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Updating Your Estate Plan: How Many Tweaks Are Too Many?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Jun 21, 2022 | 0 Comments

If your life or the law has changed since you signed your last will and testament (will) or trust agreement, you need to update your document! Do you know how change are made to wills or trusts? What's the difference between a codicil, amendment and a restatement? Read this blog for answers to those questions and some guidance on when and how to update your estate planning documents.

An Estate Plan Should Not Be a Set-It-and-Forget-It Endeavor

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Jun 16, 2022 | 0 Comments

Estate planning is not just a once in a lifetime event. Your plan is a set of living, breathing documents that can be impacted by many common life events. However, some of those life events can have a dramatic effect on your estate plan. In this blog, we take a look at some common life changes and the impact they may have on your already established estate plan.

LGBTQ+ Estate Planning to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Jun 14, 2022 | 0 Comments

For LGBTQ+ Americans, estate planning can be even more important. Despite same-sex marriages being legally recognized since 2015, couples composed of sexual and gender minorities still face estate planning challenges not encountered by other “traditional” same-sex couples. Without a plan, you and your family could be subject to your state’s default or intestate succession law, which may not take into account LGBTQ+ couples’ realities, families, and dynamics. And if your plan was created before 2015, you may need to revise it to ensure that it reflects the latest legal rights granted to married same-sex couples. Read this blog to learn more about the need for an estate plan!

When Rock Legends Pass Away: The Possible Fates of Meat Loaf’s $40 Million Estate

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Jun 03, 2022 | 0 Comments

There is no questioning the legacy of one of rock and roll’s biggest icons - Meat Loaf - given his rise to fame, financial "fall" and successful "rebirth". But there are still unanswered legal questions about the fate of Meat Loaf’s estate. Although there is no evidence to suggest that Meat Loaf died intestate (i.e., without a will), we can speculate about his estate plan based on his life, legacy, and available legal instruments. Read this blog for more background on his life, death and legacy.

Dutiful Child or Manipulator of the Elderly?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | May 20, 2022 | 0 Comments

Elder abuse can take several forms, such as physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse or caretaker neglect or exploitation. Financial exploitation includes outright theft of money or property, illegal transfers of property, identity theft, and misusing a position of trust, such as through a power of attorney. Read this blog to learn more about financial exploitation of an elderly person to ensure that your loved one does not become a victim.

No Contribution Is Too Small

Posted by Mona O'Connor | May 13, 2022 | 0 Comments

Most of us strive to earn a living to support our families. Stay-at-home parents also work to provide valuable non-monetary contributions to their families everyday. If something were to happen to the stay-at-home parent, how would the family’s needs be met? Read this blog to learn more about the planning you should do now before the worst-case scenario happens to you and your family.

What Is the Difference between a Trust and an LLC?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | May 11, 2022 | 0 Comments

Legal vehicles, such as trusts and LLCs, can be used to manage and protect assets, minimize taxation, and avoid probate. The type of asset will generally determine if a trust or LLC is the best choice; however, you should know that an LLC can be placed in a trust. Read this blog to better understand each type of entity and clear up some common misconceptions about them.

Silent Trusts: Could I Be the Beneficiary of a Trust and Not Know It?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | May 09, 2022 | 0 Comments

Although there may be a number of good reasons for high-net-worth individuals to create a trust with their children as beneficiaries, the phrase “trust fund baby” immediately brings to mind images of apathetic adults living lavish, substance-abusing lifestyles with no need or desire to work and no purpose or direction in life. Creating a silent trust may be the solution to such nightmarish beneficiary-gone-wrong scenarios.

If I Give My Home to My Child in My Will, Can They Take My Home While I Am Still Alive?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | May 06, 2022 | 0 Comments

Naming your child as the recipient of your home in your will does not give them any right to your home while you are still living. However, putting your child’s name on the deed to your home would indeed give them–and their creditors–that ability. Read this blog to develop a better understanding of the differences in these approaches.

Business Ownership and Divorce: What You Need to Know

Posted by Mona O'Connor | May 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

Marital assets—including a business—are divided between the parties as part of the divorce process. But determining who the business belongs to and ascertaining its fair market value can be very complex. And, if the business has other owners, a divorce for one owner will probably impact the other owners. To gain more knowledge about issues that need to be addressed when you are a business owner getting a divorce, read this blog.

How to Protect Your Personal Assets as a Business Owner

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Apr 13, 2022 | 0 Comments

As a small business owner, you are probably concerned about losing everything you worked so hard to build if you are forced to pay money due to a claim or lawsuit against your business. You can implement some of these strategies at your business’s inception while other measures need to be consistently followed to maximally protect your personal assets. For more information on this topic, please read this blog.

Estate Planning Considerations for Couples with an Age Gap

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Apr 11, 2022 | 0 Comments

If you are married to someone who is significantly older or younger than you, the future can look different and mean different things to each of you. It is important that you have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about the financial and estate planning topics. Read this blog to learn more about the issues that couples with an age disparity need to consider.

What to Know about Nonfungible Tokens

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Apr 08, 2022 | 0 Comments

The sale of multi-million dollar NFTs over the last year has prompted growing interest in them, as well as plenty of questions. Namely, what exactly are NFTs, how are they used, and why would anyone be interested in them? This blog will provide some basic information about NFTs and how to plan for their transfer after your death.

Personal Guarantees: What They Are and When They Are Required?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Apr 06, 2022 | 0 Comments

Loan agreements are contracts between you and the lender describing the mutual promises the two parties owe each other. One of the promises you may be required to make is that, in the event of a default on the business loan, your personal assets can be used to satisfy the debt. This is a personal guarantee and can make it easier to borrow money if your business does not have the assets or track record needed to secure a loan.

When a Gift May Not Be a Gift

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Apr 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

The federal tax code has very specific rules about how much you are allowed to transfer to others each year—and over the course of your lifetime—in the form of a gift. Any gifts above that amount may be subject to gift tax. But not every gift is subject to gift tax. There are annual exclusion amounts, a lifetime exemption amount, and other exclusions, such as education or medical exclusions, that relieve a giver of paying federal gift taxes. Read this blog to gain a better understanding of the taxation of gifts that you want to give.

Electronic Wills

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Mar 14, 2022 | 0 Comments

Courts are increasingly being asked to determine whether a will that was created and stored on a computer, tablet, or cell phone and e-signed (i.e., an electronic will or e-will) meets the traditional requirements of being “in writing” and “signed by the will maker” to be valid. To learn more about electronic wills, read this blog.

How Do I Prepare To Meet with a Business Lawyer?

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Mar 09, 2022 | 1 Comment

As a small business owner, you are adept at handling challenges. But when it comes to parsing the fine print of the law, you may feel that you are in over your head. You cannot do everything on your own. Every business relies on other businesses to accomplish its goals. Accordingly, there is arguably no partnership more important to your long-term success than the one you have with your business lawyer. If you need a business lawyer, you need to read this blog.

Using Beneficiary/Transfer-on-Death Deeds

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Mar 07, 2022 | 0 Comments

If you own real property and the time and expense required to create a living trust does not make sense for your situation, a transfer-on-death (TOD) deed may be the solution you need to avoid the probate process. Read this blog to understand more about TOD deeds, known as a Transfer on Death Instrument in Illinois.

Yours, Mine, and Ours: How Including a Pour-Over Trust Can Simplify Your Planning

Posted by Mona O'Connor | Mar 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

Deciding what should happen to all of your accounts and property at death can be a big undertaking, especially if either or both spouses have gotten or will be getting remarried, married late in life, or have brought or will be bringing significant amounts of money and property into the marriage. To help alleviate some of the stress that may come from making such decisions, we like to suggest a unique estate planning tool called the pour-over trust. Read this blog for more information on a pour-over trust and how it is utilized in an estate plan.

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