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When you think of adoption, chances are that you envision a situation in which a child in need is welcomed into a home and family that will love and care for them. It is true that most adoptions involve a child under the age of 18, but in Illinois, it is also legal to adopt an adult under certain circumstances. This process may not only cement a family relationship that the adopter and adoptee already feel on an emotional level, it can also provide the adoptee with important benefits under Illinois law. When Can an Adult Be Adopted? According…
In life, there are few absolute truths; the fact that things change is one of them. When such change includes divorce or remarriage, other aspects of your life—including your estate plan—must be adjusted to accommodate. Failure to do so can result in negative consequences, particularly for those who stand to inherit. So, if you are planning a major life change, it is important to know how you can address it accordingly in your Illinois estate plan. Estate Planning After a Divorce After a divorce, all of your financial documents must be reviewed and updated as needed. This, of course, includes…
In most cases in which a child has two known, living parents, Illinois courts will determine that it is in the child’s best interest for both parents to share custody. In fact, in 2016, the state of Illinois changed the laws and language surrounding child custody so that the term “custody” is no longer officially used. Instead, these decisions are now referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, out of recognition of the benefits of a cooperative arrangement. However, there are still situations in which a parent or another party acting on the child’s behalf can…
Every day, our world becomes increasingly reliant on digital technology. In many ways, it has made life easier to manage. We can transfer money from savings to our checking accounts through our phones. We can deposit checks with the simple click of a button. We can change our investments in the blink of an eye. But, there are some blind spots when it comes to technology and the way we use it, especially when it comes to estate planning. Overlooked Assets One of the biggest issues with the digital era is that there are so many accounts in so…
A divorce can not only change the lives of you and your spouse, it can affect your whole family dynamic. Your children will have to adjust to living in two different households, and the nature of your relationship with them may change, especially if you will not be spending as much time with them as you used to. However, your relationship does not have to deteriorate, especially if you continue to make an effort to foster love, trust, communication, and quality time with your children. Working with your co-parent can also help your children feel more at ease during this…
There is nothing wrong with a little do-it-yourself (DIY) work. In fact, there are few things that are quite as satisfying as a job that you have done well. However, there are times when a particular job is best left to the professionals. You would not try to completely rewire your house if you had no experience in electrical work. Similarly, estate planning should be done with the help of someone with working knowledge and experience in the industry. Granted, an estate plan gone wrong may not pose the same physical threat as an electrical DIY project, but there are…
Divorce may be difficult for children of any age, but it can be especially confusing for toddlers who cannot fully understand their parents’ separation and the reasons for the change in their routine. If you decide to get a divorce while your children are still very young, you should be aware of the effects it may have on them and do everything you can to make the transition easier for them and continue providing them with a happy and healthy life. Effects of Divorce on Young Children Due to the stresses placed on your toddler both during and after your…
You do not have to be materialistic to become sentimental about a loved one’s possessions or to feel slighted by the contents of his or her will or estate plan. In fact, even the most down-to-earth people may feel a sense of injustice when a will or trust appears to have been altered, coerced, or otherwise manipulated. The good news is that if you have the right information and the right resources, you may be able to contest the will and put things right again. Grounds for Contesting a Will While any “interested party” may contest a will (siblings,…
When a married person decides to develop an estate plan, the person’s spouse will almost always be involved in the process. But, what happens if you are ready to start making a plan for the future and your spouse is not? You know your spouse better than just about anyone else does, so you probably realize that nagging him or her about it will probably not work. Begging or threatening is not likely to be successful either. There are, however, some things you can do to start the estate planning process despite your spouse’s reluctance. In doing so, you…
Before your marriage, you and your partner may have given significant time and consideration to the creation of a prenuptial agreement that clarifies each of your interests in and control over marital and non-marital properties. A thoughtful prenuptial agreement can be useful not only to smooth the process of a possible divorce but also to reduce uncertainty and increase comfort throughout your marriage. However, you may find in the years following your marriage that your original prenuptial agreement is insufficient or no longer relevant to your current situation. In this case, you may want to consider legally amending it. Reasons…
Many people assume that estate planning is for the rich or for those nearing the end of their life. Is this really true, though? Does everyone need to create an estate plan, or is it just for certain people? Is there a correct time to start? Or are these just common misconceptions that get in the way of planning for the future? At our firm, we are here to help you better understand the purpose, intent, and timing of estate planning, and why you should consider creating one, regardless of your income level. Not Just for the Rich Despite the…
Many people assume that estate planning is for the rich or for those nearing the end of their life. Is this really true, though? Does everyone need to create an estate plan, or is it just for certain people? Is there a correct time to start? Or are these just common misconceptions that get in the way of planning for the future? At our firm, we are here to help you better understand the purpose, intent, and timing of estate planning, and why you should consider creating one, regardless of your income level. Not Just for the Rich Despite the…
When a child’s biological parents are unable or unwilling to care for him or her, it is important to make other arrangements to provide for the child’s basic needs and well-being. In some cases, it is necessary for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to become a child’s legal guardian, at least for a time. However, most children benefit from a more permanent arrangement in a home with parents or guardians who love and care for them. Depending on the situation, this can be accomplished through adoption or guardianship, and there are some important…
There is no question that every American adult should put some kind of estate plan in place to protect themselves in the event of the unexpected. Even a basic will could offer a level of direction and security for surviving family members and loved ones if a tragedy were to occur. Unfortunately, over half of all adults in the United States do not have any type of estate plan, including a simple will. Many possible reasons exist as to why a person might not have an estate plan, but procrastination is certainly among the most common. Nearly everyone realizes that…
The decision to get a divorce affects your entire family, especially any children that you and your spouse share. Throughout the divorce process, you will need to resolve important issues related to your children, including child support, parenting time, and the allocation of parental responsibilities. However, your children may factor into other important decisions as well, such as the division of marital assets. As you decide on the properties that will remain with each spouse, you should consider how certain properties may help you be a better parent and help your kids adjust to the changes that divorce…
For children of divorce, the coping process often continues long after the divorce is finalized. Their parents’ separation is a major, usually permanent change in their lives, and it is only natural that they may struggle in the months and years that follow. One area that often suffers is the children’s educational goals and performance, but parents can help by showing support and understanding. The following are a few examples of how co-parents can encourage their kids to keep up with their schooling after divorce.  Tips for Helping Your Children With School A new school year is just beginning,…