouses are towards each other, the fact is that divorce attorneys may only represent one partner in a divorcing couple. Attorneys are required to abide by ethical obligations that protect their clients, such as maintaining the attorney-client privilege and never allowing conflicts of interest to mar their representation of a client. Because even the most cooperative divorcing spouses necessarily have different and often opposing interests, an attorney representing both spouses would run into obvious conflicts of interest. 

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What Do We Do if Our Divorce Mediation Fails? 

 Posted on March 23, 2022 in Family Law Blog

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_277528928.jpgMost Illinois couples who are going through a divorce can avoid the difficulty and expense of courtroom divorce litigation by using the help of a trained divorce mediator. Because mediation is so successful and it saves both Illinois courts and divorcing spouses time and money, judges usually require spouses to undergo mediation before their divorce can advance to a trial. 

However, the mediation process is not always feasible and, even for those who try it in good faith, it is not always successful. If mediation efforts have not yielded a mutually satisfying divorce decree, you may be wondering what comes next. 

Why Does Mediation Fail? 

Mediation can fail for many reasons. One or both spouses may be unwilling to cooperate or believe they will get a better “deal” if they present their case to a judge. Some spouses may be too hostile to reasonably work together. Other couples may try hard to negotiate but will still have unbridgeable differences in how they see certain facts or priorities. 

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4 Ways to Revoke a Will in Illinois

 Posted on March 16, 2022 in Estate Planning Blog

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_255529744.jpgThere is very little risk in making a will, as you can revoke it at any time so long as you are competent to do so. A lot of people revoke and replace their wills for a number of reasons. If you got divorced and remarried, you might want to revoke the will that left everything to your former spouse. If you had a child, or even a new grandchild, you might want to cancel your old will and create a new one that includes them. Some people simply change their minds about giving part of their estate to a particular beneficiary as their lives and priorities change. Fortunately, revoking a will is not usually overly complicated. It is still best to consult a lawyer to make sure that your revocation is effective. 

How Can I Revoke My Will?

If you decide that you no longer want your existing will to control your estate, there are a few simple ways to revoke it. Once it is revoked, it will have no legal effect. It is a good idea to make sure that you have a replacement plan of some kind. In Illinois, you can revoke your will by: 

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Understanding Estate Planning Terminology in DuPage County

 Posted on March 04, 2022 in Estate Planning Blog

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_290922173.jpgThe terminology used in estate planning can be challenging to understand. If you feel a little confused when you read about estate planning topics because of all the “legalese,” you are far from alone. Many of the legal terms used in the estate planning field have very specific meanings. Some terms are used when discussing trusts, but not wills, or vice versa. Other terms you may know are outdated and no longer in use. It can be difficult to keep track of all the legal terms you might hear or read when it comes to wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and guardianships. This is one of many reasons that it is very important to let an attorney help you build your estate plan.

What Are Some Legal Terms I Might Need to Know?

Some important terms you might want to be familiar with when you start working on your estate plan include: 

Can Legally Smoking Weed Affect My Rights to See My Child in Illinois? 

 Posted on February 25, 2022 in Family Law Blog

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1915433320.jpgMarijuana is now readily available to residents of Illinois. Coming in the form of vape pens, hard candies, chocolates, and traditional herb, marijuana products are easy to use with very little thought as to whether there may be negative consequences to this change in policy. While marijuana is often marketed as a sort of panacea for illness, pain, and other ailments, like all intoxicating substances, marijuana use can have negative side effects for its users. Additionally, just because marijuana is legal does not mean that parents in Illinois have free reign to use it in ways that could interfere with their parenting. If you are wondering whether your marijuana use could be used against you in a divorce or child custody dispute, read on. 

Marijuana Use And Parenting Time

The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act prohibits marijuana use, in and of itself, to be used against a parent in a dispute about parenting time or parental responsibilities. Like alcohol, responsible marijuana use is legal and does not present a threat to a parent’s ability to parent well or make responsible decisions on behalf of their child. 

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Estate Planning Tips in High-Conflict Family Situations

 Posted on February 24, 2022 in Estate Planning Blog

lombard estate planning lawyerAs much as we would all like to be part of a loving, old-sitcom-style family where everyone gets along and loves each other, this is simply not the reality for many people. Some people who are trying to create an estate plan have adult children who have not spoken to each other in decades. Others have seen their relatives extensively litigate over another family member’s estate. Some have witnessed utter chaos erupt when a now-deceased relative was nearing the end of their life, as no two family members could agree on how their medical care should be handled. 

If this sounds like your family, there are a few steps you and your attorney can take to both protect yourself during your later years and avoid any further conflict over your own estate or end-of-life care

Tips for Testamentary Planning When Your Family Does Not Get Along

Angry, disinherited, or jealous family members have been known to raise challenges simply to spite each other. You probably already know if this is a risk. Some tips for making sure your estate plan goes unchallenged include: 

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4 Reasons Young Adults Should Have an Estate Plan

 Posted on February 22, 2022 in Estate Planning Blog

arlington heights estate planning lawyerIt often does not even occur to young adults that they should have an estate plan at all. You may see creating an estate plan that is likely to change before you need it as a pointless endeavor. However, there are a number of strong reasons that younger adults should consider creating at least a simple estate plan. It can be very difficult for young people to consider their own mortality in this way, but it is important that you do. No one is impervious to things like accidents or illnesses. Having a legally sound estate plan in place is a good idea for everyone. An estate planning attorney can help determine what type of estate plan makes sense for your personal situation. 

Why Should Young People Make an Estate Plan?

Life and death can be incredibly unpredictable. For this reason alone, it is a smart move for all adults to establish an estate plan, whether or not they think it will become relevant anytime soon. Reasons young adults should consider creating an estate plan include: 

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Is My Spouse’s Inheritance Marital Property in an Illinois Divorce? 

 Posted on February 21, 2022 in Family Law Blog

lombard divorce lawyerThe issue of inheritance is often a cause of great contention in Illinois divorces. For spouses who have been married for decades, money given from a deceased family member to one spouse may feel like something of a betrayal to the other spouse, especially if the spouse who receives the inheritance decides not to spend it in ways that would benefit the marriage or children. 

In other situations, couples may be very generous with each other’s inheritance, and even count on it as part of their long-term financial planning. No matter how an inheritance has been handled, the issue can get thorny when a couple starts discussing divorce. Deciding how to handle an inheritance in the asset division process can be challenging, especially when inheritance funds have been mixed with marital funds. If you are considering divorce and anticipate dealing with inheritance, consider getting the help of a DuPage County attorney with experience in both family law and estate planning

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Why Estate Planning is Critical for Unmarried Couples

 Posted on January 31, 2022 in Estate Planning Blog

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1923186224.jpgMore and more modern couples are choosing not to marry. Each couple has their own reasons for making this decision. Some feel that they do not need “a piece of paper” to demonstrate their love and commitment. Others simply are not comfortable with the idea of marriage. However, there are certain legal protections that marriage offers in the event that one spouse becomes incapacitated or passes away. Spouses almost automatically inherit from each other in the absence of an estate plan, and will likely be called upon to make medical decisions for each other when necessary. Unmarried couples do not enjoy these protections. 

Fortunately, there are ways other than getting married for committed couples to protect each other. Through a little careful estate planning with the help of a qualified attorney, unmarried couples can set in place largely the same safety nets that married couples are granted. It will likely cost much less than a wedding. 

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The 2 Parts of a Comprehensive Illinois Estate Plan

 Posted on January 25, 2022 in Estate Planning Blog

Lombard estate planning lawyerWhen you think of estate planning, you probably think of wills and trusts - the ways people decide how their property should be distributed after they pass away. This is known as testamentary planning. It is a very important goal of estate planning. However, there is another side of estate planning that addresses what will happen to both you and your belongings later in life should you one day lose the capacity to make your own decisions. This is known as incapacity planning. A comprehensive estate plan will involve both testamentary planning and incapacity planning. 

What is Testamentary Planning?

Testamentary planning is the classic form of estate planning. During this process, you will decide who should receive your property when you are gone. The two most common instruments for testamentary planning are wills and trusts. In modern times, trusts are increasingly becoming the preferred vehicle for transferring assets. They offer a number of advantages, most notably by allowing you to bypass probate. 

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