Recent tax developments may save substantial taxes for your clients’ beneficiaries (post-death). Since 2010, a surviving spouse can claim their deceased spouse’s unused estate and gift tax credit shelter amount (“estate and gift tax exemption”) of $5,000,000 or more by filing a federal estate tax return (Form 706) within nine months after death to secure…

Under a new federal law, individuals have a right to post truthful negative reviews about a product or service provider. That’s the case even if they previously signed an agreement that prohibited such reviews. Over the past few years, this controversial business practice of including non-disparagement clauses in contracts or terms of service has led…

It’s a big year for the first set of baby boomers: They’re turning 70 1/2. And that means getting prepared for their first mandatory distributions from tax-sheltered retirement accounts. The first thing to keep in mind is that the amount of your required annual withdrawal is based on the assets in the account as of…

Approximately 40 percent of marriages these days are remarriages for at least one partner. When you remarry, there are all sorts of issues to consider related to your estate plan. For older people, the main focus may be ensuring that their adult children or grandchildren have an inheritance. Without proper planning, a new spouse could…

Regardless of the size of your business, it’s critical that you work proactively to protect the sensitive and private information of your customers, clients and employees. While you might hear more often about data breaches at bigger companies, the reality is that smaller companies and organizations are often targeted and typically have limited data security…

It’s important to review a revocable trust regularly to see if any amendments are needed, such as when something changes in your life. Some examples are: you have had or adopted a child; your spouse or other beneficiaries have died; you have remarried; the value of your assets, including life insurance death benefits in most…

It’s a common scenario: An elderly relative is no longer able to live alone, so family members sell the relative’s house and have the relative start living with them or in a nursing home or assisted living facility that’s closer to the family. One thing you might not consider during this stressful process is that…

Robert J. Ross (Bob) is pleased to announce the formation of Ross Law Firm Ltd., an Illinois corporation, and the promotion of his eldest son, Patrick F. Ross (Patrick), to shareholder. Bob Ross, managing shareholder of the new Ross Law Firm, said, “I never imagined 30 years ago when I started the Law Offices of…

Survivorship life insurance (also known as “second-to-die”) can be an important vehicle to consider for estate planning. This type of insurance policy covers two lives and pays out the proceeds when the second insured dies. One benefit is that the premium tends to be lower than it would be for two separate policies because the…

Some people never get around to retaining a lawyer to prepare their will, living trust and other important estate planning documents. Here are some of the reasons we hear and our responses: 1. “I don’t need estate planning documents.” Not having estate planning documents can result in your family, friends or charities being left out…

In order to achieve tax savings and accomplish your goals, you should pay careful attention to naming primary and contingent IRA beneficiaries The laws governing inherited IRAs are complicated and it’s easy to make mistakes. If you want to discuss naming beneficiaries and/or creating a “standalone” trust for your IRA (and other retirement account assets),…

If you have a child, grandchild or loved one who is away at college, you should be aware that the federal medical privacy rules (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 – “HIPAA”) apply to him or her. Once your child turns 18, the federal HIPAA law says that you can no longer have…

We represent many persons who act in the trusted role of “fiduciary,” as successor trustee of a trust, executor of a will, administrator of an estate (when a person dies without a will) or other role. Fiduciaries often have a tough and thankless job. They must marshal assets, file tax returns and distribute property according…

Planning when one or both spouses have been married in the past can also present challenges. For instance, suppose Mike and Helen, a married couple with no children, sign wills or trusts leaving their assets to each other outright. If Mike dies first, Helen will inherit everything. When Helen dies, who will get assets which…

It’s a common scenario: An elderly relative is no longer able to live alone, so family members sell the relative’s house and have the relative start living with them or in a nursing home or assisted living facility that’s closer to the family. One thing you might not consider

Have you ever considered writing down a list of all your assets (with account numbers, passwords, and so on), as well as debts and recurring payments? Making such a list and putting it in a secure place can be a godsend if something ever happens to you and you become incapacitated, because your family will…

Here’s yet another example of how people who try to create their own wills, using a form taken from a book or the Internet, often shoot themselves in the foot. George Zeevering of Pennsylvania wanted his estate to go to two of his five children. He wrote a “do-it-yourself” will in which he left his…

Congress has revived a law that lets you make charitable donations directly from your IRA, which might provide older people with some significant tax advantages. The “IRA charitable rollover” was discontinued at the end of 2014. But Congress has now resurrected it, made it permanent, and also made it retroactive to the beginning of 2015….

As more and more companies sell things online, especially to far-flung customers, it can be difficult to keep track of the ever-changing legal rules that apply. Here’s a look at just some of the issues on the horizon that online retailers should be aware of: Is your website accessible to the disabled? You might be…

The federal government has begun a much more intensive program of auditing health care providers for violations of HIPAA, the federal law that protects patients’ privacy. For the first time, the government will be auditing not only health care providers but also related businesses to whom patients’ information might be disclosed – including third-party administrators,…

Once a living trust is in place (also called a declaration of trust), it is important to fund the trust in order to minimize future risk and expense. “Funding” a trust means changing the way the person who made the trust – called a grantor – holds title to his or her assets, from the…

In the past, many people’s wills or trusts included a sizable donation to charity. Because the federal estate tax was so burdensome, including charitable bequests in a will or trust was a good idea since it reduced the amount of tax the estate had to pay. Now, however, the federal estate tax applies only to…

Did you know that it may be possible to avoid paying immediate capital gains taxes when you sell an investment property? That’s true if you’re planning to sell the property and invest the proceeds in another property shortly afterward. For instance, suppose you own a condo as an investment, and you plan to sell it…

Many new business owners think it’s easy to set up an LLC. That’s partly the result of companies and websites that claim to offer simple, “standardized” LLC operating agreements. Just fill in the blanks and you’re off! In reality, there’s no such thing as a “standard” LLC operating agreement. You have many of choices to…

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The Ross Law Firm is a professional, thorough and friendly Illinois law firm serving the clients of Inverness, Barrington, Hoffman Estates, and Palatine. Other clients come from Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Oak Park, River Forest, Lake Zurich, Chicago and elsewhere. We have served clients from Kane County, Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, and McHenry County.

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