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By Garrett Reuter, Jr. on March 27, 2020 at 3:15 PM

Virtual signingWhile the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus has certainly brought a sudden dramatic change to our daily lives, there is still a continuous need for legal work. Many legal documents require notarization, and even in some cases witnesses, to take effect. With the various levels of governments now requiring “social distancing” and instituting shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, the normal rules that require a signer to be in the “presence” of a notary or witness have been put into question.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr. on February 4, 2020 at 10:30 AM

"March 5" displayed on wooden blocksHow many times have you prepared your income tax returns for the previous year, only wishing you knew then what you know now, so you could go back and make more advantageous tax decisions? In most cases, you are stuck with the decisions you made before the new tax year began, even though you may not have all the relevant tax information available to assist with those decisions until several months into the new tax year. Too bad for you, says the IRS, unless you are an estate or trust.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr., Leland Moloney on July 24, 2019 at 2:20 PM

Map of the Midwest highlighting the state of Illinois in redOn July 12, 2019, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill HB1471, which enacts the Illinois Trust Code (ITC) and repeals many of Illinois’ current trust statutes. The ITC will be effective as of Jan. 1, 2020.

The ITC generally conforms with the Uniform Trust Code (UTC), a comprehensive codification of the common law on trusts, as drafted, published and recommended by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. The UTC is designed as a template to establish uniform trust laws among states, including, but not limited to, the creation, validity and modification of trusts, rights of certain parties with respect to beneficial interests and creditors, trust administration, trusteeship and trustee powers.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr. on February 21, 2019 at 9:35 AM

Women turning back the hands of a clockHow many times have you prepared your income tax returns for the previous year, only wishing you knew then what you know now, so you could go back and make more advantageous tax decisions? In most cases, you are stuck with the decisions you made before the new tax year began, even though you may not have all of the relevant tax information available to assist with those decisions until several months into the new tax year. Too bad for you, says the IRS, unless you are an estate or trust.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr. on January 12, 2018 at 10:40 AM

Flipping through the calendar, showing the passing of time.How many times have you prepared your income tax returns for the previous year, only wishing you knew then what you know now, so you could go back and make more advantageous tax decisions? In most cases, you are stuck with the decisions you made before the new tax year began, even though you may not have all of the relevant tax information available to assist with those decisions until several months into the new tax year. Too bad for you, says the IRS, unless you are an estate or trust.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr. on December 7, 2017 at 2:12 PM

Cast of Ferris Bueller sitting in the red Ferrari from the movieOne of the many memorable scenes from the movie classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” takes place when Ferris and his friends drop off a Ferrari in a downtown Chicago parking garage. In the scene, Cameron doesn’t trust the car’s safety with the parking attendant, who says to them somewhat indignantly, “Relax … you fellas have nothing to worry about. I’m a professional.” The screen then cuts to the parking attendant and his buddy zooming off in the Ferrari as Ferris and the group go on their way.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr., Keith Grissom on September 27, 2017 at 11:52 AM

Toy house sitting on top of a calculator with a pencil and papers next to it.In many cases, determining the beneficiaries of your estate plan is simple. If your spouse survives you, your assets go to your spouse. If your spouse doesn’t survive you, your assets are split equally among your children. But choosing who will ultimately receive your assets and in what proportions is only part of the process. Another part of it is deciding how the beneficiaries receive those assets.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr. on May 16, 2017 at 3:45 PM

Woman preparing to write a checkAs one gets older and less able – or even willing – to deal with financial responsibilities, it is common to turn to others to help take care of your finances. The most comprehensive tool to use in such a case would be a financial durable power of attorney, in which you, as principal, name someone as your agent to handle financial and legal affairs on your behalf. Another commonly used method is naming an adult child as a co-owner or a co-signer on a bank account. A co-owner has full access to the account and will legally own the proceeds of the account after the other account owner’s death. A co-signer simply has authority to write checks and draw on the account.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr. on March 31, 2017 at 11:20 AM

Stamp with the word "probate" on top of paperworkProbate is the process by which estate assets pass to a person’s surviving heirs after death. With certain exceptions, any asset the decedent owned in his or her individual name must go through probate.

If a decedent dies with a valid will in place, it is referred to as a testate estate. If the decedent dies without a valid will, it is known as an intestate estate. In either case, probate of the estate will be necessary.

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By Garrett Reuter, Jr. on December 14, 2016 at 2:46 PM

An updated version of this post can be found here.

Turning back timeHow many times have you prepared your income tax returns for the previous year, only wishing you knew then what you know now so you could go back and make more advantageous tax decisions? In most cases, you are stuck with the decisions you made before the new tax year began, even though you may not have all of the relevant tax information available to assist with those decisions until several months into the new tax year. Too bad for you, says the IRS, unless you are an estate or trust.

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