Undue influence refers to the act of one person inducing another to act in a way in which the victim would not have acted had he or she been acting of his or her own free will. Typically, the victim does not fully understand the consequences of his or her actions. Sadly, undue influence over disabled and elderly individuals is a pervasive problem in Illinois and throughout the U.S., especially as an aging person prepares to transition large sums of wealth via an estate plan. You can help protect your elderly loved one, yourself and other beneficiaries by recognizing the signs of undue influence.
Depending on your assets, estate planning can take on many forms. When it comes to things like life insurance policies and retirement accounts, beneficiary designations are an important consideration. The Balance explains what you need to know to prevent your estate from going into probate.
A valid estate plan expresses the wishes of the deceased in terms of property and assets. However, families in Illinois sometimes find fault with the contents of a will, and as a result they may choose to contest it. This is a time-consuming and expensive process, so before proceeding it's best to understand all that's involved.
In Illinois, not just anyone is able to challenge or contest a will. However, certain groups of people or individuals can, as long as they fit the right criteria. Though they have a timeframe in which to act, it is important for anyone dealing with wills to know about the possibility.
If you have recently lost a friend or family member, you may be overwhelmed with emotions of hurt and loss. In addition to those feelings, you may have to help with the process of settling your friend or family member's estate. In some cases, the estate will enter into the probate process. In Illinois and in many other states across the nation, the probate process is designed to assist in finalizing any property and assets left behind by the deceased. Whether named by the deceased in the last will and testament or appointed by the court, the executor or estate administrator is in charge of seeing the case through the probate process.
When a person dies without a will or there are questions regarding its validity, the person's estate will move to probate. This process has many different components, from proving that a will is indeed valid to settling any remaining debt. The Balance offers the following information on what families can expect during a probate hearing.
An executor's duties are to keep an estate in good financial condition. When the time comes, the executor distributes the assets as directed by the estate. Most people believe they have chosen a trustworthy and good executor, but sometimes executors prove they are not trustworthy to manage assets. If you suspect an executor of mismanaging assets of an estate in Illinois for which you are a beneficiary, you may take steps to stop him or her.
It may seem like contesting a will is something that happens all the time, but the reality is that there must be a good reason for the court to allow a will contest. The state of Illinois sets the guidelines for when a will can be contested. It is a good idea to understand them. Knowing the grounds can enable you to avoid issues with your own will or ensure a loved one's will will not be contested.
While we have many potential clients approach us at Zapolis & Associates, P.C., as the beneficiaries-- or not, as the case may be-- of disadvantageous wills, few of these situations involve undue influence. This does not mean that all wills written by competent grantors in Illinois are valid: far from it.
Illinois wills are often unnecessarily confusing, especially when they land you in complicated and costly probate court litigation. While we work with many of our clients to plan their estates around avoiding probate, some people come to us already mired in the painstakingly slow estate valuation and distribution characteristic of the processes. When this happens, our first goal at Zapolis & Associates, P.C., is to expedite the situation as much as possible for the good of the family.