November 18th, 2013
No one can escape the inevitable - death and taxes. And unfortunately, according to the U.S. Census Bureau nearly 50 percent of all marriages will end in divorce.
The divorce process is incredibly stressful. Clients are often so overwhelmed with emotional, financial and legal complexities, they fail to consider the estate planning implications of their separation and divorce. However, proactive planning can help ensure assets do not pass to a soon-to-be-ex or a former spouse.
Lindsey’s latest article explains why everyone who survives a divorce needs a new estate plan to avoid probate, provide asset protection for beneficiaries, and to make sure the money doesn’t inadvertently flow back to your former spouse! She also addresses which estate planning tools that can be implemented during the pending divorce.
To learn how to protect yourself and your estate, download Lindsey’s latest article, “Death, Taxes and Divorce – Why Every Ex-Spouse Needs a New Estate Plan,” published in the November issue of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
October 7th, 2013
Like Florida, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, the Illinois Department of Revenue has adopted new regulations which ensure that out of state donors will not be penalized for continuing to donate to their favorite local charities.
Lindsey’s latest article explains that the department will no longer consider a taxpayer’s charitable contribution to a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization in determining residency. To learn more, download “Policy Frees up Snowbirds to Give Charitably,” published in the September edition of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
September 16th, 2013
James Gandolfini has been gracing the headlines over the past few months. Surprisingly, the publicity surrounding the late television star’s death is not focused on his award-winning performance in “The Sopranos” or a Hollywood scandal - but rather his estate planning.
Tony Soprano certainly missed some extraordinary estate planning opportunities.
Lindsey’s latest article examines lessons learned from James Gandolfini’s estate on life insurance. Effective August, 2012, Illinois now provides increased creditor protection for life insurance policies where the beneficiary is trust for the benefit of a child, spouse, or dependent. Beneficiary designations on life insurance policies are critical to providing asset protection for beneficiaries and ensuring maximum estate tax planning.
To learn how you might benefit from similar planning download “Life Insurance Lessons From A ‘Sopranos’ Star,” published in the August edition of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
July 21st, 2013
In a landmark ruling on June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) provision that defined marriage as between one man and one woman and left same-sex couples unable to received federal marriage benefits. Now, in the 14 jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage, the ruling opens the door for couples to have access to the same federal marriage benefits that heterosexual couples already receive.
The decision entitles same-sex couples to more than 1,000 different federal benefits, including Social Security and pension benefits, retirement plans and marital tax deductions.
Lindsey’s latest article, “Estate Planning Implications After DOMA Decision From High Court” published in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, discusses how this ruling impacts same-sex couples. In addition this article talks about what couples who live in states that do not allow same-sex marriage, like Illinois, can do to protect themselves.
July 10th, 2013
Whether a client has a complex or simple estate plan, failure to properly address a retirement plan (IRA) beneficiary designation may cause havoc. Regardless of what a client’s estate plan may say, the beneficiary designation under the client’s IRA governs.
For many clients, their largest asset is their retirement plan. IRAs, in particular, require special attention because they are subject to both estate taxes and income taxes.
To make sure your IRA is cared for properly, download Lindsey’s latest article, “Do Inherited IRAs Protect Assets Well?” published in the July issues of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
July 1st, 2013
It is not illegal to have foreign financial accounts. However, clients associated with foreign financial accounts are cautioned to remain vigilant in following foreign compliance reporting requirements.
On April 12, 2012, the U.S. government entered into a reciprocal agreement with France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom authorizing the voluntary and automatic exchange of foreign financial information. Beginning next year, the agreement allows each government to automatically receive information about their citizens who have bank accounts in any of the other five countries.
The agreement expands existing foreign account reporting requirements in one significant respect: The foreign governments, rather than the financial institutions, will be the ones voluntarily reporting this information.
The foundation of these new requirements stems from the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Section 6038D of the Internal Revenue Code, which was enacted in 2010 as an effort to curb tax evasion by individuals with bank accounts overseas.
To learn more about FATCA and its requirements, download Lindsey’s latest article “Automatic Reporting From European Governments Required in FATCA” published in the June edition of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
May 1st, 2013
We all want to make certain that, upon death, we provide assets for family members, friends and oftentimes charitable organizations.
However, when a beneficiary has special needs, additional issues must be considered. This is because, unfortunately, most services for an individual with special needs are provided through federal, state and local programs and eligibility is often based by a “means test.”
To learn more about the different trusts that will protect you and your family, download Lindsey’s latest article “Much To Consider When Estate Plans Involve Individuals With Special Needs” published in the April edition of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
April 7th, 2013
The estate-planning process provides a unique opportunity for clients to review their investment portfolios and consolidate their asset holdings.
Many clients and advisers have recently inquired regarding FDIC insurance for trust accounts and have been pleasantly surprised to learn that while an individual account may qualify for FDIC coverage up to $250,000, a trust account may qualify for coverage up to $1.25 million, or even more.
To learn more about Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts, download Lindsey’s latest article, “How to up FDIC Coverage of a Trust Account” published in the March edition of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
February 27th, 2013
In the cocktail party context, decanting of wine refers to the pouring of the liquid from one vessel into another to aerate and remove unwanted sediment.
Effective Jan.1, legislation amended the Illinois Trusts and Trustees Act to include a “decanting” statute, which essentially grants a trustee the authority to pour the assets of an old trust into a new trust to add beneficial provisions (“aerate”) and remove less useful provisions (“unwanted sediment”).
Continue reading “New Law Will Help Retool Outdated Trusts”
February 26th, 2013
Lindsey Markus is honored to be quoted in Beth Fawver McCormack’s recent article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin on Collaborative Law with Collaborative Law Fellow Melissa Mondschain, of Channan Mondschain Co-Mediation Partners. For more information on these extraordinary collaborative law fellows, please learn more about Beth at http://www.fam-atty.com/bethmccormack.htm, and learn more about Melissa at http://cmcomediation.com/about/melissa-mondschain/
Download “Collaborative Law Practice Requires Training, But Empowers Participants”