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Within the realm of estate planning, there are many terms and phrases that can be very confusing to the average person. At times, it can feel like planning for your family’s future requires learning a new language altogether, just so you can know what tools and instruments to utilize. Most people are familiar with the idea of a will and have probably heard of trusts. But, did you know that wills and trusts are used in conjunction with one another in a comprehensive estate plan?
As an experienced estate planning lawyer, I understand the importance of teaching my clients
Continue Reading What Is a Pour-Over Will and How Does It Work?

If you have taken the time to develop an estate plan, you are already ahead of about half of all Americans. In creating an estate plan, you have recognized the importance of planning for the future. Of course, estate planning means more than just deciding who will get which of your assets upon your death; the process can also help ensure that provisions are in place for a time when you can no longer make decisions for yourself.
As an experienced estate planning lawyer, I applaud those who have taken the necessary steps to secure their future and that
Continue Reading The Importance of Keeping Your Estate Plan Up to Date

A will is the foundation for almost any comprehensive estate plan. As you probably realize your will can contain a variety of provisions that allocate your estate to your chosen heirs, as well as establish arrangements for the care of your minor or disabled children. One of the most crucial elements of your will is your selection of an executor. Under Illinois, your executor is responsible for overseeing your estate and, ultimately, ensuring that your wishes are carried out regarding your property and assets.
In my practice as an estate planning lawyer, many clients have asked me about changing
Continue Reading When Should I Consider Naming a New Executor?

On Tuesday, the second day of the Democratic National Convention, former Vice President Joe Biden was officially nominated as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate for the upcoming election in November. The nomination comes as no surprise, since Biden’s last remaining primary opponent,  Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, suspended his own bid for the presidency in early April. Biden, along with his running mate Senator Kamala Harris of California, hopes to unseat President Donald Trump who is finishing his first term in office.
Over the last few weeks, as it was clear that Mr. Biden was getting the Democratic nod, many
Continue Reading What Will Happen to My Tax Obligations if Joe Biden is Elected President?

As uncomfortable as it may be for many people to think about what will happen to their property and assets after their death, estate planning is crucial to providing loved ones with security and peace of mind. Sadly, when a loved one passes away, families are often fractured by disputes over the decedent’s estate, sometimes leading to years of tension between family members who were once very close. In some cases, a would-be beneficiary feels so slighted that he or she decides to initiate a will contest and take the matter the court.
In my practice as estate planning attorney
Continue Reading 5 Tips That Could Help You Avoid a Will Contest

The legal practice area known as “estate planning” is an umbrella term to cover what you want to have happen upon your death. The paperwork that outlines your wishes can include a number of tools, such as paperwork designating who receives what, information on which medical treatments you do or do not want to be performed, and naming someone to be in charge of the asset distribution process. Some clients choose to utilize all of these estate planning tools, while others may rely on one to have their wishes followed. Regardless of the number of estate planning options used,
Continue Reading How Does Getting Remarried Affect My Estate Planning?

The creation of a will can be one of the most important legal decisions you will ever make; however, many people put this critical document on the backburner. Life circumstances can get in the way, as your first job may quickly lead you to marriage and children, and before you know it, your kids are off to college. Legal professionals always advise people to formulate their will early in life, continuing to edit the details as life changes. This is especially pertinent during these tumultuous times as COVID-19 runs rampant, with younger generations losing their lives unexpectedly. As the home
Continue Reading What Happens If I Die Without a Will in Illinois?

Many people die with some debt, whether it is credit card debt or unpaid utility bills. The executor is tasked with paying valid claims that have been submitted in a timely manner. When the estate has cash in it, then it is relatively easy for the executor to pay the claims.
Problems can arise, however, when there is not enough cash in the estate to cover all debts. In this situation, the executor will need to sell estate assets, but these sales can anger beneficiaries who were expecting to inherit the asset that is sold.
If you are serving as
Continue Reading Selling Estate Assets to Pay Claims

Under Illinois law, the executor must file a decedent’s will with the probate court and, within 30 days, institute a proceeding to have the will admitted to probate. Ideally, the testator would have told relatives where his or her will was being stored while living. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Instead, nobody might know where a will was stored—or if one was even created.
As experienced probate attorneys, The Gierach Law Firm has helped many family members search for wills. Below, we offer our tips for the best places to look.
Check Filing Cabinets
Look wherever the testator
Continue Reading How to Find a Loved One’s Will

Being the executor of someone’s estate is a serious responsibility. If someone has appointed you as their executor, you may be a bit overwhelmed and unsure of what the role actually involves. An executor is a trusted individual that is appointed to “tie up loose ends” after a person passes away. Whether you have been appointed as someone else’s executor or you want to learn more about choosing an executor in your estate plans, an experienced estate planning attorney can help.
Duties of an Executor
If a friend or family member has chosen you to be the executor of
Continue Reading What Is an Executor of an Estate Responsible for Doing?

More and more couples are choosing to share their lives together without being legally married. There are many different reasons that a couple may decide not to get married. Some may feel like marriage is an outdated concept while others cite divorce fears as the reason for not tying the knot. Other couples simply do not believe that they need a marriage certificate to validate their relationship. Whatever your reason, if you are in a committed but unmarried relationship, there are several estate planning concerns you should be aware of.
Your Significant Other Will Not Automatically Have Inheritance Rights
Continue Reading 3 Important Estate Planning Issues Every Unmarried Couple Should Consider

The last six weeks or so have been like nothing any of us have ever experienced. In fact, most of us could never have imagined a real-world scenario in which our city, state, and country would need to be shut down almost entirely. Illinois has been under a shelter-in-place order since March 21, and many other states have similar orders in place.
Unfortunately, the stress and uncertainty of the situation have caused many people to behave in ways that are uncharacteristic. Social media, for example, is full of emotionally-charged political rants and name-calling. Similarly, some people simply refuse to turn
Continue Reading People Helping People in the Midst of the Coronavirus Crisis

If you have already developed an estate plan, congratulations! You are in the minority, but you have taken the steps toward providing security for your loved ones. However, it is also important to understand that there are certain situations or life changes that may require you to update or make amendments to your estate plan. As a Naperville estate planning attorney, I can help you know how to recognize the need for such updates and will work with you in utilizing new tools and developing terms to meet your evolving needs.
Getting Married or Divorced
When you get married, your
Continue Reading Life Changes That May Require an Estate Plan Update

When debts become overwhelming, a person may have no other choice but to file for bankruptcy. Through bankruptcy, an individual may find relief from crushing debts and enjoy a fresh start. However, bankruptcy may also have an effect on estate plans. If you are struggling financially and are considering filing for bankruptcy protection, you might also be wondering what will happen if you were to die while you are in bankruptcy. You may wonder, “What happens if a person passes away while he or she is in bankruptcy?” As an experienced estate planning lawyer, I can help you understand
Continue Reading Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer on How Filing for Bankruptcy Can Affect Estate Plans

The last few weeks have been some of the most challenging that most of us have ever dealt with. The state of Illinois has been under a stay-at-home/shelter-in-place order since March 21, which means that residents are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, such as to buy food or to care for a family member. Non-essential businesses have also been closed for several weeks, and while many people have started working from home, many others are unable to do so and are now out of work.
With so many challenges surrounding us, it is easy to get
Continue Reading Naperville Business Lawyer Recognizes Companies That Have Stepped Up to Help Deal With the Coronavirus Crisis

When you are looking toward the future and beginning the process of developing a comprehensive estate plan, it is easy to look at account statements, insurance policies, and other documents that list physical assets to determine what property will need to be considered in your will, trusts, or other planning instruments. In today’s increasingly digital world, though, you probably have a number of other assets—whether you choose to think of them that way or not—that are only accessible through electronic means. This may include downloaded songs or apps on iTunes, available funds in a PayPal account, or simply valuable
Continue Reading Naperville Estate Planning Attorney Discusses Protecting Your Digital Assets