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Category Archives: Estate Planning


The 2020 “Secure Act” is a Game Changer for Retirement Account Planning (Part 1 of 2)

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Happy New Year everyone! I know I haven’t written on this blog in a little while, but there are some brand new estate planning and estate administration changes that I will be discussing in the coming weeks and months. Today I will outline the MAJOR change passed late in 2019 that will impact the… Read More »

Top 5

Estate Tax Reform: Top 5 Takeaways

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Last week I summarized the 2018 rates and exemptions for gift, estates and trusts. Compared to the major tax code reforms to personal and business taxation, the estate tax changes appear relatively straightforward. The estate tax was not repealed, but the unified Federal gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions more than doubled overnight… Read More »


A Brief Introduction to Premarital Agreements

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Premarital (aka prenuptial) agreements are sometimes a touchy subject (and often fodder for celebrity gossip). OK, maybe more than sometimes. I think that’s because they are often viewed as nothing more than pre-planning for divorce. But premarital agreements are often used more for estate planning purposes than anything else. Perhaps viewing a prenup as… Read More »


Trust Funding: Top 5 Overlooked Assets

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

The cornerstone of the vast majority of estate plans that I create for our clients is the revocable living trust. They help clients achieve a wide array of estate planning goals by providing a comprehensive set of instructions for managing, investing and distributing property for the trust’s named beneficiaries. But these instructions only control… Read More »

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Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care Tweaked for 2016

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

One year ago I wrote about how the statutory Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care (“PAH”) underwent a complete makeover starting in 2015. I know a lot of people were interested in this because it was one of my most popular posts over the last year. Thankfully, we don’t have another complete makeover… Read More »


Year-End Annual Exclusion Gifting: Basics and Benefits

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Is it better to give than to receive? If you’re trying to reduce your estate tax exposure, it sure is. But before you start giving, you need to know the basic gift tax rules of the road. If your estate will be subject to estate tax under the current applicable estate tax exemptions, even… Read More »


Dividing the Estate: Equal vs. Unequal

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

“I leave my estate in equal shares to create one share for each then living child of mine and one share, per stirpes, for the then living descendants of each deceased child of mine.” Perhaps a majority of parents’ estate plans include a similar provision. It’s simple, clean and usually non-controversial. But what if… Read More »


New State, New Estate Plan? Why a Review After Moving is a Good Idea

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

We are a mobile society. More than 7 million Americans relocate to a new state each year. With an interstate move comes big changes — a new job (or retirement), new neighbors, a new drivers license. What about a new estate plan? One of the most common questions I hear — both from past… Read More »

Blended Family

Blended Families and the Accidental Disinheritance

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Robin Williams, Casey Kasem, Dennis Hopper, Tom Clancy, Gene Roddenberry and Audrey Hepburn. What do they all have in common? They all left blended families that found themselves in court battling each other over estate issues. These types of clashes are not unique to the rich and famous. By their very nature, blended families… Read More »

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How (not) to Revoke a Will

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

The act of revoking a Will seems like it ought to be fairly straightforward and noncontroversial. In most cases, (and ideally) a person revokes a current Will by simply executing a new Will that expressly revokes all prior wills and codicils. The later valid Will prevails. Simple and effective. But there are other permitted… Read More »