Why Top 15% Income Households Need to Start Estate Planning Now

Web Admin - Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Schaumburg estate planning lawyer wealth protectionYou do not have to be Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk to need an estate plan. You do not even need to be earning $1.4 million a year, which is the average annual income of the top 1% of Illinois households. However, if you are fortunate enough to be in the top 15%, you will likely amass enough assets to need an estate plan. For perspective, a 2017 household income over $140,000 per year puts you in the top 15% of U.S. households; over $170K puts you in the top 10%, over $225K in the top 5%, and over $431K in the top 1%. If you fall into these ranges, here are three reasons why you should start an estate plan: 

1. You may think it is too early to be worrying about an estate plan. It is not. 

If you belong to the Baby Boomer generation, you are now age 54 to 72. Gen Xers are age 39 to 53. You may be in great health today, but you cannot predict what will happen tomorrow. You do not want to leave your family in chaos, trying to figure out what to do in the event of a sudden illness or death. Peace of mind is a gift you give yourself and them when you make the time to create an estate plan.

2. You may think your estate is not big enough to require “planning.” It may be bigger than you realize.

Have you totaled up your assets lately? Your home, vehicles, whole life insurance, retirement accounts, other investments, and personal property may add up to more than you realize. You may think that you will use up your entire retirement savings during your lifetime, but many people will not. If you have invested wisely, you may be able to live off the earnings and hardly touch the principal. Also, your primary home, vacation home, or other assets (artwork, jewelry, gold coins) may appreciate in value more than you expect. With an estate plan, you can make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

3. You may think that a simple will that divides your estate equally among your children is enough. But have you allowed for the unexpected?

An experienced estate planner will point out the types of unexpected events that can occur and the important contingencies that you should cover in your plan, such as: 

- What if one of your heirs becomes disabled or cannot be trusted with money due to an addiction? You may want to place your money in a trust with scheduled distributions, with a trustee who has the authority to distribute more or less money if circumstances warrant.

- What if someone does not want the asset you want to give them? For example, you may want to make sure your lake cottage stays in the family, with each child owning an equal share. But what if one of them moves far away or cannot afford the maintenance costs? Also, when it passes to the next generation, what happens if one child has three offspring and another has just one? Is it fair for one grandchild to have a 50% say in future decisions while the other three grandchildren split the remaining 50%? An experienced estate attorney will anticipate and know how to solve for such problems. 

- What if you outlive your presumed heirs? Do you have siblings or other relatives you would like to provide for?

- What if your final estate is likely to be substantially larger than you think your heirs need? Are there any charitable causes you would like to support, perhaps only if your final estate exceeds a certain amount?

Consult a Kenilworth Estate Planning Lawyer

These are just three of the reasons that an income earner who is in the top 15% should be starting their estate plan now. For more information, contact the experienced Inverness estate planning attorneys at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. We will help you develop a savvy estate plan that will provide emotional and financial security for you and your family. Contact us at 847-934-6000.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


When to Call an Attorney to Solve a Life Insurance Dispute

Web Admin - Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Des Plaines life insurance claim lawyerFollowing a death in the family, you could easily find yourself facing a stack of bills and insufficient income to cover them. This can happen even if you have been a careful money manager. If a life insurance payout does not come quickly enough, you could experience severe financial stress on top of everything else. But how do you know when you need the intervention of a lawyer to help you collect on a life insurance policy? Here are a few warning signs to watch out for:

Has it been more than 30 days since you submitted your claim?

Following a death, you must contact the life insurance company and open a claim. Then, you must submit the death certificate and any other documentation and signatures required by the insurance company. When you have completed the claims process, the company should deliver payment to you within a few weeks. If you have contacted the insurance company several times and still have not received payment after 30 to 60 days, and you have not received a clear explanation for the delay, you may need an attorney’s help to cut through the red tape and put some pressure on the company to approve your claim.

Did you buy the life insurance policy less than two years ago?

Life insurance policies typically include a “contestability” clause that allows for policy cancellation and claims denial if, within two years of issuance, the insurer discovers that any material fact was not disclosed during the application process. If the insured dies within two years of obtaining the insurance policy, their original application and other documentation may be carefully examined to see if there were any “material misstatements or omissions.”
For example, if the insured person failed to disclose any medical conditions (e.g., a serious illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or depression) or habits (e.g., use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco), this could lead to a denial of your claim.

The insurance company could spend months evaluating medical records, credit reports, motor vehicle reports, and so on, looking for evidence of a material misrepresentation and a reason to deny your claim. If the two-year contestability period is a factor in your claim, you may need an attorney to speak to the insurance company and convince them that your claim is valid.

Did the insurance company send you a letter of denial?

A life insurance claim may be denied for reasons such as “non-accidental death” or because the policy was rescinded. In many cases, a skillful insurance attorney can help get that denial reversed by conducting an independent investigation of the facts of your case and making a forceful argument to the insurance company.

Consult a Des Plaines Life Insurance Dispute Resolution Attorney 

If you are having problems collecting on a life insurance policy, the intervention of a knowledgeable Palatine life insurance lawyer can help. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC will slice through whatever obstacles are standing between you and your insurance payout as quickly as possible. Contact us at 847-934-6000. We serve clients throughout the northwest suburbs, including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Crystal Lake, Barrington, and Schaumburg.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


How Teen Parties Can Result in Parent Liability for Personal Injuries

Web Admin - Thursday, October 11, 2018
Schaumburg personal injury attorney parent liabilityYou may have heard of parents saying, “I would rather have my kids host a party at our house or get them a hotel room than have them out driving who-knows-where and drinking.” Or perhaps you have heard of 17- to 20-year-olds using fake IDs or an older sibling’s ID to buy alcohol. If, as a parent, these tales do not set off warning lights in your mind, you may want to pay heed to this quick tutorial on Illinois law. Not only are there criminal penalties to consider, but also the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit.

Do Not Use a Fake or Borrowed ID for Underage Alcohol Purchase 

It is illegal in Illinois for a person under age 21 to purchase alcoholic beverages using a fraudulent ID or using the driver’s license of another person. Both the lender and the borrower of an ID card used to illegally purchase alcohol can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. 

Do Not Allow Underage Alcohol Consumption on Your Property 

Parents may allow their children under age 21 to consume alcohol under a parent’s direct supervision and approval in the privacy of their home. However, it is against Illinois law for parents to allow “invitees” under age 21 to consume alcoholic beverages on any property under their control or on any vehicle or watercraft under their control (235 ILCS 5/6-16, a-1). The property owner is legally responsible, whether they knowingly allowed the alcoholic beverage consumption or simply failed to control access to the alcohol. 

The offense of providing alcohol to a person under age 21 is a Class A misdemeanor. If a death or personal injury results, the property owner could face severe criminal penalties. 

In addition, parents should be aware of the laws governing social host civil liability. The applicable Illinois law is the Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act (740 ILCS 58). Social host liability means that an adult host can be held liable for injuries resulting from a minor’s impairment by alcohol or drugs obtained from that adult host. 

For example, suppose an adult hosts a party where alcohol or illegal drugs are available, and minors under age 21 are present. If one of those minors becomes impaired, gets behind the wheel or a car, and is involved in a collision, anyone injured in that accident can sue the adult host for damages.

Do Not Rent a Hotel Room for Prom Night, Graduation Night, Etc.

If a person over age 21 pays for a hotel room in which underage alcohol consumption is anticipated, and one of those minors becomes intoxicated and causes property damage or injury to another person, the person who paid for the hotel room can be held liable such damages and injuries (235 ILCS 5/6-21). 

For example, if an underage drinking party gets out of control, the hotel could sue the adult renter in civil court to force payment for damage to walls, ceilings, windows, or furnishings. The adult renter could also be found negligent in a personal injury lawsuit if one of those minors gets drunk in that hotel room and is injured in a fall down the hotel stairs or off a balcony. 

Consult an Arlington Heights Personal Injury Attorney 

If you host or contribute to an underage drinking event, and someone is injured as a result, you could be sued for damages in civil court in addition to facing criminal charges. If you or your child have been injured because a parent or other adult gave minors access to alcohol or illegal drugs, it is imperative to consult an experienced Palatine personal injury lawyer. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC will carefully review your case and recommend the best course of action to mitigate the damage to your life. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to arrange a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


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