Can your life insurance company take advantage of you?

Can your life insurance company take advantage of you?

Recently, I watched a 60-minute news story about how some of the largest life insurance companies don’t pay benefits even when they know the policyholder has died. Insurance companies claim that it is up to policyholders’ beneficiaries to contact the insurance company and to file a claim in order to collect whatever death benefit may be due them. But if beneficiaries are unaware of the policy, they don’t know to file a claim. Do you want to know another scary fact? The news reported that on some whole life insurance policies, even when the insurance company knew the client was dead, they still deducted the monthly premiums from the client’s account. So, what is the point of paying years of insurance premiums when your family may not collect the death benefit? This is just another example of why it pays to be organized with your estate planning. After I draft my clients’ estate plans, I encourage everyone to make a list of all accounts that are in their name and keep a copy with their estate planning documents. That way if something happens, the executor or trustee knows where to look and what companies to contact. For one reason or another, many people are afraid to tell their friends and family members exactly what their estate planning documents say. You really do not have to tell everyone everything. At a bare minimum, you should tell the person whom you have listed as trustee or executor of your estate where are your estate planning documents located and how they can access them. There is no point for you to spend...
FREE Financial & Estate Planning Retirement Workshop

FREE Financial & Estate Planning Retirement Workshop

I have partnered with Scott Sirens from Sierens Financial Group and we will be hosting two financial and estate planning retirement workshops on Monday, April 24th and Wednesday, April 26th.  The workshop will be a comprehensive two-hour presentation covering everything from financial planning in retirement through common estate planning techniques.  Please come out to this free event for an informative time. Reservations are required and please call us to reserve a spot at (847) 714-2866 or Sierens Financial at (847) 235-6989. Details are below but you may always contact us with any questions. Monday, April 24th 1pm-3pm Bartlett Community Center – Program Room #3 700 S. Bartlett Road Bartlett, IL  60103 Wednesday, April 26th 10am-12pm Park Place Family Recreation Center – West Meeting Room 550 S. Park Blvd. Streamwood, IL ...
Upcoming Retirement Workshops

Upcoming Retirement Workshops

Calling all retirees!!  I have partnered with Scott Sirens from Sierens Financial Group and will be speaking at two retirement workshops on Monday March 27th and Wednesday March 29th.  The workshop will be a comprehensive two hour presentation covering everything from financial planning in retirement through common estate planning techniques.  Please come out to this free event for an informative time.  Details are below but you may always contact us with any questions. Monday March 27, 2017 1pm-3pm Geneva History Museum 113 S. Third St Geneva, IL  60134 Wednesday March 29, 2017 10am-12pm(noon) Hickory Knolls Discovery Center 3795 Campton Hills Rd St. Charles, IL ...
What is an intentionally defective grantor trust?

What is an intentionally defective grantor trust?

An intentionally defective grantor trust (IDGT) is a very interesting estate planning tool. It can be used to freeze certain assets for estate tax purposes, but not for income tax purposes. It is best used, for example, for a business that you own that is expected to greatly increase in value over the upcoming years and is a business that you plan to transfer to your heirs upon your death. The intentionally defective trust is created as a grantor trust that ensures that the individual continues to pay income taxes. There are many benefits of an intentionally defective grantor trust. Below are some highlighted key points to keep in mind: There is no tax on sale of stock to the trust The trust income is taxed to the grantor Transfer freezes asset value for estate tax purposes at time of transfer No tax to beneficiaries when grantor dies Transfer can be by gift or sale using lifetime exemption Sale is done with a note due in typically 10-15 years with interest just below 1% interest only loan with a balloon payment (income from interest is taxable) Sale does not realize any gain for the grantor To retain control of assets, your attorney must separate voting and non-voting stock Client retains 100% voting stock (1% of overall) and transfers the rest to the trust Children are the beneficiaries and become owners upon death There is no tax upon the transfer to children Grantor is not entitled to any trust distributions but does enjoy the interest from the “loan” for the “sale” of the stock to the trust Powers retained by...
If you are Divorced, update your Estate Plan today!

If you are Divorced, update your Estate Plan today!

In the aftermath of a divorce, updating your estate plan may not be at the forefront of your mind. You may still be distraught and emotionally and/or physically exhausted. However, many clients don’t realize what could result if they don’t update their current estate plan in the face of a divorce. In the event of a post-divorce unanticipated death, your assets could end up being distributed to your ex-spouse. Exactly what you don’t want to have happen. The first and most important step one should take to avoid this outcome is to revoke one’s current will or trust and write a new one that excludes your ex-spouse. Because most of us, when we are happy and in love leave everything to our spouses upon our deaths, in the event of a divorce, you will most likely want the result to be different. Once your divorce has been finalized, or even if you are in the process of a divorce, you need to update your estate plan as soon as possible to make the desired changes in light of the resulting divorce. You should also think about who you now want making your decisions for you in the event your physician deems you to be disabled or incapacitated for some reason. Your ex-spouse may no longer be the person who you want making your decisions for you, but is probably still listed as your decision maker for healthcare and/or financial decisions. Some people may still trust the ex-spouse to be making those decisions for them, however, that is the exception, not the rule. In my experience, most clients want the...
Estate planning billing, at Lauren Jackson Law

Estate planning billing, at Lauren Jackson Law

When clients come to me for Estate Planning, one of their biggest concerns is what is it going to cost? Most attorneys will be very vague about their billing processes and one of the more popular complaints from clients is when they get their bill and they are shocked by the total amount due. Here, we are committed to providing our clients with excellent service and benefits. One of our benefits that distinguish us from other law firms in the area, is our base rate billing. After we meet and have our initial consultation, I will tell you the total cost of what your estate plan will cost to be completed.  My clients love that there will be no surprises when the monthly bill comes. For the last two years since I have started this policy, my clients have loved this practice. When it comes to billing, nobody likes surprises. What goes into the price quote? Two meetings One initial consultation One meeting for explanation of all documents and document signing A third party witness and notary will be provided All telephone calls All email communications Any research needed All original signed copies of documents Plus all documents will be emailed to you in electronic PDF form Along with time involved and materials, you have to think about the real value value that you are getting from a properly executed Illinois estate plan. There is no point to pay money and draft an estate plan if it is not properly executed with the right witnesses, notarized signatures, and all necessary forms. I have seen and fixed many errors over...