How Does the Illinois Trust Code Affect Trustees and Beneficiaries?

Web Admin - Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Long Grove estate planning lawyer Illinois Trust CodeMany people utilize trusts to protect and manage their assets and ensure that these assets are properly distributed to their beneficiaries either before or after their death. However, the laws regarding trusts are changing. Effective January 1st, 2020, the Illinois Trust Code (ITC) will be replacing the current Illinois Trusts and Trustees Act. The ITC is linked in certain ways to the Uniform Trust Code (UTC), which is an arrangement of laws designed to establish consistent trust laws between different states. Before the ITC is implemented, trust makers and trustees may need to review their current trusts and determine how the changes to the law may affect them. 

New Default and Mandatory Rules

When a person creates a trust, they place their assets in the control of a trustee, who will oversee the process of managing these assets and distributing them to the beneficiaries according to the terms defined in the trust. The ITC specifies a number of rules that must be followed regarding trusts. While a trust may provide a trustee and beneficiaries with certain rights, powers, duties, limitations, and immunities, the ITC states that:

- A trustee must act in good faith.
- The trust must be lawful and cannot violate public policy.
- A trust may nominate one or more people to serve as the designated representative of a qualified beneficiary, and this representative must act in good faith in the best interests of the beneficiary.
- A trust may not be enforced for more than 21 years.
- The court is granted the power to modify or terminate a trust.
- Spendthrift provisions can be authorized by the court.
- A person who is acting as an agent in a power of attorney must have express authorization in order to act on behalf of a trust settlor. 
- The court may adjust the compensation provided to a trustee if it is deemed to be too high or low.
- A trustee must notify each qualified beneficiary of the trust’s existence, the beneficiaries’ right to a copy of the trust, and whether the beneficiary can receive or request trust accountings. 
- A trustee must send an annual trust accounting to the current beneficiaries.
- A trustee must send a trust accounting to all of the beneficiaries upon the termination of a trust.
- If a trust contains terms waiving a trustee’s liability for breaching the terms of the trust, these terms may be unenforceable.

Contact a Schaumburg Estate Planning Lawyer

The ITC may have significant implications for currently-established trusts, as well as for trusts that are created in the future. Before the ITC is enacted, discussing your questions and concerns with an experienced Arlington Heights trusts attorney could help ensure that your rights as a trustee or beneficiary are protected. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, we can help you address any legal issues related to trusts, or we can help you create a trust to protect your assets and distribute them to your beneficiaries. To further discuss your specific situation, contact our office today at 847-934-6000 for a free initial consultation.

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.


How Does Illinois Law Address Wrongful Death?

Web Admin - Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Barrington wrongful death attorneyThe death of a loved one can be very difficult, and it can affect an entire family. In addition to causing a great deal of emotional pain, the death can have a large financial impact as well, and family members may struggle to pay for medical care that was needed for their loved one, address funeral and burial expenses, and meet their own ongoing needs after the loss of an income provider. These issues can be hard to overcome in any circumstances, but they can be even more challenging if the death could have been avoided. A wrongful death may occur because of improper acts or negligence by others, and in these cases, family members may choose to seek financial damages from the party who was responsible. 

Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that in 2017, nearly 170,000 people died from unintentional injuries. The most common types of injuries are accidental poisoning, motor vehicle accidents, and falls. While not all of these cases may have been considered wrongful death, a large portion of them could have been prevented, and negligent parties such as drivers, product manufacturers, or property owners may have been responsible. In addition, a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine concluded that more than 250,000 people die each year because of medical malpractice. In these cases, family members may be able to pursue compensation for a death that occurred because of the negligence of medical professionals.

How Do I File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?

The Illinois Wrongful Death Act allows surviving family members of a wrongfully killed individual (typically a spouse or next of kin) to pursue monetary compensation from the person or company that was responsible for the death. A civil lawsuit may be filed, and if the defendant is found liable for the death of the victim, damages may be awarded to the surviving family members.

The compensation provided to the family members may include multiple types of damages. In addition to paying for the actual costs surrounding the death, such as any medical treatment received and expenses for the victim’s funeral or burial, the defendant may also be required to repay the family for the income lost because of the death, the loss of companionship, and the grief, sorrow, and mental suffering they have experienced. If compensation is awarded by the court, or if the parties reach a settlement agreement, the amount recovered will be distributed by the court to the surviving spouse and next of kin. 

Contact a Deer Park Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you are coping with the loss of a loved one that occurred because of someone else’s negligence, you should be sure to understand your options for pursuing financial compensation. The compassionate attorneys at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can provide you with the legal help you need during these difficult times. Our experienced Crystal Lake personal injury attorneys will work to ensure that you receive the compensation that addresses the emotional and financial harm your family has suffered. Contact our office at 847-934-6000 to schedule a free initial 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.


Can I Pursue Compensation if I Am Injured on Someone Else’s Property?

Web Admin - Thursday, September 12, 2019
Rolling Meadows property owner liability attorneyA property owner is responsible for taking reasonable care to protect the safety of those who are allowed to be on their premises. If a personal injury occurs because of a property owner’s negligence, the victim may be able to receive compensation for the damages they have suffered. Potential premises liability claims may range from a broken seat causing trauma at a movie theatre to a person being injured in a slip and fall accident at an individual's home. An injury sustained from an unsafe or defective condition on someone else's property is the root cause for a premises liability claim. 

When Is a Property Owner or Occupant Liable?

According to Illinois law (740 ILCS 130/2), a property owner or tenant has a “duty of care” to ensure that those who enter their property are safe from harm. This duty applies to people who are legally allowed to enter the premises, and a property owner may be liable for injuries or damages which occur if they did not take reasonable care to correct hazards or provide warnings about potential dangers. However, the owner or tenant is not required to: 

- Provide warnings about conditions on the property that are already known by the guest or which are “open and obvious.”

- Alert visitors about hazards that unknown to the owner or occupant.

- Advise visitors of any threats resulting from the improper use of the property or protect against injuries that occur as a result of this type of misuse.

Steps to Take After an Accident

If an injury occurs at a business or another person's residence, victims should take steps to protect their ability to pursue compensation. If possible, the injured party should document the area in which the incident took place. This may include taking pictures or videos or getting statements from any witnesses. Gathering evidence as soon as possible is crucial, because the property owner could try to correct the hazard after the incident in order to avoid being held liable. 

Victims should refuse any payments or compensation offered by the liable party at the time of the accident, because these payments are likely to be far less than the actual costs of medical treatment and other damages resulting from the injury. It is also important to receive medical care for an injury as soon as possible. This will provide evidence of the full extent of the injuries, ensuring that proper compensation can be recovered.

Contact an Arlington Heights Premises Liability Lawyer

If you have been injured while on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover compensation by showing that the owner or tenant’s negligence was the direct cause of your damages. The knowledgeable Inverness personal injury attorneys at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can investigate the circumstances of your injury and help you determine your best options for receiving the compensation you deserve. Contact our office at 847-934-6000 to schedule a free initial 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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