Share

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Long Flight Up

Meg has begun the probate court procedure to be named Wes’ guardian, because his is unable to take care of himself after his rock climbing accident.  After going through several legal requirements, Meg has finally gotten to “court” with her guardianship problem.

Now, with Wes sitting in the courtroom, Meg must persuade the probate judge to agree that Wes is incompetent and needs a guardian.  Wes must also appear and may be questioned by Meg’s attorney, his own court-appointed attorney, or the judge.  And Meg’s own testimony is subject to cross-examination.

Meg must also prove to the judge is that she, his only child, is the best person to be his guardian.  Moreover, Meg must help the judge define exactly what is the minimum amount of authority she as guardian must be given in order to best meet Wes’ needs.

If the judge agrees with Meg, then he will enter an Order appointing Meg guardian.  That order will clearly state the exact scope of her authority and responsibility as guardian.

Proper planning can prevent the need for guardianship proceedings in many situations.  For estate planning help, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.     

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

More Steps To Climb

Wes’ rock climbing accident had cost him his ability to take care of himself.  His daughter, Meg, has already taken the first painful step of opening a living probate seeking to be named his guardian in order to manage what Wes can no longer do. 

The Petition she filed alleging he was incompetent and listing her reasons for believing he needs help also had to be served on Wes with a Summons.  Now he is required to appear at the court hearing about whether he really is incompetent, unless the court specifically “excuses” him from it.  Plus, even though he is in no great shape, he must file a legal response.

Because that would be difficult for him, the court will appoint an attorney to serve as Guardian Ad Litem for Wes, called a GAL for short.  The GAL will investigate the situation as needed, so she can file the required legal response on Wes’ behalf.

The GAL also makes sure that Wes is notified of his rights in the probate proceeding started by Meg and appears at the ultimate competency hearing too.

Guardianship proceedings can often be prevented with good estate planning.  For help planning your future, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd


Monday, June 8, 2015

Living Probate

Wes was 52, at the pinnacle of his career as a corporate executive.  But tragedy was lurking around the corner, and an unusual rock-climbing accident cost him not his life, but rather certain key parts of his brain function.

His superior memory for details was gone, and so was most of his ability to analyze and process the world around him.  He turned into a troubled old man almost overnight. 

His daughter, Meg, mourned as she clearly saw what the doctors told her.  Her father was now incompetent to take care of himself; he couldn’t pay his bills, remember how to get to the corner grocery store, or even count his change.

So Meg realized she, his only child, should take care of him.  But then she discovered she would have to go to probate court in order to be able to pay his bills with his own money. 

Since she cannot pay his bills without his money (she’s not at the pinnacle of her career yet, not to mention her children’s needs), Meg has to enter into a living probate for her father and be officially named his guardian, which is just a start of the necessary court proceedings.

Estate planning isn’t only for death situations.  It can help prevent court proceedings during life, too.  To plan for your future, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sam And Rose All Grown Up

We have spent several months considering issues that Ray and Liz needed to think about when choosing who should serve as guardian of almost-one-year-old Sam and his big sister Rose, who recently had her 5th birthday. 

Of course, we couldn’t just leave them at such a young age.  After all, estate planning is about thinking into the future at what might be…  So we aged Sam to age 20 when he would no longer have a guardian.  Then, he married Eve, who looked like a disaster to his parents and sister. 

Serving as guardian is only until 18.  Serving as trustee of their inheritances can go far beyond that young age.  It was crucial for Ray and Liz to think beyond the guardian role and consider the role of trustee, who would protect Sam and Rose’s inheritance ‘safety net’ from their parents.  

Sometimes the person who serves as guardian is the same as who serves as trustee.  For Ray and Liz, it was better to have Liz’s sister serve as guardian and one of Ray’s close friends serve as trustee. 

Our crystal ball is murky, but careful planning can go a very long way in helping those we love if the unthinkable happens and death comes far too early for us as parents.

To consider ways to protect your own family in your Will and estate plan, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wedded Bliss

Last week we fast forwarded baby Sam to age 20, when he and Eve got married, which his parents and 24-year-older-and-wiser sister fear is a huge mistake that will end in divorce. 

Because Ray and Liz have a trust in their Wills for Sam to protect part of his future inheritance through the age of 55, they hope that Sam will still has money left for a new start when the divorce is final.  Any money still in the trust at divorce could not be divided up by the divorce court. 

But let’s say Sam actually discovered a diamond-in-the-rough for his bride and the marriage is blissful instead of troubled. 

Ray and Liz know that it is still better to have the money in the trust.  Since Sam and Eve would be married in their golden years, Sam could share the benefit of all of his inheritance with his partner then if he wished to. 

But until that thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, the money from Sam’s inheritance could be spent by the Trustee to help Sam in case he needed help and also would be out of reach of any creditors of Sam or Eve.  As some business negotiators like to say, that is a win-win.

It is never too early to plan for those you care about most.  To consider ways to protect your own family in your Will and estate plan, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

But He Hasn't Even Met Her Yet!

Last week we fast-forwarded nine-month old Sam’s life to age 18 to talk about the protection from creditors that his parents can give him by putting any money they leave him in a trust.  We look at one specific potential creditor today to further illustrate.

This time we are moving on to age 20.  We learn that Sam’s financial judgment is good, but his taste in companions is unfortunately not good.  In fact, he is marrying Eve, and his parents and his sister, Rose, are sure it will end in divorce. 

Ray and Liz already put a trust in their Wills that would allow Sam one third of his inheritance outright when he is age 25 and the next third at age 45, with the rest at age 55. 

If Ray and Liz pass away during Sam’s honeymoon and he and Eve divorce when he is 24, none of his inheritance would be subject to being divided with his soon-to-be ex-wife by the divorce court. 

But if the divorce happens when he is 40, the two-thirds remaining in the trust will not be subject to division.  But, unless he chose not to withdraw his money at 25, the money from the first third would probably be subject to the court dividing it between Sam and Eve, because Sam routinely puts both his and Eve’s name on all their accounts. 

To consider your alternatives for your own estate plan, including limiting claims of potential ex-spouses for your infant children, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.

 


Thursday, April 30, 2015

What Age To Receive Inheritance?

Neither Sam nor Rose has given their parents, Ray and Liz, any reason not to trust their financial judgment.  After all, at ages of 9 months and 4 years, they’ve not had much opportunity to spend any money yet.

When we fast forward 18 years (as we can in fiction writing such as this column), their parents think both of them  have good financial judgment, even though they are young.  However, they still want to specify that any inheritance for the children will go into trust.  

Each will be able to get only one third of his or her share from the trust outright when age 25 and then another third at age 45.  In the end, each may receive the final third at age 55.

This doesn’t mean that Ray and Liz do not trust them.  Even though they know Rose and Sam may not spend unwisely, they want to protect their inherited safety net from others. Specifically, they want to protect it from potential creditors. 

As we repeat so often, life is uncertain.  If Sam negligently runs over a world-class concert violinist and disables her for life, almost all assets he owns will be collectible by her to pay her judgment. 

But his trust money would be available to keep Sam housed and fed and could not be taken by the violinist’s lawsuit.

This is one way Ray and Liz can protect the parental safety net they leave for their children.  To consider your alternatives for your own estate plan, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Inheritance With Training Wheels

Happily, baby Sam and 4-year-old Rose will probably never need a financial guardian, as their parents, Ray and Liz, have no reason to believe they will pass away before Sam and Rose are grown.

But planning carefully is needed to provide care for them in case the unexpected does happen.  Ray and Liz are putting provisions in their Wills to create a trust for Sam and Rose after their deaths rather than simply rely on the guardianship court to protect their money until each one turns 18 and would have to receive his or her half of all the remaining money outright. 

As we noted last week, Ray and Liz think that 18 is too soon for either child to receive so much money.  In fact, perhaps there is no good age for either to receive one large sum of money as a ‘substitute’ for having their parents as a financial safety net. 

We recommend that an inheritance from a trust be divided into at least two different distributions; for example, half when the child beneficiary is 25 and the remaining half at age 35.  So the beneficiary would directly handle only part of the inheritance after the first distribution and, hopefully, learn from any mistakes he or she makes then. 

The other half of their trust money would still be managed and protected by the trustee until the age 35 distribution.  By then, their parents hope that they would not only be older, but also wiser because of their experience investing, spending or losing the first half of their inheritances.  

This two-part distribution plan can be a way to give ‘training wheels’ with a child’s inheritance.  To consider your alternatives for your own estate plan, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Better Later Than Earlier?

Happily, Ray and Liz’s children will probably never need a financial guardian, because Ray and Liz have no reason to believe they will pass away before the children are all grown up.

But their planning is necessary to provide care for them in case the unexpected does happen.  They have already chosen whom they want to serve as guardian for Sam, picking Liz’s sister Joy to be personal guardian (with custody), and picking Ray’s friend Ted to be financial guardian.

But if Ted becomes financial guardian, he would be in charge of each child’s money only until the child turns 18.  At that point, Ted would be required to make all of the money available to each child without restriction. 

This would be a very large amount of money, as Ray and Liz have large life insurance policies to be sure there would be enough to take care of Rose and Sam.

Ray and Liz, who were 18 quite some years ago, consider either Rose or Sam receiving so much money at age 18 to be a dangerous prospect.  When they were 18, they themselves would have been easy marks for many people with excellent ‘investment ideas.’

Ray and Liz could leave the children’s money to a trust that would be created after their deaths instead of to a financial guardian.  Then they could pick later ages for either or both children to get unrestricted access to the money.

To consider your alternatives for your own estate plan, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment. ©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

'Corporate' Guardian

As we wrote last week, neither 8-month old Sam or his 4-year-old sister will probably ever need a financial guardian, as his parents, Ray and Liz, have no reason to believe they will pass away before they are adults.

But they plan about how to provide care for Sam in case the unexpected does happen.  They think they may name Ray’s friend Ted, to take care of the money their children would inherit from Ray and Liz.  But the money they would leave, including their life insurance amounts, would be a much larger amount than Ted has ever needed to handle for himself yet. 

Last week, Ray and Liz considered naming Ted to serve as co-guardian with a professional corporate guardian, such as a bank’s trust department.  Another option is to simply name the trust department to serve as guardian of the estate solely, which would allow Ted to simply be an unofficial uncle like he is now. 

The bank would serve as fiduciary for the children, manage their money, do the accounting work, and make the decisions about what money is needed for them based on its established policies.  They would monitor his situation and respond to requests made by Joy, who Ray and Liz named to be the children’s personal guardian. 

Corporate guardians are experienced serving as financial fiduciaries for minors and so can be a good choice to name as guardian.  To consider your alternatives for your own estate plan, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reasons To Consider

Eight-month-old Sam will probably never need a financial guardian.  His parents, Ray and Liz, have just thoroughly enjoyed watching him learn to crawl and have no reason to believe they will pass away before Sam or his older sister/crawl teacher Rose are adults.

But their planning is necessary to provide care for them in case the unexpected does happen.  They decided to name Ray’s lifelong friend Ted to take care of the money Liz and Ray would leave for Rose and Sam. 

Ted is “good with money,” is close to Sam and knows Joy, Liz’s sister, who would be the personal guardian.  On the other hand, the money Ray and Liz would leave for Sam, including their life insurance amounts, would be a much larger amount than Ted has yet needed to handle for himself. 

So Ray and Liz are considering how to empower Ted to get the advice and help he would need to best manage the money for Rose and Sam.  One way would be to suggest Ted work with a specific financial advisor they trust. 

Another way would be to name a “corporate” co-guardian to serve with Ted in their Wills.  One example of a corporate guardian is the trust department of a bank. 

The bank would manage the money and do the accounting work, and Ted would decide with the bank what the children and Joy need. 

Corporate co-guardians can provide financial expertise to make the job of an ordinary person serving as guardian of a large estate easier to fulfill.  To consider your alternatives for your own estate plan, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Archived Posts

2016
2015
2014
2013
2012


Our attorneys assist families in Plainfield, IL and the surrounding areas, including Joliet, Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook, Channahon, Crest Hill, Lockport, Minooka, Oswego, Romeoville, Shorewood, and Yorkville, in Will County, DuPage County, Kendall County, and Kane County.



© 2018 Gruber Law Office, Ltd. | Disclaimer
8380 Old Ridge Road, Plainfield, IL 60544
| Phone: 815-436-1996

Estate Planning | Probate & Estate Administration | Elder Law / Medicaid Pre-Planning | Special Needs Planning | Planning for Children | Business Succession Planning | Pet Trusts | About Our Firm | Resources

Attorney Website Design by
Zola Creative