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Category Archives: Probate/Trust Administration


Pets as Property: Testamentary Freedom vs. Public Policy

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Some people consider, and treat, pets as their children. We love our furry friends and care for their well-being. Pets can, and often should be, part of an estate plan (Illinois even allows for pet trusts — a topic for a future blog). But there is an important legal distinction between pets and children…. Read More »


Ernie Banks Estate, Part 2: Probate vs. Non-Probate Property

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

A lot of people are following the Ernie Banks probate case with intense interest, attorneys included. I think part of the reason for the public interest is that a lot of people have either gone through a similar family situation, or know someone else that has. It has touched a chord. But this is… Read More »

Robin Williams

Legendary Comedians, Estate Battles and Your Stuff

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

The late George Carlin is one of my favorite comedians of all-time. One of his legendary routines revolves around how the meaning of life is basically finding “a place for all your stuff!” More recently, Jerry Seinfeld riffed on how we have “too many things” and that it’s all simply in different states of… Read More »

Ernie Banks

Ernie Banks and the Illinois Disposition of Remains Act

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

First, a confession: I am a lifelong die-hard Cubs fan (an inherited condition). Yes, I know, that can take a toll on one’s mental health. And yes, I actually do believe that ‘next year’ could be this year. Or at least next year. No player embodies Cubs baseball more than the legendary Ernie Banks…. Read More »


Class Gifts, Later-Born Grandchildren, and the Ambiguous Ambiguity

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

One of the challenges in estate planning is making and expressing decisions now within documents that may be ultimately administered and interpreted many years down the line — sometimes under changed circumstances. In some situations, this planning requires a great deal of forethought, nuance and flexibility to achieve goals. Certain changes are fairly easy… Read More »

Right Wrong

Beneficiaries: How to Deal With a Rogue Executor or Trustee

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Last April I blogged about The 3 Habits of Highly Effective Trustees and Executors. As a reminder, they are: (1) Read (re-read) the trust and/or will (and follow the terms); (2) Communicate with beneficiaries — early, often and well; and (3) Document and keep records. But what if you’re the beneficiary of an estate… Read More »

IBJ Article

Article by Jeffrey R. Gottlieb Published in Illinois Bar Journal

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

The January 2015 edition of the Illinois Bar Journal features a lead article written and published by yours truly, entitled “A New Weapon Against Elder Abuse: Presumptively Void Transfers to Caregivers.” CLICK HERE FOR A PDF OF THE ARTICLE The construct for the article began right here as a blog post on September 2,… Read More »


New Illinois Small Estate Affidavit Coming in 2015

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

A significant change is coming to the small estate affidavit form and procedure in Illinois. On August 1, 2014, Governor Quinn signed into law an amendment to the Small Estate section of the Illinois Probate Act (755 ILCS 5/25-1) that changes the small estate affidavit form and procedure (statutory additions and deletions shown at… Read More »


Big Internet Companies Oppose FADA Legislation — Really!?!

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

In July I discussed and lauded the recent adoption of the Uniform Fiduciary Access To Digital Assets (FADA) Act. FADA is not a law in itself, but is intended to provide uniform model legislation for states to enact to vest fiduciaries (executor, trustee, agent and guardian) with the authority to access digital assets and… Read More »


New Illinois Law Questions Bequests to Non-Family Caregivers

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

On August 26, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a brand new section in the Illinois Probate Act, at 755 ILCS 5/4-a, entitled “Presumptively Void Transfers.” While the intent of the new law is aimed squarely at non-family caregivers who may abuse their position by exercising undue influence, the law could have… Read More »