Important Considerations When Drafting Your Will

Web Admin - Thursday, April 23, 2015

drafting your will in Illinois, Palatine estate planning lawyerThe passing away of Chicago Cubs’ legend Ernie Banks was a sad day for baseball fans everywhere. Unfortunately, his death sparked a controversy within his own family after his longtime caretaker claimed that he had executed a will. Recently, a court upheld the validity of the will. Here, we focus on some of the reasons why this occurred and the steps all individuals should take to best protect their will from a challenge.

Banks’ Will

Following the death of Banks, his widow claimed that he did not have a will. However, his caretaker came forward and claimed that Banks had created and signed a will three months prior to his death. The will gave all of his assets to the caretaker. Banks’ widow argued that he was not of sound mind and that the caretaker coerced him into executing the will. In order to prove the validity of the will, two paralegals testified that they witnessed Banks sign it. Further, the paralegals testified that Banks appeared fine and even mentioned during the notarization that he was not leaving anything to his family. The court ruled that the will was valid, though an appeal is likely.

Executing Valid Wills

A person who executes a will is known as the testator. For a will to be valid under Illinois law, it must be in writing and signed by the testator. Further, the signing of the will must be witnessed by two people and it must be notarized. Additionally, the testator must be of “sound mind and memory” at the time the will is created and signed. At the signing, a testator may want to document that he or she has the mental capacity to execute the will. This may include obtaining the opinion of a doctor that establishes the testator’s capacity.

It is important for the testator to state clearly his or her wishes as to the disposition of the property. The testator may want to include his or her reasoning for the way in which their assets will be distributed. In the case of Banks’ will, he affirmatively stated he was leaving all of his assets with his caretaker. Further, he included a statement that he intentionally was leaving nothing to his family. This was an important provision because it made clear that an omission had not occurred. In other words, it signaled that Banks had not simply forgotten about his family.

Many people find it difficult to discuss end of life situations. However, this can be helpful in ensuring that there will not be any challenges to a testator’s will after the testator dies. Speaking with the people included, and those excluded who may have an expectation to be included, in the will can help make sure there are no surprises when the testator dies. If Banks had disclosed to his widow the existence of his will and they had had a discussion regarding it and the reasons he was not leaving her anything, her challenge would have been even less likely to succeed.

If you would like more information or help creating your will, you should speak with an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney. Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC proudly represents clients throughout the northwest suburbs, including Inverness, Palatine, and Long Grove.

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.

Who Takes Care of the Children after the Death of a Parent

Web Admin - Thursday, November 28, 2013

By: Jay A. Andrew


Determining who becomes guardian of a child in the unfortunate event that their parents pass away is an important decision. While parents have the right to make such decisions during their estate planning process, not everyone makes these preparations, and that leaves the decision of who raises the children up to the court. Illinois law guides the court as well as it can, providing general provisions for who qualifies to become a guardian in the Probate Act of 1975.

How the Judge Chooses a Guardian

Illinois law provides considerable freedom to judges in choosing who assumes guardianship of a minor, although the law does place some general restrictions on the court. The guardian chosen must be over 18, a resident of the United States, not convicted of a felony and of sound mind.

For most judges the question is decided by what is in the minor’s best interests of the minor child. The act often repeats that phrase, “the minor’s best interests,” stating that it should guide the judge’s decisions as to who assumes the role of guardian.

The procedure for the choice of guardian starts with the notification of interested persons, usually close family members, that the court will appoint a guardian. People may then petition the court to act as guardian for the minor, and the court will weigh the evidence and use its judgment to try to determine who can best raise the child. Minors over the age of 14 also have the option to nominate their own guardian, subject to review by the court. While these proceedings can often go smoothly and amicably, they can also be more acrimonious, depending on the family relationships involved.

If you are a parent and haven’t made provisions for guardianship of your children you should consider whether or not you want a judge that has never met you and barely met your child to make the determination of what is in their best interests.

Other complicating factors that an estate planning attorney can help you work through are disabled children, learning disabled children, how to keep all of the children together and how to manage combined families along with many other issues that are part of the modern family.

How to Avoid the Guardianship Proceedings

In order to avoid a drawn-out court battle, parents can take control of the situation. Illinois law gives parents the opportunity to name a guardian during their lifetime either in their will, or in a separate document. While the court still reviews this choice, the parents get much more control over their child’s future if they appoint a guardian. Rather than making the court guess at who would best raise the child, it can take the parents’ preferences into account, only overruling them if it finds “good cause” that the parents’ appointment would not be in the minor’s best interest.

If you are thinking about preparing a Will, or want to ensure the future security of your children, contact a Chicago estate planning lawyer today. We serve many northwest suburban areas including Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and other nearby communities.

Recent Posts


Crystal Lake employment attorney Deer Park employment law attorney foreclosure license revocation CAM commercial leasing underage DUI digital assets Schaumburg probate attorney Inverness probate lawyer rest breaks wrongful termination, employment law, whistleblower protections, Illinois employment laws, discrimination in the workplace expungement trench injuries real estate lawyer traffic laws Home Remodeling Repair Act Arlington Heights lawyer traumatic brain injuries Schaumburg medical malpractice lawyer traffic deaths business litigation commercial real estate traffic accidents Schaumburg employment attorney Schaumburg employment law attorneys Deer Park motorcycle accident lawyer Inverness insurance attorney life insurance claims coronavirus swimming pools Illinois LLC creation work unions gift tax exemption, estate planning, estate planning strategies, Illinois estate planning, South Barrington estate planning attorneys slip and fall accidents Arlington Heights employment attorney Rolling Meadows tax attorney Palatine probate lawyer spinal cord injury Rolling Meadows accident lawyer estate planning lawyer Arlington Heights injury attorney Palatine employment law lawyer products liability Inverness real estate lawyer Illinois employment law Illinois pet lawyer insurance agent negligence insurance claim IRA trust transfer cell phone Rolling Meadows probate lawyer Illinois elder law attorney employment contract, employment law, employment at-will, Deer Park employment law attorneys, contract, Barrington drug crime attorney natural gas Illinois red light cameras Mount Prospect wills and trusts lawyers crossover accidents Illinois medical malpractice attorney natural gas explosion anesthesia errors elder law Rolling Meadows business lawyer Buffalo Grove personal injury attorney Rolling Meadows employment law attorneys employment lawyer GM ignition switches overtime pay employees digital information Long Grove estate planning attorneys wills and trusts boating under the influence jet ski Schaumburg estate planning lawyer Arlington Heights car crash attorneys disability benefits pay when paid contract Palatine corporate law attorneys DGAA mortgage power of attorney for healthcare Buffalo Grove traffic lawyers TBI Kenilworth estate planning attorneys blended families real estate attorney Crystal Lake pedestrian accident lawyer changes to mortgage law DUI financial advisors Do Not Resuscitate Rolling Meadows employment attorney preventable medical errors Barrington civil litigation attorney Illinois traffic laws Illinois real estate lawyer real estate contract hit and run accident Illinois Probate Act of 1975 estate planning, digital assets, Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Illinois digital assets, Illinois estate planning, Schaumburg insurance lawyers Mount Prospect real estate lawyer golf accidents Illinois civil litigation lawyer Kenilworth estate planning lawyer Barrington criminal defense lawyer Detainer Actions nursing home negligence personal injury Palatine drug lawyer controlled substance Rolling Meadows insurance lawyer Jay Andrew truck collisions premises liability Rolling Meadows employment law attorney slip and fall automated cars DNR Illinois employment law attorney car accidents taxes Illinois workplace lawyer dynasty trusts meal breaks Crystal Lake employment lawyer Crystal Lake personal injury attorney Liquor Control Act Illinois traffic ticket lawyer Illinois insurance disputes medical malpractice, missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medical mistake, Deer Creek medical malpractice lawyers Long Grove real estate attorney liability claims trustee Arlington Heights tax lawyer appealing an insurance claim Mount Prospect elder law attorney Crystal Lake traffic lawyer Transfer on Death Instrument special needs trust Illinois insurance dispute lawyers Arlington Heights personal injury lawyer in terrorem provision Illinois Smoke Detector Act distracted driving accidents Colin Gilbert personal injury attorney Illinois motorcycle accident lawyer Illinois car accident attorney Deer Park DUI lawyer Kenilworth estate planning attorney wrongful death Illinois construction accident attorney Schaumburg criminal law attorney pedestrian accident Crystal Lake car accident attorney Crystal Lake insurance lawyer PTSD drugs tax attorney living trust Buffalo Grove car accident lawyer Class A misdemeanor Crystal Lake injury attorney Arlington Heights car accident lawyer Barrington estate planning attorney workplace sexual harassment Deer Park accident attorney Rolling Meadows boating crash lawyer pedestrian-automobile accident advance healthcare directive Crystal Lake pet attorney Schaumburg criminal attorney BAIID drunk driving Arlington Heights Traffic Lawyer liens no contest clauses Illinois medical malpractice lawyers Illinois home inspection Palatine corporate attorney medical research Whistleblower Claims Illinois insurance claim attorney Barrington employment law firm Crystal Lake medical malpractice law firm paid sick leave filing a medical malpractice claim modern family estate planning Family Medical Leave Act gift taxes residential real estate Palatine traffic lawyer unauthorized overtime Palatine injury attorney fatal car accidents workers compensation Des Plaines insurance attorney living wills Illinois rollover accident lawyers Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer vacation home fines pet law Inverness estate planning lawyer Illinois Trust Code Schaumburg elder law lawyer Crystal Lake medical malpractice attorneys Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyers FMLA Illinois workplace discrimination attorney Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act privacy Arlington Heights TBI attorney digital evidence Palatine criminal defense lawyer Rolling Meadows corporate lawyer Chicago will attorney, social media platforms, Illinois estate planning lawyer, employment contract comp time Palatine traffic accidents Rolling Meadows Traffic Lawyer Chicago insurance law firm estate planning, death tax, succession plans, business estate plans, Barrington estate planning lawyers Deer Park real estate law firm Des Plaines criminal attorney eluding a police officer drunk driving statistics employee discrimination internet Illinois small business Crystal Lake bike accident lawyer medical malpractice guardianship attorney life insurance forming a corporation in Illinois probate fees Schaumburg estate planning attorney Rolling Meadows drug defense attorney Chicago biking tips liability Arlington Heights personal injury attorney accidental death benefits personal injury, auto accident injuries, delayed injuries, serious injuries, Des Plaines personal injury attorneys Illinois personal injury lawyers Illinois law Illinois employment law firm Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyer Illinois estate planning law firm Barrington attorney Schaumburg traffic lawyer agent Arlington Heights insurance attorney Illinois wills and trusts attorneys traffic violations defense Schaumburg Attorney Illinois speeding lawyer trucking accident lawyers Palatine estate planning lawyer real estate attorneys owner responsibility pet bites Des Plaines personal injury attorney first degree murder Illinois employment laws Long Grove estate planning Barrington personal injury lawyer Palatine employment lawyer fiduciary rule delay Rolling Meadows insurance dispute lawyers, insurance dispute Barrington criminal lawyer breach of contract rumble strips breathalyzer test holiday statistics Rolling Meadows investment property Barrington workers compensation attorney Illinois boating accident lawyer reckless homicide probate process suspended license estate planning attorney Illinois business lawyer life insurance policy traffic offenses Long Grove real estate lawyer medical marijuana Rolling Meadows litigation lawyer digital assets, digital fiduciary, estate planning, digital content, Long Grove estate planning lawyers Barrington estate planning lawyer Barrington real estate lawyer denied insurance claims Illinois personal injury attorney Schaumburg estate attorney condo insurance dispute attorney Deer Park personal injury lawyer Palatine civil attorney South Barrington real estate lawyer Exclusions Illinois workers compensation attorney IRA benefits Rolling Meadows estate planning attorney clemency Barrington medical malpractice lawyers Inverness personal injury attorney sole proprietorship Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorneys Inverness traffic law firm homestead rights trauma after an accident preventing accidents field sobriety test personal injury claims BUI Buffalo Grove employment lawyer Landlord Tenant Ordinance Illinois real estate South Barrington real estate attorney capital gains tax healthcare claims spinal cord injuries Buffalo Grove insurance claim dispute lawyers Inverness elder law lawyer health insurance dispute home inspection lawyer traumatic brain injury wrongful termination personal injury accidents privacy laws Des Plaines real estate lawyer foreclosed rental property FSLA Buffalo Grove medical malpractice lawyers Illinois registered agent insurance dispute Illinois medical malpractice case mass shooting rollover accidents ken apicella Crystal lake insurance dispute attorney Schaumburg car accident attorney Illinois criminal defense attorney Illinois driving without license Illinois estate planning Des Plaines medical malpractice attorney Buffalo Grove law firm Illinois workers compensation lawyer Illinois traffic attorneys Crystal Lake personal injury lawyer contracts Illinois pedestrian accident attorney Home Sale Contingencies pain and suffering Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyer attorney fees Illinois job attorney construction accidents, personal injury, wrongful death, Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys, workers' compensation Illinois corporate lawyer commercial leases Arlington Heights Attorney employee rights fault based insurance irrevocable trust motorcycle accident Arlington Heights traffic attorney dog bites car accident lawyer texting and driving caretaker rights hands free device ACA Legal Info trucking accidents surgical mistakes wage theft Colin H. Gilbert Des Plaines drug lawyer senior citizens Illinois lawyer Des Plaines motorcycle accident attorney Des Plaines personal injury lawyers Des Plaines injury law firm Crystal Lake accident attorney traffic violations Illinois living will Schaumburg civil litigation attorney Schaumburg estate planning trusts Crystal Lake will lawyer murder Des Plaines creditors Schaumburg construction accident lawyer Palatine real estate lawyer Buffalo Grove criminal defense lawyer IRS drug possession deed transfer Schaumburg drug defense lawyer cell phone tower data insurance claim delay Des Plaines civil attorney drug crimes lawyer Palatine insurance lawyer insurance claim dispute Long Grove estate planning attorney overtime violations Joliet general practice lawyers insurance claim dispute attorney civil litigation attorney Barrington litigation attorney estate planning Palatine elder law attorney estate planning for college students Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission probate claims process Schaumburg real estate lawyer Illinois medical malpractice claim digital media accounts, estate planning, Arlington Heights estate planning attorney, blood alcohol content comparative negligence installment contracts Barrington injury attorney Des Plaines DUI attorney problem employees boating DUI Crystal Lake employment law attorney Des Plaines tax law firm insurance negligence real estate zoning Chicago corporate attorney Palatine business attorney vacation home speeding insurance agents criminal dealing with problem employees Crystal Lake law firm Barrington employment law attorney federal crimes Illinois insurance attorney Inverness DUI lawyer pizza emoji driving Illinois estate planning attorney license reinstatement Palatine civil litigation lawyer Illinois uninsured motorist Chicago attorney severance agreements sexual harassment Illinois traffic attorney Long Grove wills and trusts attorneys Inverness corporate attorney Inverness real estate attorney Affordable Care Act Crystal Lake car accident lawyer Illinois insurance lawyer marijuana Crystal Lake business law attorneys Barrington boating accident attorney Deer Park criminal attorney Arlington Heights real estate lawyer Arlington Heights trucking lawyer corporate law loopholes construction contracts construction accidents bicycle accidents Des Plaines Traffic Lawyer real estate insurance dispute, insurance dispute lawyers, insurance claim denial, insurance claim delays, Rolling Meadows insurance dispute attorneys Rolling Meadows marijuana attorney startup company Thanksgiving elder abuse traffic crimes Illinois wills and trusts caregiver Chicago lawyer defective products Crystal Lake traffic attorney small business Des Plaines pet law attorney Illinois attorney Illinois will lawyer Mt Prospect Attorney Schaumburg corporate attorney Schaumburg injury lawyer civil rights violation Illinois injury lawyer employee misclassification bike accident rent to own real estate contracts Barrington Traffic Lawyer Des Plaines claims law firm Chicago insurance claim attorneys Arlington Heights employment law attorneys Schaumburg personal injury lawyer Chicago car accident lawyer Crystal Lake tax lawyer estate tax probate federal regulations for LLCs Buffalo Grove injury lawyer Illinois wrongful termination lawyer Forcible Entry Des Plaines real estate attorney Inverness accident lawyer Retaliatory Discharge Palatine workers compensation lawyer Illinois probate lawyer School Visitation Rights Act criminal record insurance attorney Illinois insurance claim dispute lawyer Buffalo Grove traffic attorney Self-Directed IRA Accounts Schaumburg wrongful death attorney Rolling Meadows medical malpractice lawyers head on collisions civil litigation personal injury lawyer Illinois employment lawyer license suspension DUI defense Crystal Lake medical malpractice lawyer unfunded trust underinsured motorist Illinois insurance claims lawyers Des Plaines personal injury lawyer estate plan criminal defense Deer Park traffic lawyer Arlington Heights criminal lawyer Crystal Lake civil litigation lawyer insurance claim denials loss of consortium Illinois Transfer on Death Instrument Des Plaines drug crimes lawyer bicycle dooring accidents icy parking lots drug crimes traffic tickets condo association food poisoning Deer Park medical malpractice attorney living trust vs will car accident landlord Crystal Lake estate planning lawyer Inverness civil lawyer Chicago will attorney insurance disputes, Illinois insurance disputes, Illinois insurance dispute attorneys, denied insurance claims, Arlington Heights insurance dispute attorneys Palatine law firm Barrington Illinois estate planning lawyer probate lawyer Illinois trucking safety boating accidents Chicago estate planning lawyer Buffalo Grove real estate attorney insurance adjusters Illinois collections attorney right to work medical malpractice compensation child safety Chicago employment lawyer Riverwoods estate planning lawyer Illinois trusts attorney new real estate form Employment Discrimination Law operating agreements Illinois DUI attorney deadly crashes college kids fiduciary rule medical malpractice claims Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorney institutional trustee cell phone accidents car crash low-ball insurance settlement Illinois tax attorney llinois Real Estate Lawyers Association bad faith insurance claims Barrington employment attorney distracted driving accident victims Inverness injury lawyer POA insurance claims income distribution deducation Arlington Heights pedestrian accidents Barrington personal injury attorney personal injury law firm Illinois Human Rights Act healthcare insurance denial appeals Illinois employment attorneys insurance claim denial defective products lawyer car crashes underfunded trust murder charges auto accidents Buffalo Grove corporate attorney real estate closing murder defense Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyers trust payments Illinois insurance claim dispute lawyers Rolling Meadows traffic law firm Rolling Meadows criminal lawyer rollover car crashes workers comp hiring employees Fair Labor Standards Act revenge porn Policy Cancellation Chicago traffic lawyer pedestrian injuries, pedestrian fatality Schaumburg personal injury lawyers trusts Rolling Meadows insurance attorney denied insurance claim Illinois employment law attorneys LLCs Arlington Heights accident attorney Chicago estate planning denial of life insurance estate attorney car accident lawyers dram shop law employment attorney Des Plaines accident attorney brain injury Rolling Meadows car accident lawyers Buffalo Grove personal injury lawyer Illinois business law atorneys subcontractor wills jet ski accidents social media after death living trust benefits license Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act car collision minimum wage Illinois mortgages Schaumburg personal injury attorney workers compensation benefits Illinois traffic accident lawyer Chicago trucking accident attorney consent to a search Illinois defective products attorney involuntary manslaughter landlord tenant law Palatine punch death life insurance lawyer compensatory time Illinois jet ski accident lawyer Super Mario Buffalo Grove probate lawyer Illinois Sales Representative Act Rolling Meadows personal injury attorney Des Plaines collections attorney Palatine construction attorney motorcycle accident lawyer marijuana crimes attorney manufacturing Deer Park traffic accident attorney Rolling Meadows insurance dispute lawyers Palatine Attorney Crystal Lake criminal defense attorney Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act Illinois personal injury lawyer Rolling Meadows traffic attorney DMV employment law, meal breaks, rest breaks, hotel employees, Des Plaines employment law attorneys insurance denials Palatine employment attorney Arlington Heights medical malpractice lawyer BAC Rolling Meadows Attorney Rolling Meadows real estate attorney unpaid assessment IRELA unpaid overtime car crash injuries texting while driving independent contractor Palatine trusts lawyer product liability sexual images Illinois employee rights attorney. pregnant women employment law, Illinois employment laws employment law Illinois personal injury Attorney Ken Apicella Chicago employment attorney Fourth of July power of attorney back injuries Palatine personal injury lawyer Illinois bicycle safety Barrington business law firm medication errors real estate leasing DUI penalities job lawyers personal injury claim whistleblower protections criminal law Rolling Meadows criminal attorney DUI attorney probate claims insurance disputes drug crime Deer Park workers compensation lawyer Arlington Heights estate planning attorney ObamaCare pedestrian accidents