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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.



Sources:
https://dqydj.com/united-states-household-income-brackets-percentiles/
https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/baby-boomers/articles/2018-07-05/6-common-myths-about-estate-planning
https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T021-C032-S014-10-surprisingly-common-estate-planning-mistakes.html

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.



Sources:
https://www.aigdirect.com/about-life/managing-your-policy/how-to-file-a-life-insurance-claim
http://illinoisinsurance.org/consumers/news-updates/be-truthful-your-life-insurance-application-protect-loved-on
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1249&ChapterID=22

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.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-20
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-16
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2493&ChapterID=57
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-21
https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

Lawsuits Claim Monsanto's Roundup Weedkiller Causes Cancer

Web Admin - Monday, September 24, 2018
Des Plaines toxic chemical injury lawyerAs a school groundskeeper in northern California, Dewayne Johnson sprayed an estimated 150 gallons of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup 20 to 30 times a year between 2012 and 2016. He continued this work even after being diagnosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) in 2014. Despite aggressive chemotherapy, the disease advanced, causing thick, painful skin lesions over most of his body. In 2016, Mr. Johnson filed a personal injury lawsuit in federal court against Monsanto, alleging that Roundup contributed to his cancer and that the manufacturer knew that the chemical was hazardous but failed to provide sufficient warnings to users. 

On August 10, 2018, with his disease in the terminal stage and doctors estimating he had just months to live, the 46-year-old plaintiff was awarded $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages by a San Francisco jury. 

An estimated 8,000 lawsuits have now been filed against Monsanto by Roundup users who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other types of cancer. In addition to the multidistrict federal cases, lawsuits have also been filed in state courts in California, Delaware, Missouri, and Montana. 

Scientists and Studies Differ on Roundup’s Safety


On one side, Monsanto claims that hundreds of studies have shown that glyphosate is not a serious health hazard to humans. The company also denies any link between Roundup and cancer. In the Johnson trial, the plaintiff pointed out that non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can develop very slowly, showing no symptoms for years; therefore, Johnson’s illness could well have begun prior to 2012, when he began working with Roundup.

In December 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft report on glyphosate which concluded that “glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans” when used according to label directions. The EPA stated that its findings “are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institute of Health Agricultural Health Survey.”

On the other side, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (a subsidiary of the World Health Organization) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in a 2015 report. It was classified under level 2 out of four levels, where level 1 is “carcinogenic to humans” and level 3 is “possibly carcinogenic.” 

"This jury found Monsanto acted with malice and oppression because they knew what they were doing was wrong and doing it with reckless disregard for human life," said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a member of Johnson's legal team. 

Consult a Rolling Meadows Personal Injury Attorney 


If you suspect that you or family member has been harmed by exposure to a toxic chemical, such as the glyphosate in Roundup, talk to an experienced Schaumburg personal injury lawyer. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC will carefully review your case and recommend a course of action. If we determine that you have a strong case, we will fight relentlessly for your right to compensation for your losses. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule 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.



Sources:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/dewayne-johnson-monsanto-roundup-weed-killer-jury-award-today-2018-08-10/
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/lawsuits-claiming-weed-killing-chemical-causes-cancer-moves-forward-n890686
https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/epa-releases-draft-risk-assessments-glyphosate

The Illinois Will Probate Process: Settling an Estate

Web Admin - Friday, September 21, 2018
Arlington Heights estate planning probate lawyerThe passing of assets from one generation to the next is a long-standing tradition, typically governed by a written will. When a person with a large estate dies, a legal process called probate ensures that the terms of the will are properly carried out. The process of probating a will in Illinois is controlled by the Illinois Probate Act and the rules of the circuit court in the decedent’s county of residence.

When an Illinois Will Must Go Through Probate


An Illinois estate must be probated when its total value exceeds $100,000 (excluding jointly-held properties and accounts with named beneficiaries, which transfer automatically upon death).

The Process to Probate a Will in Illinois


1. Petition for Probate - The first step is to file a Petition for Probate with the circuit court. This petition includes the will itself, the current estimated value of the estate, the names and addresses of heirs, and other information necessary to begin settling the estate. The executor named in the will or their appointed attorney must file this petition within 30 days of the decedent’s death and send copies to all heirs.

2. Hearing to Open Probate - The court will conduct a short hearing to officially validate the will and admit the will to probate. At the hearing, heirs may enter their objections to any part of the petition, such as the validity of the will itself, the person(s) designated to administer the estate, or the person(s) designated to act as personal fiduciaries for any underage or disabled heirs. The court will approve the executor and issue letters testamentary that authorize the executor to act on behalf of the estate.

3. Inventory of Assets - The executor has the responsibility to locate and secure all assets of the estate. A written inventory must be made, listing all bank and investment accounts, real estate, and personal property of significant value. Appraisals may be necessary to establish date of death” values for each piece of real and personal property.

4. Payment of Debts and Taxes - The executor must notify all creditors of the decedent and pay outstanding bills, including property taxes and any other expenses necessary to protect the assets of the estate. The estate must remain open for at least six months to ensure that all creditors are identified and paid. The executor must also file final state and federal tax returns for the decedent.

5. Petition for Distribution of the Estate - Upon conclusion of the prior steps, the executor must provide an accounting of their work on the estate, including all receipts and disbursements. The executor will then ask the court for permission to distribute the remainder of the estate according to the terms of the will. (When there is no question that the estate contains more than sufficient funds to pay off all debts, some distribution of assets may occur before the final accounting.) 

Consult a Palatine Estate Planning Lawyer


Ensure that your hard-earned assets are distributed to your heirs according to your wishes. An experienced Barrington estate planning attorney at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you develop an estate plan that will meet your specific goals and, after your death, ensure that your will is probated efficiently. 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.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60
http://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUTTHECOURT/CountyDepartment/ProbateDivision/Part12RulesoftheCircuitCourt.aspx

Marijuana a Rising Factor in Personal Injury Cases

Web Admin - Monday, September 17, 2018
Des Plaines marijuana product liability lawyerNow that 30 states (including Illinois) have legalized marijuana for medical use and nine also allow recreational use, the number of personal injury lawsuits involving cannabis is growing.

Background on the Cannabis Market


Over 100 distinct chemicals, broadly termed phytocannabinoids, are present naturally in the cannabis plant. Currently, two of the best-understood cannabinoids are THC, the psychoactive ingredient that produces a euphoric sensation, and CBD (cannabidiol), which has demonstrated pain-relieving, inflammation-reducing, neuro-protective, and cancer-fighting properties.

As scientists learn more about the way cannabinoids affect the human body and discover new applications for these chemicals, the variety of products made from cannabis is increasing. In fact, the U.S. market for legal cannabis is expected to grow 17% per year through 2028, reaching nearly $50 billion in annual sales. In comparison, U.S. wine sales are estimated at $65 billion. 

With such rapid growth, mistakes are bound to be made, and injuries are likely to result. 

Potential Grounds for Cannabis Personal Injury Lawsuits


Here are a few situations that could be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against a marijuana producer/distributor: 

- Failure to warn of risks. If a cannabis product has the potential to impair a consumer’s ability to drive, or if it could affect a person’s thoughts or behavior in other ways that could prove dangerous, the packaging should provide appropriate warnings. If such warnings are not provided, and someone suffers an injury as a result, the producer/distributor could be sued for negligence and required to pay compensation to the victim. 

- Misleading or false advertising. If a producer says (in advertising, on packaging, or otherwise) that their product will provide a particular benefit, and the product fails to perform as promised, a consumer could file a lawsuit on the grounds of breach of contract or breach of warranty. 

- Product contamination. Many states do not yet have laws regulating the use of pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals on marijuana crops, nor adequate procedures to enforce such regulations or test for toxins. Many lawsuits have resulted from contaminated consumables in other industries (e.g., E. coli in ground beef), and there have already been lawsuits against marijuana producers alleging harmful contamination. 

- Unsafe packaging. Marijuana products containing THC should be provided in packaging that is both child-resistant and tamper-evident, just as is required for other medicinal products that have a potential to cause harm. Portion sizes and the amount of THC per portion should also be made very clear on product labels. Defective packaging and foreseeable misuse could become grounds for a lawsuit. 

While the probability of a fatal overdose is near zero, marijuana is an intoxicant, and overconsumption can have serious consequences. Because of the potential for personal injury lawsuits, many states are requiring marijuana businesses to purchase liability insurance, so that funds will be available to compensate consumers for injuries caused by cannabis products.

An Arlington Heights Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help


If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical cannabis product, consult an experienced Palatine personal injury attorney to discuss the details of your case and possible options for recovering compensation. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC provide skilled representation, working to protect your rights when you have been harmed by an unsafe product. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule 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.



Sources:
https://www.products-liability-insurance.com/7-areas-ripe-marijuana-litigation/
https://www.marijuanaventure.com/examining-product-liability/
http://fortune.com/2018/08/22/legal-marijuana-market-size/
https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects.html

Recovering Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries

Web Admin - Thursday, August 23, 2018
Schaumburg dog bite injury lawyerPets are an important part of many people’s lives, and dogs, cats, and other animals are often considered to be full-fledged members of their families. However, as much as we love and bond with our pets, it is important to remember that they are animals, and situations can arise when they harm someone. Dog bites are unfortunately common, and those who are injured in these and other types of animal attacks should understand how Illinois law applies to their situation as they determine how to recover compensation for the harm they have suffered.

Liability and Compensation for Dog Bites in Illinois

The Illinois Animal Control Act states that when a dog or other animal bites or attacks someone, the animal’s owner is liable for the damages that were caused. Unlike some states, Illinois uses a “strict liability” standard when it comes to dog bites, meaning that an owner is liable for the injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether they were aware that the dog was dangerous or had aggressive tendencies.

There are two exceptions to this liability standard. A dog’s owner may be free from liability if:

A person was injured after provoking the dog.
A person was trespassing or was not legally allowed to be in the location where the attack occurred.

Types of Dog Bite Damages

Those injured by dog bites should understand the extent of the damages they may be able to recover. These include:

Medical bills - Dog bites can result in a wide variety of serious injuries, including lacerations, broken bones, puncture wounds, injuries to the eyes or face, or severe scarring and disfigurement. An injured party should be able to recover the full costs of medical care, including any ongoing rehabilitation.
Lost income - If a person was unable to work while recovering from their injuries, or if the injury resulted in disability that affected their ability to earn an income, they may be able to recover these losses.
Pain and suffering - An injured person and their family may experience a great deal of physical and emotional pain as they make their recovery, and financial compensation can help them overcome these difficulties.
Property damage - If an animal attack resulted in torn clothing or damage to jewelry or other belongings, the victim should be compensated for these losses.

Due to the strict liability standard, Illinois has one of the highest rates of animal attack claims in the United States, second only to California. State Farm reported that it paid more than $14 million in dog bite claims in 2016, with an average of $43,000 per claim.

Contact an Arlington Heights Dog Bite Injury Attorney

If you have been the victim of a dog bite or other animal attack, you should work with an attorney to determine your best options for pursuing the financial compensation that will help you recover from your injuries. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, our Crystal Lake personal injury attorneys will help you recover the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule 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.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=051000050K16
https://www.isba.org/ibj/2017/06/lawpulse/illinoisleadsthepackindogbiteclaims

Pursuing Compensation in Car Accidents Involving Self-Driving Vehicles

Web Admin - Monday, August 20, 2018
Crystal Lake autonomous vehicle accident attorneyNew technologies seem to appear on a daily basis, promising to improve our lives in a variety of ways. However, we must often weigh the benefits of these new developments with the risks they bring. Self-driving cars are one notable example of this type of technology. While autonomous vehicles may provide their owners a great deal of convenience, many people are concerned about whether they improve safety on the road or present risks to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. In addition, when a self-driving vehicle is involved in a car accident, people who are injured may have difficulty determining how to recover compensation.

Legal Issues in Self-Driving Car Accidents

People who are injured in car accidents have the right to pursue financial compensation from the party or parties who were liable for their damages (which may include the costs of medical care, lost income due to missed work, property damage, and pain and suffering). Typically, a person must show that their injuries occured because of someone else’s negligence. In most cases, the liable party is a driver who was not following the rules of the road or operating their vehicle safely.

Self-driving cars are likely to make the identification of liable parties more complicated. In some cases, an injured person may be able to bring a product liability lawsuit against the vehicle manufacturer or the developer of the software used to control the vehicle. However, a variety of factors can affect liability, such as whether a human driver was partially in control of a self-driving vehicle or whether a company that operates autonomous vehicles for hire can be considered a liable party. 

Contact a Schaumburg Car Accident Lawyer

94% of car accidents are caused by driver error, and proponents of self-driving cars believe that these vehicles can significantly reduce the number of accidents that occur. However, it is impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of accidents, and since self-driving cars are a new technology, the laws regarding how accidents involving these vehicles should be handled have not been fully defined. This means that those injured in an accident with an autonomous vehicle are likely to face some legal obstacles when they attempt to recover damages.

If you have been injured in a car accident involving a self-driving car, whether as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, it is important to work with an attorney who can help you determine your best options for pursuing compensation. The Barrington personal injury lawyers of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you understand the legal issues involved in your accident and help you receive the compensation you deserve from any and all liable parties. Call our office 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.



Sources:
http://fortune.com/2018/04/25/self-driving-car-accident-fault/
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/can-you-sue-a-robocar/556007/

Using a Special Needs Trust to Assist a Disabled Family Member

Web Admin - Friday, August 10, 2018
Inverness estate planning trust attorneyPeople who have saved money or accumulated assets over the course of their lifetime will often want to pass these assets on to their loved ones, either before or after their death. This is especially true when family members have disabilities or other special needs. However, when providing financial assistance to these family members, it is important to make sure that doing so will not make them ineligible for the public benefits they need to meet their needs. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you protect your loved ones’ interests by establishing a special needs trust.

Benefits of a Special Needs Trust

People with mental or physical disabilities are usually able to receive government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. However, eligibility for these benefits is based on the income earned and assets owned by the recipient; in most cases, a recipient must own no more than $2,000 in assets, and there are also limits on the amount of income they can earn. This means that if a well-meaning family member gives them money or other assets, either through a direct gift or an inheritance, it may make them ineligible for the benefits they need. 

To avoid jeopardizing a disabled person’s ability to receive public benefits, their family members can use a special needs trust (sometimes called a supplemental needs trust). This is a type of irrevocable trust in which the assets will be placed under the control of a trustee, which could be another family member or a financial institution. The trustee will then ensure that the assets are used to provide for the beneficiary’s needs.

There are specific rules that must be followed in special needs trusts. For instance, the trust can only be used to pay for certain expenses related to the beneficiary’s care, such as the costs of medical equipment, caretakers, transportation, or educational expenses. Using funds from a trust to pay for food or housing may make a beneficiary ineligible for public aid. 

Contact a Schaumburg Trust Attorney

Since a disabled person will often need assistance throughout their entire life, it is important to ensure that trusts are set up in a way that will provide them with the resources they need for many years to come. An Arlington Heights estate planning lawyer at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you create a special needs trust that meets your loved one’s needs, and we can help you address any other estate planning needs, ensuring that you can provide for your family both before and after your death. Contact us 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:
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/special-needs-trust.asp
https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/11/04/how-to-draw-up-a-special-needs-trust-for-a-child-with-disabilities
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/25/how-to-set-up-a-special-needs-trust.html

Two Important Benefits Provided By a Living Trust

Web Admin - Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Arlington Heights trust lawyerThe thought of planning for what should happen after one’s death is often too morbid for many people to want to consider. However, doing so is incredibly important, since you want to be sure that your wishes will be followed correctly and that your heirs will be able to receive the assets you plan to pass on to them with minimal complications. While you may think that the estate planning process begins and ends with the creation of a last will and testament, another tool that can be very powerful is a living trust. 

Trusts allow you to protect certain assets, placing them in the control of a trustee and passing them to your beneficiaries once certain requirements are met. With a living trust, you can serve as the trustee while you are still living and mentally competent, giving you control over your assets and allowing you to revoke or change the terms of the trust to meet your and your family’s needs. There are a number of benefits to using a living trust, but two of the primary advantages are:

1. Avoiding Probate

When a person dies, the executor of their estate will enter their will into probate court, which is a process that can be lengthy and expensive as the court reviews the will and approves the paying of debts and taxes and the passing of assets to beneficiaries. The will is entered into public court records, meaning that the family’s personal business is available to be viewed by anyone who wants to examine the court documents. 

A trust, on the other hand, does not have to go through the probate process. This will allow assets to be passed to beneficiaries much more quickly and with fewer complications, and it will also ensure that the details about the estate are kept private.

2. Planning for Illness or Incapacitation

In many cases, when a person becomes ill or incapacitated or is no longer able to manage their own affairs, a friend or family member is named as their legal guardian. Guardianship will often not only give a guardian control of a person’s health and personal care, but also their financial affairs. This type of situation is not ideal, but a living trust can help you avoid losing control of your finances by addressing how things should be handled if you are incapacitated. 

Your trust can specify what conditions should exist for you to be declared incapacitated or mentally incompetent, and it can name a successor trustee who will manage the trust in this situation. The trustee can ensure that you have the financial resources you need to provide for your own care, while preserving your assets to pass on to your beneficiaries after your death.

Contact a Palatine Estate Planning Attorney

If you want to know more about how to use a living trust to protect your assets and pass them to your heirs, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can answer your questions and work with you to create a comprehensive estate plan. Contact a Schaumburg living trust lawyer 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.thebalance.com/the-benefits-of-a-revocable-living-trust-vs-a-will-3505405
https://www.thebalance.com/pros-and-cons-of-revocable-living-trusts-3505384


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