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Illinois Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Illinois on
Q: If a property is willed between 4 people and only one person is paying property taxes can that person take ownership
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Apr 26, 2024

No, the person paying the property taxes alone cannot automatically take ownership of the property simply because they are the only one paying taxes. Here's why:

1. Legal ownership: The ownership of the property is determined by the will, not by who pays the property taxes. If the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: I have a loan, the loaner passed away. Beneficiary is handing his estate and now want the checks made out to them.

I have a loan contract that the loaner passed away a few months ago. The person handling the estate just informed me that they are having issues cashing my checks that are made out to the deceased name. Now they want me to write the checks in their name going forward. They did not open a bank... View More

Nina Whitehurst
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answered on Apr 3, 2024

It is very perilous for you to do what they are asking! What if they are lying about who the proper heir(s) is/are? You could give them a lot of money and then when the proper heirs come along you have to pay the real heirs all over again. Don't do it!

Keep making the checks payable...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Illinois on
Q: Is the trust or trustee liable for trust tax fraud?

Who is liable for abusive trust tax evasion schemes? The trust? Or the trustee? In other words, if a trust beneficiary has failed to privately persuade a trustee to stop committing fraud on the trust's taxes (among other offenses), and the trustee keeps doing it anyway, and the beneficiary... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 22, 2024

The liability for abusive trust tax evasion schemes typically depends on the specific circumstances and actions of the parties involved. In cases where a trustee willfully commits fraud on the trust's taxes, the trustee would generally bear primary responsibility for the fraudulent actions.... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: My brother died homeless in MI, without a Will. What MI papers do I file with IL unclaimed property to collect as heir.

The deceased never collected the Annuity left to him by our Mother. It was sent to IL Unclaimed Cash.

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Feb 15, 2024

To claim the annuity left by your mother to your deceased brother, who died intestate (without a Will) and homeless in Michigan, as an heir through the Illinois unclaimed property, you will likely need to obtain a declaration of heirship or a similar court order from Michigan proving your status as... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Banking for Illinois on
Q: Hi! I’m asking on behalf of my grandfather. His late sister left him money in a CD along with his niece. The bank is

Located in Texas and they are stating that we have to travel to Houston and be there at the same in order to sign documents and dissolve the CD. We are in the dead of winter and my grandfather is not up for travel. Can’t the bank make concessions and complete this virtually or send the proper... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 5, 2024

Based on the situation you have described, here are a few suggestions that may help:

- Contact the bank and explain your grandfather's health/mobility issues and the challenges of traveling at this time. Politely request if there is any way the bank can accommodate getting the required...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: If you are a beneficiary in your fathers will and your mother is alive and the executor of the will, how does it work

How will I know what I am to inherit

Bryan R. Bagdady
Bryan R. Bagdady
answered on Jan 13, 2024

The original will is required to be filed with the Court in the County where the decedent lived. You can look at the will after it is filed and read the provisions. Assuming assets in excess of $100,000 or an estate with real estate (no real estate passes through probate if it was in joint title),... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Estate Planning and Family Law for Illinois on
Q: Questions pertaining to an affidavit of heirship. Very confused on paperwork

Help. Please

Bryan R. Bagdady
Bryan R. Bagdady
answered on Jan 9, 2024

The affidavit of heirship is important when opening an estate. Some counties have pdf forms other require original typed word documents. You essentially need to identify the spouse and children. If there is no surviving spouse or child, then make sure there is no survivor of a predeceased child. If... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: My spouse has 2 ex wives, 0 kids, and NO WILL! Home is paid off.Should he pass away how will the estate be settled?

We do not have any joint accounts, my name is technically on nothing, and ,because of his past issues with his former spouses, he trusts no one, so I am pretty much standing at the window looking in.

When we talk about it his statement is. “ You’re my wife. You’ll get it all. Case closed.”

Bryan R. Bagdady
Bryan R. Bagdady
answered on Jan 4, 2024

I agree with Mr. Hutchinson. The only thing I would add, is if your spouse eventually does prepare and execute a will, that you (as his spouse) has a right to renounce the will and take one-half of the estate. This statutory spousal right is to provide a spousal share to a surviving spouse when the... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: My spouse has 2 ex wives, 0 kids, and NO WILL! Home is paid off.Should he pass away how will the estate be settled?

We do not have any joint accounts, my name is technically on nothing, and ,because of his past issues with his former spouses, he trusts no one, so I am pretty much standing at the window looking in.

When we talk about it his statement is. “ You’re my wife. You’ll get it all. Case closed.”

Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson
answered on Jan 4, 2024

At the time of his passing, and there is no will, he is considered to have died "intestate". If he is a resident of the state of Illinois, the Illinois statute regarding intestate distribution will apply. Your situation falls under paragraph (c). (Ex-wives/husbands do not take under... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Gov & Administrative Law for Illinois on
Q: Is it actionable for a trustee to withhold promised distributions unless a beneficiary stops exercising their rights?

Is it legal, ethical, or actionable for a trustee to withhold distributions that they previously promised to send for the beneficiary's health, education, maintenance, and support until the beneficiary sends all their family's receipts, bank, credit card, and student loan statements for... View More

Michael Goldberg
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Michael Goldberg
answered on Dec 22, 2023

If the trust gives the trustee discretion to make distributions to a beneficiary based on a particular standard, the trustee is permitted to ask for evidence from the beneficiary in order to evaluate whether a distribution should be made. This is not illegal, and is often a common feature of... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: Can financial POA change beneficiaries on a trust?

The poa states that I can change any and all beneficiaries.

Michael Goldberg
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Michael Goldberg
answered on Dec 22, 2023

By default, a financial POA is not permitted to change beneficiaries on financial accounts in Illinois. However, the POA document itself can add in language authorizing the POA to change beneficiaries on financial accounts. Drafting attorneys will typically limit this power to only naming the... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: My mom will receive $75k from inheritance. She is on Medicaid in long term care. Can we set up a MAPT now for her?

My grandparents trust from their home. Mom has Been in long term care for 2 years. In 2017, trust attorney said she could put her inheritance in a trust when time comes as mom is on Medicaid. She asked me who would administer, I specified my brother. Now we are being told they are cutting a... View More

Michael Goldberg
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Michael Goldberg
answered on Dec 22, 2023

The trust you appear to be referencing is not a MAPT, but rather a special needs trust. This can either be a first party special needs trust or a third party special needs trust depending on where the funds are coming from. If your grandparents established a third party special needs trust for your... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: My mom will receive $75k from inheritance. She is on Medicaid in long term care. Can we set up a MAPT now for her?

My grandparents trust from their home. Mom has Been in long term care for 2 years. In 2017, trust attorney said she could put her inheritance in a trust when time comes as mom is on Medicaid. She asked me who would administer, I specified my brother. Now we are being told they are cutting a... View More

Nina Whitehurst
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answered on Dec 13, 2023

This is a complicated area of law with lots of moving parts and not suitable for a general forum like this. That said, a transfer to a Medicaid asset protection trust would create a penalty period. It is entirely possible that the previous attorney was referring to a different type of trust.... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: Father is on ventilator and unsure if there’s a will. His older sister is taking titles and other things out of his home

I know me and siblings are beneficiaries from his job he worked is all

Timothy S O'Brien
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answered on Nov 10, 2023

Sorry to hear about your father. First, I presume since he is on a ventilator, he is not conscious or competent to answer questions about whether he has a will or not. Second, as long as he does not have a spouse (who is currently alive and to whom he is currently married), you and your siblings... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Family Law for Illinois on
Q: My brother has POA over my Mother. She's in the hospital & he's not forthcoming of her. Can I contest the POA?

I just want to know how is she doing medically and I'm not being told anything. I ask the nurses and I'm being told you are not the sister I can say anything to. I'm also worried what is going to happen when she does go back home to my brother's house because he made visiting... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 9, 2023

If you believe the power of attorney (POA) is being abused or your mother’s best interests are not being served, you have the right to contest it. You would typically need to file a petition with the court to review the actions of the POA and evaluate your mother's current competence. The... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: What do I need to file to have my minor sons estate money put in a trust before he turns 18 ?

Me and my ex wife won a lump sum from a settlement from a malpractice suit our son received his amount and is not available until he is 18. Is there a trust I can have his money put in so when he turns 18 he will get a small portion amount or being able to withdraw funds for college if he decides... View More

Jeffrey Li
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Jeffrey Li
answered on Jul 13, 2023

Sounds like the settlement proceeds for your son were placed only a restricted bank account. The better choice would have been to place the money in a structured settlement, which the money could have been paid out in portion throughout time. You will need to consult with an attorney in your area... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Illinois on
Q: I live in Illinois If I gave someone power of attorney can they add themselves to my bank account as co-owner?
Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson
answered on Jul 6, 2023

The power of attorney for property, also known as a durable power of attorney, does not authorize anyone to own your property. In fact, it does the exact opposite. The agent under the power of attorney MUST use the assets ONLY for the Principal.

B. As agent you must:

(1) do what...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: Hi there. I was forced by my brother to sign something that closed my late mother's estate. Is there anyway to reopen it

The legal document stated that id been given the full inventory list/asset list and that he forced me to sign it and said that I wasn't allowed to look at that paper bc I didn't have a lawyer. Is there anyway someone could help me? I feel like he screwed me out of my share or my full... View More

Bryan R. Bagdady
Bryan R. Bagdady
answered on Jun 21, 2023

In Illinois petitions to reopen an estate are governed by 755 ILSC 5/24-9. Estates may be reopened to permit the administration of a newly discovered asset or to permit the administration of an unsettled portion of the estate. The petition may be filed by any interested person. You will need to... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: Im 20 years old, My grandparents passed away about 2 years ago and left no will. My mom doesn’t take care of the bills.

My mom has not reported my moms death or put the house under her name and I’m wondering if I can inherit it.

Michael Goldberg
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Michael Goldberg
answered on Jun 6, 2023

If your grandparents did not have a will, the default inheritance rules of the State of Illinois apply. Under the default inheritance rules, the first in line to inherit are the spouse and children of the decedent. Grandchildren would only inherit assets if their parent (the child of the decedent)... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: Grandparents put their house into a living trust & want me to have it. How to go about this?

What is the best way to put the house in my name? Are there any options where it can be gifted to me so I don't have to take out a loan? Would buying it be best (and would a first-time homeowner's credit apply?) Are there any other options? I plan actually to live in the home and not... View More

Michael Goldberg
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Michael Goldberg
answered on May 26, 2023

Your grandparents can deed the property to you, but this is problematic because there is a mortgage on the property. The mortgage likely contains an acceleration clause that states upon transfer of the property to a third party, the mortgage will be immediately due and payable on full. Further, if... View More

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