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Category Archives: Probate/Trust Administration

Tax ID

Estate and Trust Tax ID Numbers: FAQ on the EIN from the IRS

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

It probably won’t come as a surprise to anybody that income has to be reported on a Federal Income Tax Return. We’re all accustomed to providing our social security number to our employer, bank or brokerage institution so that income, dividends and capital gains can be reported to the individual and to the IRS…. Read More »


Illinois Probate: Heirs vs. Legatees

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Last year I wrote about the importance of distinguishing between ‘Heirs vs. Descendants’ in the estate planning context. Today’s post will highlight the difference between ‘heirs’ and ‘legatees’ in the probate context. Heirs (n.): The individuals who by operation of (intestacy) law inherit the property of a decedent who dies without leaving a valid… Read More »


The 3 Habits of Highly Effective Trustees and Executors

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Estate disputes can be triggered by the lack of effective estate planning. I recently wrote about 10 estate planning steps to help avoid family inheritance disputes. Conflict can also be caused by problems that arise during administration of a trust or estate. Trustees and executors face a laundry list of administrative tasks to address… Read More »


The Illinois Intestacy Will: An Unplanned Estate Plan

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Are you thinking about creating a Will, but just have not gotten around to it yet?  You’re not alone.  I’m going to be completely honest with you, it’s not as much fun as watching a movie or going on vacation.  Procrastination can be a powerful force. Even if you’ve never thought about estate planning,… Read More »


IRS Extends Portability Election Deadline for 2011 to 2013 Estates

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Last week I discussed why every surviving spouse should consider filing a Federal Estate Tax Return Form 706 to elect portability of the unused portion of their spouse’s federal estate tax exemption.  I explained that in order to take advantage of portability the estate’s representative must make an affirmative election on a timely filed… Read More »

Tax Breaks

Portability: The Tax Election Every Surviving Spouse Must Consider

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

The Federal Estate Tax exemption for 2014 is $5.34 million.  This means that if a decedent’s gross estate (plus past taxable gifts) is less than $5.34 million then filing a Federal Estate Tax Return (Form 706) is not required.  However, a surviving spouse should always consider the option of electing to file a Federal… Read More »


Illinois Probate: What are “Letters of Office”?

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

I frequently receive phone calls that start something like: “My dad died and I’m executor in the Will.  I’m trying to collect his checking account, but his bank said I need to have an attorney get me letters of office.  Is that a letter you can write for me?” Open Probate = Letters of… Read More »

samsung glaxy

Tablet Will: Don’t Try This at Home (or in Illinois)

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

In what appears to be a case of first impression (possibly anywhere), an Ohio probate court judge recently ruled that a Will created by a dying man on a Samsung Galaxy tablet computer could be admitted to probate in Ohio as a valid Will.  Javier Castro, who had refused a blood transfusion due to… Read More »

rip facebook

Introduction to Estate Planning for Digital Assets

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

The topic of what happens with a person’s “digital assets” and accounts after death or disability has been the subject of increasing debate and importance over the past several years.  Facebook and Twitter, e-mail, iTunes, blogs, YouTube, Kindle books, websites, Flickr photos, Ebay businesses — the list goes on and is growing.  Our online… Read More »

contingent fee

Contingent Fee Agreements in Estate Litigation

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Occasionally I am asked if I can accept a contingent fee arrangement to represent a client in an estate-related matter.  A contingent fee means that the attorney’s fee is based on a percentage or fraction (e.g. 1/3) of the amount recovered for the client.  No recovery means no fee.  This type of arrangement is… Read More »