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Illinois Estate Planning Basics

 Posted on April 12, 2012 in Estate Planning

Estate planning is a relatively broad term used to cover various legal actions and arrangements that can be taken to manage a person's property and assets, and establish their wishes, following their death. Estate planning commonly includes the preparation of Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney. Depending on a person's specific situation and the size of their estate, it could also include additional actions such as tax planning, business succession planning, and establishing their wishes for charitable giving.

Ideally, Illinois residents should take the time to prepare an estate plan. This ensures that their assets are distributed according to their wishes, and can help minimize the stress and hassle put upon their loved ones following their death. When someoneĀ  in Illinois dies, their estate will proceed through Illinois Probate Court, and the Court will decide how the estate is handled. This can be a exceptionally lengthy and stressful process when the decedent did not prepare a will or other estate planning documents.

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U.S. Representative Joe Walsh Still Facing Illinois Child Support Case

 Posted on April 09, 2012 in Child Support

Even as McHenry congressman Joe Walsh prepares for re-election this year in Illinois' 8th District, which now is located in the west and northwest suburbs, he continues to battle his ex-wife's allegations that he owes her more than $117,000 in back child support and interest.

In December of 2010, Laura Walsh filed suit against her ex-husband in the Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that he owed her $117,437 in child support for their three children, two of whom are now adults. Although Walsh has stated that he had no ability to pay his child support, congressional campaign disclosures revealed that he personally loaned his campaign the sum of $35,000, at least part of which he has now repaid to himself. Other court documents allege that Walsh has maintained a relatively expensive lifestyle and has taken vacations to Mexico and Italy.

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Cook County Probate Court Allows Cat to Live

 Posted on April 06, 2012 in Estate Execution

In 1988, Georgia Lee Dvorak designated in her Will that any cats she owns at the time of her death be put to sleep in a "painless, peaceful manner." As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the 76-year-old recently passed away - but thanks to the 5/3 bank trust officers responsible for administering her estate, her 11-year-old house cat "Boots" will get to spend the rest of her days in a no-kill shelter.

There was no precedent for this type of case in Illinois, but attorneys for 5/3 argued that killing a healthy house cat would violate public policy, especially when alternative arrangements have been found. They also pointed to the fact that Ms. Dvorak donated a large portion of her $1.4 million estate to animal-related causes, and a similar Pennsylvania case where the court ruled against a decedent's dog being put to death.

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"Gray Divorces" Becoming More Common

 Posted on April 02, 2012 in Divorce

Although statistics show that the overall divorce rate is slightly declining, studies are showing that baby boomers are divorcing at a much higher rate compared to the rest of the population in what have been coined "gray divorces."

According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, census data and other research indicate that people aged 50 or older are twice as likely to divorce than they were 20 years ago, in 1990. In fact, in 2010, the divorce rate was 12.6% for people ages 50-64. One-third of baby boomers are unmarried, and out of those who are recently-divorced, many have a previous divorce as well.

Experts offer many theories for this rising rate of divorces by the over-50 crowd. For one, most have children who are grown and gone, leaving them alone with their spouse for long periods for what may be the first time in a while. As the average life span continues to increase, those in unhappy marriages are less willing to "stick it out," knowing that may mean spending another 30 years in a troubled marriage. Additionally, compared to previous generations, many more baby boomer women have built successful careers and are able to support themselves.

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