Blog

  • How Estate Planning Helped the Jaffe Family

    We would like to share this article from Marketwatch columnist Chuck Jaffe.  In the article he highlights a few pitfalls of failing to plan properly and explains how careful estate planning helped his late brother’s family helped his family find peace of mind.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/my-brother-can-rest-in-peace-because-he-got-his-affairs-in-order-in-time-2015-07-16
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  • The Reading Of The Will

    What happens at the Reading of the Will?  It is one of the most common questions clients ask.  Even some attorneys who practice in other areas of the law have asked us what happens.  Here’s the dirt: Imagine a large family has just come from the decedent’s funeral and everyone is dressed to the nines. […]
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  • Where To Keep Your Will

    Once our clients have finished executing (signing) their estate planning documents, the first question most ask is what to do with them. This is a more important question than many imagine. The short answer is to keep your will and other estate planning documents in a safe place that is easy to access. It is […]
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  • Trustee – Beneficiary Disagreements

    A recent Wall Street Journal article shed light on the trustee/beneficiary relationship and how, by nature, the two often have competing interests. To be certain, not all trustee/beneficiary relationships are strained and careful estate planning can prevent many problems from ever arising. Nevertheless, even the most meticulously drafted trust instrument cannot anticipate every possible problem. […]
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  • Portability Extension Deadline

    An important estate tax exemption portability deadline is approaching. Currently, estates valued at $5.34 million or less are exempt from the federal estate tax. The federal government taxes everything above that amount at a rate of 40 percent. Please note that additional estate taxes and tax rates imposed at the state level vary widely by […]
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  • In Terrorem

    If you have executed an estate plan then you have probably given a lot of thought to how you want distribute your hard earned assets when you are gone. Like most people, you would probably be upset if anyone tried to override the decisions you made regarding your property. Once you are gone, how can […]
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  • Was That A Gift Or A Loan?

    Have you ever given or lent your children a substantial amount of money? Maybe you wanted to help your kids make large enough down payments on their houses so they would qualify for lower interest rates. Maybe you helped pay for a car when they started careers. Maybe you paid for a wedding. Or two. […]
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  • Statute Of Intestate Succession

    Statute of Intestate Succession. Just reading those words will put most non-lawyers to sleep but it is a large topic we will eventually explore in greater depth. Laugh if you want but it can be surprisingly interesting. Today, nothing more than an introduction. Like other states, Illinois has a statute of intestate succession. This merits […]
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  • Special Needs Trusts, Part Two

    Continuing from yesterday, Schmidt & Lerner, LLC drafts special needs trusts for either of two purposes. The general support special needs trust is designed to be the primary means of income and support for the beneficiary with special needs. How completely a general support trust is able to support someone depends on many factors including […]
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  • Special Needs Trusts, Part One

    A common concern for many is how to protect their family members who have special needs. Leaving guardianship questions aside today, what can an estate planning attorney do to keep an inheritance from jeopardizing eligibility for government benefits like Social Security Income (SSI)? In conjunction with other estate planning tools a special needs trust can […]
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