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


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