All posts by Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC

PAOLA ASCENCIO AWARDED “OUTSTANDING ATTORNEY” DURING ISU’s MOCK TRIAL TOURNAMENT

Paola Ascencio, Paralegal at Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC and mock trial competitor for Northern Illinois University, participated in the Illinois State University’s Annual Mock Trial Invitational Tournament earlier this month. The competition took place at the McLean County Courthouse (Law & Justice Center) in Bloomington, Illinois. The 3-day tournament consisted of 32 collegiate teams, including schools from 6-7 different states.

Out of 96 attorney scores, only 13 attorneys received the outstanding attorney designation. Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is proud to announce that Paola Ascencio was one of the 13 honored with the Outstanding Attorney Award.Led by coaches Mitch Pickerill and Katie Harper, NIU’s Mock Trial Team earned an honorable mention, winning 5 out of 8 trial scores (5 wins, 3 losses). Congratulations to Paola and her team!

 

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO PLAN? The answer is simple—NOW.

It’s National Estate Planning Awareness Week!  Take some time in the next couple of months to consider your estate plan – whether doing it for the first time or updating — before the fall and winter holidays take hold of you.  This is really important for you and your loved ones.

We all know that bad things happen, and usually when you’re least expecting it.  We are all busy living our lives, day by day, trying to get through our endless “To-Do” lists.  But a life-changing, or life-ending, accident or illness can strike at any time and at any age.  None of us are immune from this.  So plan for it now.

A basic estate plan for everyone over the age of 18 should consists of:

  • Advance Directives for Health Care (i.e., Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, HIPAA Authorization)
  • Property (or Financial) Durable Power of Attorney
  • Simple Will

If you do nothing else, get these documents in place!  They can make a world of difference for you and your family if you ever become incapacitated or die.  And remember that, even though you may be only 18 years old, or you eat healthy and exercise every day, you are not invincible. Do you really want your family to suffer any more than necessary if something happens to you?

In addition to these basic documents, most people need to do a little more.  This is because protecting assets for our children or other beneficiaries and avoiding unnecessary court costs and legal fees upon your death or disability cannot be accomplished if you stop here.

In 2019, there is a federal estate tax exemption of $11,400,000 and an Illinois estate tax exemption of $4,000,000.  This is great news for most people, eliminating an estate tax as a concern, but you may be surprised by the time you add up life insurance policies, real estate, retirement accounts, CDs, brokerage accounts, and other assets how close you may be to these amounts.

Even if you are nowhere near these exemption amounts, there is a lot of planning you can do to protect yourself and your family from unnecessary expenses and disputes, creditors, and divorce, and possibly take advantage of income tax and capital gains tax planning strategies that are available.

There is no time like NOW to prepare or update your documents.

Consider this — If you are married and have estate planning documents (e.g., revocable living trusts with “A-B trusts” or “Marital and Credit Shelter Trusts”) that were done years ago, back when the estate tax exemption was somewhere between $600,000 and $2,000,000, you are likely to have a result that you do NOT want when you or your spouse passes away.  This is because those trusts were designed to work for you when we had a much lower estate tax exemption, but should probably be updated to reflect the current laws.

We would be happy to sit down and talk with so that you can take steps to provide for yourself and your loved ones.  Should you have any questions estate plans, or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

HELPING OUR PARENTS

If you have aging parents, or even grandparents, you may be seeing that they need you to help and guide them, much as they did for you as child, to help them understand and make important health and financial decisions. They may not think they need your help and be very resistant to any assistance or advice you are offering, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying. Be there for them. Protect them as they used to protect you (even when you didn’t know or think you needed protecting!).

Take it even further, spend some good, quality time with them. We are all busy, but make an effort to visit with your parents. Reminisce about the old days and encourage them to talk about people and events in their lives that meant a lot to them. Watch old movies and game shows, or do crossword puzzles, with them, if that’s what they enjoy. And then talk to them about what they should do now to be sure someone will be able to continue to help them and make decisions for them if they are no longer able to do so for themselves.

Some suggestions to consider for Estate Planning:

  • Execute a Will.
  • Create and fund a Revocable Living Trust that includes provisions to hold their assets for their own benefit during their lifetime, and distribute assets outright to, or in trust for, their chosen beneficiaries, considering special needs and circumstances of their beneficiaries.
  • Execute Durable Powers of Attorney appointing agents to help them manage their finances and make medical decisions if they are ever unable to do so for themselves.

We are taught to honor and respect our parents. Perhaps your parents are no longer here, or maybe you don’t get a chance to see them as often as you would like. Maybe you have in-laws or others who are like parents to you. Whatever your personal situation, there are likely some special people in your life who fall into that “parental role” for you, and who may appreciate your willingness to help them as they age.

Please encourage you parents to call Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation to begin discussing their estate plan with one of our experienced attorneys.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.