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Frankfort Law Blog

IRS proposal tempers concerns about estate tax implications

Illinois residents who have significant assets and are drafting estate planning documents will have various concerns about how their loved ones will be taxed should understand various strategies to protect their wealth. This is where wise and proactive estate planning comes in. When preparing an estate plan based on the current financial climate and how the government views its role in taxing citizens, it is also important to plan for years to come.

One issue that had been cloudy has been clarified by the Internal Revenue Service and those with vast portfolios should address that in their estate plans. The Trump Administration's new tax laws increased how much would be exempt when a person gifted it to another. For single people, it rose from $5.49 million in 2017 to $11.18 million in 2018. Couples receive double the exemption. People who had structured their estate plan around the new tax laws likely accounted for the expiration of the increase, set for 2025 when it would revert.

Do not ignore the importance of an estate plan in Illinois

For many Illinois residents, thinking about an estate plan is an unwanted acknowledgement that life is finite. It is not something they want to consider, let along act upon. However, failure to have even a basic estate plan is a mistake that will have far-reaching ramifications for a person's family. This is avoidable by making sure the strategies for an estate plan are adhered to. Discussing the benefits of drafting estate planning documents with a law firm that specializes in these matters can put a person's mind at ease and prepare for the future.

Everyone's needs are different and an estate plan should reflect that. Whether it is someone who has significant assets and great diversity in their portfolio, a person who does not have a great deal of liquidity and property or anywhere in between, an estate plan is crucial to the family. Often, people are stunned by the value of their estate when it is calculated. This is another reason to discuss estate planning options with a qualified attorney.

How to cope with your ex's affair partner being around your kids

Divorces happen for a variety of reasons. One is adultery, which can be particularly traumatic for the spouse who was faithful. This situation is also difficult when there are children involved. The child custody process might be complicated because of the affair partner.

If you are facing a situation in which your ex's affair partner is still in the picture, you might find it hard to accept. There are many things that can help you and your children to adjust to the new way of life, even when that person is still around.

What is non-marital property in Illinois property division?

When an Illinois couple prepares to get a divorce, there are many issues that will be in dispute. Obviously, at the forefront will be children, custody and parenting time. Spousal support will be an important consideration as well. As with any marriage, there will be property that the couple owns. This can be a topic for rancor and disagreement. As they move forward to part ways, it is inevitable that there are items that both sides will want. Understanding what is marital property and non-marital property is key as this is often the determinative factor in who gets what. Marital property is that which the parties acquired after they were married. This includes any debt or obligation.

The following will be non-marital property: property that was acquired via descent, gift, legacy or that which was acquired in exchange for this type of property; property that was received in exchange for property that had been acquired prior to the marriage; property that one of the spouses acquired after there has been a legal separation; property that has been excluded due to there being an agreement beforehand, such as a premarital or postnuptial agreement and property that was acquired through a judgment awarded to a spouse except when there is the need for a lawsuit to get insurance coverage or recover from a third party and it is linked to the marital estate.

The personal bankruptcy discharge and creditor objections

Frankfort residents who are drowning in debt and do not know where to turn should consider the advantages of personal bankruptcy. Before moving forward with the process, however, it is vital to understand certain aspects of it and if it is a viable alternative. For many, there could be a misplaced belief that the filing will automatically result in the debts being discharged. That is not always the case. Creditors can object to the discharge. Knowing the facts about these issues is imperative to a successful filing or finding another way to get out of debt if personal bankruptcy is not possible.

When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor is not automatically entitled to a discharge. A creditor, the trustee in the specific case or a U.S. trustee can all file an objection. After the case has been filed, the creditors will receive notice. In that notice will be a deadline for which an objection can be filed. To do so, a complaint must be filed in bankruptcy court. This is called an "adversary proceeding." With Chapter 7, the objection can be due to not providing the necessary tax documents, not competing a financial management course, transferring or concealing property to commit fraud and more. The burden of proof is on the objecting party.

Personal loans becoming more common, can lead to debt problems

People can quickly become overwhelmed with debt. Sometimes finances become tight when a job is suddenly and unexpectedly lost. In other instances, the onset of a serious medical condition leaves a family struggling to get by. There are some debt options that may help prevent one from becoming overwhelmed, but even these options pose financial risks.

One of these options is personal loans. Many individuals, especially millennials, are turning to personal loans to wipe out higher-interest bearing debts, like those related to credit cards. One benefit these borrowers see to personal loans is that debt can't be added to the balance like it easily can be when it comes to credit cards. Another reason personal loans are becoming much more prevalent is because they are easily obtained from online lenders that continue to expand their reach.

Tips to effectively communicate about estate planning

Income, wealth and wealth management are not things that are commonly discussed in American households. When these topics do come up, it can leave the individuals involved feeling uncomfortable. This is one reason why so many people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. We hope that the tips provided below will serve as a strong starting point for those who wish to have meaningful conversations with their loved ones about estate planning.

The first tip is to slowly shift into having more conversations about wealth and wealth management. Those who suddenly and unexpectedly jump into those issues can leave family members a bit shell-shocked, which can cause even the best laid plans to go astray. By slowly changing one's behavior with regards to how this matter is addressed, as well as how frequently addressed, those on the receiving end of communications about estate planning may very well be more receptive.

Set the framework for your child custody agreement

Trying to come up with suitable terms for child custody is challenging. Not only do you have to think about what works for you, your ex's needs also have to be considered. There comes a time when you are going through other major life changes.

As you work with your ex to come up with the plan for parenting the children you share, remember that you need to focus on what is going to help now. As your child matures, certain points might change. This is what modifications are for. Here are some points to help you when are getting ready to embark on this process:

Don't wait too long to consider debt relief options

Life is full of changes. Some of them are planned for and expected, but others can take you by complete surprise. This is often the case with the onset of a sudden medical condition, loss of job or even the filing of divorce. Each of these scenarios can throw your finances into upheaval, making it difficult for you to make ends meet. Oftentimes, individuals who find themselves in this position find themselves too prideful to seek adequate debt relief options, but the truth is that these options, including personal bankruptcy, are often the best way to secure your financial future.

Far too many people spend years, even decades, trying to catch up with debt that is simply insurmountable. In many instances, this equates to nothing more than wasted time and money. This is because filing for bankruptcy can provide you with instant protections from creditors and even foreclosure. If successful in the process, you may even be able to shed debt, thereby allowing you to focus on your fresh financial start.

How are alimony payments determined?

Illinois and Indiana residents who are considering divorce may be concerned about the emotional impact marriage dissolution may have on them and their family. While the emotional toll can be significant, so, too, can the financial ramifications. Property division can dictate who receives the family home and certain retirement accounts, and noncustodial parents are often ordered to pay child support. Another major financial issue that often accompanies divorce is alimony, which is also referred to as spousal support.

Spousal support is intended to assist one former spouse who may have given up an income or career in exchange for raising children or supporting a working spouse during the course of marriage. The specific amount that a court orders an individual to pay in alimony is dependent upon a number of factors. The length of marriage, for example, can play a significant role. Couples who were only married for a few years may not see an order for spousal support, whereas a couple that was married for 20 years is much more likely to see that obligation put into place.

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