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Frankfort Law Blog

Why people may choose irrevocable trusts

Many people in Illinois may be thinking about how to handle their assets in the future. People want to ensure that their loved ones are provided for while also avoiding excessive estate taxes and fees. Trusts may be a good option to include as part of the estate planning process, because they provide greater privacy, flexibility and control. There are several different types of trusts that people may make use of as part of their estate plan, including irrevocable trusts.

In general, irrevocable trusts cannot be changed after they are completed, at least without the approval of the trust's beneficiaries. Once funded, the assets of the trust's grantor are fully transferred to the trust, changing their ownership permanently. Irrevocable trusts may be handled differently than revocable ones in a number of ways. They will not be subject to estate taxes with the rest of the estate, because assets held by an irrevocable trust have been removed from the grantor's possession. They are also often shielded from creditors and lawsuits, which can enable people to protect key assets for their children or other beneficiaries.

Discharge and reaffirmation in bankruptcy

Most residents of the Chicago/Frankfort area look at bankruptcy as a means of shedding burdensome debt. Indeed, the only reason people file for bankruptcy is to get out of debt.

Why, then, would a person consider agreeing to continue paying on an obligation that could otherwise be discharged by an order of the bankruptcy court?

Establishing paternity in Illinois

One of the most fundamental concepts of family law in Illinois is the concept of parental rights. Mothers generally have no problem establishing that they have given birth to the baby in question, but fathers can have far greater difficulty in proving that they are a baby's father, especially if the mother is not willing to cooperate. This means that it can be difficult for a father to secure his parental rights.

Illinois law provides several methods for proving paternity, meaning that a given child is the offspring of a given father. If the mother of the child was or is married or in a civil union not more than 300 days prior to the child's birth, the man with whom the mother was living is legally presumed to be the child's father. In many cases, however, the man may not be willing to admit the facts necessary to establish paternity, or the mother may insist that some other man is the child's father. Resolving these disputes can be difficult.

Indiana Supreme Court clears landscaper of fraud charges

As anyone who has used local contractors to build or renovate a house knows, sometimes getting quality work for a fair price can be a daunting process. A homeowner in Wabash County found another hurdle: the state Supreme Court. In a recent decision, the court held that a small landscaping business was not covered by the state's home improvement fraud statute.

The case began when the homeowner hired the landscaper to complete a number of jobs in connection with his home. One of the jobs included landscaping on the property. The landscaper said that the price would be $22,749, and the homeowner agreed. The homeowner paid $20,000 to the landscaping firm. The landscaper also received a payment from a small construction firm in the amount of $15,000. The homeowner then paid the landscaper another $5,000. After receiving the payments, the landscaper stopped all work on the project and told the homeowner to hire another contractor. The landscaper also refused to return any portion of the homeowner's $25,000 payment.

Overcoming the end of a marriage takes work

Making the decision to divorce is a major life-changing decision. You have to think carefully about how it is going to impact you now and into the future. One thing that you might not realize is that you will have to deal with various aspects of the decision even after the split is over.

Nearly half of marriages end in divorce, so you aren't alone. There are various ways that you can cope with the end of the union, you want to make sure that you don't make any mistakes as you proceed.

An overview of durable powers of attorney in Indiana

Estate planning refers to a series of decisions that a person is empowered to make under Indiana law prior to death. Many factors can affect a person's estate plan, including the amount and kind of assets owned by the person, the number of living children or children of deceased children, estate and income taxes and any special circumstances that the person executing the documents wishes to use to dispose of particular assets. Another factor that has affected estate planning decisions in Indiana and other states during the last two decades is the advancement in medical care that can keep a person's organs functioning even if the person lacks mental or physical capacity.

This advance in medical technology has led to the development of many new estate planning tools. One of the most useful such tools is the durable power of attorney. Because a person may lose the physical and mental capacity to make rational decisions about the care or disposition of their assets, the person can appoint a person to make these decisions in lieu of the owner of the assets. A durable power of attorney must be in writing, signed by the person who is making the decisions and takes effect when the maker becomes unable to make these decisions. The powers granted in a durable power of attorney become effective when the giver of the power becomes incapable of consenting to the exercise of one or more powers granted to the attorney.

Modifying a divorce judgment in Illinois

Most residents of Illinois believe that the entry of a judgment ending their marriages is the final step in a very unpleasant process. In many cases, this belief is accurate, but its accuracy depends upon the wishes of the parties and not upon Illinois' family laws. The parties in a divorce proceeding have two essential rights to modify or amend a judgment of divorce after it is ended: a motion to the court to amend certain portions of the order, or an appeal to the Illinois courts of appeal.

An appeal to the appellate court is time-limited: it must be filed not later than 30 days after the entry of the judgment in the circuit court. An appeal can challenge one or more aspects of the order for judgment. The hearing on the appeal is preceded by the filing of briefs by each party, in which the party's position on the issues raised in the appeal is presented in writing. After the briefs have been submitted, the appellate court will schedule the case for an oral argument in which the attorneys present their clients' cases and answer the judges' questions. The court will enter its decision on the appeal in about 60 days.

4 tips to help you negotiate child custody terms

Negotiating a child custody arrangement isn't an easy task for some parents. This is often the case when the divorce is contentious. Making it through this process is going to take effort on the part of both parents.

One of the most important things to remember is that you have to focus on what's best for the kids when you are trying to work out the parenting plan terms. When you find that the conversation is veering away from this, you can try to get things back on track by thinking about how each decision you make will impact the kids.

An overview of divorce law in Illinois

Many couples in the Chicago area are struggling with the decision about whether to end their marriage. The nature of the divorce process depends largely upon the attitudes of the parties. If they are able to communicate openly and honestly, they may be able to reach a decision on every important issue without asking the judge to make the decision. If, on the other hand, they see every dispute as a weapon to be used to aggravate or harm the other party, the process is likely to be very long and fraught with anger and depression. The courts encourage parties to use processes such as divorce mediation or collaborative divorce in an effort to reduce the emotional stress of a divorce and avoid a court trial.

In the absence of an enforceable pre-marital agreement, a couple's property will be divided in the manner that the court views as fair and equitable. Usually, this rule produces a more or less equal division of the couple's assets, but certain kinds of assets, such as appreciated securities or real estate, may be difficult to divide fairly.

Reaffirming a debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Most people in Indiana and Illinois file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition with the idea that they will ultimately be able to discharge most of the obligations that are causing them financial headaches. Why, then, would anyone want to consider exempting one or more of these debts from the discharge offered by personal bankruptcy? The answer to this question may surprise some people.

The short answer is that the debtor wants to preserve a financial relationship with the creditor. Usually, this wish is motivated by the debtor's desire to retain possession of an asset in which the creditor has a lien or other right to repossess the asset in the event of a default. An order of discharge in a Chapter 7 proceeding does not abolish the creditor's security interest. Rather, it merely absolves the debtor of the obligation to repay the loan. Thus, the issuance of an order of discharge is equivalent to a default by the debtor, and the creditor may, if it wishes, reclaim the asset that was pledged as security.

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