Latest Articles

In this article, we will explain the acquisition of US citizenship for a child born abroad based on the legal situation of the child’s family.  One of our Youtube viewers asked the question: What happens when a US citizen gives birth in another country? This is a great question and serious concern for families traveling regularly for work or visiting family abroad. Media coverage of changes in US immigration policy under the current administration has also lead to some confusion on this topic and heightened concern.  Generally, there are five scenarios with regard to a child being born abroad and…
In this article, we will explain contesting an heirship in Illinois. Our Illinois lawyers will answer: What is heirship in Illinois? Who is an heir-at-law in Illinois? What is an affidavit of heirship in Illinois? Who can contest an heirship in Illinois? Are there assets an heirship cannot touch? What Is Heirship in Illinois? Heirship is the right of inheritance. In certain situations, heirship must be proven in Illinois by an affidavit to settle an estate, especially in cases where a will wasn’t executed by a decedent. Is an Heir the Same as a Beneficiary in Illinois? No. Though the…
In this article, we will answer, “What is ademption in probate cases in Illinois?” Our Illinois probate lawyers will address: What is ademption in probate cases in Illinois? What are the types of ademption in Illinois? How is ademption addressed in Illinois? How can ademption be prevented in Illinois? What Is Ademption In Probate Cases in Illinois? Most testators take one of two approaches when devising gifts in their will. The first is to leave each heir a designated percentage. For example, a testator could award each of their five children 20% of the value of their estate upon their…
In this article, we will explain Iowa will contests. Our Iowa attorneys will answer: What does it mean to contest a will in Iowa? Who can contest a will in Iowa? What are legal grounds for contesting a will in Iowa? How to contest a will in Iowa What are the chances of contesting a will in Iowa and winning? What Does It Mean to Contest a Will in Iowa? After a will is admitted to probate, it may draw concern or spark doubt. If there is uncertainty surrounding the validity of a will, it may be contested by an…
In this article, we explain the duty of an estate executor to determine creditors of the estate and provide notice of probate in Illinois. When someone passes away, the person responsible for administering his or her estate (the “executor” or “administrator”) has a responsibility to determine who the deceased owed money to (known as a “creditor”) and to either pay the full amount owed from the estate or provide the creditor with proper notice of the estate. Creditors of the estate must be paid in full prior to making distributions to beneficiaries and heirs. If a probate case is opened,…
In this article, we answer the question, “does a trustee have a duty to defend against trust contests in Illinois?” A trust contest is a lawsuit filed with the purpose of challenging the validity of a trust.  To learn more about trusts contests, check out our article: Illinois Trust Contests Explained. According to Illinois law, the trustee of a trust has the duty to to the beneficiaries of the trust to defend the trust against trust contest actions that may result in a loss to trust estate unless, when all of the circumstances are considered it is reasonable to…
In this article, we answer the question, can a guardian create an estate plan on behalf of a ward in Illinois? Illinois Law (755 ILCS 5/11a-18(a-5)) permits a guardian of an estate for a disabled adult to create an estate plan for the disabled adult with court approval. This means that, in order to create a valid will or trust for a ward, the guardian must file a petition requesting leave to do so with the probate court that has jurisdiction over the guardianship case. In creating the estate plan, the guardian of an estate must create the…
In this article, we explain the Illinois rules of construction for wills and trusts.  We answer the following questions: How do Illinois courts interpret ambiguous language in wills and trusts? What does the term “rules of construction” mean with respect to wills and trusts? What are the rules of construction for wills and trusts in Illinois? How do Illinois courts interpret ambiguous language in wills and trusts? If an Illinois will or trust contains language that is vague or subject to multiple interpretations, interested parties can file a lawsuit called a “construction action” to request that a court determine how…
In this article, we answer the questions “what happens if a will or trust is ambiguous?” and “how do courts interpret ambiguous language in wills and trusts?” When is a will or trust considered ambiguous? A will or trust is ambiguous if reasonable people can differ regarding the meaning of the language and the difference in reasonable interpretations would lead to differing results.  If a will or trust is ambiguous, then Illinois courts are empowered to interpret the creator’s intention in a court case called a construction action. Courts lack jurisdiction to interpret a will or trust unless there is…
In this article, we answer the question, “what happens if a guardian dies or becomes disabled in Illinois?” and we explain the process of appointing a successor guardian based on death or disability.   For foundational information on guardianship, check out our article: Illinois Guardianship Explained. The process for replacing a guardian who is no longer able to fulfill his or her duties due to death or disability depends on whether the guardian was guardian of the person, guardian of the estate or both.  A guardian of the estate is responsible for the financial affairs of the ward.  A guardian…
In this article, we explain the termination of guardianship upon the death of a disabled adult in Illinois and answer the question, “what happens after a ward dies in Illinois?”  We also answer the questions, “what are the responsibilities of a guardian after a ward dies?” and “who is responsible for managing the estate of a deceased ward?” For foundational information on guardianship, check out our article: Illinois Guardianship Explained. What are the Responsibilities of a Guardian After a Ward Dies? Although a guardianship of a disabled adult terminates when the disabled adult passes away, the guardian continues to…
In this article we explain how to terminate a guardianship of a disabled adult in Illinois.  We address the following: Restoration of a disabled adult’s decision making rights in Illinois guardianship; What is the process for terminating a guardianship for a disabled adult in Illinois? Is a medical report required to terminate a guardianship of a disabled adult in Illinois? What should a guardian do if a ward requests termination of a guardianship? Does a disabled adult have a right to an attorney to terminate a guardianship? What happens to a ward’s assets after the guardianship is terminated? Can a…
In this article, we will address Iowa probate claims. Our Iowa probate attorneys will answer: What is probate litigation in Iowa? What is the deadline to file a probate claim in Iowa? How to file a probate claim in Iowa What Is Probate Litigation in Iowa? There are many issues that can make litigation necessary during probate. These include: Will contest If a will is suspected to be invalid, it can be challenged by a trustee, beneficiary, or other interested party with legal grounds. Guardianship contests If guardianship wasn’t clear at the time of a testator’s death, it must be…
In this article, we will answer, “How do courts determine who will be the guardian of a minor in Illinois?” Our Illinois guardianship attorneys will answer: What is a guardian? Who can be a guardian in Illinois? What are the types of guardianship in Illinois? What can a guardian decide in Illinois? Why would I have to become my child’s guardian? What Is a Guardian? In some cases, a minor may need to live with a legal guardian other than their parents. This guardian assumes most of the responsibilities a legal parent has, including providing food and housing. Essentially, a…
In this article, we answer the question, “when is probate necessary in Iowa?” Our Iowa probate attorneys will answer: What is probate? When is probate necessary in Iowa? Is probate necessary if I have a will in Iowa? What if I have no surviving family members or spouse? Can a close friend or companion receive my property? What is Probate? Probate is a court-ordered process for transferring ownership of a decedent’s property after they die. Probate laws are created to protect the heirs’ and creditors’ rights and to ensure the proper collection, preservation, and transfer of the decedents’ property.  Even…
In this article, we address, “spousal rights under qualified retirement plans.” Our Illinois financial attorneys answer: What are spousal rights? What are spousal rights for 401(k) accounts in Illinois? Does a spouse have to be named as a beneficiary on a 401(k) account in Illinois? What are spousal rights for IRA accounts in Illinois? Does divorce protect your retirement accounts from an ex-spouse in Illinois? What Are Spousal Rights? Spousal rights, or marital rights, recognize a person’s legal right to inherit property upon the death of their spouse, right to sue for wrongful death of their spouse, and the right…