All posts by Navigant Law Group, LLC

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

Don’t procrastinate! Take some time in the next couple of months to consider your estate plan – whether doing it for the first time or updating.  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.

BROADER HORIZONS FOR BREWING BUDDIES

 

Craft distilleries are finally being granted the same rights as their buddies, craft breweries.

A new bill was passed by the Illinois House and Senate and signed by Governor Pritzker in August 2019 which lifted certain restrictions previously placed on craft distilleries. The new bill was effective immediately.

SMALL BUSINESS CRAFT DISTILLERIES ARE BECOMING MORE POPULAR

While not as prevalent as craft breweries, craft distilleries have seen a rise in popularity over the past few years. America is now home to over eighteen hundred (1,800) distillers which is a large increase from the one hundred (100) that existed in 2005.

The new law, named House Bill 2675, creates two (2) types of distillery licenses; these licenses are issued based upon how much a distillery produces. This new rule applies to all distilleries; however, those distilleries which produce less than five thousand (5,000) gallons can apply for an exemption under the new law to sell their spirits on their own.

OPERATING A CRAFT DISTILLERY ON THE SAME FIELD AS CRAFT BREWERIES AND CRAFT WINERIES

The law is expected to level the playing field, giving small distilleries the same opportunities as breweries and wineries. The ability to distribute their own products has been vital to the growth of the craft beer industry and craft distilleries hope that House Bill 2675 will bring them the same opportunities.

Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) is quoted in a prepared release that “the new licensing and exemption processes included in this new law will help these business owners establish and grow their small businesses without being subject to overly-burdensome state regulations.”

NEW CRAFT DISTILLER LICENSES

The bill creates two (2) new licenses for craft distillers, a Class 1 and Class 2 license, as well as a distilling pub license. It also provides a process by which those who produce a certain amount or less of spirits per year can apply for an exemption for self-distribution.

Distillers who obtain a Class 1 license will be able to manufacture up to 50,000 gallons of distilled spirits per year. Distillers may obtain more than one (1) distiller license provided they do not produce more than a combined total of 50,000 gallons per year.

Distillers who obtain a Class 2 license will be able to manufacture up to 100,000 gallons of distilled spirits per year.

However, these distillers are only allowed to sell their spirits to distributors, not directly to the public or licenses retailers. They will still be required to sell their spirits to third-party distributors who will then sell it to retail establishments and the public.

Those who obtain a “self-distribution exemption” will be able to sell up to 5,000 gallons of their spirits directly to licensed retailers and distributors. Those distillers who do not obtain the exemption will be required to sell their spirits to third-party distributors who will then sell it to retail establishments and the public.

NEW CRAFT DISTILLER WAREHOUSING PERMIT

To allow for the storage of all the new alcohol created under the distillery licenses, the legislators created a new craft distillery warehousing permit. This new permit allows class 1 and class 2 license holders, via a separate application process, to receive a warehousing permit to store or warehouse up to 500,000 gallons of the spirits manufactured by such license holder. This resolves the issue facing distillers of where to store their products as they age over the months, years or decades.

NEW DISTILLERY PUB LICENSE

Certain Class 2 license holders will be able to obtain a distillery pub permit which will allow them to manufacture and serve up to 5,000 gallons of their spirits on or off-premises in addition to selling any other type of alcohol to the public. As an added benefit, under the new law, these distillers will be allowed to transfer a portion of their manufactured spirits to nearby licensed pubs provided they are owned by the same distiller. In addition, the pub license also allows the distillery to sell any type of alcohol at their location, which craft breweries were restricted from doing until last year. This is a big deal to distillers as it provides added flexibility and allows pubs to expand the type of spirits offered.

According to the new bill, this move to lift regulatory hurdles would, “allow smaller manufacturers of spirits access to the marketplace in order to develop a customer base”. It is expected that, as a result, craft distilleries will be able to broaden their customer base and more widely distribute their products themselves.

Class 1 Distiller LicenseClass 2 Distiller License
Production Limit50,000 gallons100,000 gallons
Ability to obtain a warehouse permitYesYes
Ability to obtain a tasting permitYesYes
Maximum for direct sales to consumer from tasting room (for on or off premise consumption)5,000 gallons5,000 gallons
Ability to apply for exemption to self-distributeYesNo
Maximum for self-distribution (under exemption)5,000 gallonsX

 

ILLINOIS AS THE NATIONS’ CRAFT BREWING AND DISTILLING CAPITAL

Illinois Craft Distillers Association President Noelle DiPrizio told the Chicago Tribune that the passage of this bill should make Illinois one of the more favorable states to start a business and should bring Illinois a step closer to fulfilling its potential to become the country’s craft capital.

While Illinois currently claims to be home to 34 federally licensed craft distilleries, up from 2 in 2010, the passage of this new law could cause the number of craft distilleries to double or triple in the coming years.

Should you have any questions about this new law, House Bill 2675 or any other laws that may affect your business, 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.

OUR LOCATION

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC

3701 Algonquin Rd. Suite 300, Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008

Phone: (847) 253-8800
Fax: 847-253-8822

View Map | Driving Directions

 

 

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) – GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided interim guidance for employers based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  The CDC believes the following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

 

To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine risk of COVID-19. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

Recommended strategies for employers to use now:

  • ACTIVELY ENCOURAGE SICK EMPLOYEES TO STAY HOME:
    • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater, using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
    • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
    • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • SEPARATE SICK EMPLOYEES:
    • CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
  • EMPHASIZE STAYING HOME WHEN SICK, RESPIRATORY ETIQUETTE AND HAND HYGIENE BY ALL EMPLOYEES:
    • Place posters that encourage staying home when sickcough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
    • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
    • Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
  • PERFORM ROUTINE ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANING:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • ADVISE EMPLOYEES BEFORE TRAVELING TO TAKE CERTAIN STEPS:
    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
    • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
    • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.
  • ADDITIONAL MEASURES IN RESPONSE TO CURRENTLY OCCURING SPORADIC IMPORTATIONS OF THE COVID-19:
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Updates are available on CDC’s web page at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/covid19.

 

For more information on suggested policies and communications with your employees, or any other laws that may affect your business, or if you 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.

OUR LOCATION

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC

3701 Algonquin Rd. Suite 300
Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008

Phone: (847) 253-8800
Fax: 847-253-8822

View Map | Driving Directions

 

 

DO I HAVE AN ESTATE?

The term “estate” may conjure images of an elderly, wealthy matriarch executing a Last Will and Testament declaring which of her children and grandchildren shall inherit the family wealth at her death. Maybe she is disinheriting one or more of her natural heirs because they have mistreated her. There may even be a “reading of the Will” following her death in which family members gasp and glare  at one another when the secret estate plan is finally revealed to all. In reality, Estate Planning and Estate Administration is not like you see on television and in the movies, and you definitely do not have to be rich to have an estate.

In answer to the question “Do I have an estate?” – If you own a car, have a checking account, own a home, have any life insurance or retirement accounts, then, yes, you have an estate. It may be modest and you may have no interest in disinheriting anyone, but you still need to understand what you have and then take steps now so that your wishes can be carried out upon your death.

Probate Estate

Your “probate estate” includes all assets that are titled in your individual name, with no joint owner and no named death beneficiary.

If you are an Illinois resident and the total value of your probate estate exceeds $100,000, or you own any real estate in your name alone, then opening an estate in the probate court of the county in which you resided will be required following your death. Additionally, if you own real estate in your own name in more than one state, then ancillary probate administration in such other state or states will also be required.

Taxable Estate

Your “taxable estate” includes all assets in which you own an interest, whether it is an outright interest, a beneficial interest in a trust, or a partial interest (such as a joint owner), less any liabilities or allowable deductions at your death. This includes real estate, bank accounts, CDs, stocks and bonds, brokerage accounts, mutual funds, and interests in a small business (e.g., S corporation, limited liability company or partnership), whether these assets are held in your name, in joint tenancy, or in a trust under which you are a beneficiary (e.g., a revocable living trust). Also included in your taxable estate are your IRAs, 401Ks, annuities, the death benefit of any life insurance policies owned by you, and beneficial interests in a land trust.

If your taxable estate exceeds the federal, or state, estate tax exclusion amounts in the year of your death, then the executor of your estate shall be required to pay the estate tax before distributions from your estate can be made to your beneficiaries. For 2018, the Federal Gift and Estate Tax Exclusion is $11,180,000 and the Illinois Estate Tax Exclusion is $4,000,000. Note that these exclusion amounts are reduced by the value of any taxable gifts that you made during your lifetime. Also note that, while many taxable estates will be below the exclusion amounts, it may still be beneficial to file federal, or state, estate tax returns.

Your Estate

As you can see, it is possible to have a probate estate without a taxable estate, or a taxable estate without a probate estate. For example, your “estate” may consist of a joint interest in your home (with a mortgage), a car titled in your name, some personal effects (e.g., jewelry, coin collection, etc.), a joint checking account, a life insurance policy, and an IRA account, for a total “taxable estate” of $950,000. Your “probate estate” consists of only your car and personal effects. Accordingly, no estate tax returns or probate court proceeding would be required at your death. However, this does not mean you do not need to do any planning.

At a minimum, you should execute a valid Will. Beyond that, you should also consider creating a Revocable Living Trust in order to better provide for your family, especially for those family members who may be minors or disabled, or have other special circumstances, at the time of your death.

Don’t leave it to chance. Estate planning is not just for the elderly and the wealthy. You need to plan for what you have – whatever that may be. We can help you sort through the types of assets that you have, find out what is important to you, and then help you create an estate plan that will address your priorities and accomplish your goals to best take care of yourself during your life and your family after your death.

Should you have any questions about an estate plan 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, Business Immigration, 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.