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Recent Blog Posts

Should I Make a Will or a Trust?

 Posted on June 19, 2023 in Estate Planning

Geneva Elder Law LawyerOne of the most significant issues people deal with when planning their estates is deciding whether to write a will or set up a trust. While both have their benefits, there are times when one option may be more appropriate than the other. To ensure you are able to make a well-informed decision, contact an estate planning attorney to weigh your options and see what makes the most sense for you and your situation.

Factors to Consider When Making Estate Planning Decisions

Here are some factors to consider before deciding whether to make a will or a trust:

  • Cost – Writing a will is generally less expensive than setting up a trust. This is because a will is a relatively straightforward legal document that can be drafted by an attorney in a short amount of time. On the other hand, setting up a trust requires more time and effort and additional legal fees.

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What is the Purpose of a Living Will?

 Posted on May 25, 2023 in Estate Planning

Geneva Estate Planning LawyerThe news is full of stories of terrible car accidents and other tragedies. These stories serve as a reminder that tomorrow is never guaranteed, and a severe injury or illness can occur to anybody at any time.

A living will is an estate planning document that allows a person to make decisions about their medical care in the event that they are incapacitated. For example, a living will can be used to direct doctors on the medical interventions they should take if you are in a coma or vegetative state.

Incapacitation planning can be an emotional process because it requires us to consider the possibility that we could be unable to communicate our medical preferences. However, living wills are an essential estate planning tool that puts the decision-making power in your hands – regardless of what the future holds.

Plan For Your Medical Care in the Event That You Are Incapacitated

If you were extremely ill and doctors did not believe there was a chance of recovery, would you want doctors to use every medical tool possible to keep you alive? Or, would you rather know that you will not be kept alive through mechanical ventilation, feeding tubes, or other means if there is no chance that you will wake up?

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Digital Assets and Divorce: The New Property Division Frontier  

 Posted on May 12, 2023 in Divorce / Family Law

Geneva Divorce LawyerOne of the most foundational elements of any divorce case is the division of marital assets. Traditionally, marital assets included things like real estate properties, bank account balances, retirement funds, and investment income. However, with the advent of digital assets and digital currency, property division during divorce has become much more complicated.

Cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and other types of digital assets have an equivalent value in real currency, so they must be properly addressed during divorce, just like any other asset. However, classifying digital assets as marital or non-marital property and determining the value of the assets can be a real challenge.

Determining Ownership of a Digital Asset in a Divorce

Digital assets can be broadly defined as anything that is created and stored digitally and has value. Digital assets may include documents, data, videos, software code, and even social media accounts. Some of the newest types of digital assets include security tokens, crypto assets, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, tether, and USD coin.

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Can You Get Alimony in Illinois?

 Posted on April 19, 2023 in Divorce / Family Law

Geneva Spousal Maintenance LawyerMany divorcing spouses have questions about alimony, or as it is called in Illinois, spousal maintenance. When is a spouse entitled to maintenance payments? Does the lower-earning spouse automatically get alimony in Illinois? How much are alimony payments and how long do they last?

In this blog, we will explore Illinois laws regarding spousal maintenance, when maintenance is awarded, and what you can do if you have further questions about spousal maintenance during your divorce.

Negotiated Agreements or Court Awards

There are two main ways that a spouse can receive alimony in an Illinois divorce. First, the spouses may be able to negotiate the terms of maintenance. For example, a spouse may agree to pay the lower-earning spouse a certain amount of money each month for the first year after the divorce. It is also possible that a divorcing couple has already made arrangements for spousal maintenance in a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement.

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Supervised Visitation and Other Parenting Time Restrictions in Illinois

 Posted on April 10, 2023 in Divorce / Family Law

Kane County Family Law AttorneyIllinois courts make all child-related decisions based on one primary factor: the child's best interests. Courts typically presume that it is best for children to spend time with both of their biological parents. However, this assumption can be overcome. If a parent presents some type of risk or danger to a child, the court may implement a restriction or condition on that parent’s parenting time. Supervised visitation or supervised parenting time is one of the most common restrictions.

Read on to learn about the types of parenting time restrictions used in Illinois family law cases, the reasons that someone's parenting time may be restricted, and what you can do if you have concerns about your child's safety with the other parent.

Reasons the Court May Restrict a Parent’s Parenting Time

The court only implements parenting time restrictions if needed to protect the child's well-being. Often, parenting time restrictions are put in place because a parent has a substance abuse problem, serious mental illness, or other life circumstances that could potentially put the child in danger. Parenting time restrictions may also be put in place if the parent has been found guilty of a criminal offense involving a child.

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Should I Have an Open Adoption or a Closed Adoption?

 Posted on March 30, 2023 in Divorce / Family Law

Kane County Adoption LawyerIf you are thinking about bringing a child into your family through adoption, congratulations! Adoption is a blessing for both the adopted child and the adoptive parents. However, adoption is not without its share of complications - legally, financially, and emotionally. One question you may be exploring as you research adoption is whether you should have an open adoption or a closed adoption. In an open adoption, the adoptive child and the child's biological parents stay in contact with each other. During a closed adoption, the adopted child does not communicate with or visit the biological parents. In some cases the child may not even know who his or her biological parents are.

Closed Adoptions Sever the Child’s Relationship with His or Her Biological Parent Entirely

In a closed adoption, the adopted child is no longer a part of the biological parents’ lives. The adoptive parents assume the role of primary caregivers in the child's life. The child may grow up and eventually want to reconnect with his or her biological parent. However, while the child is a minor, the biological parents do not have any access to the child.

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The Importance of Designating a Guardian for Minor Children in Your Will

 Posted on March 07, 2023 in Estate Planning

Kane County Estate Planning LawyerA last will and testament is usually associated with the distribution of assets after a person's death. While instructions for asset distribution is an essential feature of any will, it is not the only purpose a will serves. A will also allows you to designate a guardian (or guardians) for minor children in the event that both parents pass away before the children are adults.

The designation of a guardian or guardians is an extremely important task, but it is one that many parents tend to put off. Understandably, it can be upsetting to think about who you would want to raise your children if you and the child's other parent pass away. However, it is still essential to make a decision. Without a designated guardian, the court will decide who raises your children, and this may not align with your wishes or expectations.

How to Choose the Right Guardian for Your Children

When selecting a guardian for minor children in your will, there are several factors to consider. It is important to select someone who has similar values and beliefs as you do, and who will prioritize the children's best interests. Consider whether the guardian lives in a place that you would want your child to grow up in and has enough financial stability to provide for their needs. Ask yourself, is this person emotionally and physically prepared for the task of raising a child? Is he or she willing to take on this responsibility? You may also want to consider appointing a backup guardian in case the first choice is unable to act as guardian.

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How to Know If Your Spouse is Lying About Finances During Your Divorce

 Posted on February 24, 2023 in Divorce / Family Law

Kane County Family Law AttorneyProperty and financial matters are often some of the most consequential aspects of a divorce. Whether a divorce is resolved through a settlement or by the court, each spouse's income, debt, and property will play a key role in the divorce outcome.

Financial transparency is essential to a fair divorce settlement, which is why it is important to know exactly what you and your spouse own and owe. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one spouse to deliberately hide assets from the other or lie about his or her income. This type of financial deception can significantly skew issues such as property division arrangements and child support calculations.

If you are getting divorced, make sure you are vigilant for signs of deception regarding finances. Work with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you uncover your spouse's financial activity and provide proper guidance.

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Signs You Should Get an Emergency Order of Protection During Your Divorce 

 Posted on February 08, 2023 in Divorce / Family Law

Kane County Family Law AttorneyDomestic violence is more common than many people realize. Husbands and wives in abusive marriages often keep quiet about the abuse due to fear, embarrassment, or a desire to protect their spouse. Unfortunately, abuse tends to escalate - especially when an abused spouse tries to leave the relationship.

Studies show that three-quarters of all serious injuries caused by abuse occur when the victim tries to end the relationship. Divorce can prove to be a very dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse. If you are in the process of divorcing an abusive partner, it is important to seek legal protection. An emergency order of protection (EOP) may be necessary to ensure your safety and the safety of your children.

Indications it May Be Time to Seek Legal Protection Through an EOP

Illinois law defines abuse as physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation. Physical violence is not the only type of abuse that may warrant a protective order.

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FAQs About Parentage in Illinois 

 Posted on January 30, 2023 in Divorce / Family Law

Kane County Paternity LawyerThe term paternity refers to the legal father-child relationship. “Parentage” is the gender-neutral term currently used in Illinois law to refer to the legal parent-child relationship. Paternity or parentage may be established in a variety of ways. In some situations, parentage is automatically established. In other cases, parents must complete certain steps to establish parentage. There are many benefits associated with establishing parentage, and parents who have not established parentage are limited with regard to their parental rights.

Do I Need to Do Something to Establish Parentage?

Parentage is assumed in certain situations. In Illinois, if a man is married to the mother of a child at the time of birth and his name appears on the birth record, parentage is automatically established. However, unmarried parents may need to take additional steps to establish parentage.

How Do You Set Up Parentage or Paternity?

In Illinois, parentage or paternity is established in one of three ways:

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