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Pursuing Compensation in Cases of Wrongful Death

Web Admin - Friday, May 11, 2018
Mount Prospect wrongful death lawyerThe death of a loved one is devastating for a family. In addition to the grief that family members experience, they will often struggle with financial difficulties, especially when the deceased person is a family’s primary income earner. These issues become even more difficult when the death could have been prevented or occurred because of someone’s negligent or careless actions. When family members are working to put their lives back together after a tragic loss, they should be sure to understand their options for pursuing compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Illinois Wrongful Death Laws

According to Illinois law, wrongful death occurs when a person’s death is caused by someone’s wrongful or negligent acts. Acts are considered negligent if the victim could have pursued a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party or parties had they not died. A liable party may be an individual person or a company or corporation.

A personal representative of the deceased person may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the person’s surviving family members, and damages recovered are for the “exclusive benefit” of those survivors. Wrongful death cases have a two year statute of limitations in Illinois (that is, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death), although this statute of limitations is extended to five years (or one year after the final disposition of a criminal case) if the death was caused by “violent intentional conduct” such as murder, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, or reckless homicide.

Wrongful Death Damages

A wrongful death lawsuit can seek to recover damages from the party responsible for the death, and these damages may be economic or non-economic. Types of damages include:

  • - Medical expenses - A family may be compensated for the costs of hospitalization, surgery, or any other medical treatment the deceased person received before their death.
  • - Burial expenses - Compensation may include funeral costs and any expenses related to the disposition of the deceased person’s remains.
  • - Lost income - One of the primary types of economic damages families experience is the loss of the income earned by the deceased person, as well as any benefits they received. Wrongful death compensation can address these damages, providing a family with the financial means to meet their ongoing needs.
  • - Emotional damages - A family may be able to receive compensation for the grief and sorrow they experience because of the loss of their loved one.
  • - Loss of society - In addition to economic damages and emotional harm, a family will be deprived of their relationship with their deceased loved one, and they may be compensated for the loss of love and companionship, as well as the education, instruction, or services which the deceased person would have provided for their family.

Contact a Barrington Wrongful Death Lawyer

If your family member has died because of someone’s actions or negligence, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you understand your options for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. We will work to help you receive the compensation you need to address your financial difficulties and emotional suffering. Contact an Inverness personal injury attorney at 847-934-6000 to arrange a personalized 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.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2059&ChapterID=57
http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/31.00.pdf

Recovering Compensation for Construction Accidents Involving Falls

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 09, 2018
Palatine construction accident injury lawyerConstruction sites are dangerous environments, and it is important for employers, contractors, and construction workers to follow proper procedures to protect everyone’s safety. However, construction accidents occur for a variety of reasons, and they can often result in serious injuries. 

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), falls are the leading cause of death in construction accidents, accounting for 370 fatalities in 2016. Workers injured in construction accidents involving falls should be sure to understand their options for receiving compensation for their damages. 

Workers’ Compensation for Construction Site Falls

When an employee is injured in the course of their job, they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. These benefits will cover the costs of medical treatment for a worker’s injuries, and a worker may also receive disability benefits that compensate them for lost income due to temporary or permanent impairment to their ability to continue working. In fatal construction accidents, a worker’s surviving family members can receive workers’ compensation death benefits, including ongoing payments to make up for the family’s lost income, along with compensation for expenses related to the deceased person’s funeral and burial.

Third-Party Liability for Personal Injuries

Construction site fall injuries can occur for a variety of reasons, including defective equipment (such as ladders or scaffolding), inadequate employee training, or failure to use the proper safety measures or follow the correct procedures. When a worker is injured because of this type of negligence, they may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the liable parties and receive compensation for their injuries. 

A personal injury claim may be brought against all parties responsible for an injury, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment or subcontractors who did not follow the correct safety procedures. A third party-liability claim not only allows an injured person to pursue financial damages, but they may also be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering they and their family have experienced. 

Contact a Schaumburg Personal Injury Lawyer

Injuries that occur as the result of falls at a construction site can be devastating, affecting a worker’s health and well-being and their ability to earn an income for years to come. If you have suffered a construction site injury, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can work with you to ensure that you receive the proper workers’ compensation benefits, and we can help you understand your options for pursuing a third-party liability claim. Contact an Arlington Heights construction accident attorney at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized 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.



Sources:
https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/safety-topics/slips-trips-falls
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/construction/infographics.html
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/falls/

How Does Illinois Estate Tax Differ From Federal Estate Tax?

Web Admin - Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Palatine estate tax attorneyNo matter the amount of property or assets you acquire over the course of your lifetime, you will want to be sure that these assets are properly distributed to your heirs following your death. Proper estate planning is essential for making sure your wishes are carried out correctly. However, one aspect of estate planning that is often not addressed is the estate tax, which applies to the transfer of a person’s assets to their heirs after their death, and residents of Illinois should be aware that they may be responsible for a state estate tax as well as a federal estate tax.

Understanding Illinois Estate Tax

When someone dies, their estate may be subject to estate tax if the value of their assets is above a certain threshold. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 increased the threshold for federal estate tax from $5.49 million to $11.2 million. The exemption threshold for Illinois estate tax is currently $4 million. Any estate with a gross value that is more than this amount is subject to Illinois estate tax, with the full value of the estate being taxable.

The tax rates for the Illinois estate tax are variable, ranging from 0.8% to 16%. This tax applies not only to the value of an estate, but also to taxable gifts made during a person’s lifetime. A person may be able to reduce the value of their estate, and thus reduce their amount of estate taxes, by making non-taxable gifts of up to $14,000 per person per year.

Unlike the federal estate tax, the Illinois estate tax exemption cannot be passed to a person’s spouse after their death. However, some of the Illinois estate tax may be deferred if a spouse’s assets are placed in a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust. This type of “credit shelter” trust can be used to defer the difference between the Illinois and federal estate taxes. For example, in estate tax returns filed for decedents who died in 2017, a QTIP election of up to $1.49 million may be made, and estate taxes on this amount will not apply until the death of the surviving spouse.

Contact an Arlington Heights Estate Planning Attorney

Understanding the relationship between federal and state estate taxes and determining how to manage assets in a way that minimizes tax burdens can be a complicated matter. If you want to be sure that you will be able to pass the assets you have earned throughout your lifetime to your heirs, the skilled attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you create an estate plan that meets your family’s needs. Contact our Schaumburg estate tax lawyers today at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized 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.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=609&ChapterID=8
http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/publications/pdf/Instruction_FactSheet2017.pdf
https://www.thebalance.com/overview-of-illinois-estate-tax-laws-3505297

What Is a Mechanic’s Lien?

Web Admin - Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Inverness real estate lien attorneyIn any real estate transaction, there are a variety of legal issues that can arise that will affect the parties’ ability to complete the sale. If there are any encumbrances on the property, they will restrict the owner’s ability to transfer the title. Mechanic’s liens are one type of encumbrance that people may not be aware of, and property owners should be sure to understand how these liens can affect them.

Mechanic’s Liens in Illinois

A mechanic’s lien can be placed on a property by a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier if they were not paid for improvements which were made to the property. This could occur because a contractor was not fully paid for the work they did or because a contractor failed to pay a subcontractor or supplier. A mechanic’s lien is a cloud on title that must be resolved before the property can be sold or refinanced.

In Illinois, a contractor must file a mechanic’s lien within four months after the work was completed. A subcontractor must record a lien within 90 days of the date that they last worked on the property. A claim must include a statement of the work performed according to the contract, the amount due to the claimant, and a description of the property. A claimant must file a lawsuit to foreclose on the lien within two years after the completion of work. If the lawsuit is successful, the claimant will be entitled to receive the amount due, as well as interest at the rate of 10% per year.

Subcontractors must meet some additional reporting requirements before they can file a mechanic’s lien. Within 60 days after commencing work on the property, they must provide a notice to the property owner specifying the name and address of the subcontractor, the type of work to be performed or the materials to be provided, the date work began, and the name of the contractor who hired the subcontractor. 

A mechanic’s lien can be removed when the claimant releases the lien, usually after receiving payment. If a claim has been filed, but a lawsuit has not been commenced, a property owner can serve notice to the claimant requiring them to file a lawsuit within 30 days, and if the claimant fails to do so within that period, they will forfeit their rights to the lien.

Contact a Schaumburg Real Estate Attorney

If you need help resolving issues related to mechanic’s liens or other encumbrances during a real estate transaction, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you meet your legal requirements and work with you to complete your transaction successfully. Contact our Rolling Meadows real estate lawyers today at 847-934-6000 to arrange a personalized 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.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2254&ChapterID=63
http://www.gorequire.com/blog/understanding-mechanics-liens-what-they-are-and-how-they-impact-property-title

Common Causes of Dangerous Truck Accidents

Web Admin - Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Schaumburg truck accident attorneyDriving is such a commonplace activity that many people do not consider the risks inherent in operating a vehicle. While modern automobiles have a wide variety of safety features, they can only do so much to protect drivers and passengers in a collision, especially when large vehicles such as semi-trailer trucks are involved.

Due to their massive size and weight, accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks can be especially deadly. Every year, there are an average of almost 4,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries in truck accidents in the United States. Many of these accidents are preventable, and people who have been injured in these types of collisions should be aware of the reasons these accidents can occur and understand their options for receiving compensation for their injuries.

Factors Leading to Truck Crashes

Drivers of commercial vehicles such as semi-trailer trucks must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and they must follow certain rules and procedures when operating their vehicles. Trucking companies must also meet certain requirements, including keeping equipment maintained and following proper safety procedures. When drivers or their employers fail to follow the correct procedures or act in violation of the law, they put other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone using the road in danger. 

Some of the most common reasons that truck accidents occur include:

  • - Driver fatigue - When truck drivers are on the road for over eight hours, their likelihood of becoming involved in an accident doubles. Unfortunately, many of these drivers regularly drive for longer than is safe, often due to encouragement or even requirements from their employers, and their fatigue can lead to deadly accidents.
  • - Equipment problems - Tractor-trailer trucks have a large amount of equipment that must be properly maintained, and failure to perform regular maintenance can lead to tire blowouts, engine failure, brake failure, detached trailers, or steering problems, all of which can cause accidents. Failure to properly secure loads can lead to shifting cargo that can cause a driver to lose control of their truck, and objects which fall from trucks can cause serious injuries to other drivers.
  • - Driver error - Truck drivers who drive at excessive speeds, follow too closely behind other vehicles, make improper or unsafe lane changes, fail to slow down or stop in time, run their vehicle off the road, or fail to properly account for road conditions or weather risk the safety of everyone around them.
  • - Distracted driving - Attempting to make a phone call or texting while driving is dangerous for any driver, but especially so for truck drivers. These drivers are often prone to distraction from a variety of sources, including radios or equipment used to log the time and distance they have driven.
  • - Intoxicated driving - The legal limit for blood alcohol content for commercial drivers is .04%, as opposed to .08% for other drivers. Truck drivers must take extra care to avoid impairment from alcohol, prescription medications, or other drugs. Unfortunately, these drivers often use stimulants or illicit drugs to combat fatigue, and impairment from these drugs can cause deadly collisions.

Contact a Palatine Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a truck accident, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you pursue compensation for the damages you have suffered, including the costs of medical care, lost income from missed work, and pain and suffering. Contact a Schaumburg personal injury lawyer by calling 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized 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.



Sources:
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2015
http://www.trucking.org/ATA%20Docs/News%20and%20Information/Reports%20Trends%20and%20Statistics/02%2012%2013%20--%20FINAL%202013%20Car-Truck%20Fault%20Paper.pdf
https://www.truckdrivingjobs.com/faq/truck-driving-accidents.html

Understanding Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits

Web Admin - Friday, March 09, 2018
Schaumburg workers' comp benefits attorneyWhen a person is injured while they are working, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that will cover the costs of medical care and any required rehabilitation. In addition, they may be eligible to receive disability benefits to compensate them for income lost while they were unable to work or for any impairment to their ability to earn an income in the future. In Illinois, there are four different types of disability benefits:

  • - Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) - This type of disability applies when a worker is only able to work part-time or in a position that provides reduced pay while they are recovering from their injuries. They will be eligible to receive benefits of two thirds (66 2/3%) of the difference between their income prior to the injury and the income they earn in their reduced capacity.
  • - Temporary Total Disability (TTD) - If a worker is unable to work for at least three days while they are recovering from their injuries, they will be eligible to receive TTD until they are able to return to work. TTD benefits are two thirds (66 2/3%) of their average weekly wage, and this amount is increased by 10% for their spouse and each of their children (up to a maximum of 100%).
  • - Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) - An employee who suffers a permanent injury, such as hearing loss or the amputation of a limb, is eligible to receive PPD. Depending on the body part and the level of impairment, they will be able to receive compensation of 60% of their average weekly wage for a certain number of weeks of work. This percentage is increased by 10% for a worker’s spouse and each of their children (up to a maximum of 100%).
  • - Permanent Total Disability (PTD) - This type of disability applies when an employee is permanently and incurably injured and unable to return to work. They will receive two thirds (66 2/3%) of their average weekly wage for the rest of their life, with this amount being subject to cost of living adjustments each year. 

Contact an Arlington Heights Workers’ Comp Attorney

Injuries that impair a person’s ability to work and earn an income can be devastating to a family’s finances. However, if these injuries occurred while a person was working, workers’ compensation benefits can provide them with the resources they need to make a recovery and continue providing for their family. If you have been injured while working, the skilled attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you file a workers’ compensation claim and ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve. Contact our Palatine personal injury attorneys at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized 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.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2430&ChapterID=68
https://www.thebalance.com/types-of-workers-compensation-benefits-4047799

Distracted Driving Leads to Increased Risk of Car Accidents

Web Admin - Tuesday, March 06, 2018
Arlington Heights distracted driving accident lawyerThe dangers of distracted driving are well-known in the United States, but even though many states have passed laws against texting or using a cell phone while driving, people across the country continue to put themselves and others at risk. The statistics are sobering; in 2016, 3,450 people were killed in car accidents involving distracted driving, making a total of 9.2% of all car crash fatalities. Every day, at least eight people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in these types of accidents. Yet despite the obvious danger of distracted driving, studies have shown that approximately 660,000 people use cell phones or electronic devices while driving on a daily basis.

The Risks of Distracted Driving

Modern cell phones are powerful computers that provide their users with the ability to easily look up information and communicate with others, and the ease of using these devices makes it tempting for people to do so while they are behind the wheel. While some people may believe that they are able to multitask and use a cell phone or complete other activities while driving, these types of distractions cause extreme danger to everyone who uses the road.

Use of electronic devices while driving is especially dangerous because it causes three separate types of distractions:

  1. 1. Visual distractions, in which drivers take their eyes off the road and are not aware of what is happening around their car.
  2. 2. Manual distractions, in which drivers take their hands off the steering wheel and are not in full control of their vehicle.
  3. 3. Cognitive distractions, in which drivers take their attention off their surroundings and are unable to quickly react to changing traffic conditions or hazards.

If a driver is traveling at 55 miles per hour, and they take their attention off the road for five seconds to read or send a text message, this is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with their eyes closed. 

Keeping one’s full attention on the road is incredibly important, but many drivers fail to do so. Distracted driving extends beyond the use of electronic devices; many drivers are distracted by adjusting their radio or environmental controls, eating and drinking, grooming, or communicating with passengers.

Contact a Schaumburg Distracted Driving Car Accident Attorney

Drivers who use cell phones or otherwise take their attention off the road while driving put themselves and everyone around them in danger. If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident that was caused by distracted driving, the skilled attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you recover the compensation you deserve for the damages you have suffered. Contact our Barrington personal injury attorneys today at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized 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.



Sources:
https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/dangers-texting-while-driving
https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/
https://www.ghsa.org/issues/distracted-driving

Advance Directives, Living Wills, and Healthcare Power of Attorney

Web Admin - Thursday, February 08, 2018
Schaumburg estate planning lawyer advance directivesProper estate planning is essential for every family, and the decisions made during this process will allow you to protect your personal property and financial assets and pass them on to your heirs after your death. But in addition to considering what will happen after you die, it is also a good idea to plan for how medical decisions will be handled for you if you ever become unable to make these decisions for yourself. The documents detailing your instructions in these matters are known as advance directives, and the two most common directives are living wills and healthcare power of attorney.

Living Wills


With a living will, you can inform a doctor or other healthcare provider that you do not want them to use medical procedures which will delay your death if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. A living will only goes into effect if you have an “incurable and irreversible condition [in which] death is imminent” and you are unable to communicate your preferences to your doctor.

Illinois law provides a standard form for living wills, but you may also create your own customized document, including specific instructions about certain situations or medical procedures you do not want your doctor to perform.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney document allows you to name someone who is authorized to make decisions for you if you cannot make decisions for yourself. You can give this person, known as your agent, broad authority to make decisions, or you can include specific instructions about what types of decisions they can make, what treatments you do and do not want to receive, whether you would like to donate your organs after your death, and how your remains should be disposed of.

Healthcare power of attorney will go into effect as soon as the document is signed, and your agent will continue to have authority to make decisions until your death, unless you include a time limit. If you have both a living will and healthcare power of attorney, decisions about death-delaying treatments will be made by your agent, unless they are unavailable, in which case your doctors will follow the instructions in your living will.

Contact a Schaumburg Estate Planning Lawyer


In addition to healthcare power of attorney and a living will, you may want to consider other advance directives: a mental health treatment preference declaration which will describe what treatments for mental illness you want to receive if you cannot make decisions for yourself, or a do not resuscitate (DNR) order which states that you do not want to be revived if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating.

If you want to know more about how to create the advance directives that will ensure your wishes are carried out correctly if you are incapacitated, the skilled attorneys at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can answer your questions and work with you to create the documents you need. Contact our Barrington estate planning attorneys at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized 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.



Sources:
http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/health-care-regulation/nursing-homes/advance-directives
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2110&ChapterID=60

How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affects Estate Tax

Web Admin - Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Barrington estate planning lawyer estate taxThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 represents the largest reform to the United States tax code in the past 30 years, and its changes will be felt in nearly every aspect of people’s lives for many years to come. While tax attorneys and financial advisors are still working to determine how this bill will affect individuals and businesses, one area in which the act’s changes are clear is that of estate tax. For people with significant assets, it is important to understand how these changes will affect their estate plan.

Estate Tax Exemptions

The federal estate tax applies to the assets which are transferred to someone’s heirs after their death. However, everyone is entitled to an exemption, and only the value of the estate above this exemption is subject to estate taxes. Prior to the passage of the tax reform bill, this exemption was $5 million, plus an inflation adjustment which varied from year to year (for 2018, the inflation adjustment was $600,000, allowing an estate to claim a total exemption of $5.6 million). 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the amount of the exemption, meaning that for an individual who dies in 2018, their estate can claim an exemption of $11.2 million. In addition, spouses are able to use a portability election to claim any unused portion of their spouse’s exemption. This means that married couples will effectively have a $22.4 million estate tax exemption.

Notably, this increased estate tax exemption is scheduled to sunset in 2025. People with significant assets can take advantage of this exemption before it ends and minimize their potential estate taxes by transferring their assets to their heirs prior to their death. As of 2018, gifts of up to $15,000 from an individual or $30,000 from a married couple can be given to individuals each year without being subject to federal gift taxes. A person’s lifetime estate tax exemption of $11.2 million can be applied to gifts above this threshold. 

Contact a Schaumburg Estate Planning Attorney

The increased estate tax exemption is just one small aspect of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and there are a wide variety of other provisions that will affect people’s finances and their plans for distributing their assets to their heirs after their death. If you have any questions about how the tax reform bill will affect your estate plan, the skilled attorneys at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you understand the changes to the law and the steps you should take to provide for your family’s financial security after you are gone. Contact our Inverness estate planning lawyers today at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized 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.



Sources:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2017/12/21/final-tax-bill-includes-huge-estate-tax-win-for-the-rich-the-22-4-million-exemption/#7325a3cc1d54
https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/10/29/the-2018-estate-tax-and-why-it-may-not-matter.aspx

Why You Need an Estate Plan Even If You Do Not Have Children

Web Admin - Thursday, January 11, 2018
Palatine estate planning lawyerFinancial advisors and attorneys often tell their clients that estate planning is an essential part of anyone’s financial plan, ensuring that their assets are correctly distributed to their heirs after their death. But how does this apply to people who do not have any children? If you are not concerned with providing for your descendants after you are gone, you may not feel that an estate plan is necessary. However, it is still important to have a plan in place that will protect your assets both before and after your death.

Creating a Will

When someone dies intestate (without a last will and testament in place), their assets will be distributed according to Illinois’ intestate succession laws. If someone has no descendants, their entire estate will go to their spouse. If they do not have a spouse, the estate will be divided among their parents and siblings, or among their closest surviving relatives. If no relatives can be located, the estate will go to the State of Illinois.

Even if you do not have children, you will likely want to have some say in who will inherit your property after you die. Creating a valid last will and testament will ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, whether you plan to leave them to your spouse, family members, friends, or charitable organizations.

Another benefit of a will is that it names an executor who will handle the distribution of your property to your heirs. Without a will in place, a probate court will appoint an administrator of your estate, and extensive court proceedings may be necessary to resolve any disputes over the distribution of your assets. Creating a will that clarifies your intentions and names a person you trust to oversee your estate will ensure that your wishes are carried out correctly.

Holding Assets in a Living Trust

Another benefit that estate planning can provide is ensuring that you will have the financial resources you need as you near the end of your life. A living trust is a good way to protect your assets, giving you control over them while also specifying who will handle them and how they should be used to care for you if you should ever become incapacitated or disabled, as well as how they should be distributed after your death.

One of the key benefits of a trust is that it simplifies the distribution of property after your death, since assets held in a trust are not subject to probate. In addition, while the contents of a will are part of the public record, a trust is confidential, providing privacy to both you and your heirs.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Estate Planning Attorney

If you want to know more about the benefits that estate planning can provide to you and your loved ones, the attorneys at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you understand the benefits of a will or trust and work with you to draft the documents that give you and your family the financial security you need. Contact our Palatine estate planning lawyers today at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized 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.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60&SeqStart=3700000&SeqEnd=5000000
https://www.aarp.org/money/estate-planning/info-09-2010/ten_things_you_should_know_about_living_trusts.html


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