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What Is an Estate Plan, and Why Do You Need One?

 Posted on July 14, 2024 in Estate Planning

Lombard, IL estate planning lawyerYou may have heard the term "estate plan" without being sure what it means, or you might think only the elderly or wealthy need to have one. The fact is, everyone who has children or assets needs an estate plan. If you do not make your wishes known while you can, someone else will make them once you are gone.

Although some projects are suitable for DIY, estate planning is not one of them. Planning your estate is best done with the help of an experienced lawyer.

What Is Estate Planning?

Your estate includes all the possessions and assets you accumulate through life, such as real estate, cars, stocks, bank accounts, and personal items. Estate planning lets you:

  • Decide how you want those assets distributed after your death

  • Preserve the value of your assets

  • Minimize tax burdens for you and your beneficiaries

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Can I Continue Living With My Ex After an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on July 06, 2024 in Divorce

Lombard, IL divorce lawyerNot all divorces are alike. Some couples end their marriages in a flurry of hostility and try to avoid any further contact after the divorce. Others maintain good relations and communication even after their marriages officially end. In some cases, a couple might feel it makes sense to continue living together post-divorce.

But even if you and your ex are willing to live together after the divorce, is it legal? This article will discuss whether you can live with your ex-spouse after a divorce in Illinois. However, it is always best to direct any questions about divorce to an Illinois divorce attorney.

Why Do Some Couples Want to Continue Living Together?

Although it may not happen very often, there are several reasons why some divorced couples choose to live together: 

  • At least one spouse lacks the financial means to find other living arrangements. This is the most common reason couples choose to continue living together. It is also becoming more frequent as inflation skyrockets and fewer people can afford new housing.

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Do You Need a Trust if You Have a Will?

 Posted on June 29, 2024 in Estate Planning

Lombard, IL estate planning lawyerAn estate plan is critical in securing your legacy and ensuring your requests are carried out after you pass away. While many people believe that having a will is sufficient, there are compelling reasons to consider establishing a trust, even if you already have a will in place. An Illinois lawyer can help you explore the benefits of trusts and why they might be valuable to your estate plan.

I Already Have a Will. Do I Need a Trust?

A will is an essential document that clearly demonstrates how you want your assets divided after you pass away. However, a trust can offer additional benefits that a will cannot provide. While a will goes through probate, becoming public record and potentially causing delays, a trust allows for quicker, more private asset distribution without court intervention. This privacy protection can be crucial for maintaining family confidentiality and preventing potential conflicts. A trust can also provide for your care if you become incapacitated, whereas a will only takes effect after death.

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Tips for Dividing Your Estate Among Your Heirs

 Posted on June 22, 2024 in Estate Planning

Lombard, IL estate planning lawyerWhen it comes to dividing your estate among your heirs, you should approach the process with careful consideration and planning. By taking the time to thoughtfully allocate your assets, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and minimize potential conflicts among your loved ones. An Illinois lawyer can help you navigate the estate division process and give you advice about how to divide your assets.

The First Thing to Consider As You Divide Your Estate

Before diving into the specifics of asset distribution, taking a comprehensive inventory of your estate is helpful. This includes valuable possessions such as real estate, vehicles, and personal belongings and intangible resources like bank accounts, investments, and insurance policies. Having a clear understanding of your estate’s composition will serve as a solid foundation for the division process.

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How Can I Get Divorced in Illinois If My Spouse Is Missing?

 Posted on June 18, 2024 in Divorce

Wheaton, IL divorce lawyerIllinois law has prescribed a certain process for divorce. This process begins when you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Circuit Court Clerk in the county where you live. You must then serve a copy of the petition to your spouse, who will have 30 days to respond.

But what if your spouse is missing? If you do not know your spouse’s whereabouts, it can make the process more complicated. This article will discuss what to do if you cannot locate your spouse. An attorney can best guide you through these steps as well as the divorce process as a whole.

Document Your Efforts

You will want to show a judge that you made every effort to locate your spouse. Make sure to document the steps you take, such as:

  • Serving your spouse the divorce papers at his or her last-known residence

  • Reaching out to your spouse through as many digital media as possible, including text messages, phone calls, emails, and social media messages

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How Can I Get Sole Custody in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on June 07, 2024 in Child Custody

IL family lawyerThere are two types of custody: child custody, which involves making decisions about the child, and physical custody, which is when the child is in his or her parent’s physical care. Illinois law refers to child custody as “parental responsibilities” and refers to physical custody as “parenting time.”

By default, the law prefers that both parents share parental responsibilities and parenting time more or less equally. The mother and father have equal rights to the child, and courts are very reluctant to interfere with those rights. Therefore, a judge will award sole custody to one parent only in certain cases. The best way to find out if you are eligible for sole custody is to consult an Illinois child custody lawyer.

When Do Courts Award Sole Custody?

In any custody trial, the court has two objectives: protect the child and preserve the rights of the parents. However, if those two objectives conflict, the court will protect the child. This means that if a parent is a threat to the well-being of his or her child, the court may restrict that parent’s rights.

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Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Disabilities

 Posted on May 31, 2024 in Estate Planning

DuPage County, IL special needs trust lawyerAs a parent, you want the best for your child, and this desire can be even stronger when you have a child with disabilities. You have been there for them every step of the way, providing love, support, and care. But have you thought about what will happen when you can no longer be there for them? That is where estate planning comes in. An Illinois estate planning lawyer can help you create a plan to give you a sense of ease and reassurance that your child will be taken care of.

The Importance of Estate Planning

Estate planning is essential for all parents, but it becomes even more critical when you have a child with disabilities. A carefully strategized estate plan can:

  • Ensure your child continues to receive the necessary care and support

  • Protect your child’s eligibility for government benefits

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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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