• What Happens to My Spouse’s Debts at Their Death?

    Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group A spouse’s death creates a difficult and demanding time for the surviving partner. As much as you might want space and time alone to process your grief, you may have certain responsibilities related to settling your deceased spouse’s affairs, including paying off their debt. Most Americans have some type of debt. The obligation to pay debts does not necessarily go away when a person dies. While most debts are paid by the deceased’s estate (money and property owned by the decedent at their death) and do not transfer to a surviving spouse […]

  • Important Questions to Ask When Investing in a Vacation Property

    Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group According to the National Association of Home Builders, in 2018 there were approximately 7.5 million second homes, making up 5.5 percent of the total number of homes. These homes are not only real estate that must be planned for, managed, and maintained, they are also the birthplace of happy memories for you and your loved ones. Following are some important estate planning questions to consider to ensure that your place of happy memories is protected. What Will Happen to the Property at Your Death? The fate of your vacation property at your […]

  • When Rock Legends Pass Away: The Possible Fates of Meat Loaf’s $40 Million Estate

    Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

    Meat Loaf, whose real name was Michael Lee Aday, passed away earlier this year at the age of seventy-four. The singer behind 1977’s Bat Out of Hell—one of the best-selling albums of all time—experienced ups and downs befitting his larger-than-life persona. He hit bottom with his 1983 bankruptcy but rode a 1990s career rebirth to newfound financial success. The musician, actor, and producer’s net worth was estimated to be $40 million at the time of his death in January 2022. There is no questioning the legacy of one of rock and roll’s biggest icons. But there are still unanswered legal […]

  • Legal Competency: When Is It Too Late to Create a Will, Trust or POA?

    Monday, June 13th, 2022

    RePosted by: Gina Salamone By: K. Gabriel Heiser, Medicaid Secrets Adult children may have to step in to help their aging parents. Perhaps Dad has fallen behind on his bills, or Mom is not making sound decisions when it comes to her medical care. Regardless of the reason, this transition of control over a loved one’s very personal affairs can be challenging. Unfortunately, many seniors are reluctant to plan for this possibility or even discuss it with their close family members. For example, creating a power of attorney (POA) document, which gives a trusted individual known as the “agent” the […]

  • Don’t Have a Lot of Money? Here Are Seven Ways You Can Still Leave Your Family a Great Legacy

    Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group Although the word “inheritance” usually conjures up images of property or accounts with significant monetary value, you can leave your family an even longer-lasting inheritance by doing these seven things, whether or not your bank account is overflowing. 1. Make a Plan Often, people who do not have a lot of money think that it is unnecessary to have an estate plan. After all, what is an estate plan without an estate? Yet estate planning is more than making sure a person’s wealth passes to the next generation. It also involves making […]

  • How to Determine if a Senior Needs Help at Home

    Monday, June 6th, 2022

    rePosted by Gina Salamone Article originally appearing at www.AgingCare.com, written by Mike Campbell Admitting the need for assistance—and accepting it—is not easy for people as they age. So, how will you know when your aging parent needs help at home? One thing is certain: Mom and Dad aren’t likely to be the ones who tell you! Seniors have a strong desire to remain independent and retain control of their own lives for as long as possible. Typically, an older adult will downplay or hide any issues they have been experiencing until an accident or sudden decline in their health makes […]

  • Make Sure Your Kids Are Prepared with This Summer Camp Checklist

    Tuesday, May 31st, 2022

    Summer camps are expected to be back in full swing this year after two pandemic summers forced them to close or operate at limited capacity. Camp is a great opportunity for kids to make new friends, try new activities, and gain self-confidence and resilience. But as parents and counselors know, a lot of preparation goes into making lasting summer camp memories. Camp is a unique experience, in part because it may be the only time during the year that kids are away from home—and parental supervision—for an extended period. Although the time spent apart can be positive for the parent-child […]

  • MEMORIAL DAY

    Monday, May 30th, 2022

    Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2022 occurs on Monday, May 30. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season. EARLY OBSERVANCES OF MEMORIAL DAY The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives […]

  • Estate Planning Lessons We Can Learn from Encanto

    Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Not only is Disney’s award-winning animated film Encanto hugely entertaining, it also contains the following valuable estate planning lessons: ● Leaving a family legacy is important and can have an impact beyond your immediate family. ● Be sure to consider the significance of multigenerational planning. ● Treating each beneficiary as a unique person is essential. ● Naming the “strongest” child as your fiduciary may not always be the most sensible decision. A Family Legacy Can Impact More Than Just Your Immediate Family In Encanto, the Madrigal family had received a “miracle,” and […]

  • Welcome to Huck Bouma!

    Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

    Huck Bouma is pleased to announce that effective June 1, 2022, Charles J. Bellock, Kimberly S. Coogan,  and Derek M. Johnson -all formerly of Bellock & Coogan, Ltd., – will be joining Huck Bouma PC and will continue their practice from Huck Bouma’s Wheaton office. By joining forces with Bellock & Coogan, our clients will benefit from the collective resources of the two firms. Both firms value the establishment of lasting relationships with clients that are built on trust, integrity, excellent service and effective communication. The addition of Bellock & Coogan will complement Huck Bouma’s significant breadth and depth of […]

  • An Estate Plan Should Not Be a Set-It-and-Forget-It Endeavor

    Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

    As we all know, life happens. There is really nothing we can do about it. However, some of the most common life events can have a dramatic effect on your estate plan. If you think your estate plan is like a slow cooker and you can set it and forget it, you and your loved ones may be in for a stomach-turning surprise when it is time to put your plan into action. Let us take a look at some common life changes and the impact they may have on your already established estate plan. Birth of a Child It […]

  • Welcome to Huck Bouma

    Monday, May 16th, 2022

    We are pleased to announce that Dennis J. McNicholas has joined Huck Bouma, effective April 1, 2022.  He will continue to operate from his current office location at 325 S. Main Street Lombard, IL 60148 until April 1, 2023. Dennis has been a senior partner at Dennis J. McNicholas, Ltd. where he had devoted his legal career to Estate Planning, Decedent’s Estates, Guardianship Estates, Elder Law, Elder Mediation, Real Estate, Mediation of Disputes and other related areas. As a point of interest, in 2017, Dennis was featured in Guideposts Magazine: “Could He Have a More Adventurous Life?” https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/health-and-wellness/living-longer-living-better/could-he-have-a-more-adventurous-life The attorneys […]

  • Incapacity Planning is Important

    Monday, May 16th, 2022

    As we age, our likelihood of mental incapacity increases. After all, our bodies and minds deteriorate as we age. Mental incapacity could result from dementia, stroke, brain injury, or other illness. What is mental incapacity and in what ways can you plan to be best prepared for it? You are mentally incapacitated if you are unable to carry out your affairs. Meaning, you can’t make meaningful decisions that are in your best interests regarding your finances or your property. Now that doesn’t mean that if you make financial decisions that others don’t agree with that you are incapacitated. Just because […]

  • Do You Update Your Estate Plan as Often as Your Resume?

    Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

    A resume is a snapshot of your experience, skill set, and education that provides prospective employers insight into who you are and how you will perform. Imagine not updating your resume for five, ten, or even fifteen years. Would it accurately reflect your professional abilities? Would it do what you want it to do? Probably not. Estate plans are similar in that they need to be regularly updated to reflect changes in your life and the law so they can do what you want them to do. Outdated estate plans, like outdated resumes, simply do not work. Take a Moment […]

  • Is Aging in Place Always the Best Option for Seniors?

    Monday, May 9th, 2022

    rePosted by Gina Salamone Article written by John Schappi (as appearing at AgingCare.com) As we age, most of us claim we want to age in place—to stay in the familiar homes we love throughout the rest of our lives. But many seniors don’t think this decision through and wind up unsafe, unsupported, lonely and even housebound. “Elder orphans” is the phrase du jour in the elder care industry. It describes seniors who are single or widowed and have no children (at least locally) and no support system. They find themselves living alone in the community with no one to help […]

  • If I Give My Home to My Child in My Will, Can They Take My Home While I Am Still Alive?

    Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group The short answer to this question is no. Naming your child as the recipient of your home in your Will does not give them any right to your home while you are still living. However, understanding why that is the correct answer requires a little more explanation. Title Is Key When it comes to real property such as a house, the person who has title to (or legal ownership of) the property controls the property. The title holder (owner) can lease, mortgage, refinance, sell, gift, or do anything else with the property. […]

  • Does a Domestic Partner Have the Same Rights as a Spouse When It Comes to Estate Planning?

    Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group The short answer to whether couples in a domestic partnership have the same rights as married couples when it comes to estate planning is probably not. To a large extent, the state in which you live, and maybe even the city or county, determines domestic partners’ rights. What Is a Domestic Partnership? Everyone knows what a marriage is, but not everyone knows what a domestic partnership is. To answer whether domestic partners have the same estate planning rights as married spouses, it is helpful to first define what a domestic partnership is. […]

  • Silent Trusts: Could I Be the Beneficiary of a Trust and Not Know It?

    Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group People who have accumulated a substantial amount of wealth during their lifetime are often reluctant to disclose the full extent of their wealth to their children. Although there may be a number of good reasons for high-net-worth individuals to create a trust with their children as beneficiaries, the phrase “trust fund baby” immediately brings to mind images of apathetic adults living lavish, substance-abusing lifestyles with no need or desire to work and no purpose or direction in life. Creating a silent trust may be the solution to such nightmarish beneficiary-gone-wrong scenarios. What […]

  • No Contribution Is Too Small

    Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

    Most American strive to earn a decent-sized paycheck to support themselves and their families when they go to work. Stay-at-home parents, however, work to provide valuable nonfinancial contributions to their families every day. They make sure that the home runs smoothly and that their family members have what they need to be successful and happy. If something were to happen to the stay-at-home parent, how would the family’s needs be met? Considerations Traditionally, the stay-at-home parent is responsible for ● childcare; ● cleaning and maintaining the home; ● driving family members to activities; ● preparing meals; ● purchasing clothes, personal […]

  • How to Prevent Senior Identity Theft

    Monday, April 11th, 2022

    Posted by Gina Salamone While anyone can end up the victim of fraud, senior citizens are particularly at risk. Older Americans in the U.S. lose $3 billion a year in financial scams, according to the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. The most common ways seniors fall victim to fraud are through technical support scams, fraudulent business opportunities, sweepstakes, and family or friend imposter scams. Not all senior fraud is the same. Sadly, it is not uncommon for close family members or caregivers to scam money from trusting older individuals. But senior citizens are increasingly at risk of identity theft […]

  • How to Protect Yourself from Claims of Self-Dealing When Serving as a Trustee

    Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group What Is Self-Dealing in Trust Administration? A trustee usually has quite a bit of discretion in the management of a trust’s accounts, money, and property (known as assets). At the same time, as a fiduciary, a trustee also owes the trust’s beneficiaries a duty of loyalty, which prohibits the trustee from self-dealing. In the simplest terms, self-dealing happens when a trustee uses the trust’s assets for their own benefit instead of for the beneficiaries’ benefit. Despite this simple definition, self-dealing can be much harder to identify in practice and is often done […]

  • What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

    Monday, April 4th, 2022

    Posted by:  Gina Salamone Medicare and Medicaid are two different government programs for healthcare. It is important to understand the difference between them. Here, we will discuss how the program benefits differ, how eligibility for each program is established, and discuss some recent news pertaining to each program. Medicare vs. Medicaid – What are the program benefits? Medicare is a program administered by the federal government to provide healthcare to certain populations. Original Medicare is divided into Parts A and B. Medicare Part A covers hospital care and a limited period of nursing home care, home health services, and hospice […]

  • Electronic Wills

    Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group What Is an Electronic Will? It was not very long ago that all legal documents were printed on paper and signed with a pen. But in today’s world, where we sign commercial contracts, create and run businesses, and buy everything from groceries to cars online, it seems almost prehistoric for state laws to require that someone appear in person in front of witnesses to sign a Will printed on paper. Under established law, a Will is generally not valid unless it is in writing, signed by the testator (creator of the Will) […]

  • Using Beneficiary/Transfer-on-Death Deeds

    Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group What Is a Transfer-on-Death Instrument? If you own real property, such as a home, in your sole name but you have not created a trust and transferred your property’s title to the trust, it is virtually guaranteed that your beneficiaries (or heirs) will have to deal with probate after your death. If the time and expense required to create a living trust does not make sense for your situation but you still want to avoid the probate process, a transfer-on-death instrument (TODI; it may be known by a different name, such as […]

  • Big Win for Medicare Recipients – Appeals Process Now Available

    Monday, March 21st, 2022

    Posted by Gina Salamone Medicare is a federal program that provides medical coverage to certain individuals – those over age 65, younger folks with disabilities, and people with End Stage Renal Disease. This coverage is critical to get those populations needed care. Medicare Part B covers things like doctor’s visits and outpatient care; it is not free. Medicare Part A provides coverage for hospital stays, certain stays in a long-term care facility, and some types of home health care. It is provided at no cost for individuals who have paid Social Security taxes for a proscribed amount of time. In […]

  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    Thursday, March 17th, 2022

  • When a Gift May Not Be a Gift

    Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group It is better to give than to receive. But if you give a gift above a certain amount, you might end up owing money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The federal tax code has very specific rules about how much you are allowed to transfer to others each year—and over the course of your lifetime—in the form of a gift. Any gifts above that amount may be subject to gift tax, which is paid by the giver. However, not every gift is subject to gift tax. There are annual exclusion amounts, […]

  • Talking to Your Parents About Estate Planning

    Monday, March 14th, 2022

    Posted by:  Gina Salamone For most of us, estate planning is one of the most challenging topics to discuss with our parents. Even broaching the subject can seem daunting. Despite the challenging nature of this subject, it is one of the most important conversations we can have with our parents. Having a thorough estate plan in place can mitigate confusion and anxiety at the end of one’s life and avoid unnecessary legal fees, taxes, and delays in the dispersion of assets. The first time our estate plans are likely to come into play will be near the end of our […]

  • Estate Planning Considerations for Couples with an Age Gap

    Tuesday, March 8th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group With couples of similar ages, planning for the future is naturally a joint effort. However, if you are married to someone who is significantly older or younger than you, the future can look different and mean different things to each of you. To protect yourself, your spouse, and other loved ones, you need to have comprehensive financial and estate plans. For these plans to work as intended, it is important that you have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about the following financial and estate planning topics. Views on Employment […]

  • What Is Undue Influence

    Monday, March 7th, 2022

    Posted by: Gina Salamone Undue Influence is when someone pressures another in such a way that the person being influenced is not acting by their own free will; they are being coerced into taking a certain action.  Undue influence often arises when a friend family member falls ill.  For example, mom has been diagnosed with cancer and her boyfriend influences her to change her estate plan so that all mom’s assets go to him instead of to her kids.  The plan is oftentimes carried out in secret and others don’t know about what has been done until after the one […]

  • Statements of Intent or Purpose in Estate Planning Documents

    Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group The reasons you, as a settlor, create a Living Trust (hereinafter trust) are certainly special and important to you, but your intent or purpose for creating a trust can also have significant legal ramifications. For this reason, it is often critical that a settlor express in writing their purpose for creating the trust. There are essentially two different ways of documenting a settlor’s intent—each has slightly different purposes, and sometimes both are generally called a “statement of intent.” Let us examine each of them. Statement of Intent or Purpose within the Trust […]

  • How to Care for Someone with Alzheimer’s

    Monday, February 28th, 2022

    Posted by: Gina Salamone Caring for the elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s is fundamentally different from caring for a healthy aging person, so family members of dementia patients tend to consider memory care.  Alzheimer’s is a disease that attacks a person’s brain cells affecting behavior, thoughts, and memory. The worst part about this disease is that it’s progressive. Furthermore, it doesn’t have a cure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2021, over 6 million Americans older than 65 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. 75 percent of this population is 75 years old and above. One in every nine people […]

  • Changes to the FAFSA Form and What It Means for Grandparents

    Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

    For grandparents who want to leave a legacy to their grandchildren, the gift of a Section 529 college savings plan is an option. Not only can opening a Section 529 plan account help a grandchild with educational expenses, it can also help grandparents with their estate planning goals. In the past, Section 529 plans had the potential to reduce student aid eligibility. However, changes to student aid application rules mean that soon, Section 529 distributions from grandparents will not count toward a student’s income on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the most-used financial aid form. This […]

  • Yours, Mine, and Ours: How Including a Pour-Over Trust Can Simplify Your Planning

    Tuesday, February 15th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group A number of married couples think about their accounts and property as “yours, mine, and ours,” especially if either or both spouses have gotten or will be getting remarried, married late in life, or have brought or will be bringing significant amounts of money and property into the marriage. Deciding what should happen to all these accounts and property at death can be a big undertaking. To help alleviate some of the stress that may come from making such decisions, a unique estate planning tool called the pour-over trust can be considered. […]

  • “Mind Your Loved Ones” App Stores Crucial Information

    Monday, February 14th, 2022

    Posted by: Gina Salamone More Americans than ever store and provide information through digital apps on smartphones and tablet devices. Whether engaging in online banking, using a mobile boarding pass, or creating work calendars shared in the cloud, the Internet of things provides needed connectivity. Yet critical medical information, health care directives, and other essential legal documents tend to remain in older storage formats, such as paper files or on-site at a hospital or doctor’s office. The American Bar Association Web site recommends an app called “Mind Your Loved Ones” (MYLO) that provides access to this critical information 24/7. The […]

  • Marital Disclaimers and the Clayton Election: Last-Minute Estate Tax Planning

    Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Deferring, minimizing, or avoiding estate taxes altogether is often an important estate planning goal for married couples. However, uncertainty surrounding what the estate tax laws and the value of their accounts and property will be at the first spouse’s death can leave a couple feeling that they need a crystal ball to make the right decisions. Using either a disclaimer or the so-called Clayton election as part of their estate plan can allow at least some hindsight and, consequently, peace of mind. Marital Deduction Planning and Marital Share Funding Formulas Before diving […]

  • Granny Cams: What’s the law?

    Monday, February 7th, 2022

    Posted by Gina Salamone When your loved one enters a nursing home or assisted living center, you expect them to be safe. You expect them to get the care they need in a peaceful environment. But do you ever wonder what happens when you aren’t there? Do you wonder if their care declines when no one is looking? Especially in light of the visiting restrictions and the inevitable increased stress of staff that COVID-19 has imputed upon residential care facilities, do you worry about your loved one’s care? Indeed, around 5 million nursing home residents are abused each year. Elder […]

  • QTIP Trust – Will My Spouse Get What He or She Needs?

    Tuesday, February 1st, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group What is a QTIP trust? A Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) trust is an estate planning tool that married couples can use to minimize uncertainty about the future and maximize certain tax advantages. Since no one can predict how much they will own at the time of their death, which spouse will die first, whether the surviving spouse will remarry, or what the estate tax rate will be when they die, a QTIP trust can help deal with and minimize these uncertainties without the need for a crystal ball. The most common […]

  • Can a Caregiver Change or Resign Power of Attorney Responsibilities?

    Monday, January 31st, 2022

    Posted by Gina Salamone There are a few legitimate reasons why family members may want to change an aging loved one’s power of attorney designation, or remove themselves from their responsibilities as POA. Of course, changes are easy to make if the principal is still mentally competent and wishes to name someone else (known as the agent) to act on their behalf. However, things can get complicated when a loved one is incapacitated and family members believe that a change is in order. There are a couple of different ways to go about this, but it depends on how a […]

  • Pour-Over Will: Not Your Average Will

    Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group Wills and Living Trusts are the two basic legal instruments that people use to pass accounts and property on to their loved ones at death. Although a Revocable Living Trust is often used in place of a Will, the two are not mutually exclusive. You can have both a Will and a Living Trust, and in fact, a special kind of Will—known as a Pour-Over Will—is commonly used alongside a Living Trust. A Pour-Over Will adds peace of mind to your Living Trust-based estate plan. If you neglect to transfer any accounts […]

  • Reach Your New Year’s Resolution of Being More Active

    Monday, January 24th, 2022

    Posted by Gina Salamone It’s a new year, with new New Year’s resolutions.  The statistics around New Year’s resolutions are a bit depressing – only about 44% of U.S. adults make resolutions.  Of those, nearly half are broken in the first month.  But if you look at why resolutions are broken, you can better beat the odds.  The primary reason resolutions are broken is a lack of motivation.  Not having a good plan and not having support were next in line.  Finally, folks set too many resolutions and had too ambitious goals.  You could surmise, then, that if you have […]

  • Bankruptcy’s Effects on Estate Planning

    Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group Bankruptcy may be one of the last things on your mind when you are creating an estate plan. Fortunately, the number of bankruptcy filings has declined over the past several years, but there were still a whopping 544,463 bankruptcy filings in 2020.[1] What happens to your estate if you file for bankruptcy protection but die while still in bankruptcy? What if one of your beneficiaries is in bankruptcy or is soon likely to be? None of us knows what the future holds, so you should consider these important issues in your estate […]

  • Beware of Senior Scams

    Monday, January 17th, 2022

    There are many, many good people in the world.  Some strangers would give you the shirt off their back, folks who volunteer their time to help others in need, and those who hold the door open for you as you are entering a store.  Especially in our tumultuous times, it is important to be kind and generous to our fellow neighbors.  However, with the good must come the bad.  There are scammers out there who prey on various populations, usually ones who are more vulnerable.  Beware of senior scams! What are some senior scams to be aware of? The ne’er-do […]

  • Live Webinar: Selling Your Company in Today’s M&A Market

    Friday, January 14th, 2022

    Today’s economy offers a trio of favorable conditions for mergers and acquisitions: a strong stock market, low interest rates and available capital. For business owners considering a sale, now is the ideal time to secure the perspective of knowledgeable specialists. Please join us for a dynamic panelist discussion with leading financial, M&A and legal advisors who will share insights on how to evaluate market opportunity, and whether and how to position your company for a successful sale. Thursday, January 27, 2022 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. EDT – LIVE WEBINAR Register Now Key Topics: The surge in M&A activity Current […]

  • Untangling Tangled Titles: Homeownership, Property Deeds, and Estate Planning

    Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

    Do you really own the home you live in? If you are currently living in a property that you inherited but the deed has not been transferred into your name, you may be surprised to learn that, under the law, you are technically not the owner. This legal situation is known as “tangled title.” A tangled title negatively impacts a property’s current occupant in a number of ways. It can also harm generational wealth and even contribute to fraud. For many households, most of their wealth is tied up in their home. However, until a tangled title is resolved, you […]

  • Consider Micro Estate Planning in the New Year

    Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group You are probably familiar with the idea and benefits of traditional estate planning: eliminating probate fees, lowering tax liabilities, and providing financial peace of mind and security for your loved ones. If you do not currently have an estate plan, you should consider getting one as soon as possible. But while many are aware of traditional estate planning techniques, they may not be familiar with the more short-term planning approach—often referred to as “micro” estate planning. Now would be a great time to sit down and put your short-term wishes in a […]

  • New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors

    Monday, January 3rd, 2022

    Happy New Year! The opportunity for a fresh start is now upon us. In 2022, set a goal that focuses on bettering your overall health, both physically and mentally. It’s easy to let a resolution get brushed under the rug, but it’ll be a priority if it’s something you’re truly passionate about changing.  Here are a few New Year’s resolutions we suggest considering: Keep Moving Physical activity can be safe and healthy for older adults — even if you have heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis! In fact, many of these conditions get better with mild to moderate physical activity. Exercises […]

  • Sharing Holiday Cheer

    Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

    December, 2021 In cooperation with The Noon Rotary Club of Naperville, Naperville Rotary After Dark and DQS Inc., Huck Bouma PC was honored to be able to share holiday cheer with local nursing home residents during this 2021 holiday season.   Huck Bouma employees and families prepared and delivered over 1,700 Christmas cards containing wishes for a most joyous holiday season, as well as words of encouragement to let residents know they are not forgotten. The received responses were deep and heartfelt. In the chaotic, bewildering moment that is today, the deep personal knowledge of community is important. A strong community […]

  • What Happens to your Social Media Accounts at Your Death

    Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

    Posted by the Life and Legacy Planning Group According to Statista, more than 295 million people in the United States use social media.[1] If you are an avid social media user, have you considered what will happen to your accounts when you die? If you have spent time creating, uploading, and sharing content, it is important to take a look now at what will happen after you pass away so you can determine your content’s future.  What happens to your Facebook account after you die? If You Do Nothing According to Facebook’s Help Center, they will memorialize your account if […]

  • Senior Living Facilities, Resident Holiday Celebration, and ‘Leave’

    Monday, December 20th, 2021

    Even as the U.S. closes in on a milestone of 200 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19, cases and hospitalizations are spiking again.  With the rise of the Omicron variant, holiday travel and visitation hopes are on a collision course with public health and safety. Now that the holiday season is here, senior living communities and long-term care facilities and their operators are struggling with the implications that ‘holiday leave’ could have on older adults’ wellbeing in their care. Unsurprisingly, senior living operators are taking a variety of approaches to limit the contagious spread of the coronavirus, particularly during the […]

  • Why You Might Want To Go Through Probate

    Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group Avoiding probate is a common goal for individuals deciding how they want their money and property to be handled when they pass. It is a worthy one and is regularly promoted by estate planning attorneys across the nation. However, probate is not an inherently bad process and does not always need to be avoided. Probate can be simply defined as the court-supervised process of distributing a deceased person’s money and property—the key word being “court-supervised.” Court supervision has both pros and cons. In most cases, emphasis is rightly placed on the complexities […]

  • IRS Dirty Dozen

    Monday, December 13th, 2021

    Posted by:  Gina Salamone Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) puts out their “dirty dozen” list. This is a list of scams that are prevalent that the IRS wants everyone to watch out for. Let’s see what’s going on in scammer-town this year. The scams fall into four main categories: pandemic-related scams; scams relating to personal information; schemes focusing on certain victims; and scams that persuade taxpayers into taking crooked actions. Pandemic Scams Due to the pandemic, the government passed legislation that provided financial help to individuals and businesses. A scam can focus on stealing these payments. The IRS […]

  • Mental Health Considerations in Estate Planning

    Tuesday, December 7th, 2021

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group It is okay to not be okay. Removing the stigma of mental health starts with realizing that many people—about one in five of all US adults–are affected by mental illness. Understanding this fact can lead to more people getting the help they require, not only by seeking guidance from a mental health expert, but also by planning for the future with mental health considerations in mind. The odds are that you or somebody in your family is living with a mental health condition. Rather than ignoring what might be an uncomfortable topic, […]

  • Reindeer Run 2021  

    Monday, December 6th, 2021

    Huck Bouma was pleased to be a sponsor of the Reindeer Run 2021, a 5K presented in partnership by the Wheaton Lions Club and the Wheaton Park District. This race was held Saturday, December 4, 2021; it began and ended in downtown Wheaton (at DuPage County Historical Museum).  The route went north through residential neighborhoods.  (This race is now running virtually – through December 18). Huck Bouma entered a team in this winter 5K, and fun was had by all!   Wheaton Lions Club Charities is proud to support programs that serve the visual and hearing impaired but also supports […]

  • Should You Consider a Life Estate for Your Home?

    Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group A home is often one of the most valuable items of property that someone will ever own. When it comes to ensuring that your home passes to the individual or group that you intend, there are a variety of ways to legally make that happen. The life estate is a less commonly used method. What is a life estate? A life estate, sometimes called a right of occupancy, is a property law concept that allows a property owner to split their interest in real estate and other types of property into different […]

  • Thank Seniors

    Monday, November 22nd, 2021

    Posted by:  Gina Salamone Thanksgiving provides the ideal setting for saying thank you and sharing experiences. To help you express your love and thanks this week, here are a few ideas of what you can do for the seniors in your life: Listen to them. Seniors have an abundance of wisdom to share and stories to tell. Take a moment to start a conversation. What do they remember about family Thanksgivings when they were younger? Give them a note or letter. Though written letters are a fading art form, take the time to write a simple thank you note or […]

  • What Is HEMS and Why Is It Included in So Many Trusts?

    Tuesday, November 16th, 2021

    In the world of estate planning, you may come across the acronym HEMS from time to time. HEMS stands for health, education, maintenance, or support and is frequently included in trust agreements to guide a trustee on the types of distributions they may make to a trust beneficiary. When a trustee is limited to this type of distribution standard, often called an ascertainable standard, they must ensure that whatever they distribute to the beneficiaries falls within one of the four categories. Failure to do so can have a variety of negative results, including tax consequences and loss of asset protection. […]

  • Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams

    Monday, November 15th, 2021

    Posted by:  Gina Salamone Due to the pandemic, the federal government enacted legislation that stipulated that banks and financial institutions could not initiate foreclosure proceedings against individuals.  That law expired on June 30, 2021.  With the end of the moratorium on foreclosures, a Harvard study estimates that 2.1 million households are behind on their mortgage payments. The study goes on to state that minority households were hit the hardest by the pandemic.  The study found that in early 2021, 17% of Black, 16% of Hispanic, and 16% of Asian-American homeowners were behind on mortgage payments.  White homeowners only accounted for […]

  • Trust Funding: Is Everything Titled Correctly?

    Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Working with an attorney to draft a trust agreement for estate planning purposes is an important step. But just getting the document drafted and signed is not enough. For any trust to be effective, you must complete the process of funding your trust as soon as you can. But what exactly is funding? A common way to think about funding is to imagine your trust as an empty bucket. For that bucket to be useful, it needs to be filled with something. In the case of a trust, that something is your […]

  • Veterans Day

    Monday, November 8th, 2021

    Veterans Day, a U.S. federal holiday, is a time to honor and thank those who are serving or have served in the military and are still with us. Veterans Day is different than Memorial Day, which is a day to reflect and remember those who lost their lives in service to their country. Veterans Day is marked by parades and church services and in many places the American flag is hung at half-mast. A period of silence lasting two minutes may be held at 11:00 a.m. This year, Veterans Day falls on Thursday, November 11. Some schools will be closed […]

  • What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

    Monday, November 1st, 2021

    Posted by:  Gina Salamone Medicare and Medicaid are two different government programs for healthcare.  It is important to understand the difference between them.  Here, we will discuss how the program benefits differ, how eligibility for each program is established, and discuss some recent news pertaining to each program. Medicare vs. Medicaid – What are the program benefits? Medicare is a program administered by the federal government to provide healthcare to certain populations. Original Medicare is divided into Parts A and B. Medicare Part A covers hospital care and a limited period of nursing home care, home health services, and hospice […]

  • What You Should Know about Life Insurance

    Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group Part of protecting your loved ones when you pass away is making sure that you have a proper estate plan in place. Another aspect is making sure that the right amount of money is available to carry out your goals for their futures. Life insurance has helped many people provide for their loved ones in the way they had envisioned. Setting up appropriate trusts can also keep the life insurance proceeds from being included in your taxable estate at your death. Who can benefit from life insurance? Many different types of people […]

  • You’re Driving Me Crazy!

    Monday, October 25th, 2021

    Posted by:  Gina Salamone Unsafe senior driving is a serious issue. When you see warning signs that your parent or spouse is no longer safe behind the wheel, it’s time to get them to stop driving. But some older adults stubbornly refuse to give up the keys, no matter what. You might have already done everything you can think of, like: Holding repeated conversations to ask them to stop Showing proof that they’re no longer safe drivers Calling a family meeting so it’s not just coming from you Reassuring them that they’ll still be able to go out Even after all that, […]

  • Decanting: Redoing Your Loved One’s Estate Plan

    Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group In a constantly evolving world, having the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances is a valuable trait. But is flexibility less important in estate planning than in other areas of life? In many situations, you may not want your estate planning documents to be flexible after you have signed them. If your planning could be changed on a whim, there is a risk that your intent can be defeated by someone who does not understand or respect it. This risk is the primary reason why, when a settlor (creator of a trust) […]

  • What Is a Separate Revocable Living Trust?

    Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

    Posted by: The Life and Legacy Planning Group When a couple engages in foundational estate planning, one of the first questions addressed by estate planning attorneys is whether it makes sense for the couple to use a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) as a part of their plan. If using an RLT makes sense, an important follow-up question to married couples should be whether it makes sense for them to use a joint RLT or separate RLTs. What Is a Revocable Living Trust? A trust is a legal concept that allows an individual (i.e., a grantor, settlor, trustor, or trustmaker) to […]

  • Make Gifts That Your Family Will Love but the IRS Won’t Tax

    Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Do not let constant political and financial speculation prevent you from making tax-free annual exclusion, medical-payment, and educational gifts to or for the benefit of your loved ones. Make Annual Exclusion Gifts Annual exclusion gifts are transfers of money or property in an amount or value that does not exceed the annual gift tax exclusion. In 2021, the annual gift tax exclusion is $15,000 per recipient. Therefore, this year you can give up to $15,000 per person to as many individuals as you choose without having to file a federal gift tax […]

  • Par-Tee on the Par Three

    Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

    On September 23, Huck Bouma was proud to support the Wheaton Area Chamber of Commerce as an Event Sponsor for a hole at the Business after Hours event held at the Cantigny Golf Youth Links, Par-Tee on the Par Three. A beautiful way to support our community while also enjoying a short round of late afternoon golf. Left to Right:  Bruno Tabis (Huck Bouma attorney); R. Matthew Schroeder (Huck Bouma attorney); Jeff Reiter (Senior Manager, Communications at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation); Chad Pedigo (Vice President of Development, DuPage Pads)

  • What if I Can Find Only Photocopies or Digital Copies of My Estate Planning Documents?

    Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group If you were to ask attorneys across the country how often they get phone calls like the following, the answer (“very frequently”) may surprise you. The phone call might go something like this: “Hi, this is John Jones. My dad, Bill Jones, passed away recently and we have torn the house apart looking for his estate planning documents. But despite our best efforts, we can’t find his Will or Living Trust anywhere! I know he did an estate plan with your office a few years ago, but we are at a total […]

  • What Happens to Your Digital Movies When You Die? (Hint: Read the Fine Print in the User Agreement)

    Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

    In today’s digital age, many people have a library of digital assets that may include items such as books, music, and movies. One of the perceived benefits of owning these digital items is having a convenient way to access your favorite media indefinitely with just a few mouse clicks.

  • Mary Morrissey – Rotarian of the Year

    Thursday, July 1st, 2021

    Huck Bouma is pleased to announce that the Naperville After Dark Rotarian of the Year honors went to office manager, Mary Morrissey. Mary served as Membership Chair and championed the club’s Adopt a Grandparent projects that helped so many local seniors. Mary, pictured with Naperville After Dark president, Kristy Sullivan. Congratulations Mary!

  • Mary Morrissey

    Thursday, July 1st, 2021

    >>DuPagePads Welcomes New Board Members “Huck Bouma PC is pleased to announce that office manager, Mary Morrissey was recently welcomed by DuPagePads to serve on its Board of Directors.  Mary is one of five recently-added board members. Board chair, Vickie Tabbert, expressed her excitement for the onboarding of these new leaders sharing “One of the most critical components of the success of an organization is the leadership that guides it to achieve its mission. In an organization like DuPagePads that leadership comes from the Board of Directors. “These individuals volunteer their time and offer their expertise to help the organization achieve its […]

  • How the Employee Onboarding Process Can Affect Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

    Starting a new job is an exciting new chapter in your life. Depending on your company’s onboarding process, there can be a lot of moving parts.

  • Vaccines in the Workplace

    Monday, June 28th, 2021

    On June 15, 2021, Huck Bouma senior director Brian K. LaFratta participated in the Naperville Chamber of Commerce panel discussion series entitled “Vaccines in the Workplace.” The webinar discussion provided insights to employers regarding the legalities of requiring COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, guidance on incentive programs and other considerations regarding vaccinations. Brian was joined by  Michael Carney, senior vice president of emerging issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Nate Hoke, Human Resources Specialist at Insperity; and Laura Garafolo, Employment Attorney, Laura Garofalo Law, LLC. To watch the full event, visit https://www.nctv17.com/news/what-employers-should-know-about-covid-19-vaccines/

  • Why Is My Trust So Long?

    Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

    Creating a comprehensive plan for your future involves numerous different and critical elements. Working with a lawyer to create an estate plan, with its various documents, provisions, and pages, is comparable to hiring a plumber to fix a complicated problem.

  • The Differences Between the Types of Care

    Monday, June 21st, 2021

    When placing your loved one into a senior community, it is important to know what level of care they need. However, it is often difficult to determine one level from another.

  • Aaron E. Ruswick – DCBA Lawyer of the Year

    Friday, June 18th, 2021

    Huck Bouma is pleased to announce that shareholder Aaron E. Ruswick has been selected by the DuPage County Bar Association as the organization’s 2021 Lawyer of the Year. He was officially recognized June 15, 2021, at a ceremony at Klein Creek Golf Club. Fantastic acceptance speech. Congratulations, Aaron!  

  • Brian LaFratta

    Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

    “On June 15, 2021, Huck Bouma senior director Brian K. LaFratta will be speaking at the Naperville Chamber of Commerce panel discussion series entitled “Vaccines in the Workplace.” This webinar will provide insights to employers regarding legalities of requiring COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, guidance on incentive programs and other considerations regarding vaccinations. Brian will be joining Michael Carney, senior vice president of emerging issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Nate Hoke, Human Resources Specialist at Insperity; and Laura Garafolo, Employment Attorney, Laura Garofalo Law, LLC.”

  • DuPagePads Welcomes New Board Members

    Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

    Huck Bouma PC is pleased to announce that office manager, Mary Morrissey was recently welcomed by DuPage Pads to serve on its Board of Directors.

  • The Trust Protector: Your Guardian Angel

    Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

    Traditionally, the three roles that must be filled when setting up a trust are the settlor (also called a grantor, trustor, or trustmaker), the trustee, and the beneficiary. All three roles are necessary to create a trust that functions properly.

  • Caregivers in Crisis

    Monday, June 14th, 2021

    A caregiver tending to a loved one, a care partner, during a crisis is challenging, and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic deems that being prepared is more important than ever before.

  • Patrick B. Hurley

    Thursday, June 10th, 2021

    Patrick Hurley recently represented a client in a nine-day divorce trial in DuPage County Circuit Court. The case involved a variety of complex issues, including contested child custody, dissipation of marital assets, the authenticity of an $80,000 promissory note, and the children’s educational model. During the pendency of the case, which lasted more than two years, the client’s husband was represented by five different attorneys. Pat’s client was awarded primary residential parent status, despite the recommendation of the husband’s retained custody expert. Pat’s client likewise prevailed with regard to several claims of dissipation of marital assets, defeated the husband’s claim of […]

  • Living, Testamentary, and Constructive Trusts: Are They All the Same?

    Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

    In the world of estate planning, terms that refer to legal documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives can be confusing and even overwhelming at times. What is a will, and how does it differ from a trust?

  • Congratulations to Patrick B. Hurley!

    Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

    Patrick Hurley recently represented a client in a nine-day divorce trial in DuPage County Circuit Court. The case involved a variety of complex issues, including contested child custody, dissipation of marital assets, the authenticity of an $80,000 promissory note, and the children’s educational model.

  • Older American Workers Can Help Alleviate Workforce Needs

    Monday, June 7th, 2021

    American industries can also benefit from increasing older workforce opportunities, such as manufacturing and the food service/hospitality industry, where they face labor shortages.

  • Creating a Treasure Map: The Benefits of Preparing an Inventory before Death

    Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

    A detailed inventory of all of your accounts and property is crucial for helping your loved ones manage your legal and financial affairs effectively.

  • Memorial Day

    Monday, May 31st, 2021

    Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2021 occurs on Monday, May 31.

  • Aaron E. Ruswick – DCBA Lawyer of the Year

    Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

    Huck Bouma is pleased to announce that shareholder Aaron E. Ruswick has been selected by the DuPage County Bar Association as the organization’s “2021 Lawyer of the Year”. He will be officially recognized June 15, 2021, at a ceremony at Klein Creek Golf Club. Congratulations, Aaron!

  • What to Know If Your Deceased Loved One Owned Firearms

    Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

    When you are handling a deceased loved one’s final affairs, you must consider the chance that your loved one owned one or more firearms at the time of death.

  • “Mind Your Loved Ones” App Stores Crucial Information

    Monday, May 24th, 2021

    More Americans than ever store and provide information through digital apps on smartphones and tablet devices. Whether engaging in online banking, using a mobile boarding pass, or creating work calendars shared in the cloud, the Internet of things provides needed connectivity

  • Selling a Deceased Loved One’s Real Estate: Things You Need to Know

    Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

    After the death of a loved one, such as a parent, there are a variety of tasks that must be handled to wrap up your loved one’s final affairs. Selling your deceased loved one’s real estate is one of the more daunting ones.

  • Simultaneous Deaths: What If My Spouse and I Die at the Same Time?

    Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

    The chances of a married couple dying in a common accident or within a very short time of one another are probably quite slim. However, it does happen.

  • Dementia Affects Famous and Everyday People

    Monday, May 10th, 2021

    We help families create plans that address long-term care concerns, financial issues such as how to pay for care, and tax issues. Many clients of ours have a dementia diagnosis and we understand the challenges that come with such a diagnosis.

  • It’s All in the Family: Understanding Common Legal Terms That Describe Loved Ones in Estate Planning

    Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

    Many do-it-yourself estate and trust documents do not accurately define and distinguish the different groups, and if you are not aware of the distinctions, you may believe that you are protecting someone when you are not.

  • Why Unmarried Partners Should Care about Estate Planning

    Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

    More people are entering long-term committed relationships without getting married. Many state and federal laws do not protect unmarried couples as they do married couples when it comes to inheritance, taxes, and decision-making powers.

  • Options for Establishing and Transferring Your IRA to a Loved One

    Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

    Now, more than ever before, Americans are using a variety of tax-deferred accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs to save for retirement.

  • Do I Have to Leave Anything to My Children?

    Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

    One common storyline in Hollywood movies is the rich father disinheriting the family outcast. The story usually traces the child’s attempts to win the father over and be considered a part of the family again. But can fiction imitate reality? Can you actually disinherit a child?

  • Polypharmacy and the Elderly

    Monday, April 12th, 2021

    Polypharmacy is the concurrent use of multiple medications, usually five or more, and is prevalent in the elderly American population.

  • Is Your Estate Plan Incapacity Proof?

    Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

    For most people, it is perfectly natural to think about estate planning only in terms of planning for death. While planning for your death is very important, if that is all you plan for, your planning can quickly become woefully inadequate.

  • April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

    Monday, April 5th, 2021

    Every month of April, the global Parkinson’s community engages to support awareness of Parkinson’s disease (“PD”), a disease whose cause remains largely unknown although treatment options exist. This year the Parkinson’s Foundation campaign theme is #KnowMorePD. 

  • Caution: Creditors Are a Threat to Inherited Retirement Accounts

    Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

    Do you have an individual retirement account or other type of retirement account that you plan to leave to your loved ones? If so, proceed with caution.

  • Five Reasons to Protect Your Retirement Accounts Now

    Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

    Your retirement account provides asset protection during your lifetime, but as soon as you pass that account to a loved one, that protection evaporates.

  • How to Thrive as a Family Caregiver

    Monday, March 22nd, 2021

    If something should happen to your health, have you put into writing who should make decisions for you, who should manage your affairs, and what your wishes are regarding your care? If not, the time couldn’t be better.

  • Caution: Creditors Are a Threat to Inherited Retirement Accounts

    Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

    Inherited retirement accounts do not have asset protection when they pass to your loved ones, meaning creditors can seize the money in the accounts to satisfy any claims against your beneficiaries.

  • What You Should Know about Life Insurance Settlements

    Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

    When an insured party sells a life insurance policy to a third party investor, the transaction is called a life settlement.

  • Health Insurers are Rolling Back Telehealth Coverage

    Monday, March 8th, 2021

    Health systems and hospitals have been coping with unprecedented challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Including Noncitizens in Your Estate Planning

    Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

    With our society becoming increasingly mobile and international travel becoming more affordable than ever before, families and family-like relationships have steadily grown far more diverse in terms of citizenship.

  • The Growing Need for Geriatric Care Managers

    Monday, March 1st, 2021

    A geriatric care manager is a highly skilled advocate for older adults and is specially trained to help identify resources to make managing your loved one’s daily life easier.

  • Adopt-A-Grandparent Campaign

    Thursday, February 25th, 2021

    Huck Bouma PC along with others, participated in the National Campaign – Adopt-A-Grandparent, as seen on WGN. We would like to thank Michelle from Awesome Balloons Creations for creating these darling Balloon Buddies for the residents of Independence Village in Naperville. With the support of donations from Michelle Tibble herself, Huck Bouma, and Naperville Rotary After Dark, we were able to provide a balloon buddy for each of the 48 residents. Nothing but joy and kindness was spread from the delivery of the buddies for all the residents, Huck Bouma Staff, and members of Naperville Rotary After Dark.

  • Adopt-A-Grandparent Campaign

    Thursday, February 25th, 2021

    Huck Bouma PC along with others, participated in the National Campaign – Adopt-A-Grandparent, as seen on WGN.

  • Reviewing Your Estate Plan after the Death of a Loved One

    Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

    Although your estate plan primarily focuses on what will happen if you become incapacitated (unable to make or communicate your wishes) or die, the death of a loved one can have a major impact on your planning.

  • Ways to Leave Your Real Estate to Your Loved Ones (and the Pros and Cons)

    Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

    it is important to understand that real estate can be owned in several ways, each of which has important legal consequences when it comes to leaving that real estate to your loved ones upon your death.

  • Elder Abuse During the Coronavirus Pandemic

    Monday, February 15th, 2021

    Elder abuse manifests itself in many different ways and different types of abuse may present themselves in older adults’ lives concurrently.

  • What If I Can’t Find My Loved One’s Documents?

    Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

    If a loved one has recently died or become mentally incapacitated, finding the person’s estate planning documents is essential.

  • Severing Joint Ownership of Property

    Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

    Many individuals fail to realize that joint tenancy survivorship provisions will nearly always override the provisions of a will or a trust agreement.

  • Coping With More Days of Pandemic Uncertainty

    Monday, February 1st, 2021

    We have vaccines, however the rollout has been slower than expected. COVID 19 is raging throughout many states. So how do we continue to maintain strong mental health during the next several months after enduring so much already?

  • Five Mistakes Successor Trustees Make (and How to Prevent Them)

    Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

    Even the most capable, well-intentioned successor trustees can make mistakes when managing affairs. Here are five surprisingly common mistakes along with steps to take to prevent them from happening.

  • Who Should I Choose to Be Successor Trustee?

    Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

    When you create a living trust, you must name a successor trustee to take over for you if you are unable to act due to incapacity or death. It is crucial that this decision be given careful consideration and that the right person be selected for the job.

  • The Importance of a Successor Trustee

    Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

    You have already taken the first step by including a revocable living trust in your estate plan. Because we never know what the future holds, now is the best time to start having discussions with your successor trustee about your wishes and intentions.

  • Americans Over 65 Having Trouble Meeting Basic Needs

    Monday, January 11th, 2021

    It is nothing short of a national tragedy; 45% of aging Americans are not financially able to meet their most basic needs.

  • Consider Micro Planning in the New Year

    Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

    As with traditional estate plans, “micro” estate planning can help you plan ahead for the “what if” situations that may arise during your lifetime.

  • Ten Organizations that Provide Resources for Seniors Who Live Independently

    Monday, January 4th, 2021

    Independent living for aging Americans should be an enjoyable, rewarding time of life. Aging in place is becoming particularly attractive to baby boomers who prefer the dignity and quality of life living at home while employing online resources (many of which are available in Spanish) to help them meet the needs of living safely, healthily, and happily.

  • Protecting Your Significant Other’s Future

    Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

    While wedding planning most often includes tuxedos, dresses, rehearsal dinners, and guest lists, an often overlooked part of pending nuptials is estate planning.

  • New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors

    Monday, December 28th, 2020

    It’s easy to let a resolution get brushed under the rug, but it’ll be a priority if it’s something you’re truly passionate about changing.

  • Receiving Christmas Cheer

    Thursday, December 24th, 2020

    Christmas, 2020 posed a whole new set of challenges for nursing home residents, with holiday visits from loved ones limited, and, in some cases not allowed at all due to COVID-19. Huck Bouma PC shared holiday cheer with local nursing home residents by preparing and delivering over 1,200 Christmas cards containing wishes for a most joyous holiday season as well as words of encouragement to let them know they are not forgotten. The received responses were deep and heartfelt. In the chaotic, bewildering moment that is today, the deep personal knowledge of community is important. A strong community provides an […]

  • Receiving Christmas Cheer

    Thursday, December 24th, 2020

    2020 posed a whole new set of challenges for nursing home residents, with holiday visits from loved ones limited, and, in some cases not allowed at all due to COVID-19.

  • Should You Own Your Timeshare in Your Trust?

    Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

    Timeshares have come a long way since they first arrived in the real estate market back in the ’70s. In the early days of timeshare ownership, high-pressure sales tactics, exceedingly vague contracts, and inflexible scheduling policies caused many people to quickly regret such purchases.

  • Ways to Help Seniors have a Happy Holiday

    Monday, December 21st, 2020

    The holidays are a time for giving and thoughtfulness. Keep your loved ones in mind and help them have a wonderful holiday with you, however you are able to celebrate this year!

  • Delivering Christmas Cheer

    Friday, December 18th, 2020

    The holidays can be a hard and lonely time for nursing home residents any year, but 2020 poses a whole new set of challenges with visits from loved ones limited, and, in some cases not allowed at all due to COVID-19. Most nursing home residents have been on lockdown – meaning no congregate meals, confined to their rooms, and without family, friend, chaplain, and volunteer visitors. The nursing home staff are exhausted due to covering for staffing shortages and remain dedicated, compassionate, and supportive of the residents. The December 15 morning editorial in the Chicago Tribune has caught the attention of many people […]

  • Delivering Christmas Cheer

    Friday, December 18th, 2020

    Huck Bouma PC has shared holiday cheer with local nursing home residents by preparing and delivering over 1,200 Christmas cards containing wishes for a most joyous holiday season as well as words of encouragement to let them know they are not forgotten.

  • Spreading Christmas Cheer

    Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

    The holidays can be a hard and lonely time for nursing home residents any year, but 2020 poses a whole new set of challenges with visits from loved ones limited, and, in some cases not allowed at all due to COVID-19. Huck Bouma PC has decided to share holiday cheer with local nursing home residents by delivering  Christmas cards containing wishes for a most joyous holiday season as well as words of encouragement to let them know they are not forgotten. It is the little things in life that will go a very long way this holiday season.  

  • Spreading Christmas Cheer

    Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

    Huck Bouma PC has decided to help bring some holiday cheer to local nursing home residents by sending Christmas cards containing wishes for a most joyous holiday season as well as words of encouragement to let them know they are not forgotten. 

  • The Recipe for a Satisfying Estate Plan

    Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

    Estate planning is the process of making decisions about what happens to you, your money, and your property when you pass away or can no longer make decisions for yourself. Thus, estate planning should be standard practice for every adult age eighteen or older.

  • Senior Living Facilities, Resident Holiday Celebration, and ‘Leave’

    Monday, December 14th, 2020

    The holiday season is here.  Senior living communities and long-term care facilities and their operators are struggling with the implications that ‘holiday leave’ could have on older adults’ wellbeing in their care.

  • Lawyers Lending A Hand Toy Drive

    Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

    Huck Bouma is proud to participate in the 2020 ‘Lawyers Lending a Hand Toy Drive’, sponsored by the DuPage County Bar Association (DCBA). A donation box will be available in the Huck Bouma office reception area at 1755 South Naperville Road, Suite 200, Wheaton, IL. Nothing can stop the spirit of giving! Visit the DCBA website, to view more information as it becomes available. collections will be accepted until 5:00pm on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

  • Lawyers Lending A Hand Toy Drive

    Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

    Huck Bouma is proud to participate in the 2020 ‘Lawyers Lending a Hand Toy Drive’, sponsored by the DuPage County Bar Association (DCBA). 

  • You Inherited a Retirement Account: Now What?

    Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

    Common financial planning wisdom has encouraged almost all American workers to maximize their contributions to qualified retirement accounts. Indeed, doing so can be a powerful way to reduce your current income tax liability, grow your savings exponentially tax-free, and, in most states, protect your savings from claims of creditors.

  • Six Social Security Changes Taking Effect on January 1, 2021

    Monday, December 7th, 2020

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes upcoming changes to its social security program every October that take effect on January 1 of the next year. It is good practice to create what is known as a “mySocial Security” account with the SSA here by clicking the “Create Your Account Today” button.

  • Estate Planning as a Powerful Exercise in Optimism

    Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

    We can help you think through and identify the ways you can incorporate positivity into your estate planning, which will provide you with the confidence and peace of knowing that you are not only providing your family with financial security, but also that you are leaving a positive legacy that will promote your loved ones’ physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing and future success. 

  • National Family Caregiver Support Month

    Monday, November 30th, 2020

    November is National Family Caregiver Support Month. Even if you are not a family caregiver, you probably know someone who is.

  • How Refinancing Your Property Can Affect Your Estate Planning

    Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

    One often overlooked consideration is the impact that refinancing your home could have on your estate plan.

  • Simple Ways to Thank Seniors This Thanksgiving

    Monday, November 23rd, 2020

    Thanksgiving provides the ideal setting for saying thank you and sharing experiences. To help you express your love and thanks this week, we have a few simple ideas that you can do for the seniors in your life.

  • What Is a Medallion Signature Guarantee, and Do I Need One?

    Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

    A Medallion Signature Guarantee is a unique tool used to protect the transfer of certain accounts and property from fraudulent transfers and may be required during the transfer of certain stocks and bonds.

  • How Technology Helps Seniors Stay Socially Engaged While Socially Distancing

    Monday, November 16th, 2020

    Help your loved one to leverage digital technology and the internet to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic. There is still hope and human connection available, and vulnerable and isolated seniors are in desperate need of both.

  • How to Own Your Real Estate

    Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

    Real estate encompasses not only one’s primary residence but also other real estate such as a vacation home or a rental property. The ideal form of ownership varies depending on the type of real estate you own.

  • Revocable Trust vs. Irrevocable Trust: Which Is Best for You?

    Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

    In its most simple terms, a trust is a book of instructions wherein you tell your trusted people what to do, and when to do it.

  • Residents in Care Facilities Find Voting Challenging During COVID-19

    Monday, November 2nd, 2020

    Voting is an important right that registered voters of all ages should be allowed to exercise without undue hardship.

  • Buyer Beware: How to Avoid Estate Planning Scams

    Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

    Imagine spending thousands of dollars on an estate plan to protect loved ones, only to find that no true protection exists. Unfortunately, this scenario happens on a regular basis to individuals who are victims of estate planning schemes.

  • Ten Tips to Help Seniors Reduce the Risk of Falling

    Monday, October 26th, 2020

    Every year 3 million older Americans seek treatment at a hospital after they have fallen. Tragically, more than 27 thousand of them will die because of their fall injuries.

  • A Paralegal’s Guide to Putting Out Fires: Distraught Clients and More

    Friday, October 23rd, 2020

    Huck Bouma paralegal, Erika Jurgenson, will be a featured speaker during the Institute for Paralegal Education Audio Webinar, “A Paralegal’s Guide to Putting Out Fires: Distraught Clients and More”.  Erika will be providing ‘Insightful Tips to Help You Work Through Any Problem.’ This Audio Webinar will be held Tuesday, December 1, 2020, 10:00am – 11:00am (CDT). Register today at 800-793-5274, or visit https://ipe.nbi-sems.com/87908ER.

  • A Paralegal’s Guide to Putting Out Fires: Distraught Clients and More

    Friday, October 23rd, 2020

    Huck Bouma paralegal, Erika Jurgenson, will be a featured speaker during the Institute for Paralegal Education Audio Webinar, “A Paralegal’s Guide to Putting Out Fires: Distraught Clients and More”.

  • Can an Estate Plan Include a Right of First Refusal on Certain Property?

    Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

    Estate planning attorneys are occasionally asked by clients whether an estate plan can include a right of first refusal (ROFR) (sometimes called a first right of refusal) on certain items or parcels of property.

  • Succession Planning Alternatives for Law Practices

    Monday, October 19th, 2020

    Huck Bouma Shareholder, Aaron Ruswick will be the featured speaker on a live Webinar via Zoom, hosted by the DuPage County Bar Association on Friday, October 23, 2020 (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CST). Succession planning alternatives for smaller law firms will be explored, including a review of sale, merger, buy-sell agreement, and doing nothing. The current rules and ethics regarding succession planning will also be discussed. Register for this Webinar by visiting the DuPage County Bar Association website at https://www.dcba.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1431980&group= Questions? Please contact Deb Kennedy at dkennedy@dcba.org or 630-653-7779. Only DCBA Members will qualify for PRMCLE credit. Electronic handouts will be provided […]

  • Succession Planning Alternatives for Law Practices

    Monday, October 19th, 2020

    Huck Bouma Shareholder, Aaron Ruswick will be the featured speaker on a live Webinar via Zoom, hosted by the DuPage County Bar Association on Friday, October 23, 2020 (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CST).

  • Deeper Dive into Advance Healthcare Directives

    Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

    When it comes to your health care, especially during these uncertain times, you need to ensure that three estate planning documents, in particular, are up to date.

  • Five Facts to Know About Dementia Caregiving

    Monday, October 12th, 2020

    The prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease in the American population, is creating difficult caregiving experiences for the family members who are primarily responsible for providing care.

  • Working Under Pressure and Managing Deadlines

    Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

    Huck Bouma paralegal, Erika Jurgenson, will be a featured speaker during an upcoming Institute for Paralegal Education Audio Webinar, “A Paralegal’s Guide to Working Under Pressure and Meeting Deadlines”. 

  • Wills vs. Trusts: A Quick & Simple Reference Guide

    Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

    While some of the differences between a will and trust are subtle; others are not.

  • Working Under Pressure and Managing Deadlines

    Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

    Huck Bouma paralegal, Erika Jurgenson, will be a featured speaker during the Institute for Paralegal Education Audio Webinar, “A Paralegal’s Guide to Working Under Pressure and Meeting Deadlines”.  Erika will specifically address the topics ‘Secrets to Performing Better Under Pressure Prioritizing’ and ‘Staying Organized and in Control’. This Audio Webinar will be held Thursday, October 29, 2020, 10:00am – 11:00am (CDT). Register today at 800-793-5274, or visit https://ipe.nbi-sems.com/87766ER  

  • The Top Ten Myths About Risks for Alzheimer’s Disease

    Monday, October 5th, 2020

    Projections for increasing numbers of Alzheimer’s patients in the coming decades is cause for concern. Studies have identified Ten Persistent Myths about Alzheimer’s that should be dispelled for clarity’s sake and because worry increases stress levels, which is bad for overall brain health.

  • Wealth Transfer Strategies to Consider in an Election Year

    Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

    With a push by the Democratic party to return federal estate taxes to their historic norms, taxpayers need to act now before Congress passes legislation that could adversely impact their estates.

  • Fox Valley Chapter ICPAS Day of Service – FOOD DRIVE

    Monday, September 28th, 2020

    On Wednesday, September 30, 2020 (3:00pm to 5:00pm), The Fox Valley Chapter of the Illinois CPA Society will be sponsoring a Food Drive to support the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry. 

  • Fox Valley Chapter ICPAS Day of Service – FOOD DRIVE

    Monday, September 28th, 2020

    On Wednesday, September 30, 2020 (3:00pm to 5:00pm), The Fox Valley Chapter of the Illinois CPA Society  was proud to be able to sponsor a Food Drive to support the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry.  The parking lot of the Huck Bouma office building at 1755 S. Naperville Road, Wheaton, IL served as a drop off location. UPDATE 10-26-2020 2:00 pm Thanks to all who contributed to the Food Drive for the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry.  The Fox Valley Chapter of the The Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS) came out strong as we were able to fill ICPAS member Dawn Griffin’s van, […]

  • Living Alone in Your 50s and 60s Increases Your Risk of Dementia by 30 Percent

    Monday, September 28th, 2020

    Living arrangements for aging Americans are decidedly leaning towards aging in place. Nearly all older adults prefer to age in the comfort of their long-time homes and familiar community surroundings.

  • COVID-19 and Minor Children: Things to Consider Now

    Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

    Protecting your family is important, especially when you have minor children, and even more so now that we are living through a pandemic.

  • Developing an Effective COVID-19 Vaccine for the Elderly is a Challenge

    Monday, September 21st, 2020

    If the development of a COVID-19 vaccine specifically for the elderly remains elusive, scientists are hopeful that immunizing others around them can make a difference.

  • Wheaton Lions Club Food Drive; September 14 – September 28

    Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

    is honored to participate in the Wheaton Lions Club Food Drive to Fight Hunger in Our Community! Monday, September 14th thru Monday, September 28th The Wheaton Lions Club is partnering with Wheaton and Carol Stream businesses to collect non-perishable food Please join this community effort and donate! People’s Resource Center’s (PRC) will be the beneficiary of all donations. This project is part of the Wheaton Lions “Focus on Hunger” which also supports the clubs’ primary “Pillars of Service” for the community. The current list of items in greatest demand includes: Canned vegetables Canned and dry beans Rice (white or brown) […]

  • Wheaton Lions Club Food Drive; September 14 – September 28

    Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

    Huck Bouma is honored to participate in the Wheaton Lions Club Food Drive to fight hunger in our communities.

  • Millennials, You Need an Estate Plan Too

    Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

    You may think that estate planning is only for the elderly. However, even if you are young, an estate plan is crucial, regardless of whether you have accumulated much money or property.

  • Pandemic Scams

    Monday, September 14th, 2020

    The advent of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has given rise to many new internet and telephone, text, and even in-person scams.

  • Why Your Heirs or Beneficiaries May Receive a Smaller Inheritance Than You Thought

    Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

    Allowing an heir or beneficiary to mentally spend an inheritance before receipt can be dangerous. An estate may have to settle a number of expenses that can cause the amount an heir or beneficiary ultimately receives to differ significantly from what was expected.

  • Labor Day 2020

    Monday, September 7th, 2020

    Always the first Monday in September, Labor Day was the idea of Peter J. Maguire, a labor union leader who in 1882 proposed a celebration honoring the American worker.

  • Avoiding Financial Grief: How to Protect Your Significant Other from Frozen Accounts

    Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

    Dealing with the financial stress of frozen bank accounts can exacerbate the stress experienced with the loss of a loved one.

  • Considerations Before Heading South for the Winter

    Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

    For many snowbirds, cooler weather means it is time to head south. If you are thinking about heading for warmer weather this winter, there are a few things you should consider before hitting the road.

  • Recent Gains in Alzheimer’s and ALS Research

    Monday, August 24th, 2020

    Now there is some good news for the huge numbers of people suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia and ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

  • Seven Ways to Avoid Family Fights over Your Property

    Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

    Far too many families end up fighting, or at least experiencing tension, over a family inheritance. But it does not have to be that way.

  • New Guidelines for Special Education Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Monday, August 17th, 2020

    The US Department of Education is providing details about how states, schools, and parents can best address student special education needs during the COVID-19 pandemic while still following the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

  • Estate Planning for Franchise and Multilevel Marketing Business Owners

    Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

    If you have an interest in an MLM business or franchise, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with any provisions in the contract affecting your ability to transfer your interest to your beneficiaries, and a copy of the agreement should be provided to your estate planning attorney.

  • Alzheimer’s and Family Caregiving

    Monday, August 10th, 2020

    This year, in 2020, a significant portion of the American baby boomer generation has reached the age of 65 or older, which increases their risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia diseases.

  • Education Funding Flexibility in Light of COVID-19

    Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

    Some techniques for funding education expenses require that the funds be spent only on certain items to take full advantage of tax breaks and incentives.

  • Summer Vacation Plans? Precautions and Preparations to Consider

    Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

    After months of near confinement in our homes, many of us are stir-crazy and eager to travel to a vacation destination. Although more states are opening up, there are several precautions to consider and preparations to make as you plan your summer travels.

  • Isolation Due to COVID-19 May Increase the Risk of Elder Abuse

    Monday, July 27th, 2020

    As some of the most vulnerable Americans to the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults are staying at home to lower their risk of infection as the coronavirus spreads throughout communities.

  • How to Help Protect Seniors from COVID-19

    Monday, July 20th, 2020

    Though there is still much we don’t know about the coronavirus, we do know that its onset and symptoms vary widely from person to person.

  • Huck Bouma congratulates Aaron Ruswick

    Thursday, July 16th, 2020

      Huck Bouma is pleased to announce that Shareholder Aaron E. Ruswick is a recipient of a 2020 DuPage County Bar Association (DCBA) Directors’ Award, recognizing his significant contributions to DCBA programs and projects over the previous year.   The DuPage County Bar Association serves the attorneys, judiciary and citizens of DuPage County, Illinois in providing legal education, business development and networking opportunities, designed to enhance and benefit our membership and community, while upholding the highest degree of civility and professionalism.   Congratulations, Aaron! Photo dated 7-16-2020  

  • Huck Bouma congratulates Aaron Ruswick

    Thursday, July 16th, 2020

    Huck Bouma is pleased to announce that Shareholder Aaron E. Ruswick is a recipient of a 2020 DuPage County Bar Association (DCBA)Directors’ Award, recognizing his significant contributions to DCBA programs and projects over the previous year.

  • “Reopening Together”

    Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

    “Reopening Together” with Heinz Brisske (June, 2020).    ElderCounsel members across the country were interviewed to hear how their law firms were handling the changes needed to continue business during COVID-19. Attorney Heinz Brisske joined ElderCounsel Chief Executive Counsel, Valerie Peterson, J.D. to discuss: How client meetings are being conducted “Drive up” document signings in detail Working from home as an essential business Law firms are making adjustments to ensure all clients and employees are safe while also getting the work done. Click here to view the interview:  https://eldercounsel.com/video_library/reopening-together-with-heinz-brisske/ Visit the ElderCounsel website at:  https://eldercounsel.com/

  • Why Your Marital Agreement Should Be Shown to Your Estate Planner

    Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

    If you and your spouse have a marital agreement, it is crucial for you to provide a copy of it to your estate planning attorney to avoid conflicts between provisions in your estate planning and the marital agreement.

  • A National Study Using Technology Sensors in Seniors’ Home

    Monday, July 13th, 2020

    The Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health is funding a $7 million, four-year study that accumulates sensor information from senior living behaviors at home.

  • Caught in the Undertow: How No Estate Plan (or a Bad One) Could Leave Your Family Overwhelmed

    Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

    A carefully designed estate plan is like a life vest for your family in a rough sea. Losing a family member is never easy, but we can help you put plans in place that will provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that your grieving family will not be overwhelmed if you die.

  • Staying Connected

    Monday, July 6th, 2020

    It’s essential these days to be electronically connected, to stay healthy, mentally vigorous and informed, and to forge the social bonds that are so vital to well-being.

  • How to Help Your Loved Ones (and Assets) Avoid Probate

    Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

    Many people like the cost and time savings, as well as the added control over their money and property a living trust offers. Yet in the end, an unfunded trust isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

  • How to Handle Savings Bonds in Estate Planning and at Death

    Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

    If you own savings bonds or are considering investing in them as part of your financial plan, we can help you consider the pros and cons, as well as the best ways to title them in order to achieve your estate planning goals.

  • No-Contest Clauses: Does No-Contest Really Mean No Contest?

    Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

    If you see trouble brewing and are concerned that family members could contest your will or trust, a no-contest clause is one tool that could discourage dissatisfied beneficiaries from seeking to have it declared invalid.

  • “Reopening Together”

    Monday, June 15th, 2020

    Attorney Heinz Brisske joined ElderCounsel Chief Executive Counsel, Valerie Peterson, J.D., to discuss law firm adjustments being made to ensure that all clients and employees are safe while also getting the work done.

  • The Plight of U.S. Nursing Homes

    Monday, June 15th, 2020

    The coronavirus pandemic is forcing us to take a hard look at where our loved one should receive care if care at home is not a safe option.

  • Complimentary WEBINAR: Paycheck Protection Program Loan Update

    Thursday, June 11th, 2020

    Illinois CPA Society – Fox Valley Chapter JD/CPA Practitioners’ Group Complimentary WEBINAR: Paycheck Protection Program Loan Update Presented by Gordon Schwartz, CPA of BDO, Jennifer Johnson, Vice President, Corporate Advisory Practice, BMO Harris Bank, and Aaron E. Ruswick, JD, LL.M, Huck Bouma P.C. Friday, June 12, 2020 12:00pm-1:00pm CDT This free webinar is done in cooperation with the Fox Valley Chapter of the Illinois CPA Society and sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, 503 North Washington Street, Naperville, IL 60563 Join us for this unique webinar regarding Paycheck Protection Program Loans, and the ever-changing rules, qualification, certification, record-keeping and more. The presentation […]

  • Complimentary WEBINAR: Paycheck Protection Program Loan Update

    Thursday, June 11th, 2020

    Complimentary WEBINAR: Friday, June 12, 2020
    12:00pm-1:00pm CDT
    Paycheck Protection Program Loan Update
    Join us for this unique webinar regarding Paycheck Protection Program Loans, and the ever-changing rules, qualification, certification, record-keeping and more. The presentation will include a discussion from the CPA’s view, the lender’s side, and an attorney’s view, including the initial loan application process, certification, timing, forgiveness application process and other issues.

  • Trust Funding: Setting Your Trustee Up for Success

    Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

    Signing the trust agreement doesn’t end the estate planning process: To work properly, the trust needs to be funded. 

  • Voice First Technology Helps Keeps Seniors Stay Connected

    Monday, June 8th, 2020

    Seniors who struggle to adapt to the internet of things (IoT) using digital devices that require typing, clicking, or swiping can now rely on voice commands to get the information they need and the people with whom they want to communicate.

  • Caring For Yourself with the Right Estate Planning Prescription

    Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

    What have you done to prepare for your own care? Working together, we can craft the best possible estate planning prescription that will protect you today, tomorrow, and well into the future using the best legal tools available.

  • Understanding the Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Seniors

    Monday, June 1st, 2020

    There are ways to try and manage stress and stay as healthy as possible during this uncertain time thanks to advice from several federal agencies monitoring the situation and the impact of COVID-19 on the senior population.

  • Remote Estate Planning

    Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

    During this unprecedented time, people’s need for urgent estate planning has increased, requiring attorneys to employ innovative methods of providing services. 

  • Happy Memorial Day

    Monday, May 25th, 2020

    Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

  • What Happens When Your Disabled Child Turns 18 and What You Need to Do Beforehand

    Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

    If you have a disabled child who is approaching their 18th birthday, now is the time to start planning for their future.

  • Americans of All Ages are Creating Their Wills During COVID 19 Pandemic

    Monday, May 11th, 2020

    There has been an explosion in the numbers of Americans rushing to create their wills online. Understandably, the coronavirus pandemic has created the scramble to set up wills and end-of-life-directives. However, online do it yourself (DIY) wills are often deemed invalid as they do not comply with all of the legal requirements of your state.

  • Reconsidering Your Role in Others’ Estate Plans (How to Say No)

    Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

    It is important to think carefully about your ability or willingness to serve as an executor or trustee for someone else.

  • Strategies for Your Charitable Planning

    Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

    There are many reasons why you may want to give to a charity: You may give because you believe strongly in a cause or organization, but it can also reduce your yearly income tax bill and remove value from your overall estate.

  • Help Seniors During Social Distancing

    Monday, April 27th, 2020

    The medically recommended protocols for social distancing and government mandates that restrict large gatherings of Americans to slow the spread of the coronavirus are minimizing our abilities to interact with each other. This isolation holds especially true for those seniors who live alone or in long term health care facilities.

  • Estate Planning – Frequently Asked Questions

    Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

    “How Does the Estate Planning Process Work?” This video takes you through the entire Estate Planning process from the first meeting, to the preparation of the documents and finally the signing. We discuss your goals, ideas and most importantly, asset protection, minimizing taxes, titling  and beneficiary designations. “When Do I Need to Update My Estate Plan?” This video discusses events which will help educate you as to when it is the right time to review your estate plan and touch on the reasons why.  We will discuss why estate taxes and income taxes should be re-visited.   Our goal is to […]

  • COVID-19: A Reminder of Why Estate Planning Is Important

    Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

    Certain situations can bring our own mortality to the forefront of our minds. The coronavirus has affected a number people in the United States so far.  It provides a reminder of just how important it is – not only to us, but also to our family members and loved ones — to have an estate plan in place in case the unexpected happens.

  • Stay Safe and Well

    Monday, April 20th, 2020

    Now is the time to make sure you and yours have the proper documents in place, so your trusted person can handle legal, financial, and health-care decisions for you if you cannot do so yourself. Take the few easy steps to get prepared. We can help prepare these important documents and guide you through the decision-making process.

  • Illinois NAELA April, 2020 Spotlight Member

    Friday, April 3rd, 2020

    Huck Bouma is proud to announce that Gina Salamone has been selected by the Illinois chapter of  National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) as its April, 2020 Spotlighted Member. The spotlighted member is chosen based on their contributions to the Illinois NAELA organization. Gina, a director at Huck Bouma, has been practicing Elder Law exclusively for over 12 years. Gina feels that her work in the field of Elder Law improves a client’s life and alleviates stress rather than causing it. She’s developed great relationships with clients/multiple generations of families and guesses that she gets a lot more hugs […]

  • Illinois NAELA April, 2020 Spotlight Member

    Friday, April 3rd, 2020

    Huck Bouma is proud to announce that Gina Salamone has been selected by the Illinois National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) as its April, 2020 Spotlighted Member. The spotlighted member is chosen based on their contributions to the Illinois NAELA organization. 

  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”)

    Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), signed into law on March 27, 2020, is meant to serve as a stimulus to individuals and businesses in response to the economic distress caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Below is a brief summary on some of the key points to the CARES Act. Businesses/Employers Paycheck Protection Program with Provisions to Forgive Qualifying Loans The Paycheck Protection Loan Program will provide businesses (generally with less than 500 employees) that are struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak with an opportunity to borrow money only for the specific purposes described […]

  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”)

    Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), signed into law on March 27, 2020, is meant to serve as a stimulus to individuals and businesses in response to the economic distress caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Below is a brief summary on some of the key points to the CARES Act.

  • Important Considerations for Beneficiary Designations of Life Insurance Policies

    Monday, March 30th, 2020

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Life insurance is often one of the most important parts of an estate plan. People usually purchase life insurance to prevent their spouse, children, or other dependents from suffering financial hardship if they die unexpectedly. You may think that all you need to do is simply write in the name of the person you would like to receive the proceeds from your life insurance policy on the beneficiary designation section of your paperwork and forget about it. However, there are several important factors you should consider first. Consider Naming a Trust as […]

  • Email An update from Huck Bouma, PC on COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) and emergency loan and financial assistance opportunities

    Friday, March 27th, 2020

    Through the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) Following a request from the governor of the State of Illinois on March 17, 2020, the SBA declared a disaster for the entire state of Illinois and various contiguous counties in Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin. The declaration makes Illinois businesses impacted as a direct result of COVID-19 eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans up to $2,000,000 to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred. Eligibility for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the actual financial impact from COVID-19.  […]

  • An update from Huck Bouma, PC on COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) and emergency loan and financial assistance opportunities

    Friday, March 27th, 2020

    The SBA declared a disaster for the entire state of Illinois and various contiguous counties in Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin.
    The declaration makes Illinois businesses impacted as a direct result of COVID-19 eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans up to $2,000,000 to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

  • CMS Rules Amid COVID-19

    Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

    CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) has issued temporary guidance and changes in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 among elderly Americans.

  • An update from us regarding the Executive Order signed by Governor JB Pritzker on March 20, 2020

    Monday, March 23rd, 2020

    Governor Pritzker signed Executive Order 2020-10 on March 20, 2020. It went into effect at 5:00pm on Saturday, March 21, 2020.
    This Executive Order generally requires individuals in Illinois to stay at home, but contains numerous exceptions.

    Any businesses qualifying as “Essential Businesses” are permitted to remain open.

  • An Update on COVID-19 and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Monday, March 23rd, 2020

    On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Act”). The Act goes into effect on April 2, 2020. 

  • An Update on COVID-19 and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Monday, March 23rd, 2020

    On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Act”). The Act goes into effect on April 2, 2020. The Act imposes different leave and paid leave obligations on employers with fewer than 500 employees, and is comprised of two components: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. The Secretary of Labor may exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the requirements of either component of the Act if compliance would jeopardize the business’s viability as a going concern, and may also exclude certain health care […]

  • Spring Cleaning: Time to Clean Up Your Estate Planning

    Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

    With spring fast approaching, now is the time to dust off your estate plan to ensure that it will still achieve your goals, as well as to avoid unintended consequences that may arise as a result of divorces, deaths, births, or other changes that have occurred since the last time your plan was reviewed.

  • Researchers Give New Insights on Parkinson’s Disease

    Monday, March 16th, 2020

    Disease-modifying treatments become more prevalent as our ability to advance our understanding of the human brain mechanisms increases. Researchers who are capable of rethinking traditional disease model understanding are at the forefront of this disease modification trend.

  • How to Protect Your Great Ideas or Works for Your Family

    Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

    Your money, home, and vehicles are not the only things you should include in your estate plan. Your intellectual property and any income it generates should also be addressed.

  • How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

    Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

    You do not have to be a famous author, painter, or inventor to have valuable intellectual property that could provide a stream of income for your family members or loved ones after you pass away.

  • Wartime Veterans Can Qualify for a VA Pension Without Being Disabled

    Monday, March 9th, 2020

    It is a challenge to keep up with US Military benefits as they are always changing, and many veterans miss out on what can be life-changing aid. Many wartime veterans receive a disability pension due to injury. But did you know that wartime veterans age 65 and older may qualify for a VA Pension without being disabled?

  • Estate Planning Strategies to Protect Your Spouse

    Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

    To prepare for the future and the possibility of no longer being around for your spouse, it is important that you plan now to protect the surviving spouse later.

  • Huck Bouma welcomes Bomie K. Leonard

    Monday, March 2nd, 2020

    Huck Bouma is proud to announce that Bomie K. Leonard has joined the Firm as an associate its Trusts and Estates Practice area. Bomie focuses her practice on wealth transfer and estate planning, federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax planning, estate and trust administration, and business planning.  She counsels individuals and families on a variety of matters, including asset protection, legacy planning, family office structuring, and succession planning.   In her spare time, Bomie is a volunteer attorney at Prairie State Legal Services.  She enjoys playing paddle, practicing yoga, entertaining, and spending time with her family and friends. Welcome, Bomie!

  • Huck Bouma welcomes Bomie K. Leonard

    Monday, March 2nd, 2020

    Huck Bouma is proud to announce that Bomie K. Leonard has joined the Firm as an associate its Trusts and Estates Practice area. Bomie focuses her practice on wealth transfer and estate planning, federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax planning, estate and trust administration, and business planning.  She counsels individuals and families on a variety of matters, including asset protection, legacy planning, family office structuring, and succession planning.   In her spare time, Bomie is a volunteer attorney at Prairie State Legal Services.  She enjoys playing paddle, practicing yoga, entertaining, and spending time with her family and friends. Welcome, Bomie!

  • When a Spouse Becomes a Caregiver

    Monday, March 2nd, 2020

    Although both spouses need support, the needs of the caregiving spouse are often overlooked at a time when they need renewed strength to support their partner.

  • How to Minimize the (Voluntary) Federal Estate Tax with Portability

    Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

    Portability of the federal estate tax exclusion provides both an alternative and a back up plan to lifetime tax planning. This means you might be able to minimize or even eliminate federal estate taxes even if you didn’t plan.

  • Data Breaches Affecting Seniors

    Monday, February 24th, 2020

    It seems every week brings yet another report of a data breach. The Capital One data breach last year compromised the personal data of nearly 100 million customers. But what hasn’t received as much news coverage are the recent breaches affecting seniors.

  • The Lifetime QTIP Trust

    Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

    Estate planning for couples in a second or subsequent marriage can be tricky, especially if their estates are disproportionate. One solution for allowing the well-to-do spouse to maintain control of their property and wealth–but keep their other spouse happy–is the “Lifetime QTIP Trust.”

  • How to Address Resident Abuse in Senior Living Facilities

    Monday, February 17th, 2020

    If you have an elderly family member or friend living in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, it is imperative to stay attuned to the signs of abuse to your loved one.

  • New Laws for Business ~ Do You Know What You Don’t Know?

    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

    On February 20, 2020, attorney Brian K. LaFratta will be speaking at the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce panel discussion series entitled “New Laws for Business ~ Do You Know What You Don’t Know?” 

  • New Laws for Business ~ Do You Know What You Don’t Know?

    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

    On February 20, 2020, attorney Brian K. LaFratta will be speaking at the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce panel discussion series entitled “New Laws for Business ~ Do You Know What You Don’t Know?”  Brian will be discussing recent Illinois employment law changes such as: the Impact of Marijuana Legislation on Employers Increased Scope of Discrimination and Harassment Laws New Requirements for Severance and Settlement Agreements Required Employee Handbook Changes For more information and/or to register to attend this panel discussion, click here.

  • Common Mistakes with DIY Estate Plans

    Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

    A DIY estate plan can lead to a false sense of security because it may not achieve what you think it does.

  • Unbilled Hours of Service – Part Two

    Thursday, February 6th, 2020

    Huck Bouma’s Unbilled Hours of Service is devoted to feeding our hungry neighbors in Northern Illinois. On February 3, 2020, this group packed 1,273 pounds of food, providing 1,061 meals! The Mission of the Northern Illinois Food Bank: “To lead the northern Illinois community in solving hunger by providing nutritious meals to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships.”  In short – for no one to be hungry in northern Illinois. Volunteer. Donate. Get Involved.  www.solvehungertoday.org

  • Unbilled Hours of Service – Part Two

    Thursday, February 6th, 2020

    On February 3, 2020, Huck Bouma again participated in “Unbilled Hours of Service”, serving at the Northern Illinois Food Bank. This participating group packed 1,273 pounds of food providing 1,061 meals! 

  • Importance of Properly Revoking Powers of Attorney

    Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

    It is very important to regularly review and update all of your estate planning documents. However, your financial power of attorney is one document that should be reexamined more frequently than others.

  • Huck Bouma Welcomes James E. Goodman, Jr.

    Monday, February 3rd, 2020

    Huck Bouma is proud to announce that James E. Goodman, Jr. has joined the Firm as a Director in its Trusts and Estates Practice area. Jim’s general practice includes – but is not limited to – the areas of estate planning, wills, probate, elder law, taxation, business law, corporate law, and real estate law.

  • Elder Care: Should Children Pay?

    Monday, February 3rd, 2020

    The astronomical expense of long-term nursing care is no longer news.

  • New Year, New Estate Plan

    Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

    A new year is a great time to take positive steps that will enhance your life, including putting an estate plan in place.

  • Prevent Against Scam Opportunities in 2020

    Monday, January 27th, 2020

    Welcome to the new decade, replete with new challenges to protect yourself against ever-inventive scam artists.

  • Why Title Matters

    Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

    Real estate can take on different forms of ownership depending upon the number of parties and the unique circumstances involved. Understanding how your real estate is owned, or “titled,” is necessary because this determines the extent of control you have over your real estate, how susceptible your property is to creditors, and what will happen to it upon your death.

  • Legacy Letters – Passing on Your Wisdom and Experience to the Next Generation

    Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

    A legacy letter, sometimes also called an ethical will, is a great way to pass on the wisdom that you have acquired and can be one of the most meaningful parts of your estate plan.

  • Everyday Devices that can be Hacked

    Monday, January 6th, 2020

    It is becoming increasingly common for everyday items like refrigerators, thermostats, and doorbells to be internet-connected making our homes and personal information subject to hacking.

  • Productivity Tips for the New Year

    Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

    Are you feeling bogged down in a swamp of clutter, deadlines, and incomplete tasks? As we draw closer to the end of the year, make it your goal to do a few simple things over the course of a day or two that will result in increased productivity and peace of mind for 2020.

  • New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors

    Monday, December 30th, 2019

    Jan. 1 is right around the corner. That means the opportunity for a fresh start will soon present itself. In 2020, set a goal that focuses on bettering your overall health, both physically and mentally.

  • Planning for Stepchildren and Step-Grandchildren

    Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

    If you or your grown children are part of a blended family, your estate planning should reflect the special considerations and complexities involved.

  • 10 Ways to Help Seniors have a Happy Holiday

    Monday, December 23rd, 2019

    While the holidays are a time of gatherings with family and friends, they can also be a source of stress, as exercise schedules might be disrupted for shopping excursions and rich holiday meals make it difficult to adhere to a particular diet.

  • Effect of Bankruptcy on Estate Planning

    Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

    Bankruptcy may be one of the last things on your mind when you are creating an estate plan.

  • Important Things Your Agent Under a Power of Attorney for Health Care Needs to Know

    Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

    A medical power of attorney is a crucial part of your estate plan that enables you to name a trusted person to make health care decisions for you if needed. It is essential for the person you name to have the information necessary to carry out your wishes for your medical care.

  • Estate Planning for the 99%

    Monday, December 9th, 2019

    On Monday, December 9, 2019, Huck Bouma attorneys Brett M. Dale and Stephen A. Frost spoke at the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) program, Estate Planning for the 99%.   Brett explored the topic of ‘Anticipating Conflict in Estate Administration: Plan for Tomorrow – Today’.  Stephen discussed  ‘I’m Middle-Class–Why Do I Need to Worry About Estate Taxes?’

  • Autism CARES Act Signed Into Law

    Monday, December 9th, 2019

    With bi-partisan backing and passage through the U.S. Senate, President Trump signed the Autism CARES Act of 2019 into law on September 30, 2019.

  • Who’s On Your Team?

    Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

    Estate planning is not just about what happens to your stuff when you die. It is about coordinating all aspects of your life so (i) you can be taken care of during times when you are unable to care for yourself, and (ii) your money and property are distributed to the individuals you have selected upon your death, in the way you want.

  • Illinois Legislation, effective January 1, 2020

    Monday, December 2nd, 2019

    Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) Effective January 1, 2020, numerous changes will go into effect. Here are some of the key changes: Employers will be required to provide sexual harassment training each year, with restaurants and bars being subject to additional training and documentation requirements. The protections of the IHRA will be extended to contractors and consultants. There will be significant limitations on the use of confidentiality and arbitration provisions in employment agreements unless employers comply with certain contractual requirements. In addition, the use of confidentiality provisions in severance and settlement agreements will be restricted, and such agreements will be required […]

  • Top Probate Administration Challenges for Paralegals

    Monday, December 2nd, 2019

    Huck Bouma paralegal, Erika Jurgenson, will be a featured speaker during the Institute for Paralegal Education Audio Webinar, “Top Probate Administration Challenges for Paralegals”.  Erika will specifically address the challenges involved in preparing for Administration and managing documents for Probate and Estate Fillings.

  • Illinois Legislation, effective January 1, 2020

    Monday, December 2nd, 2019

    Effective January 1, 2020, numerous changes will go into effect regarding updates to the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) and new Marijuana Legalization.

  • Lack of Oversight for Hospice Providers

    Monday, December 2nd, 2019

    When a loved one enters hospice care, the whole point is to provide peace of mind and comfort to the patient and the family. Unfortunately, due to a lack of regulation, oversight, and available information regarding hospice care the result is sometimes disappointing.

  • 529 Plans – What You Need to Know

    Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

    A 529 plan, legally known as a “qualified tuition plan,” is a savings plan that provides tax advantages designed to encourage people to save for their children or grandchildren’s future education costs.

  • How to Make Thanksgiving Easier for Your Elderly Loved Ones

    Monday, November 25th, 2019

    Thanksgiving is a time for family and celebration. But when a member of your family requires elderly care and support, you might worry about whether they’re up to a big family event.

  • Identity Theft – Not Just an Issue for the Living

    Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

    Identity theft is the last thing a grieving family should have to worry about after the loss of a loved one.

  • Simple Ways to Thank Seniors This Thanksgiving

    Monday, November 18th, 2019

    As you gather with your senior loved ones, Thanksgiving provides the ideal setting for saying thank you and sharing experiences.

  • Unbilled Hours of Service

    Friday, November 15th, 2019

    Huck Bouma participated in “Unbilled Hours of Service”, serving at the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Their Mission: To lead the northern Illinois community in solving hunger by providing nutritious meals to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships.”  In short — for no one to be hungry in northern Illinois.

  • Self-Care: 5 Ways to Show Yourself a Little Love

    Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

    It’s time to take a deep breath and spend some time taking care of yourself before the holidays arrive. You can implement many aspects of self-care on your own. However, a well-designed estate plan will require the help of an experienced estate planning attorney.

  • Veterans Day

    Monday, November 11th, 2019

    Veterans Day, a U.S. federal holiday, is a time to honor and thank those who are serving or have served in the military and are still with us.

  • Which Hospital will you go to in the Event of a Medical Emergency?

    Monday, November 4th, 2019

    When you dial 911 for emergency medical services (EMS) your transport may route you to a hospital that is not near your home.

  • Missed a Required Minimum Distribution?: Here Is How to Fix It

    Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

    A sizeable IRS tax penalty for failure to take an RMD can be like a gut punch to a retiree, as many retirees are on fixed incomes. If you have missed one or more RMDs, we can help you submit the necessary forms and documentation to request a waiver of the penalty from the IRS.

  • GAO to Review the VA Nursing Home Rating System

    Monday, October 28th, 2019

    Advances in medical technology are allowing our veterans to survive injury and live longer lives; excellence in facility standards, coordination of care, favorable outcomes, and transparency in the process of facility ratings are achievable with the proper oversight. The GAO review will provide much-needed information to assess the best way forward to support our veterans in CLC facilities.

  • Estate Planning Awareness Week: The Importance to You and Your Family of Having an Estate Plan

    Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

    The third week of October is National Estate Planning Awareness Week.

  • Many Wealthy Retirees Are Too Scared to Spend

    Monday, October 21st, 2019

    The Americans who have most benefited from this 10-year boom cycle in the American economy are averse to spending their money. They want to survive another economic downturn while maintaining their elite financial status.

  • Trusts from A to Z

    Friday, October 18th, 2019

    Huck Bouma paralegal, Erika Jurgenson, will be a featured speaker at the National Business Institute Seminar, “Trusts from A to Z: Understand all the Wealth Planning Options Available to Your Clients.” 

  • Myths We Tell Ourselves About Estate Planning

    Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

    Estate planning can be a very difficult process. Making the decision to move forward with the planning requires us to face the fact that we will not live forever. This thought can stop many people right in their tracks, keeping them from seeing a qualified attorney to put together an estate plan.

  • Better Senior Fall Prevention Programs Through Technology

    Monday, October 14th, 2019

    One of the most common injury producers is seniors who experience accidental falls. Technology is providing various ways to combat the problem using balance games that measure progress.

  • Can I Make a Video Will?

    Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

    Easy access to a quality camera has led many people to wonder: can I make a video will?

  • Hidden Alzheimer’s Costs and the Impact on Families

    Monday, October 7th, 2019

    Dementia is one of the costliest diseases to our society. In fact, it is the third most expensive disorder in the United States. And that is before factoring in the difficult-to-calculate or “hidden” costs.     

  • Funeral Planning: How a Remembrance and Services Memorandum Can Help

    Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

    More and more people are including funeral planning as part of their estate plan, sparing their grieving families from having to make hasty arrangements during an already stressful time.

  • Staying Mentally Sharp

    Monday, September 30th, 2019

    There are things you can do to keep the brain sharp – small, daily habits which can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. 

  • Why You Should Hire A Lawyer to Write Your Estate Plan

    Thursday, September 26th, 2019

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, nearly everyone does. Your estate is comprised of everything you own— your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and something else in common—you can’t take it with you when you die. When that happens—and it is a “when” and not an “if”—you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about. To ensure […]

  • ICPAS Presentation – Private M&A Transactions

    Thursday, September 26th, 2019

    Huck Bouma attorneys Michael J. Marshall and Aaron E. Ruswick will be presenting a Primer on Leading Clients Through Private M&A Transactions at the Thursday, October 3, 2019 meeting of the Fox Valley Chapter of the ICPAS.

  • Planning for Your Automobile

    Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

    Help lessen the stress on your loved ones by making plans in advance for a smooth transfer of all of your assets, including your automobile.

  • When Assisted Living May Not Be Enough

    Monday, September 23rd, 2019

    With careful monitoring, assisted-living facilities may provide a safe environment – but monitoring can also flag when the environment is no longer safe enough.

  • Can I Refuse an Inheritance?

    Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

    Why would anyone want to refuse an inheritance? Although it is surprising to many, there are several circumstances when declining an inheritance can be beneficial.

  • Common Online Scams and How to Avoid Them

    Monday, September 16th, 2019

    If you have social media accounts, email, or shop online, you are being targeted by scam artists. Here is what you need to know about some of the most common online scams. 

  • The ABCs of RLTs

    Thursday, September 12th, 2019

    You may have heard of a revocable living trust (RLT), which is a commonly used estate planning solution. But what exactly are they, who is affected by them, how can they be changed, and what do they accomplish?

  • Does Home and Community Based Care Reduce Hospitalizations?

    Monday, September 9th, 2019

    Understanding how long-term care needs affect an individual’s retirement plan under Medicaid or dual-eligible status Medicare/Medicaid, is pertinent for both positive health outcomes and financial well-being.

  • Discretionary Trusts – How to Protect Your Beneficiaries from Bad Decisions and Outside Influences

    Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

    Although leaving your hard-earned assets outright to your children, grandchildren, or other beneficiaries after you die may seem like the easiest and most desired form of distribution, this scheme will make their inheritance easy prey for creditors, predators, and divorcing spouses.  Instead, consider using discretionary trusts for the benefit of each of your beneficiaries.

  • National Association of Personal Financial Advisors

    Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

    On Friday, October 4, 2019,  attorney Brett M. Dale will be speaking at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) Fall 2019 National Conference, held at Hyatt Recency McCormick Place, Chicago.

  • Labor Day

    Monday, September 2nd, 2019

    Always the first Monday in September, Labor Day was the idea of Peter J. Maguire, a labor union leader who in 1882 proposed a celebration honoring the American worker.

  • Sometimes, Two Heads Are Better Than One

    Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

    Many people select a single fiduciary to manage their affairs. However, the amount of time associated with the role can be overwhelming for some people. When deciding who to appoint as fiduciary, be mindful of the degree of effort associated with maintaining and managing your affairs.

  • What Could the SECURE Act Mean For You?

    Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

    The SECURE Act, Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement seeks to make Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) more appealing for Americans of all backgrounds.

  • What Happens When the Power Goes Out On Our Medical Technology?

    Monday, August 19th, 2019

    The electronic infrastructure that powers our digital lives, including seniors aging in place, in retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and in nursing homes, is a service often taken for granted.

  • Happy 18th Birthday! Now What?

    Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

    Now that you are an adult, it is time to start thinking like one. The first step is meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that you are properly protected now that you have the responsibility to plan for these issues..

  • How Seniors Can Take Steps to Deter Depression

    Monday, August 12th, 2019

    Life is full of surprises and twists, and not all of them have a positive effect on the psyche. However, once a senior is in the grasp of depression, it is often difficult to find release.

  • Heinz Brisske, WealthCounsel Drafting Award recipient

    Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

    Huck Bouma celebrates with attorney Heinz Brisske, the recipient of the WealthCounsel Drafting Award.  Heinz received this award at the WealthCounsel Symposium 2019, held in Boston, MA.

  • Lifetime QTIP Trusts – The Gift That Keeps Giving

    Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

    Estate planning for married couples can be tricky when one spouse is significantly wealthier than the other, and each spouse wants different beneficiaries to ultimately inherit their estate. One solution to this problem is the Lifetime QTIP Trust.

  • Nursing Homes are Short on Staff

    Monday, August 5th, 2019

    How you will be able to assess accurately and pay for skilled nursing facility care should the need arise is currently mired in change. Social programs like Medicare and Medicaid set standards; however, most of the facilities only meet federal guidelines part of the time.

  • Can I Make Estate Plans Without My Spouse?

    Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

    While it’s certainly possible to begin the estate planning process without your spouse, there are some things to consider.

  • Is the Aging Middle Class Being Left behind?

    Monday, July 29th, 2019

    As we age, simple things we took for granted as kids become more difficult — and more expensive. That’s a truth all of us know. What you may not realize is that the aging middle class will face unique difficulties going forward.

  • The Role of an Agent Under a Power of Attorney: A Primer

    Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

    For most people, the phrase “power of attorney” means very little. Even for those educated on the subject, it is easy to forget exactly who serves what role and why. Whether you are unfamiliar with the concept or simply need of a refresher, keep reading to learn what it means to be an agent under a financial Power of Attorney, called a Power of Attorney for Property in Illinois.

  • Alzheimer’s Test – Do You Want to Know?

    Monday, July 22nd, 2019

    A simple blood test can detect the future state of you and Alzheimer’s but do you want to know?

  • Financial Powers of Attorney

    Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

    The wealth, property, and investments we accrue over a lifetime are often significant. While you have carefully managed your finances through the years, there may eventually come a time when you cannot handle such decisions. To plan for the likelihood that you are unable to manage your financial affairs, it’s important to have everything in order while you’re still of sound mind.

  • Social Security and Funding Uncertainty

    Monday, July 15th, 2019

    Social Security benefits, which are funded through 2 trusts, may not be available for much longer.

  • Estate Planning Is Not Just About Money

    Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

    It is a common misconception that financial management and estate planning are reserved for the wealthy. Regardless of how much you have in the bank, you and your family can benefit from planning ahead for the future.

  • Trusts: A Well-Oiled Machine – But If Not . . .

    Monday, July 8th, 2019

    Trusts aren’t just for the mega-wealthy.

  • Caution: Your Traditional Asset Protection Plan Is Set Up to Fail

    Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

    Asset protection planning is the positioning or repositioning of assets to preserve and protect your property in advance of a claim or the threat of a claim.

  • How to Coordinate Your Retirement and Estate Plans

    Monday, July 1st, 2019

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group We often think of retirement accounts as monolithic resources. It is easy to see why – we spend our working years socking away money for our future. Unfortunately, though, the rising cost of healthcare can quickly deplete even the largest of retirement funds. Because retirement accounts tend to be the largest assets in a person’s estate, it is crucial that proper planning is done to handle one’s retirement fund. The first thing you need to do is ensure you have the assets you need to take care of yourself and your family. […]

  • Crowdsourcing Site Helps Seniors Determine Where to Retire

    Monday, July 1st, 2019

    The decision about where to live should be a high priority as you approach retirement age.

  • When Equal Isn’t Necessarily Fair

    Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

    Equality is a noble concept and one many people turn to when deciding how to divide up their estate.

  • 3 Tips for Planning to Care for an Adult Sibling with Special Needs

    Monday, June 24th, 2019

    Planning ahead and knowing the legal and financial needs of caring for a sibling with special needs can help make a difficult transition run more smoothly. These changes are hard for all family members involved.

  • Tricia Buhrfiend, 2019 Lawyer of the Year

    Thursday, June 20th, 2019

    Huck Bouma celebrates with attorney Tricia R. Buhrfiend as she is recognized as a 2019 Lawyer of the Year by the DuPage County Bar Association.

  • Estate Planning for Rental Property Owners

    Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

    If you have a home or other rental property that is generating income, you should understand the following asset protection and estate planning considerations.

  • The Looming Baby Boomer Retirement Crisis

    Monday, June 17th, 2019

    Dangerous misperceptions exist about how much retirement care costs and how to pay for it.

  • Loan, Gift, or Advancement: Why the Classification Matters

    Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

    The intent behind the transfer of the money is key when determining if it will be considered a loan, gift, or advancement.

  • The Changing Landscape of Memory Care

    Monday, June 10th, 2019

    While some facilities are stand-alone solutions for memory care patients, others will offer care that is already integrated into existing facilities that cover more than just the memory care sector.

  • Estate Planning Is More Than Just Death Planning

    Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

    While one major benefit of estate planning is to provide for your family and friends when you are gone, there are many benefits for you as well.

  • Autism in America

    Monday, June 3rd, 2019

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of behavioral conditions that include challenges with social skills, speech, and nonverbal communication as well as repetitive behaviors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now estimate that autism affects 1 in 59 children in the United States.

  • 4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

    Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

    A will or trust contest can derail your final wishes, rapidly deplete your estate, and tear your loved ones apart. But with proper planning, you can help your family avoid a potentially disastrous will or trust contest. 

  • What Is a Discretionary Trust?

    Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

    Sometimes giving assets outright to a beneficiary – such a child, a grandchild or a special needs loved one – is not the ideal method of distributing assets in an estate plan. In such a scenario, a discretionary trust can be a good estate planning tool.

  • Seniors Continue Embracing Technology

    Monday, May 20th, 2019

    Mid-life and older Americans are becoming more digitally connected than ever before.

  • Stress Test Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

    Estate plans should be like living, breathing creations that reflect the changes in your life.

  • Huck Bouma Welcomes Joseph E. Keavy

    Monday, May 13th, 2019

    Huck Bouma is proud to announce that Joseph E. Keavy has joined the Firm as an Associate in its Mergers and Acquisitions Practice area. Joe concentrates his practice in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, commercial real estate transactions, entity formation, corporate finance, and business transactions.

  • Planning for Children with Special Needs

    Monday, May 13th, 2019

    Estate planning requires specialized planning when you have a child with special needs. Looking to the future as to how your child will be able to function in the world as they age is particularly tricky to assess.

  • Just Like You Need a Medical Checkup, Your Estate Plan Needs a Checkup!

    Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

    Estate planning is not a static event that you can grudgingly do once and then forget about it.  On the contrary, estate planning is a continuing process, because life is a moving target that is full of constant change: Your estate plan needs to change as your life changes. 

  • US Justice Department Elder Fraud Sweep

    Monday, May 6th, 2019

    Now that digital technology, the Internet, email, and social media are so pervasive, transnational criminal organizations are “all in” to defraud the elderly.

  • Huck Bouma Welcomes John Regan

    Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

    Huck Bouma is proud to announce that John E. Regan has joined the Firm in its Real Estate, Business Services and Trusts and Estates Practice areas. Mr. Regan concentrates in commercial and residential development real estate law, including acquisitions and entitlements. He also counsels governmental bodies with regard to general corporate matters, finance and tax matters, general bond matters and litigation. Prior to joining Huck Bouma, John was a partner at a well-known Elgin law firm. Aside from his experience with commercial and residential development real estate law, including acquisitions and entitlements, his other areas of practice include corporate and […]

  • Is Your Estate Plan as Stale as Last Week’s Ham Sandwich? 5 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Estate plans are almost magical: They allow you to maintain control of your assets, yet protect you should you become incapacitated. They take care of your family and pets. And, if carefully crafted, they reduce fees, taxes, stress, and time delays. Estate plans can even keep your family and financial affairs private. But one thing estate plans can’t do is update themselves. Estate plans are written to reflect your situation at a specific point in time. While they have some flexibility, the bottom line is that our lives continually change and unfold […]

  • Memory Care and the Epidemic of Alzheimer’s

    Monday, April 29th, 2019

    All people living with dementia should make plans with their family and attorney in the early stages of disease progression as to how they want to be handled medically in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.

  • What to Do with the Family Heirlooms and Keepsakes

    Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

    A comprehensive estate plan that considers all assets – including family heirlooms and keepsakes – is key to making sure your wishes are followed once you are gone.

  • Huck Bouma Welcomes Kelly Petersen

    Monday, April 22nd, 2019

    Huck Bouma is proud to announce that Kelly L. Petersen has joined the Firm as an Associate in its Estate Planning Practice area.

  • Estate Planning, Elder Law, What’s the Difference?

    Monday, April 22nd, 2019

    Elder law expertise becomes crucial when we get older. We’re living longer, healthier lives – but nobody knows when we, or those whom we love, will get too sick to make decisions or to live independently.

  • Avoiding Misclassification of Dual-Status Workers Under IRS Rules

    Friday, April 19th, 2019

    By:  EMMA SADIKOVICH In this article, Sadikovich discusses the practical implications for businesses and individuals when a worker is classified as both an employee and an individual for tax purposes.                                                                                                                                     Copyright 2018 Emma Sadikovich. All rights […]

  • Is a delayed inheritance really an enhanced inheritance?

    Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

    Without specific guidance from you, money that is left outright to your loved ones probably won’t be used the way you would like.

  • Family Caregiving: Make It a Job Like Any Other

    Monday, April 15th, 2019

    How the caregiver is paid is important. It may not be possible to pay a caregiver a lump sum of money, and instead should only involve an hourly payment arrangement. The hourly rate must match the type of care being provided, and the experience level of the caregiver.

  • Four Estate and Legacy Planning Tips for the Suddenly Wealthy

    Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

    Receiving a large sum of money can be very exciting and overwhelming.

  • New Options for Resident Security in Senior Living

    Monday, April 8th, 2019

    There are a variety of new options emerging in security technology that can improve resident security in senior living facilities.

  • An Easy Three-Step Review for Your Estate Plan “Helpers”

    Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

    While putting together an estate plan is important for you and your loved ones, it is equally important for you to understand the role of the trusted individuals who will be carrying out your wishes when you are unable to.

  • Veterans, Home Health Care and Technology

    Monday, April 1st, 2019

    The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that Telehealth is revolutionizing veteran care and providing high-quality treatment for them.

  • Five Key Considerations for Your Estate Plan

    Thursday, March 28th, 2019

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Maintaining your estate plan can feel overwhelming when faced with all the changes life can bring. Calling your attorney may not be your first instinct when you’re faced with a significant shift in income, investments, or employment, but consulting with us is a wise way to ensure your legal health is always maintained. Read on for five events that should capture your attention and prompt you to reach out to us for some personalized advice. You’ve opened a new retirement account or established a new retirement plan.  As we all know, planning […]

  • What to Do When Your Doctor Says to “Get Your Affairs in Order”

    Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

    Five words no one ever wants to hear from their doctor: “Get your affairs in order.”

  • Holding a Family Caregiving Meeting

    Monday, March 25th, 2019

    Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson A family caregiving meeting is an essential tool when dealing with the care of an aging loved one. These meetings are beneficial for helping to keep all family members informed of decisions that need to be made, changes in diagnosis or prognosis, and help to ensure that all family members feel that they have a voice. Family meetings can also help to keep caregiving responsibilities from falling solely on the shoulders of one family member. In addition, family caregiving meetings can foster cooperation among family members and lessen the stress associated with caring for an […]

  • Estate Planning Tips for Someone Who Is About to Go in for Major Surgery

    Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

    Getting the news that you have to undergo major surgery is never easy. Preparing for absences from work, planning for childcare and household responsibilities, and reviewing your estate plan will be among the things you may be worrying about.

  • End of Life Planning: Preserving Quality

    Monday, March 18th, 2019

    Huck Bouma attorneys prepare Powers of Attorney for Property and Healthcare so that when our clients can no longer act for themselves, people they trust will have the authority to act on their behalf.

  • Welcome, Kirsten Casas!

    Friday, March 15th, 2019

    Huck Bouma is pleased to announce that Kirsten A. Casas has joined the Firm as an associate attorney in its litigation practice group. 

  • Four Common Myths about Estate Planning

    Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

    Trusts are not just for the wealthy: In states that practice Medicaid recovery, for instance, your survivors may receive a large bill for Medicaid-funded nursing home care after your death, which can force the sale of assets like the family home. Some states even seize life insurance proceeds. Depending on your situation, a trust can prevent this from happening.

  • Tips to Utilize when Purchasing Special Needs Housing

    Monday, March 11th, 2019

    If you or a loved one is in the market for a home that will meet a physical or developmental need, there are some tips to consider before you begin the process.

  • Is now the time to remodel your old trust?

    Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

    There are several reasons why you should update your existing trust or perhaps your entire estate plan. While estate planning documents do not necessarily have a shelf life, they may not fulfill your goals when your circumstances change.

  • Huck Bouma welcomes Eric Malnar

    Monday, March 4th, 2019

    Huck Bouma is proud to announce that Eric J. Malnar has joined the Firm as a Director in its Litigation Practice area.

  • Simple Things That Can Help You Live Longer

    Monday, March 4th, 2019

    The earlier you implement a healthy lifestyle strategy, the greater the potential benefit regarding your longevity.

  • Are Any of These 11 Mistakes Lurking in Your Estate Plan?

    Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

    Are Any of These 11 Mistakes Lurking in Your Estate Plan?

  • The Stress of Caregiving on the Sandwich Generation

    Monday, February 25th, 2019

    A sandwich generation is defined as a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.

  • Wills, Trusts & Dying Intestate: How They Differ

    Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

    Many of us don’t take the steps to have an estate plan prepared because we don’t understand the nuances between wills and trusts – and dying without either.

  • The Cost of Second Wedded Bliss

    Monday, February 18th, 2019

    If one spouse in a marriage becomes ill, the assets of both spouses are, by and large, required to be spent on the ill spouse’s care before Medicaid benefits become available.

  • 5 Steps for Coordinating Plans Across Generations

    Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

    Intergenerational estate planning is important. This type of planning is about more than just helping one generation build as much wealth as possible.

  • Bill Paying Service for Seniors

    Monday, February 11th, 2019

    There are many reasons that accurate bill paying may become unmanageable for seniors. SilverBills and services like them are becoming increasingly popular for proper bill payment.

  • 2019 Advocacy Breakfast Collaborative

    Friday, February 8th, 2019

    Congratulations to Huck Bouma paralegal, Bonnie Schraedel,  the emcee of of the 2019 Advocacy Breakfast Collaborative.  This
    breakfast event was sponsored by Agency on Aging Northeastern Illinois. Bonnie sits on the Advisory Council of this Agency.

  • 3 Liability Planning Tips for Professionals

    Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

    Liability insurance, exemption planning, and business entities should be used together to create a multi-layered liability protection plan.

  • Neuroscientists’ Sleep Recommendations for Women

    Monday, February 4th, 2019

    Sleeping is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health and well-being.

  • How is a corporate trustee different?

    Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

    The duties of a trustee are many, as a trustee owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the trust.

  • The Surprising Health Risks of Hearing Loss

    Monday, January 28th, 2019

    Nearly 27 million Americans age 50 or older have hearing loss while only 1 in 7 of those adults use a hearing aid or implant device. Hearing is often the most overlooked of the five human senses.

  • Estate Planning: Why Me, Why Now, and Is a Will Enough?

    Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

    You are neither too young nor too poor to engage in estate planning!

  • The Internet of Medical Things

    Monday, January 21st, 2019

    Digital technologies and their application to senior medical needs offer the best hope to address existing and future needs.

  • The Silent Threat to Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

    Many often forget that changes in family dynamics and circumstances can threaten even the most well thought out estate plan.

  • Safer Shopping for Seniors

    Monday, January 14th, 2019

    When we think of shopping, there are certain risks that are always a possibility. Unfortunately, seniors are often more vulnerable to these risks.

  • Agency on Aging Appoints Bonnie Schradel to the Advisory Council

    Friday, January 11th, 2019

    The Board of Directors of the Agency on Aging of Northeastern Illinois has appointed our very own Bonnie Schradel to the Agency’s Advisory Council as a DuPage County representative.  Bonnie will fill a vacant position and serve a three-year term. Congratulations, Bonnie! Read more here:  Agency on Aging Northeastern Illinois.  

  • Wills v. Trusts: A Quick & Simple Reference Guide

    Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

    While some of the differences between wills and trusts are subtle; others are not.

  • Emotional Support Animals and Seniors

    Monday, January 7th, 2019

    Most of us know what a service animal is, but the use of emotional support animals is becoming more and more common.

  • Fun times in Aurora downtown this year, in community

    Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

    Huck Bouma attorney Gina Salamone is one volunteer at-large board member for Aurora Downtown.

  • Consider “Micro” Estate Planning in the New Year

    Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

    As with traditional estate plans, “micro” estate planning can help you plan ahead for the “what if” situations that may arise during your lifetime.

  • 8 New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors

    Monday, December 31st, 2018

    In 2019, set a goal that focuses on bettering your overall health, both physically and mentally. It’s easy to let a resolution get brushed under the rug, but it’ll be a priority if it’s something you’re truly passionate about changing.

  • The Silent Threat to Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

    What many often forget is that changes in family dynamics and circumstances can threaten even the most well thought out estate plan.

  • 10 Ways to Help Seniors have a Happy Holiday

    Monday, December 24th, 2018

    The holidays are a time for giving and thoughtfulness. Keep your loved ones in mind and help them have a wonderful holiday with you.

  • Murphy’s Law and Estate Planning

    Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

    As the old adage goes “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Referred to as Murphy’s law, this well-known saying has no mercy. Sadly, estate planning is no exception to its wrath.

  • Welcome Bruno Tabis, Jr.

    Monday, December 17th, 2018

    Huck Bouma PC is pleased to announce that  Bruno W. Tabis, Jr. has joined the Firm in the Business Services and Estate Planning Practice Groups. Welcome, Bruno!

  • Common Mistakes When Planning for a Disabled Family Member

    Monday, December 17th, 2018

    There are strict rules when it comes to creating special needs trusts for a disabled family member. There are also restrictions on what the money can be used for.

  • Planning on Giving Money this Holiday Season? 5 Things to Consider

    Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

    While gifting may be the right thing to do, it needs to be done so that everyone, including you, gets the maximum benefit. The tax implications to you depends upon the purpose of your gift, the type of gift, and whether the gift is to charity.

  • Tips for Dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Monday, December 10th, 2018

    Living, loving, and caring for someone who suffers from PTSD is no easy feat. Being informed and seeking help can greatly benefit all of those involved.

  • Your 5 Task Year-End Estate Planning To-Do List

    Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

    The end of the year can be a stressful time for many, but by completing this to-do list, you will be setting up for a financially secure new year.

  • Preparing Seniors for Winter

    Monday, December 3rd, 2018

    There are several ways that seniors and their loved ones can prepare for winter and the hazards that go along with colder weather. The goal of preparing is to help more vulnerable senior adults thrive during the winter months.

  • Three Tips for Talking About Your Estate Plan During the Holidays

    Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

    While discussing estate planning needs can be straightforward and simple, the conversation can quickly become complicated when personalities clash or emotions get in the way.

  • Giving Care, When You Need It Too

    Monday, November 26th, 2018

    Congress has recently passed the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, to establish a national strategy to provide assistance to caregivers — It’s very important that caregivers also take care of themselves.

  • Caution: Creditors Now Have Easy Access to Inherited IRAs

    Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

    Inherited retirement accounts do not have asset protection, meaning they can be seized by creditors.

  • Recognizing and Reporting Elder Abuse

    Monday, November 19th, 2018

    Elder abuse is a problem that takes many forms.

  • Planning With an Aim Towards Building Unity

    Friday, November 16th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group A will or trust contest can wreak havoc on families. The conflict can result in possibly irreparable resentment and loss of familial communication. Old rivalries and disputes can resurface during the trying time that occurs after the death of a loved one, especially a parent. But careful estate planning can help you substantially reduce the risk, or even avoid this problem entirely. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can build your estate plan to minimize family conflicts after you’re gone. Keep your plan up-to-date: An up-to-date estate plan […]

  • Trusts – The Swiss Army Knife of Estate Planning

    Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

    Trusts are a foundational estate planning tool with a solid history for being highly effective in ensuring a person’s wishes are carried out.

  • Veterans Day

    Monday, November 12th, 2018

    Veterans Day, a U.S. federal holiday, is a time to honor and thank those who are serving or have served in the military and are still with us.

  • The More You Know: Reverse Mortgages & Estate Planning

    Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

    Even if a reverse mortgage is right for your circumstances, entering into a reverse mortgage is something that should be understood fully before signing any paperwork.

  • Artificial Intelligence and Aging

    Monday, November 5th, 2018

    Senior care is being re-envisioned with the advent of artificial intelligence.

  • Congratulations!

    Thursday, November 1st, 2018

    Huck Bouma is pleased to recognize paralegal, Bonnie Schradel, in her official appointment to serve on the Advisory Council of the Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging.   Bonnie also is a member of the Naperville/Lisle Township TRIAD, a partnership of law enforcement, senior citizens and community groups.  Congratulations, Bonnie!

  • Your 2018 Taxes – Get Started Now

    Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

    While the end of the year is not quite here yet (but rapidly approaching), now is an opportune time to take a moment and start your year-end tax planning for 2018.

  • Special Needs Trusts – What You Need to Know

    Monday, October 29th, 2018

    Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson In general, a trust is created when property or assets are managed by a person or firm for another person’s benefit. The person or entity who manages the trust is known as the “trustee” and is entrusted with the responsibility of making decisions in the best interest of the person who benefits from the trust, known as the beneficiary. Trusts are advantageous because they provide the ability to place conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed when you die, reduce estate and gift taxes, and allow you to skip the probate process. […]

  • Estate Planning Considerations for Benefits Open Enrollment

    Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

    When considering any retirement plan offered through your employer such as a 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan, you will need to consider: what percentage of income you choose to contribute and whether the contribution must be made pre-tax, after-tax, or to a Roth plan (if available).

  • Solo Aging, Independent Living and Housemates

    Monday, October 22nd, 2018

    Solo aging in the baby boomer generation is becoming more prevalent, but many Americans are running out of family caregivers to assist them in their quest for elderly living independence.

  • Why Receiving an Inheritance Changes Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

    An inheritance can be used up faster than you would think, but proper planning can reduce this risk. If you have received an inheritance – or expect to receive one in the near future – it is vital that you seek out financial and legal advice.

  • New VA Rules Drastically Change VA Planning

    Monday, October 15th, 2018

    In September, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amended the rules regarding eligibility for VA pension.

  • TaxNotes Publication

    Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

    We are pleased to announce that attorney Emma Sadikovich’s  article entitled “Avoiding Misclassification of Dual-Status Workers Under IRS Rules” was recently published in the October 1, 2018 issue of Tax Notes.  

  • What Estate Planning Awareness Means For You

    Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

    The third week of October is National Estate Planning Awareness Week (Oct. 15-21, 2018). Estate planning is important for everyone — regardless of wealth or family status.

  • Estate Plans and Pre-Nups: Not Just For Movie Stars

    Monday, October 8th, 2018

    Do-it-yourself prenups are not the way to go. These contain none of the provisions needed to plan for Medicaid.

  • How to Successfully Make a “Large” Gift to Your Children or Grandchildren

    Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

    If you are able to articulate the goals and hopes you have in mind for your children’s or grandchildren’s financial legacy, a skilled estate plan attorney can advise you on the best way to make these a reality.

  • Reasons to Take Your Social Security Benefit Early

    Monday, October 1st, 2018

    While it is not always optimal, there are some reasons to take your Social Security benefit early.

  • Do Your Parents Have an Estate Plan?

    Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

    If you find yourself in the “sandwich generation” (someone who is caring for both your children as well as your parents simultaneously), you need to know whether or not your parents have put together an estate plan.

  • Spousal Dementia and its Effect on a Marriage

    Monday, September 24th, 2018

    Some states are advocating and providing the legal framework for advanced care planning for individuals in the event a person is diagnosed with dementia.

  • Your Fall “Legal Affairs” Checklist

    Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group With the fall season approaching, it’s an excellent time to review your affairs. Below is a checklist to ensure your planning meets your needs and is up-to-date: When were your Powers of Attorney last updated? A power of attorney is a valuable legal document, no matter what the circumstance. You should have both a Power of Attorney for Property (financial Power of Attorney) and a Power of Attorney for Health Care. Not only are Powers of Attorney flexible to meet your particular needs, but the Power of Attorney for Property can be […]

  • The Rise of Bankruptcy in the Lives of Aging Americans

    Monday, September 17th, 2018

    Posted by:  Jason T. Johns The golden years are turning into bankruptcy red for many retired and aging Americans. While medical advances are keeping seniors alive longer, the associated healthcare costs in the quest for longevity are being off-loaded onto the older individual at a time when reduced income is a hallmark of senior living. Bankruptcy Older Americans are increasingly filing for consumer bankruptcy. According to the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, the population aged 65 or more are filing for bankruptcy at a two-fold increase, and there is nearly a five-fold increase in the percentage of seniors in the US bankruptcy […]

  • Big “Life Changes” Often Mean Big “Estate Plan Changes”

    Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Many people who put together an estate plan do so when they start a family – assuming they put an estate plan together at all during their lifetime. While putting an estate plan together is a good thing to do, many people make few updates once the plan has been created, despite other key life events happening over the years. This is a major mistake that can place your hard-earned money and assets into a costly probate or into the wrong hands. To make sure you do not run into these issues […]

  • 3 Things to Consider When Your Special Needs Child Turns 18

    Monday, September 10th, 2018

    Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson Having a special needs child has many challenges. One of the toughest challenges faced by many parents is knowing how to best care for their special needs child as they reach adulthood. There are many areas that need consideration when planning for the transition of a special needs child to adulthood. Let’s take a look at some of these areas. Education During childhood, the public education system provides for the bulk of the care, structure, and services that a special needs child requires. However, once they are out of public education, this support and service […]

  • Cryptocurrency and Estate Planning: What You Need to Know

    Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

    If you own cryptocurrency — or are thinking about investing in digital currency — understand that you will need a technical access plan (a way to ensure your successors can access your digital wealth) in addition to a legal plan in order to effectively create an estate plan that incorporates these digital assets.

  • Labor Day 2018

    Monday, September 3rd, 2018

    Always the first Monday in September, Labor Day was the idea of Peter J. Maguire, a labor union leader who in 1882 proposed a celebration honoring the American worker.

  • Should your child’s guardian and trustee be the same person?

    Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

    Although there is no substitute for you as a parent, a Guardian is essentially someone who steps in as a parent, assuming the parental role and raising the child through adulthood. A Trustee, on the other hand, is in charge of managing the financial legacy that has been left behind for the minor. As a parent, you need to take into account the characteristics needed for each role.

  • Seniors and Drug Abuse

    Monday, August 27th, 2018

    Seniors often have multiple chronic pain conditions, it is easy to see how addiction rates can skyrocket among the senior population. But, it is more than just opioids.

  • How to Pick a Trustee, Executor, and Agent Under a Power of Attorney

    Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

    When you pick trustees, executors, and agents in your estate plan, you’re picking one or more people to make decisions in your and your beneficiaries’ best interests and in accordance with the instructions you leave.

  • Fraud and Patient Neglect for Profit in the American Hospice Care System

    Monday, August 20th, 2018

    Education about the hospice world, knowing what to expect as a patient or as a family member of a patient is crucial to the best outcome experience for all involved.

  • Five Considerations When Selecting a Guardian for Your Children

    Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

    Because a guardian plays such an important role in your family’s life, there are several factors to consider when choosing someone to take on this role.

  • America is Facing a Family Home Caregiver Shortage

    Monday, August 13th, 2018

    The number of family caregivers is shrinking at a time when the population that needs them is expanding at a rapid rate.

  • Retirement Planning for Business Owners

    Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group For many employees, saving for retirement is usually a matter of simply participating in their employer’s 401(k) plan and perhaps opening an IRA for some extra savings. But, when you’re the owner of a business, planning for retirement requires proactivity and strategy. It’s not just the dizzying array of choices for retirement accounts, there’s also planning for the business itself. Who will run the business after your retirement? Additionally, your estate plan must integrate into your retirement and business transition strategy. Owners of businesses (like employees and everyone else) want to make […]

  • Retirement Challenges Faced by Women

    Monday, August 6th, 2018

    To avoid running out of money, retirement planning for women has to specifically address and strategize how to maintain retirement income well into their 80s and 90s.

  • What to Do with Your Beloved Collection

    Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Whether your beloved collection consists of artwork, books, cars, music, or other significant items, you should not forget about this valuable asset when estate planning. You have likely spent quite some time — whether years or your entire life — building your collection; you should not leave its fate to the whims of the court. Estate planning is a great way to share the value and meaning of these much loved items with those you leave behind. Through your estate plan, you can explain to your loved ones why you collected these […]

  • Major Overhaul of Veteran Care Passed by Senate

    Monday, July 23rd, 2018

    Once enacted, Senate Bill S2373 will create the Veterans Community Care Program and a newly developed claims reimbursement process ready for use in 2019.

  • Legal Considerations When Getting Your New College Student Ready to Go

    Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group If you are preparing to send your son or daughter off to college to pursue a higher education, you may be wondering how their first semester of school will go. During this exciting new chapter in your family’s life, the last thing you may be thinking about is estate planning for your college-aged child. While your child may not have any assets (yet), once he or she turns 18, your child is considered an adult in the eyes of the law. Before your kids go away, have a frank conversation with them […]

  • Legal Considerations When Getting Your New College Student Ready to Go

    Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

    Before your kids leave for college, have a frank conversation with them about how much information — including grades, finances, health records — you will be able to access.

  • Make Sure Your Wishes Are Carried Out

    Monday, July 16th, 2018

    Having an estate plan is necessary for you to have a say in what happens if you become sick and cannot make decisions for yourself, and to determine what happens with your money and your belongings after death.

  • Digital Afterlife: An Estate Plan For Your Facebook Account

    Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

    While the internet has made our lives easier by allowing us to access our information with the simple push of a button, it may be difficult for our loved ones to do the same once we are gone….

  • Identity Fraud Targeting the Elderly

    Monday, July 9th, 2018

    Posted by:  Gina Salamone The largest coordinated sweep of identity fraud involving US seniors has recently been conducted. The US Department of Justice has reported that more than one million elderly people have collectively lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of this targeted financial abuse. The Department has criminally charged 200 out of 250 defendants identified in the sweep. These third party scam artists account for 27% of seniors who are financially exploited. Con artists and scammers employ many different schemes to defraud seniors of their identity information and money. A large number of them are conducted over the […]

  • 3 Tips For Every New Homeowner

    Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Congratulations on the purchase of your new home. Whether this is your first home or an upgrade/downsize, the purchasing of a home is a big event in your life. When these major life changes occur, it is important that you are properly prepared. Below are a few things for you to consider now that you finally have the keys to your new home! Update Your Address Now that you are in your new home, it is very important that you update your address with the appropriate entities. Your local United States Postal […]

  • 3 Reasons Veterans Should Have a Professional Advocate

    Monday, July 2nd, 2018

    Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson The number of stories of veterans’ benefits getting tied up in the system is not only sad but startling. A quick internet search leads to story after story of veterans who have struggled to receive the benefits that are owed to them. Robert DiCicco spent his final years battling through the red tape to get his benefits and pay for the bills to his assisted living facility. The sad part is he didn’t live to see it. The benefits he was owed did come through ten days after his death, but they were taken back […]

  • Tom Christensen recently won a successful jury verdict in a commercial litigation case

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

    Tom Christensen recently won a successful jury verdict in a commercial litigation case.  After efforts to resolve the case before trial were unsuccessful, Tom tried the case to a jury in the Circuit Court of Cook County.  The jury rejected defenses raised by the defendant and returned verdicts in favor of Tom’s client on both of two breach of contract counts, awarding total damages of approximately $375,000.00.  Tom handles commercial litigation cases and construction disputes and can be reached via email at tchristensen@huckbouma.com, or by phone at (630)344-1152.

  • Estate Planning & Elder Law Special Situations: Case Studies of Autism and Dementia

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

    At the January 24, 2015 DuPage County Bar Association Mega Meeting, Huck Bouma attorney, Katie May, (together with attorneys Carol Nolan and Cynthia Hutchins), will be presenting the program entitled, Estate Planning & Elder Law Special Situations: Case Studies of Autism and Dementia.  This program will be held at the Sheraton™ Lisle Hotel.

  • One Call You Must Make After You Buy a Home – That You’ve Probably Forgotten

    Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group During the home buying process, you worked with a lot of individuals: your realtor, the seller’s realtor, the title company, the loan officer, and the home inspector.  Now that you have finalized the purchase of your house, there is one more expert you need to call: your estate planning attorney. Aligning Your Ownership with Existing Estate Planning First, your attorney can help you review the new documents associated with your home purchase in conjunction with your existing estate plan to ensure that everything aligns and works towards your overall estate planning objectives. […]

  • Solo Aging and the Challenges It Brings

    Monday, June 25th, 2018

    Posted by:  Jason T. Johns For some seniors in the baby boomer generation, aging brings with it new challenges in the form of solo aging. Solo aging is a senior who has no children and no younger (or healthier) family members to assist them as they age. As in generations before, baby boomers are living longer and healthier lives, but for some there is no escaping the eventualities of disease like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes or dementia. Others may require extensive care following a fall that results in a broken hip or other serious injury. In prior generations when an […]

  • Joint Tenancy Pitfalls: The ‘Simple’ Fix that Can Leave Your Family Broke

    Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group There are many ways to own your assets. When you die, it is only natural that you want your family to share in the bounty of your hard work. As a way to simplify the transfer process and avoid probate, you may be tempted to add a child or other relative to the deed or bank account utilizing the ownership type of joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTwROS).  However, while this type of ownership delivers a lot of potential benefits, it may also be masking some dangerous pitfalls. Under JTwROS, when […]

  • Respite Care Options for Caregivers

    Monday, June 18th, 2018

    Posted by:  Gina Salamone Respite care is substitute care for when a caregiver needs a break. If possible, these breaks should be scheduled regularly, giving the caregiver time to rest. It can be for a short period like a day or  just a few hours, or even for a vacation. Respite care is often overlooked. However, this type of care should be carefully considered when a family member makes the decision to become a caregiver for a loved one or when hiring a full-time caregiver for a senior. The emotional and physical stress of caregiving can cause illness, depression, and […]

  • VA Aid and Attendance Workshop

    Friday, June 15th, 2018

    On Thursday, June 14, 2018, Huck Bouma attorney  Gina Salamone conducted a VA Aid and Attendance Workshop at Senior Star, Weber Place, in Romeoville IL.  Gina discussed — among other things — how to qualify, monthly tax-free benefits, widow’s pension,

  • Medicaid and Work Requirements

    Friday, June 15th, 2018

    Medicaid and Work Requirements Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a State Medicaid Director Letter providing new guidance for Section 1115 waiver proposals that would impose work requirements in Medicaid as a condition of eligibility. The CMS has approved work requirement waivers for Kentucky, Indiana and Arkansas. As many as 13 other states have pending waiver requests and/or have stated they plan to apply. These include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin. Overview The CMS guidance describes […]

  • Planning Your Summer Vacation? 5 Things to Consider Now

    Friday, June 15th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Here in northern Illinois, winter is over and flowers are beginning to bud. This can only mean one thing: summer vacation planning season is here. As vacation planning kicks into high gear, here are a few important things to add to your vacation readiness checklist. Guardian nomination If it’s just you and a spouse leaving for a getaway this summer, who is going to take care of the kids while you’re gone? And, heaven forbid, who will care for them if you don’t return? Double-check your guardian nomination for your minor children […]

  • The Biggest Threats to Successful Estate Planning

    Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Poor estate planning is a recipe for disaster. Look no further than Dickens’ Bleak House—or a telenovela—to witness the tragedy and melodrama inadequate estate planning can cause. While having your estate planning documents prepared is the first hurdle to overcoming these types of disasters, there are several threats that lurk around the corner that might derail your wishes. Family Conflict According to a TF Wealth survey of over 100 estate planning professionals, family conflict is the number one risk to a peaceful inheritance. If children are treated differently under the estate plan, there is […]

  • Simplifying the “Power of attorney” Conversation with your Parent

    Monday, June 11th, 2018

    Meet Charlie, a 72-year-old Vietnam veteran. All of Charlie’s life, he’s done everything on his own and rarely accepts help from others, even more rarely will you find him admitting he needs help. He is stubborn as a mule and strong in his convictions, chiefly of which is his sense of pride in taking care of his family and himself with no assistance. However, his daughter, Lisa has begun to notice her dad is forgetting where his keys are. This is not just the normal forgetfulness every now and then that we all suffer from; every time he wants to […]

  • Financial Planning. Tax Planning. Legacy Planning. Estate Planning – How many plans do I need?!

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Most folks have at least heard of an estate plan. But few people realize that a simple will is not enough to prepare for your future. In fact, a combination of plans – financial, tax, legacy, and estate – are vital to your financial well-being and protection of your assets and family. All of these plans are closely linked, affecting one another but also serving different purposes. Different Plans for Life Success Contrary to popular belief, in order to get to where you want to go in life you need multiple plans, […]

  • Mind, Body, and Spirit…3 Reasons for Seniors to Stay Active

    Monday, June 4th, 2018

    Physical activity has many benefits for senior citizens. These benefits can provide great improvement for the quality of life for seniors. Physical activity provides many benefits for the body, the mind, and the spirit. Mind The effects of aging can affect the mind and this is a concern for seniors and for the ones who care about them. Regular physical activity can reduce or slow down these effects. Exercise can slow the progress of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Blood flow to the brain is increased which stimulates the brain and helps to improve function. Many seniors suffer from insomnia brought […]

  • Welcome Krista A. Smith

    Monday, June 4th, 2018

    Huck Bouma PC is pleased to announce that attorney Krista A. Smith has joined the Firm as a member of its Business Services Practice Group. Welcome,  Krista!

  • Why Not Just Go on NoloⓇ and Create Your Own Estate Planning Documents Cheaply?

    Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group There are many software programs, as well as websites, that sell do-it-yourself estate planning documents. These websites and form tools seem to offer a convenient and cost-effective alternative to consulting with an estate planning attorney. But do they really meet your needs and protect your family? Is online, do-it-yourself estate planning worth the perceived upfront savings? Penny Wise and Pound Foolish In all but the simplest scenarios, do-it-yourself estate planning is risky and can become a costly substitute for comprehensive in-person planning with a professional legal advisor. Typically, these online programs and […]

  • Memorial Day

    Monday, May 28th, 2018

    Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2018 occurs on Monday, May 28. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season. EARLY OBSERVANCES OF MEMORIAL DAY The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than […]

  • How to Fix 5 Common Estate Planning Problems

    Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Not surprisingly, most people loathe reviewing their estate plan because it can be both confusing and daunting. Others do not want to think about death and avoid the topic altogether. If you have already put an estate plan together, you are ahead of the curve, as many people do not have one. If you do not yet have an estate plan, there is no better time than now to sit down and get one in place. In either scenario, below are five common estate planning mistakes and how to fix them so […]

  • 3 Issues Faced by Senior Living Facilities

    Monday, May 21st, 2018

    Senior living faces many issues. Solutions to these problems are consistently being discussed by the government and other stakeholders. However, many of these issues are difficult and costly to solve. Let’s take a closer look at the major issues. Staffing It has been reported that shortages in staff are expected to reach crisis level in the years to come. This is due to difficult working conditions and low wages, which is affecting the ability to recruit and keep quality staff. In addition, the demand for high quality care continues to increase, while the number of capable individuals is in short […]

  • The One Thing Every New Grandparent MUST Do As Soon as Possible

    Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Congratulations on welcoming the newest addition to your family. Being a new grandparent changes everything — including how you approach your finances — and is one of the most joyous occasions in life. The excitement of a new baby — and all of the firsts that come with this bundle of joy — can grab all of your attention and focus. That being said, there is one thing that every new grandparent must do as soon as possible that is often overlooked. Specifically, every new grandparent should immediately create (or revise) an […]

  • Lawsuit Claims That Uber Discriminates Against Wheelchair Riders

    Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

    A nonprofit disability rights organization filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber, claiming the ride-hailing service discriminates against New York City riders with disabilities by not providing enough access to vehicles that can accommodate wheelchairs.

  • How Remodeling a Client Trust Can Retain Assets Under Management while Saving Clients Money

    Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

    How Remodeling a Client Trust Can Retain Assets Under Management while Saving Clients Money Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group It’s a common misconception that clients can take a set-it-and-leave-it approach to trusts.  Much as houses or office buildings, even those that were originally well-built, must be remodeled or updated from time to time, a trust-centered estate plan can often benefit from a remodel or refresh. Although the principle of trust-centered estate planning has stood the test of time, there are many reasons, such as the recent tax reform, a change in family wealth or circumstances, or just […]

  • Lawsuit Claims That Uber Discriminates Against Wheelchair Riders

    Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

    Posted by: Jennifer A. Johnson A nonprofit disability rights organization filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber, claiming the ride-hailing service discriminates against New York City riders with disabilities by not providing enough access to vehicles that can accommodate wheelchairs. “Having grown rapidly since it began operating in New York in 2011, Uber provides hundreds of thousands of rides a day in New York City, but for riders who need wheelchair-accessible vehicles, it provides vastly inferior service, or in many cases, no service at all,” according to the lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday by […]

  • Americans are Increasingly Avoiding Going to the Doctor

    Monday, May 14th, 2018

    Despite the fact there are increased numbers of insured Americans, fewer are going to the doctor’s office. Why is this happening? The answer is lack of affordability. Even with the benefits of health insurance, many struggle to afford medical costs. A survey by the West Health Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago between one-third and one-half of people ages 45 to 59 and one-quarter of those 60 or over went without needed health care in the past year due to its cost. Dr. Zia Agha, Chief Medical Officer at West Health Institute, further comments on the study saying […]

  • Beneficiary Designations and a Blended Family: Why You Need to Think Before You Sign

    Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Whether you are in your first marriage or have remarried after a divorce, blended families are a common part of modern society. That being said, it is important to understand that blended families and subsequent marriages create important and unique issues when it comes to estate planning. You may need to account for a prior spouse who is still caring for minor or disabled children, and also possibly make sure your current spouse and any children you had together – and any step children – are also taken care of after you […]

  • May is National Elder Law Month

    Monday, May 7th, 2018

    Where the month of May celebrates mothers and the Kentucky Derby, it has also been designated as National Elder Law month. This designation was coined by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), a professional association of attorneys dedicated to improving the quality of legal services provided to older Americans and individuals with special needs. During the month of May, Elder Law attorneys across the country educate the public about legal options in dealing with long-term and health-care planning, special-needs planning, Medicaid eligibility, elder abuse, fraud and other important issues. Statistically, with baby boomers turning into seniors, the aging […]

  • Mega Seminar

    Saturday, May 5th, 2018

    Huck Bouma attorneys Jennifer Johnson and Gina Salamone spoke at the Mega Seminar, sponsored by Pankau Law, held at the Bloomingdale Golf Club on Saturday, May 5, 2018.

  • Estate Planning When Not All of Your Kids are in the Family Business

    Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Owning your own business can be a great endeavor that takes a lot of passion and drive. Many small business owners focus on the day-to-day management and growth of the business, rather than thinking about a time when they may no longer be in the business. This is a far too common mistake.  Future plans for your enterprise are even more important when one child works in the business but the others do not. Keeping the peace among your children after you are no longer able to participate in the business requires […]

  • Keeping Care in the Family: Putting It In Writing

    Monday, April 30th, 2018

    Dorothy lived alone after her husband died. Soon, her son Damien began to notice that she didn’t have enough clean clothes, her fridge was empty, and she had fallen a few times. Clearly if Dorothy were going to stay at home – and who wouldn’t rather do that, if possible – she would need help. Damien was willing to move in and care for Dorothy, but he would have to sell his house and quit his job, losing employment benefits and putting his career on hold. However, if he could be paid for Dorothy’s care, that would ease the sacrifice […]

  • Roth IRA conversions after tax reform . . . still a good idea?

    Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Twenty years ago, the Roth IRA first became available to investors as a financial tool for their estate planning needs. These accounts have maintained their popularity because unlike their traditional IRA counterpart, a Roth IRA provides account owners tax-free income during retirement. In fact, many people chose to convert their traditional IRA or 401(k) plan into a Roth IRA to benefit from this long-term tax advantage. (Of course, there is a current tax bill that has to be considered when you make a conversion.) The recently enacted tax reform, however, has removed […]

  • Benefits of Walking

    Monday, April 23rd, 2018

    Walking: It is one of the most effective ways to maintain your overall health as you age. It provides a myriad of benefits both physical and mental. Grab a buddy and walk! It can be your spouse, your neighbor, your children, a friend, your dog or any combination of these. If you don’t have a dog, consider adopting. Dogs are wonderful companions and can reduce your stress levels and they are dedicated to wanting to walk! Of course, prior to embarking on a new walking program (particularly if you already have health complications), talk to your physician first about how […]

  • The Illinois CPA Society

    Thursday, April 19th, 2018

    The Illinois CPA Society, in recognizing outstanding leaders within the CPA community, presented to Huck Bouma shareholder, Aaron Ruswick, JD, LLM a 2018 Distinguished Service Award for his work with its Fox Valley Chapter.  Congratulations, Aaron!

  • Are Your Documents Following the Same Script? Basics of Beneficiary Forms and Estate Planning

    Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

    In the event of your untimely death, the manner in which your beneficiaries — or those people who receive your assets from your estate — are determined is highly dependent on how your property is titled. Generally, property with title includes vehicles, boats, airplanes, real estate, bank accounts, savings bonds, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and stock certificates. If you die without a will or a trust and haven’t used any beneficiary or transfer on death options, state law will determine who inherits property with a title. On the other hand, property without a title, such as jewelry, antiques, art, […]

  • Care Options for Adults with Special Needs

    Monday, April 16th, 2018

    There are numerous care options available for adults with special needs. The options available range for those with special needs who are able to be more independent to those who need advanced medical care. It is important to match the person’s needs and desires with the best possible living option or combination of options. Family Family is the first care option that most people consider. For some adults with special needs, family is a great option. Parents often care for their special needs child until they are no longer able to and then other family members, such as adult siblings, […]

  • Estate Planning for People Living Together, Bachelors, and Bachelorettes

    Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group  Approximately half of America’s population over the age of 16 is unmarried. While much of the discussion involving estate planning focuses on married couples, this topic is just as important for a single person. In fact, often it is even more important that a single person have a well-coordinated estate plan because the default laws governing estates often work poorly for people without a spouse and may not adequately provide for a significant other or unmarried partner. Having a cohesive and well-drafted estate plan will ensure that you protect and provide for […]

  • Creative Financial Approaches to Long Term Care Services

    Monday, April 9th, 2018

    Long term care insurance was sold aggressively in the 1980s and thereafter to offset the costs of seniors needing to live in a nursing home, assisted living or needing at home health care. Now, however, the business of long term care insurance has dramatically changed. What was once over 100 insurers providing LTC policies for sale has shrunk to a pool of less than 20 insurers who continue to sell the health care product. The big financial problem was that the majority of insurers had badly underestimated the longevity of these long term care policy holders and how many claims […]

  • Five Surprisingly Common Planning Mistakes Baby Boomers are Making in Droves

    Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Baby boomers: – the first generation tasked with the responsibility of planning for and funding their golden years. This generation, which includes those born between 1946 and 1964, have entered and continue to enter into retirement. As they make this financial transition into retirement, many are learning that they have made some of the most typical retirement mistakes. But, even if you’ve made a financial mistake or two, there’s still time to avoid these five surprisingly common planning mistakes baby boomers are making in droves. Mistake #1: Believing Estate Planning is Only […]

  • Alzheimer’s 101: Understanding the Basics

    Monday, April 2nd, 2018

    What is Alzheimer’s Disease? Alzheimer’s disease is defined as an irreversible, progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age. It is the most common form of dementia. What causes Alzheimer’s Disease? Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a generalized deterioration of the brain. The disease is caused by a combination of factors, including genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. There are a variety of factors that put people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Age and genetics are risk factors. As people age or if there is a family history of Alzheimer’s, there is a greater risk of the onset […]

  • Planned Giving

    Friday, March 30th, 2018

    At the February, 2018 special meeting of the Board of Directors of the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, IL, Huck Bouma shareholder Brett Dale recently spoke on the topic of Planned Giving – presenting giving options and discussing changes in tax considerations for donors. The Fine Line Creative Arts Center provides instruction, exploration and appreciation of traditional and contemporary fine arts and crafts in an inspirational, natural setting.

  • Medicaid Divorce: Maybe . . . Maybe Not.

    Monday, March 26th, 2018

    Harry and Wanda got married late in life. This was their second marriage, and both had children from the prior marriages. The couple wanted their children to inherit from their respective parents, so Harry and Wanda signed a prenuptial agreement to keep their property clearly separated. Unfortunately, Harry was then diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Medical bills piled up, his condition worsened, and soon Wanda was no longer able to care for him at home. But the cost of nursing-home care was formidable. The Medicaid program is designed to help pay for that staggering cost. However, before a couple can be eligible, […]

  • How Estate Planning Can Help You Dream About Your Future

    Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group A dream without a plan is simply a wish. Estate planning is not just about death and taxes — it puts you in the driver’s seat of your financial life, allowing you to set achievable goals. It is a great opportunity to focus on the legacy you want to leave behind for loved ones, help you avoid the expense and delay of probate, as well as help you save on taxes. Putting Your Dreams on Paper When putting together your estate plan, think about what legacy you want to leave behind. The […]

  • What the New Tax Bill Means for You

    Monday, March 19th, 2018

    Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December of 2017 which is aimed at cutting taxes for corporations and all Americans. While the bulk of the legislation went into effect January 2018, most taxpayers will not see much of a difference in their taxes until 2019, when they file their 2018 income taxes. However, there are several important changes seniors need to be aware of now that could affect not only their tax bill, but other items such as their health care premiums. Legislation as complicated as a new tax code can be difficult to dissect, and certainly […]

  • How Will Tax Reform Impact Seniors and Persons with Disabilities?

    Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

    How Will Tax Reform Impact Seniors and Persons with Disabilities? The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) is now officially law. Both the House and Senate passed the new tax reform bill in December with straight party-line votes and no support from Democrats. President Trump signed it into law right before Christmas. It is the first overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years. It’s Good News for Most Americans Retirees, most of whom are on relatively fixed incomes, are probably the most concerned about what the new tax law will mean for them. But, generally, they will […]

  • Is There an Income Tax Time Bomb Lurking in Your Estate Plan?

    Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Many people who inherit wealth or small businesses are at significant risk for essentially squandering the wealth. An Ohio University study shows that an astonishing 33 percent1 of all beneficiaries lose their entire inheritance within two years of receiving it. The ways they manage to do so are as varied as the imagination, but in our experience we have seen a common thread: mismanagement. How beneficiaries lose their way There are a few key ways beneficiaries struggle to make the right financial decisions with their inheritances. For example, a beneficiary might not have […]

  • What Happens to Your Student Loan Debt When You Die?

    Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group There are two issues many people prefer to avoid thinking about: death and debt. Unfortunately, both of these seem to be inevitable. Student loan debt is a part of life nowadays, particularly for students obtaining advanced or professional degrees. As of 2017, the total national student debt is over $1.4 trillion with college students graduating with an average of $17,126 in debt for their degree. Students are not alone in their debt load. Approximately $81 billion of the debt is in Parent PLUS loans. So what happens to your student loan debt […]

  • How to Recognize Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

    Monday, March 12th, 2018

    It is important that families stay involved in the lives of their loved ones once they have been placed in a nursing home. This is the best way to prevent or recognize abuse. Below are the five main categories of abuse and their warning signs: Neglect – Neglect can be intentional or unintentional on the part of the nursing home facility. Neglect happens when a patient’s needs are not being met. This includes not providing appropriate food, water, medical, and personal care for the patient. This can be an intentional choice on the part of the staff or it can happen […]

  • Happy International Womens’ Day!

    Thursday, March 8th, 2018

    A ‘toast’, from all of the powerful women here at Huck Bouma, PC!

  • Small Business Owner? Know What Can Happen to Your Business If You Become Incapacitated or Pass Away

    Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Preparing your company for your incapacity or death is vital to the survival of the enterprise. Otherwise, your business will be disrupted, harming your customers, employees, vendors, and ultimately, your family. For this reason, proactive financial planning — including your business and your estate plan — is key. Below are some tips on how to protect your company and keep the business on track and operating day-to-day in your absence. Preparing for the Unexpected If you are a small business owner, your focus is likely on keeping the company running on a […]

  • Three Health Care Tips for Tax Time

    Monday, March 5th, 2018

    As tax time nears, it’s important to understand how changes in health care may affect what you owe for 2017 and 2018. This time of year typically creates a lot of consumer confusion, and getting all the facts straight can be tricky. With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate recently in the news, this topic is certain to cause particular issues this year. Aside from the individual mandate, other health care expenses can also affect your tax return, including Health Savings Accounts and high-cost medical expenses. If you’re trying to beat the tax time rush, here are a few […]

  • Three Health Care Tips for Tax Time

    Monday, March 5th, 2018

    As tax time nears, it’s important to understand how changes in health care may affect what you owe for 2017 and 2018. This time of year typically creates a lot of consumer confusion, and getting all the facts straight can be tricky. With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate recently in the news, this topic is certain to cause particular issues this year. Aside from the individual mandate, other health care expenses can also affect your tax return, including Health Savings Accounts and high-cost medical expenses. If you’re trying to beat the tax time rush, here are a few […]

  • Who Should I Pick to be Successor Trustee?

    Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group When you create a living trust, you usually need to choose who to name as your successor trustee. It is crucial that this decision is not taken lightly and that the right person is selected for the job. Role of Successor Trustee If you become incapacitated, your successor trustee will step into your shoes and take full control of your trust assets on your behalf. This means he or she will have full authority to make financial decisions — including selling or refinancing trust assets. In fact, as long as the act […]

  • Advanced Care Directives: Are They Necessary?

    Monday, February 26th, 2018

    Most of us don’t like to think about the possibility of something harmful happening to us or a loved one. Because of this, we rarely think about how to protect ourselves and our loved ones if the worst were to happen. However, just as it is important to buy home insurance to protect your home and auto insurance to protect your vehicle, every individual should have an advanced care directive to protect themselves if they were no longer able to make decisions for their health care, end of life, living arrangements, and various other personal matters. The basic definition of […]

  • What Do Successor Trustees and Executors Do?

    Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Executor’s Duties An Executor, sometimes called a Personal Representative, is the person who is named in a Will, appointed by the court, and responsible for probating the Will and settling the estate. Depending on the state, an Executor may work under court supervision or may use so-called “independent” administration for an unsupervised probate. Typically, a petition must be filed with the court for an Executor to be appointed. If the person agrees to be the Executor, and no one objects, the court will issue Letters of Office. These letters authorize the Executor […]

  • Tax Reform: Solutions for Your Clients and Their Estate Planning

    Thursday, February 15th, 2018

    In December 2017, Congress passed, and President Trump signed a sweeping tax reform bill commonly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This new Act contains several significant changes that will impact your clients and their estate planning. Estate Tax Changes Starting January 1, 2018, the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemptions double from $5 million to $10 million (adjusted for inflation).  For 2018, the exemption is now $11.2 million per person ($22.4 million for a married couple). As was the case under prior law, the exemption will adjust annually for inflation, providing us with additional opportunities […]

  • Avoiding Disastrous Will or Trust Lawsuits

    Thursday, February 15th, 2018

    How to Keep Family Squabbles from Undermining Estate Plans Family discord that results in a will or trust contest can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally painful for your client’s family. For you, the advisor, this disharmony usually leads to severely damaged relationships and a loss of assets under management. It’s important to keep a close eye on your clients’ familial rifts and work with us to use proactive planning to mitigate the risk of potential litigation. Sometimes the holidays bring out the best behavior in a family, but other times they can serve to highlight the division and risk of […]

  • Recent Updates in Estate and Income Tax Planning Webinar

    Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

    On both Tuesday, March 6 and Wednesday, March 7, Huck Bouma PC will be hosting part Two of Our Three-Part Webinar Series, entitled “Recent Updates in Estate and Income Tax Planning”.  This webinar, presented by Firm Shareholders, Brett Dale and Aaron Ruswick, will cover topics of recent interest, including (but not limited to): Developments in the New Federal Tax Act, How You Can Benefit from the New Estate and Gift Tax Exemption before it expires,How to Use the New 199A Deductions.   You may register for this Webinar by clicking on the Register Now button within the Webinar invitation, or by clicking here to be directed […]

  • Are Payable-On-Death Accounts Right For You?

    Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group A payable-on-death account, also called a POD account, is a common way to keep bank and investment accounts out of probate, the court-supervised process that oversees distributing a deceased person’s property. Most people want to avoid their estate going through probate because their heirs will receive the inheritance faster, privately, and at lower cost. Is a POD account an appropriate solution for your needs? Let’s examine what POD accounts do and how they fit into the overall picture. POD Accounts: The Nuts and Bolts A POD designation can be set up for […]

  • Flu Season is Shaping up as One of the Worst in Years

    Sunday, February 11th, 2018

    Officials say that this flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent years. The rate of flu hospitalizations — the number of people hospitalized with influenza per 100,000 — rose sharply last week compared with the previous week. In mid-January it was 22.7 per 100,000 people; earlier that month, the rate was 13.7. At the peak of the 2014-15 season, one of the two most severe seasons in the last 15 years or so, 29.9 people out of every 100,000 were hospitalized with the flu. The most recent data suggests the season may be peaking […]

  • Promise You Won’t Put Me Away.

    Friday, February 9th, 2018

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske We probably all, to some degree, regardless of age, gender or station in life, harbor a fear that, near the end of our lives, we will be “committed” to a nursing home. This Washington Post article points out that “the promise is a red herring.” What the person is really asking is: “‘Promise me you’ll protect my dignity, promise you’ll protect my privacy, promise to make sure I don’t live in pain.’” I am reading a book that discusses the issues involved in aging and long-term health care: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the […]

  • Why Your Estate Planner Needs to Know If You’ve Lent Money to Family

    Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Many children and grandchildren are skipping the traditional bank and obtaining loans from parents or grandparents. Unfortunately, we have all heard stories of families torn apart because of disagreements over money. So, what can you do to make sure your intra-family loans help — rather than hurt — your family? As far as estate planning is concerned, money you lend to others is legally an asset. If you have lent money to a family member, the presence of these assets in your estate can be problematic for your surviving family members. This […]

  • Facebook Job Ads Raise Concerns About Age Discrimination

    Monday, February 5th, 2018

    Recently, Verizon placed an ad on Facebook to recruit applicants for a unit focused on financial planning and analysis. The ad showed a smiling, millennial-aged woman seated at a computer and promised that new hires could look forward to a rewarding career in which they would be “more than just a number.” Some relevant numbers were not immediately evident. The promotion was set to run on the Facebook feeds of users 25 to 36 years old who lived in the nation’s capital, or had recently visited there, and had demonstrated an interest in finance. For a vast majority of the […]

  • Debt After Death: Why You Should Think About It When Estate Planning

    Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group If you carry debt, do not assume that your death or incapacity will make it automatically disappear. To the contrary, the money you owe may eat away at the assets you were planning to leave to your heirs or — if you owe a large amount of money — may wipe out your estate completely. Debt comes in many different forms, including credit cards, student loans, car payments, mortgages, and other financial obligations. Not Just About Assets Estate planning lets you name people you trust to manage your affairs if you’re unable […]

  • Aging is a Success Story

    Monday, January 29th, 2018

    Aging is the sign of a successful life. After all, when you think about the alternative to aging your perspective about getting older shifts. You should start seeking self-sufficiency for your retirement years well before the age of sixty-five. But, even if you have not done so, don’t shun the planning stages. You need to address planning no matter what your age. Some preparation is better than none at all! It can provide you with some peace of mind and can take pressure off of family members who would have to make their own income adjustments to be able to […]

  • How Your Health Savings Account (HSA) Works with Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group If you’re enrolled in a qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you must consider how your health savings account (HSA) fits into your estate plan—especially to make sure that any hard-earned money left in your HSA when you die goes where you want it. What is an HSA? An HSA is an account whose funds may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses or saved for expenses that arise in the future. These accounts have several tax advantages. You can deduct contributions to the account up to the yearly limit. You pay no income […]

  • Facts about Veterans Benefits for Veterans and their Families

    Monday, January 22nd, 2018

    1.   The term “Veterans Benefits” is somewhat misleading. Only a percentage of the people covered by VA benefits served formerly in the Armed Forces. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides vocational rehabilitation, health care, employment services, pensions and more to both active and former service members, as well as their spouses, widows, parents and children. 2.   When you make up your mind to apply for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs it is beneficial to have all of your important documents and forms ready, because they will most certainly be needed. Relatives of Veterans who wish to apply for […]

  • Organizing for Tax (and Estate Planning) Season

    Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group It’s the start of a new year, which means tax season—and this year’s April 17th IRS filing deadline—is just around the corner. Soon you’ll be receiving tax forms such as your W-2 or 1099s, and you’ll start thinking about the life events that could affect your taxes in various ways. This flurry of tax prep activity is the perfect opportunity to get your estate plan in order, too, and kill two birds with one proverbial stone. Why? Because as you run down your list of “tax prep” questions, you will find that […]

  • Report Sounds Alarm about Vouchers and Students with Disabilities

    Monday, January 15th, 2018

    Across the country, thousands of children attend private schools through publicly funded voucher programs and education savings accounts, with states giving money directly to parents to spend at a school of their choice. But parents sacrifice legal safeguards if their child with a disability attends a private school through these programs, according to a recent report released by the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”). Protections that require public schools to provide speech therapy, tutoring and specialized education plans do not apply to private schools. The GAO report found that many states with voucher programs and education savings accounts do not inform […]

  • First Look at the Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code

    Monday, January 15th, 2018

    First Look at the Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code by Jeramie J. Fortenberry, JD, LLM On September 27, 2017, the Trump Administration, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Senate Committee on Finance released a long-awaited tax proposal, titled the Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code (the Unified Framework).Anchor1 The Unified Framework proposes to repeal the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes while also lowering rates for businesses and individuals. Overview of the Unified Framework President Trump campaigned on promises to simplify the Internal Revenue Code and provide tax relief for middle-class Americans. On […]

  • What to Expect from Estate Planning in 2018

    Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group 2017 is now fading into the rearview mirror. As we all look ahead to 2018, let’s consider a few things to watch regarding estate planning, so you and your family can be completely protected. The federal estate tax. The federal estate tax has been in a state of flux ever since the early 2000s when the Bush administration’s first tax cuts changed the exemption and tax rates. The recently-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the latest significant change. Starting January 1, 2018, the estate tax exemption amount will double to $11.2 million […]

  • Harassment Issues Require Serious Approach

    Monday, January 8th, 2018

    Employment Law attorney Brian LaFratta was recently interviewed by Jim Kendall of Kendall Communications on issues of workplace harassment.  The resulting article, entitled “Harassment Issues Require Serious Approach”, was published in the Daily Herald on January 8.  You can read Jim’s article at https://huckbouma.com/article/harassment-issues-require-serious-approach/ , or in the Daily Herald, at https://www.dailyherald.com/business/20180108/harassment-issues-require-serious-approach. Jim writes a weekly column for the Daily Herald on a range of small business issues.

  • Carl E. Fasig has joined the Firm

    Monday, January 8th, 2018

    ​Huck Bouma PC is pleased to announce that attorney Carl E. Fasig has joined the Firm as a member of its Business Services Practice Group. Welcome, Carl!

  • Memory Care Innovations

    Monday, January 8th, 2018

    Within the next 20 years, the need for memory care housing options will become more necessary than ever. In 2016 alone, more than 2.5 million Baby Boomers turned 70 years old, the youngest boomers hitting age 52. With advancing age comes an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. Recent estimates state that the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease could potentially triple from the 5 million sufferers in 2013 to around 14 million by the year 2050. By the year 1976, Alzheimer’s disease was officially identified as the most common cause of dementia. In most cases in […]

  • Why a Spendthrift Trust Can Be a Great Solution for Your Heirs

    Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group There are many tools that can be used when putting together your estate plan. One such tool is a trust. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement, established by a settlor or grantor, which gives a third party (known as a trustee) the authority to manage assets on behalf of one or more persons (known as a beneficiaries). Since every situation is different, there are different types of trusts to ensure the best outcome for each beneficiary. One type of trust, known as a spendthrift trust, is commonly used to protect a beneficiary’s interest […]

  • Changes to Social Security in 2018

    Monday, January 1st, 2018

    There is good news! Social Security payments will increase by 2% in 2018. The bad news? It’s not enough to keep up with inflation. Many senior citizens will be happy to learn that the amount of money they will receive in their social security checks will increase two percent in 2018. This averages about $27.38 per month, or $329 per year under a new Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). “It will help them make ends meet,” says Erin Parrish of AARP Minnesota, pointing to an example of how the modes increase may allow a person to purchase a month’s worth […]

  • Stephen A. Frost has joined the Firm

    Friday, December 29th, 2017

    Huck Bouma PC is pleased to announce that  Stephen A. Frost has joined the Firm as a Senior Counsel in the  Business Services and Estate Planning Practice Groups. Welcome, Steve!

  • There’s Never A Better Time Than Now To Get Your Affairs in Order

    Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group The idea of getting your financial and legal house in order is likely the last thing on your mind during the busy holiday season. But, getting started is much easier than you think. In fact, the end of the year is a good time to reflect upon the year that has passed and focus on your aspirations for the future. Don’t hold this task off for later. Some careful thought and a little bit of work now can go a long way to help you feel 100% confident about moving forward in […]

  • Liver Transplant Distribution Changed After Years of Debate

    Monday, December 25th, 2017

    After years of debate, the organization that oversees the allocation of livers for transplant took steps recently to address a long-standing geographic disparity in supply of the scarce organs. The policy approved by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network will make more livers available in some places — including cities such as New York and Chicago — where the shortage is more severe than it is in regions such as the southeastern United States. “The essential thing to stress about this proposal is that it does move things in the direction we want to go, across the country,” said Julie […]

  • Gift Giving the Tax-Free Way

    Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Although it’s the season of giving, no one wants to share with the IRS. Luckily, the law provides you many opportunities to give gifts to family, friends, and charities tax-free. Some are straightforward, while others may require the help of a professional. Your Yearly Coupons Each year on January 1st, everyone receives what can be thought of as yearly coupons for tax-free gifts. There are several different ways that you can redeem those coupons: Annual exclusion gifts. These gifts are transfers of money or property that do not exceed the annual gift tax […]

  • The Double Whammy of Long-term Health Care Costs

    Monday, December 18th, 2017

    Retirees have been hearing a steady drumbeat of warnings about the threat of high long-term health care expenses. Many articles about long-term care discuss strategies from the perspective of retirees who eventually might need care near the end of their lives. These articles encourage retirees to take responsible steps to pay and arrange for care, so they won’t be a burden on their families or society. And indeed, that’s a necessary and noble goal. Turn the issue on its head, however, and consider the caregiver’s perspective: You could be doing everything right regarding your own finances — and then have […]

  • Planning for Long-Term Care

    Friday, December 15th, 2017

    Planning for Long-Term Care Posted by:  Bonnie Schradel We spend our lives planning for our retirement, contributing to our 401(k), making wise investments, and planning our future activities and travel plans. We look forward to being able to grow old with our loved one in our home. Once we retire, we stop planning for our retirement and begin to enjoy our time. Unfortunately, we often fail to plan for Long-Term Care. With Medicare benefits beginning at 65, and Social Security benefits becoming accessible as early as age 62, most individuals choose to retire in their 60s. At retirement age, less […]

  • Make a New Year’s Resolution

    Friday, December 15th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group As our client, you probably already have a Living Trust-based estate plan (or we’re in the process of working on one with you). So, you’re on the right track to getting the most from your assets and protecting yourself and your family from financial mismanagement and over-taxation. However, trust-based estate plans can fail if your assets aren’t properly funded into your Living Trusts or otherwise aligned with your plan. Follow these three easy steps as soon as possible to make sure you’re wrapping up the year wisely. Once your Christmas shopping is […]

  • Four Reasons Why Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Top 1 Percent

    Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group There is a common misconception that estate plans are only for the ultra-rich – the top 1 percent, 10%, 20%, or some other arbitrary determination of “enough” money.  In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. People at all income and wealth levels can benefit from a comprehensive estate plan. Sadly, many have not sat down to put their legal house in order. According to a 2016 Gallup News Poll more than half of all Americans do not have a will, let alone a comprehensive estate plan. These same results were identified by […]

  • How to Reduce Loneliness in Elders Around the Holidays

    Monday, December 11th, 2017

    There is a lot of pressure on people to enjoy themselves during the holidays. The reality, however, is that many people feel increasingly isolated and unhappy during this season of goodwill, and elders can have an especially hard time. While aging can bring wisdom and experience, there are inevitable losses that even the healthiest seniors face. Loved ones and friends fall ill and pass away.  Energy and mobility levels often decrease, resulting in feelings of lost independence and opportunities. Neighborhoods change over time, leaving even those well enough to remain in their own homes feeling lonely. The focus on family, friends […]

  • How to Share Family History and Heirlooms with Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group The best time to share your family history with loved ones is right now, before the memories are forgotten. The coming holiday season is a great opportunity to reminisce because you’ll probably have your loved ones nearby. While you can always pull aside children and grandchildren for a chat about family history, did you know you may also be able to use a personal property memorandum in your estate plan to pass along special memories and stories about specific items that are meaningful to you and connect your family with the past? […]

  • What is Daily Money Management?

    Monday, December 4th, 2017

    With our rapidly growing population of seniors, more and more families will be dealing with loved ones who will face trouble managing their daily finances. Being unable to fully manage financial matters puts the elderly at risk of financial insecurity, debt problems or significant payments for long-term care down the road. The good news is that if you or someone you know is dealing with this type of problem, there are solutions available. One of them is utilizing a Daily Money Management Program (DMM). What is a DMM?  Simply put, a DMM is a program that provides a hired, professional […]

  • Do You Own Rental Property? How Proactive, Comprehensive Estate Planning Can Help

    Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group A comprehensive estate plan should address all of your assets. For most people, an estate plan must include three common categories: (1) your home; (2) financial accounts, like your checking and savings account; and (3) personal property. Other types of assets – such as life insurance, retirement funds, and annuities – should also be considered as part of your estate plan. If you own rental property, however, your estate plan will be more complicated because there are some unique considerations. Rental Property & Estate Plans It is no surprise that one of […]

  • Combination of strength, aerobic training found best for obese elderly

    Monday, November 27th, 2017

    For obese people over the age of 64, the combination of aerobic exercise and weight training is better for improving physical functioning than either form of exercise alone, a recent study concludes. Each type of exercise and a combination of the two produced 9% reductions in body weight over six months. But the combination provided the best mix of protection against muscle and bone loss with improved aerobic capacity. Aerobic exercise and weight training, also known as resistance training, “have additive effects in improving your physical function,” chief author Dr. Dennis Villareal of the Baylor College of Medicine and the […]

  • 10 Simple Ways to Thank Seniors This Thanksgiving

    Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

    A recent article in the New York Times, suggests that parents who want to teach their children to be giving should begin by teaching them how much they have been given. Once children understand where they came from and recognize the people who helped them get there, they begin to appreciate what they have and to want to give themselves. As Thanksgiving draws near, this is the ideal time to share with children and loved ones your stories of receiving help and to thank those who have helped you. Especially as you gather with your senior loved ones, Thanksgiving provides the […]

  • Does My Estate Plan Need to Include My Vacation Property?

    Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Yes! If you own a vacation home, timeshare, investment property, or any other asset outside of the state where you are domiciled you must make sure it’s included in your estate plan. If you fail to include these in your estate plan, or fail to have an estate plan at all, your heirs will encounter issues, and usually the expense and hassle of court costs, when inheriting these assets. Because state laws vary, your principal residence may even be divided one way in your state home while other properties – such as […]

  • Why Exercise Is the Best Medicine for Your Brain

    Monday, November 20th, 2017

    Given time, any brain can succumb to dementia — memories fade, thoughts scatter, basic abilities wither on the vine. Brains don’t come with lifetime guarantees, but there is one major step you can take to protect yourself from Alzheimer’s or other causes of mental decline: exercise your body. Nothing protects the brain quite like regular exercise, says Jennifer Heisz, a cognitive neuroscientist at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Not crossword puzzles, not supplements, not prescription medications. Exercise seems to beat them all, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline by about 35% to 45%, according to the latest […]

  • Can You Bequeath Your Frequent Flyer Miles?

    Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group If you’re a frequent airline traveler, one of your estate planning concerns may be what will happen to your accumulated miles once you’re gone. They could be worth thousands of dollars, so you probably don’t want them to just disappear, but some airline policies say that’s exactly what will happen. The law doesn’t consider airline miles assets that can be bequeathed directly to heirs, but there are still some steps you can take to help ensure your miles live on. It all starts with examining the airline policies in question. Airline Policies […]

  • Severe Shortage of Home Health Workers Robs Thousands of Proper Care

    Monday, November 13th, 2017

    Acute shortages of home health aides and nursing assistants are cropping up across the country, threatening care for people with serious disabilities and vulnerable older adults. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, nursing homes have denied admission to thousands of patients over the past year because they lack essential staff, according to local long-term care associations. In New York, patients living in rural areas have been injured, soiled themselves and gone without meals because paid caregivers aren’t available, according to testimony provided to the state Assembly’s health committee in February. In Illinois, the independence of people with severe developmental disabilities is being […]

  • Veteran’s Day – November 11

    Friday, November 10th, 2017

    Veterans Day is intended to honor and thank all military personnel who served the United States in all wars, particularly living veterans. It is marked by parades and church services and in many places the American flag is hung at half-mast. A period of silence lasting two minutes may be held at 11am. As this year, Veterans Day falls on a Saturday, government offices and many schools are observing the day on Friday, November 10.  Some schools are closed on Veterans Day, while others do not close, but choose to mark the occasion with special assemblies or other activities. On […]

  • How Long Should You Keep Important Documents

    Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group In a society dominated by paperwork, the question of how long to hold on to important documents has been baffling for most people. We especially worry about documents of a financial or personally identifying nature. People who worry about losing something important sometimes hoard everything; others who worry about things like identity theft are too quick to shred documents. Most of us, however, lie somewhere between these two extremes: Simply and utterly confused about what to keep and how long to keep it. You do need to save certain documents longer than […]

  • Jenna N. Wadulak will be joining the Firm

    Monday, November 6th, 2017

    Huck Bouma PC is pleased to announce that beginning on Monday, November 6, 2017, Jenna N. Wadulak will be joining the Firm as an Associate in the Litigation practice group. Jenna’s practice focuses primarily on a wide variety of civil litigation matters, including personal injury, general negligence, construction negligence, premises liability and products liability.  Welcome, Jenna!

  • Disability Complaints to Airlines Doubled in a Decade

    Monday, November 6th, 2017

    The number of complaints against airlines from disabled travelers doubled in a decade to more than 30,000 in a year, according to a recent federal watchdog report.  This is despite the fact that the 12 carriers studied each demonstrated they have repeated training programs for helping passengers with disabilities, according to the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”). Airlines provide a combination of classroom and computer-based training. The training typically includes an eight-hour class with lessons in handling wheelchairs and assisting with boarding (according to the 34-page GAO report required by a law last year governing the Federal Aviation Administration). “Airlines place […]

  • IRAs, Annuities and Guardianship: Providing for Your Minor Children after You Die

    Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

    Posted by the Life and Legacy Planning Group Deciding on a guardian for your minor children may very well be the most vexing decision you’ll make regarding your estate planning. Not only must you trust the appointed guardian to raise your children as you’d want them raised, but you also need that person to be financially responsible with your children’s inheritance. For example, if you have an IRA or an annuity that you wish to pass to your minor children, how can you ensure those funds will be used properly—especially if the person you trust most to raise your kids […]

  • Long Waits and Long Odds for Those Who Need Social Security Disability

    Monday, October 30th, 2017

    In the U.S., fewer than half of people who apply for disability benefits — about 45% — are ultimately accepted, says Lisa Ekman with the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. Getting a hearing takes an average of nearly 600 days. It may become even harder for those whose disability is difficult to see or measure. Recently, the Social Security Administration introduced changes to fight fraud and streamline the application process, including a new rule that removes special consideration given to a person’s longtime doctor. “Those changes would now put the evidence from a treating physician on the same […]

  • Planning for the Future Without A Crystal Ball

    Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Creating a will, trust, or any type of estate plan has always involved dealing with an uncertain future. Consider that just 20 years ago in 1997, the estate tax had an astonishing 55% marginal rate with only a $600,000 exemption. Back then, tax-driven estate planning was a mathematical necessity for a large segment of the population. Fast forward to 2017. Not only do we now have a generous $5.49 million exemption and a lower 40% rate, we also have renewed emphasis and action from the President and Congress on repealing the estate […]

  • Probate Problems: How to Steer Clear of Probate Court

    Monday, October 23rd, 2017

    Many people have been told that it is important for people to “avoid probate.” But just because people may have heard that term, doesn’t mean they know exactly what probate means, why it can be a problem or how to successfully avoid it. In this post, we will take a look at the term probate to understand exactly what it means, and what the process includes. What is Probate? The term probate most literally means “to prove” a will. Today it covers the entire legal process necessary to settle a person’s estate after they die. The appointed representative (usually a […]

  • It’s National Estate Planning Awareness Week 2017

    Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

    Posted by the Life and Legacy Planning Group Because Congress found that over 120,000,000 Americans did not have an up-to-date estate plan, they voted in 2008 to declare the third week in October each year as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. In the resolution, the House cited a 2004 Roper poll commissioned by the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants which stated that two-thirds of Americans over age 65 believe they lack the knowledge necessary to adequately plan for retirement and that almost one half of all Americans are not knowledgeable about basic retirement tools, like 401(k)s. Almost a decade later, studies have found that […]

  • Leaving Hospital, Older Patients Resist Home Help at Their Peril

    Monday, October 16th, 2017

    As many as 28% of patients offered home health care when they’re being discharged from a hospital — mostly older adults — say “no” to those services, according to a new report. Understanding why this happens and what can be done about it is important — part of getting smarter about getting older. Refusing home health care after a hospitalization puts patients at risk of a difficult, incomplete or slower-than-anticipated recovery. Without these services, older adults’ odds of being readmitted to the hospital within 30 or 60 days double, according to one study. Why, then, do seniors, resist getting this […]

  • How Does My Annuity Fit Into My Estate Plan?

    Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Selecting the right type of annuity for yourself is no small feat. Of course, you’ve put in the research and planned with your financial advisors. But, you might still be wondering what happens to those annuity payments upon your death. In addition to their benefits as a financial tool for your goals, annuities can have a positive impact on your beneficiaries after you’re gone — but only if you take smart estate planning steps to make sure your wealth ends up in the right hands. Types of annuities Your annuity type affects how things […]

  • Robotic Exoskeleton Could Help Fall Prevention

    Monday, October 9th, 2017

    The words “robotic exoskeleton” probably bring to mind futuristic soldiers and sci-fi movies. But despite military efforts to create such technology, it might show up somewhere else first: nursing homes. Researchers in Italy and Switzerland have developed a prototype device that can detect a slip in progress and help its wearer avoid falling. If perfected, a system like this could one day help millions of elderly people and amputees maintain balance and avoid serious tumbles. As people age, they naturally become weaker and less agile. Add disease or injury, and falling becomes a worry with every step. And it can […]

  • Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

    Sunday, October 8th, 2017

    Huck Bouma PC was pleased to sponsor a team walking in the Making Strides of DuPage event. This year, The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event was held on Sunday, October 8, 2017 at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL.  Read More

  • Huck Bouma, PC is pleased to welcome

    Friday, October 6th, 2017

    Huck Bouma, PC is pleased to welcome attorneys Gina Salamone and Ammara Hashmi, and paralegal Bonnie Schradel, as they join the Firm. Gina concentrates her practice in the areas of elder law, Medicaid and estate planning. Her primary focus is providing education and support to those with long-term care needs, providing guidance and assistance during the process of acquiring that care. She also collaborates with family members during the navigation of the Medicaid process. Ammara previously worked in Big Four consulting where she took part in large M&A transactions, assisting with structuring, reorganizations, tax planning, and controversy issues from both a […]

  • Attorney Heinz J. Brisske conducting an interactive workshop

    Thursday, October 5th, 2017

    Attorney Heinz J. Brisske conducting an interactive workshop at the WealthCounsel Symposium 2017, in Hollywood, California, on Thursday, October 5, 2017. Heinz led a discussion on the topic “Navigating the Transition to Estate Planning”. The workshop explored the pitfalls and opportunities involved in starting an estate planning practice for attorneys who have been engaged in any number of other practice areas. WealthCounsel Symposium is the legal education event for trusts and estates, business law, and elder law professionals — featuring legal technical seminars, interactive panels, inspiring keynote speakers, and much more. 

  • Jennifer A. Johnson spoke at the WealthCounsel Symposium 2017

    Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

    Attorney Jennifer A. Johnson spoke at the WealthCounsel Symposium 2017, in Hollywood, California, on Wednesday, October 4, 2017.  Jennifer discussed the topic “Decanting and Friends – Modifying Irrevocable Trusts”.  The presentation covered various techniques for modifying irrevocable trusts, with particular emphasis on Decanting and Trust Protector.  State law differences were also be discussed, with special emphasis on taxation and asset protection. WealthCounsel Symposium is the legal education event for trusts and estates, business law, and elder law professionals — featuring legal technical seminars, interactive panels, inspiring keynote speakers, and much more. 

  • How Does an IRA Fit Into Your Estate Plan?

    Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group When you think of IRAs, you probably think of retirement. But what happens to your IRA money after you’re gone? The answer depends on how you go about creating your estate plan and selecting beneficiaries, and you might be surprised to find out that your money could end up with the wrong people or cause an unexpected tax bill if you don’t take action ahead of time. What your IRA means for your estate plan Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are often one of the biggest financial accounts you invest in over the […]

  • Seniors and Fear of Falling

    Monday, October 2nd, 2017

    Fear of falling can take a toll when your sense of balance is fading. Some seniors avoid walking and even moving due to a fear of falling and the possibility of injury. However, being sedentary is bad for your health, too. It’s important to keep moving while finding safe work-arounds for whatever balance issues you have. And the good news is that balance can improve with training! Fear of falling and its power to limit mobility is a complex issue that public health experts grapple with worldwide. More clues emerged at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics World Congress, […]

  • New Baby? Time to Create Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Estate planning is often one item that gets pushed back on nearly everyone’s to-do list. The reasons you might be delaying vary: lack of time, not thinking you have enough assets, not knowing how to start, or fear of contemplating death. Whatever the reason for not putting an estate plan together, it is important to understand that if you just had a baby – now is the time to meet with an estate planning attorney to implement a plan. In general terms, an estate plan is a set of legal documents that […]

  • Why Ignoring the Importance of Incapacity Planning Can Have Serious Consequences

    Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

    Why Ignoring the Importance of Incapacity Planning Can Have Serious Consequences The Life and Legacy Planning Group It’s a common misconception that all your efforts to create a comprehensive estate plan are focused on what happens after your death. That is very much not the case, and it’s a dangerous misconception to plan by. Estate planning does not equate to death planning. There are several ways in which your estate plan can drastically impact you and your loved ones’ quality of life well before you pass away. That is why it’s also crucial that your plan includes up-to-date provisions for what will […]

  • Why I Love You Wills Really Don’t Say I Love You

    Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

    The Life and Legacy Planning Group Learn about the drawbacks of “I love you” Wills and introduce yourself to the estate planning move that’s actually going to ensure you do well by your loved ones: an inheritance protection trust. Rise above the misconceptions No aspect of estate planning brings out as much emotional decision-making as the division of assets. Many people think, “I love you,” so I’ll leave you everything. In order to understand why “I love you” Wills are, contrary to their name, not the most caring of estate planning gestures, it’s important to understand the risks of “I […]

  • Is There a Link Between Sleep and Alzheimer’s?

    Monday, September 25th, 2017

    One in three Americans do not get enough sleep, and 45% of the remaining world’s population doesn’t either. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls that a “public health problem,” because disrupted sleep is associated with a higher risk of physical and mental conditions including diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. There is evidence suggesting that there is a link between lack of sleep, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. A new study published in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, finds that people who get less REM, or dream-stage sleep, may be at higher risk for developing […]

  • How a Living Trust Helps Your Family

    Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group There are several parts to an estate plan, one of them being a Living Trust. Common factors that prompt someone to create a Living Trust include privacy, tax benefits, avoiding probate, and caring for family members with special needs. Estate planning also lets you dictate how your assets will pass on to future generations after your death. Avoiding Probate One of the primary reasons for creating an estate plan is to avoid probate. Unlike a will, a fully funded Living Trust will avoid probate, typically a lengthy and costly court-supervised process. Probate […]

  • Shingles May Raise Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke

    Monday, September 18th, 2017

    There’s new evidence shingles may come with health consequences beyond an agonizingly painful rash: It could mess with your heart health too. People who developed herpes zoster, or shingles, had an almost 60% higher risk of heart attack and a 35% higher risk of stroke than those who avoided the resurgence of chicken pox, warns a research letter published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology this week. The risks were highest in the first year after experiencing shingles, and the threat of stroke was highest in people under 40, the researchers wrote. Exactly why shingles would impact your heart […]

  • Estate Planning For the Newly Married

    Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Now is the perfect time to start working on an estate plan—because, as newlyweds, you may not have a list of your accounts, but you’ve effectively just done a working inventory of your possessions—as you’ve figured out how to consolidate two households into one. You’ve already been working on the new banking and shared responsibility of bills and taxes and so forth. Use that all time and energy and work as a leapfrog into planning for your future, so you’ll be that much more prepared for the house, the kids, and the […]

  • The Home Care Crisis: An Elder Justice Issue

    Monday, September 11th, 2017

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) rules and policies are resulting in neglected care and endangered safety for some Medicare beneficiaries under a Medicare program that promises to cover their home health care. While Medicare home health coverage laws apply equally to all individuals, equitable application of coverage laws has been impeded by administrative payment rules and quality measure incentives that favor beneficiaries who have short-term care needs and disfavor those with long-term, chronic care needs. This has left those with long-term, chronic care needs with limited access to Medicare-certified home health agencies and services. A Study of […]

  • If I Don’t Have an Estate, Do I Really Need an Estate Plan?

    Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group You don’t need to have a summer house in the Hamptons or a private art collection big enough to rival MOMA to consider yourself the owner of an estate. In fact, virtually anyone who owns anything has an “estate” in the eyes of the law. Although the term may conjure images of expansive country properties, expensive cars, or other symbols of high wealth, for the purposes of estate planning law, the term “estate” covers a whole lot more. What constitutes an estate Ordinary possessions like homes, jewelry collections, bank accounts, cars, furniture […]

  • Labor Day

    Monday, September 4th, 2017

    Always the first Monday in September, Labor Day was the idea of Peter J. Maguire, a labor union leader who in 1882 proposed a celebration honoring the American worker. The date chosen was simply “convenient,” because it was midway between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving.  Although the day’s focus on organized labor has diminished over the years, the holiday has become a way to mark the end of the summer season—and the start of the school year for many. Over the long weekend, it is a great day to spend with family and friends. Please remember to check on […]

  • 4 Estate Planning Steps You Must Take After the Death of a Spouse

    Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group When a spouse passes away, thinking about “the estate” might be the last thing on your mind. And while it’s necessary to give yourself ample time to process the loss of your partner, it’s also imperative you talk with your estate planning attorney sooner rather than later — or you might be facing some pretty unpleasant consequences. There are many immediate tasks at hand after the loss of a spouse, such as notifying friends, family, and colleagues, making funeral arrangements, and managing all the accompanying grief that arises. It’s dangerous to take estate-related […]

  • High Intensity Exercise for Seniors

    Monday, August 28th, 2017

    The health benefits of exercise are well-established for people of all ages. The benefits from eating healthy and having a proper exercise routine are also well-established. However, only recently has research been conducted about which type of exercise best counters the aging process in senior citizens. A new study published in Cell Metabolism by researchers from the Mayo Clinic suggests the answer may be high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT alternates short bursts of intense aerobic activity such as biking or walking with short periods of easing up on the same activity. This type of exercise method avoids the risk of […]

  • Estate Planning: Why Me, Why Now, and Is a Will Enough?

    Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group You have worked hard for years, have family members and friends you care about, and have approached a time in your life when “estate planning” sounds like something you should do, but you are not exactly sure why. You may feel that you are not wealthy enough or not old enough to bother or care. Or you may already have a Will and feel that you are all set on that front. Whatever your current position, consider these common misconceptions about estate planning: Estate planning is for wealthy(ier) people False. Anyone who has […]

  • Alzheimer’s Stigmas

    Monday, August 21st, 2017

    When a loved one starts to lose his or her memory, it can be a struggle for the entire family. The person who has been the head of the family may soon fade from the person they once were, leaving their loved ones to wonder what will come next. The stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease has a significant negative impact on the lives of people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Around 25% of dementia patients hide their diagnosis, and 40% said they have withdrawn from many everyday activities according to recent studies. There are many negative public images and stereotypes […]

  • The Perils of Joint Property

    Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group People often set up bank accounts or real estate so that they own it jointly with a spouse or other family member. The appeal of joint tenancy is that when one owner dies, the other will automatically inherit the property without it having to go through probate. Joint property is perceived to be easy to setup since it can be done at the bank when opening an account or title company when buying real estate. That’s all well and good, but joint ownership can also cause unintended consequences and complications. And it’s […]

  • Father Builds a $35 Million Theme Park for Daughter with Special Needs

    Monday, August 14th, 2017

    When Gordon Hartman watched his then-12-year-old daughter, Morgan, have trouble making friends in a swimming pool during a family vacation, he was heartbroken. The incident led Hartman to search for a public space where Morgan, who is on the autism spectrum and experiences a cognitive delay, could play with others who knew how to interact with her. Hartman soon realized such a place didn’t exist. So, he made it himself. Hartman is the founder of Morgan’s Wonderland, an ultra-accessible theme park in San Antonio, Texas, where people with or without disabilities can play together. It’s a place of total inclusion — a […]

  • Do You Really Need a Trust?

    Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Although many people equate “estate planning” with having a will, there are many advantages to having a trust rather than a will as the centerpiece of your estate plan. While there are other estate planning tools (such as joint tenancy, transfer on death, beneficiary designations, to name a few), only a trust provides comprehensive management of your property in the event you can’t make financial decisions for yourself (commonly called legal incapacity) or after your death. One of the primary advantages of having a trust is that it provides the ability to […]

  • Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

    Monday, August 7th, 2017

    Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest concerns many of us have as we get older. While you may have been told that all you can do is hope for the best and wait for a pharmaceutical cure, the truth is much more encouraging. Promising research shows that you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias through a combination of simple but effective lifestyle changes. By leading a brain-healthy lifestyle, you may be able to prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slow down, or even reverse, the process of deterioration. Experts agree that in the vast majority […]

  • You May Not Think You Need a Will, But You Really Do

    Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Most Americans do not have a simple will as part of their estate plan. You might believe that a will is only for the rich and famous, and not the average person who has a far smaller net worth. On the other hand, you may think that a will is entirely unnecessary since you have a trust, jointly owned property, or have named beneficiaries on your insurance. So, do you really need a will? The short answer to this question is “yes.” In fact, everyone who owns anything – no matter how […]

  • Are Patients Leaving Hospitals Too Soon?

    Monday, July 31st, 2017

    While most hospital discharges are agreed upon by doctors and their patients, there are some circumstances when there is disagreement about whether it’s time for the patient to leave. Most of those disagreements are with the insurance company or another payer who deems that patient’s time is up (and they will no longer pay.) But sometimes the situation is just the opposite. The patient feels as if he or she is ready to leave, but the doctors say no – they don’t believe that the patient is ready to go. If the patient does, indeed, walk out the door, it […]

  • Isn’t There Already A Law That Leaves Everything To My Spouse And Kids?

    Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Many people think that if they die while they are married, everything they own automatically goes to their spouse or children. They’re actually thinking of state rules that apply if someone dies without leaving a will. In legal jargon, this is referred to as “intestate.” In that case, the specifics will vary depending on each state’s law, so where you live when you die can significantly change the outcome for your family. However, the general rule is that your spouse will receive a share, and the rest will be divided among your […]

  • Is This the Cure for Alzheimer’s?

    Monday, July 24th, 2017

    Researchers in Australia have been experimenting with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that is showing great promise in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. It has been estimated that Alzheimer’s affects 50 million people worldwide, and those numbers are expected to rise dramatically in the near future. With no vaccine or preventative treatment, researchers have been trying to find ways to treat it, starting with how to remove plaques from the brain. If a person has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s usually because of a build up of two types of lesions in the brain—amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques sit between the neurons […]

  • Tips for Working with a Law Firm — Get the Most Out of Your Work with Your Lawyer

    Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group When you hire an attorney for estate planning, help with a loved one’s estate, or any other legal matter, you want to make sure that the work gets done correctly, efficiently, in a timely manner, and at the best possible value. Here are some tips so that you will have the most useful and value-oriented law firm experience. Get to know the lawyer and the law firm staff. You’ll be working with the entire team, so it’s a good idea to know who to reach out to at the office. Paralegals and […]

  • Get Startup Smart: Choosing the Right Entity for a New Business

    Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

    Get Startup Smart: Choosing the Right Entity for a New Business by Jennifer L. Villier, JD WealthCounsel, Legal Education Faculty  Choice of entity is fundamental to business planning. The best form of entity for a client’s business depends on several factors, including the client’s industry, location, and size. The decision involves both tax and non-tax considerations and must take into account long-term and short-term goals, including whether the business expects early losses or whether it may eventually go public. When representing a startup company, business attorneys should address choice of entity with the founders. This discussion should include a review […]

  • A Look at President Trump’s Latest Tax Plan

    Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

    A Look at President Trump’s Latest Tax Plan by Jeramie J. Fortenberry, JD, LLM, and Jennifer L. Villier, JD WealthCounsel, Legal Education Faculty President Donald Trump released a one-page memo that outlined his latest proposed tax plan (the New Tax Plan). The New Tax Plan largely tracks the proposals made in President Trump’s campaign tax plan (the Campaign Tax Plan), which was removed from his website post-election. Like the Campaign Tax Plan, the New Tax Plan is short on details and provides only a high-level overview of the tax proposals. This paper compares the New Tax Plan to the Campaign […]

  • Brady & Jensen, LLP

    Monday, July 17th, 2017

    As of July 17, 2017, the law firm of Brady & Jensen, LLP will be transitioning their Elgin law practice into an affiliation with Huck Bouma PC.  The attorneys of Huck Bouma welcome this new association, and anticipate the opportunity that this expansion brings in order to serve clients best in a variety of practice areas.

  • Emma Sadikovich will be joining the Firm

    Monday, July 17th, 2017

    Huck Bouma PC is pleased to announce that beginning on Monday, July 17, 2017,  Emma Sadikovich will be joining the Firm as an Associate in the Corporate-practice group. Emma’s practice focuses primarily on a wide variety of commercial tax related issues; she also has comprehensive experience with corporate tax and transfer pricing matters, analyses of tax treaties and  international tax law matters.  Welcome, Emma!

  • What Happens When There are No Children to Provide Care to a Parent

    Monday, July 17th, 2017

    As we age, it is likely that many of us will need help for at least some period of time with life’s daily activities. (These include bathing, dressing, eating and using the bathroom.) And while we may not want to think much about being in that position someday, it would be a good idea to start thinking now about who will take care of us in our old age. According to a 2011 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about half of all informal caregiving is provided by adult children, with spouses providing another 20%. In addition to […]

  • How You and Your Family Can Benefit From Late Portability Election

    Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group The concept of “portability” is still relatively new in the law of estate planning, having become available only after 2010. Since then, it’s been both a blessing (for its tax saving benefit) and a curse (because of rules that seem to be constantly shifting). Fortunately, the IRS has recently clarified some important deadlines related to portability. What is portability? It is the ability to “port,” or transfer, a predeceased spouse’s exclusion for federal estate taxes to the surviving spouse. How can a portability election benefit you and your family? It could help […]

  • What Happens if a Family Member Becomes Incapacitated -The Unpopular Topic of Discussion Every Family Needs to Have

    Monday, July 10th, 2017

    Just bringing up the possibility of someone in your family becoming mentally or physically incapacitated is often difficult. We tend to think of only the very elderly needing long-term, hands-on care, but a report by the Alzheimer’s Association found that one in nine Americans age 65 or older currently have Alzheimer’s. With the baby boom generation aging and people living longer, that number may nearly triple by 2050. Dementia isn’t the only reason for long-term care, of course, but almost everyone knows someone already affected by it. Waiting too late to plan can throw a family into confusion about what […]

  • OASIS Study

    Monday, July 3rd, 2017

    Antipsychotic drugs are known to have a number of severe side-effects, but they carry even greater risks for the elderly and those diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, antipsychotic drugs continue to be used as first-line treatments for the control of challenging behaviors in elderly patients. A 2015 study in JAMA Psychiatry found that elderly patients prescribed antipsychotics had significantly higher mortality rates than previously thought, and that mortality was found to increase as doses increased. In addition, a research article, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, concluded that about 80% of the prescriptions to those over 65 were for atypical antipsychotics […]

  • Why It’s a Good Time to Set Your Kids Up for Success

    Thursday, June 29th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group It can be exciting to see your children branching out and becoming successful adults in their own right — a time full of hard work and self-discovery that hopefully lays the groundwork for a fulfilling career in the coming years. But, it can also be a time of anxiety for some parents. We all want to know that we are doing absolutely everything we can to make sure our kids stay safe, healthy, and secure so they can pursue their dreams to the fullest. Preparing for legal adulthood Your son’s or daughter’s […]

  • Massachusetts Ruling On Medicaid Applicants

    Monday, June 26th, 2017

    Massachusetts’ highest court ruled Monday that the residence and the other assets held in Medicaid applicants’ irrevocable income-only trusts were not available assets even though the applicants retained the right to use the house during their lifetimes. Daley v. Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (Mass., No. SJC-12200, May 30, 2017) and Nadeau v. Director of the Office of Medicaid (Mass., No. SJC-12205, May 30, 2017). NAELA (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys) member Brian Barreira, CELA, represented Mary Daley, and NAELA member Lisa Neeley represented Lionel Nadeau. NAELA and the Massachusetts Chapter of NAELA submitted amicus briefs in support […]

  • Money Isn’t Everything in Estate Planning – How to Pass Your Stories and Values to the Future Generations

    Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Money may be the most talked-about aspect of wealth contained within your estate, but the riches of your experience and wisdom can mean even more to your family members down the road. Reinforcement of family traditions can be built into your estate plan alongside your wishes regarding your money, property, and belongings. After all, what really makes a family a family is its values and traditions — not its assets and liabilities. It’s an excellent idea to hold a family meeting, in which you discuss the sorts of things that matter to […]

  • The Costs of Dementia: For the Patient and the Family

    Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

    The Costs of Dementia: For the Patient and the Family A recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association states that one in nine Americans age 65 or older currently have Alzheimer’s. With the baby boomer generation aging and people living longer, that number may nearly triple by 2050. Alzheimer’s, of course, is just one cause of dementia—mini-strokes (TIAs) are also to blame—so the number of those with dementia may actually be higher. Caring for someone with dementia is more expensive—and care is often needed longer—than for someone who does not have dementia. Because the cost of care in a facility is […]

  • What to Do with a Confusing, Old Trust

    Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

    Estate plans evolve. Or at least they should. Any plan that fails to achieve your goals and doesn’t match your current financial and family circumstances is out of date and is in need of an overhaul. How to know if you have an outdated trust If you or anyone you know signed a will or trust in 2012 or before, an immediate review should be on your to-do list. There have been many legal and policy changes since 2012, and your documents may not work as well as they could. If you signed your will or trust after 2013 and […]

  • Long Term Care Facilities

    Monday, June 19th, 2017

    Long Term Care Facilities (LTCFs) which include nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities, provide medical and personal care services to people who are unable to manage independently in the community. Over 5 million Americans are admitted to or reside in LTCFs each year. Data about infections in LTCFs are limited, but it has been estimated in the medical literature that: 1 to 3 million serious infections occur every year in these facilities. Infections include urinary tract infection, diarrheal diseases, antibiotic-resistant staph infections and others. Infections are a major cause of hospitalization and death; as many as 380,000 […]

  • Why Do People Let Their Long-Term Care Insurance Lapse

    Monday, June 12th, 2017

    Long-term care, whether provided at home or in a nursing home, is a major financial risk in our senior years. Yet few people buy long-term care insurance. Of those who do, one-third with long-term care insurance at age 65 will let their policies lapse, forfeiting benefits they will likely soon need and the money they have paid in premiums. It might make sense that those at high risk of needing care should continue their coverage while those at low risk could let their coverage lapse. But the data shows the opposite is true—people who subsequently use care are more likely to lapse, […]

  • Huck Bouma PC is pleased to announce

    Friday, June 9th, 2017

    Huck Bouma PC is pleased to announce that Tricia R. Buhrfiend was recently installed as Secretary/Treasurer of the DuPage County Bar Association. Congratulations, Tricia!

  • Huck Bouma PC is pleased to welcome attorneys

    Thursday, June 8th, 2017

    Huck Bouma PC is pleased to welcome Timothy W. O’Donnell, Anastasia Xinos,Tyler Kemper and John Kim as they join the Firm. Timothy O’Donnell, a Director in the Business Services Department, comes to us from Vedder Price, where he co-chaired their Tax and Estate Planning Group.  Tim’s practice at Vedder spanned over twenty-five years, and was transactional in nature,  focusing primarily on a wide variety of commercial tax related issues. Anastasia Xinos, a Director in the Estate Planning Department, was previously with the law firm of Gardiner, Koch, Weisberg & Wrona in their Naperville office for the past 10 years.  Anastasia concentrates her […]

  • Estate Planning for Military Families

    Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Although Memorial Day just passed, it is important to honor those that have served our country. This time is also a good opportunity for members of the military and their loved ones to consider setting up an – or revising an existing – estate plan. Military families need to consider special estate-planning issues that others do not. This is particularly true when one or more family members are deployed overseas. Beyond this, members of the military have access to special benefits and resources. This can become complicated and, for this reason, it […]

  • Critical Retirement Decisions as You Hit Age 70

    Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

    Happy milestone birthday! This is the year for some critical decisions that will affect your retirement years. Here are some deadlines you won’t want to miss. Sign up for Social Security. If you have delayed taking Social Security so you can receive the maximum benefit, now is the time. There is no advantage to waiting beyond age 70. Start taking required minimum distributions from your tax-deferred plans. Uncle Sam says you must start taking distributions from your IRAs and other tax-deferred plans after you reach age 70 ½. If you miss this deadline or you don’t take out enough, there is a 50% penalty. […]

  • 3 Ways Your Trust Can Help a Loved One With Mental Illness

    Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group When a loved one suffers from a mental illness, one small comfort can be knowing that your trust can take care of them through thick and thin. There are some ways this can happen, ranging from the funding of various types of treatment to providing structure and support during his or her times of greatest need. Let’s explore a few ways your trust can help take care of a loved one struggling with mental illness with the help of your estate planning attorney: It can contribute to voluntary treatment Trusts can be […]

  • How Long Should a Care Facility Charge After a Patient Dies

    Monday, May 29th, 2017

    Authorities in the United Kingdom have launched an investigation after learning that some care homes are charging families for weeks after the death of an elderly relative. Some families have complained that they were charged for the time it took to rent the room to another patient, often resulting in a charge of thousands of pounds. (The value of the English pound to the U.S. dollar changes daily and is roughly equal to $1.50 to $1.80.) Many care homes there charge the relatives of a deceased resident for a week after the death so there is time to clear their […]

  • Don’t Just Leave an Inheritance; Leave a Legacy

    Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group You come into the world a blank slate, and as you grow, you gain wisdom. You’ve planned your estate to leave physical assets to beneficiaries, so now think about leaving them something that’s just as important but less tangible: the hard-won wisdom you’ve accumulated over your life. Let your family and friends learn from your mistakes, and profit from your successes. In other words, don’t just leave an inheritance, leave a legacy. Legacy Letter There are various options for capturing your legacy. You may opt to write a Legacy Letter. You can choose […]

  • Financial Challenges Facing Seniors…And How to Fight Back

    Monday, May 22nd, 2017

    Most of us look forward to a retirement filled with leisure and relaxation, but many older Americans are facing financial difficulties that are destroying their retirement dreams. Historically Low Interest Rates For almost a decade, the Federal Reserve has kept the federal funds rate at a record low. This might be good if you are refinancing debt, but it is disastrous for those who stay in fixed-income investments such as certificates of deposit, money market accounts, savings accounts and bonds—all long-time favorites of seniors who are more risk-averse than other investors. Low Trust in the Stock Market The recession provided […]

  • The Difference between Lifetime and Deathtime Planning… and Why a Comprehensive Plan Must Include Both

    Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group According to a March 2017 survey by caring.com, six out of ten Americans have no will or any other kind of estate plan. Many said they’d get around to it – eventually. When they’re old (whatever that means). The survey did find that the elderly are much more likely to have some sort of plan in place. It’s all too clear that most of us think “estate planning” is a euphemism for “deathtime” planning. Indeed, in the caring.com survey, one-third said that they didn’t need an estate plan because they didn’t have any assets to […]

  • Avoid becoming a victim of Identity Theft!

    Monday, May 15th, 2017

    The City of Warrenville Police Department invites you to attend a FREE Document Shredding Day on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Warrenville Public Works facility, 3S346 Mignin Drive, Warrenville, IL.  Limit three (3) banker-sized boxes per resident.  For more information, contact Deputy Chief Jacobson at 630-393-2131.

  • May is Older American Month

    Monday, May 15th, 2017

    The theme this year is “Age Out Loud.” In 1965, President Johnson signed the Older American Act into law. This Act was created to fund critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent — services like meals, job training, senior centers, caregiver support, transportation, health promotion, benefits enrollment, and more. In 2016, nearly five years after it expired, legislation to reauthorize the Act was passed by Congress with unanimous, bipartisan support. The bill was signed into law by President Obama as the 2016 OAA Act Reauthorization, which reauthorizes these programs from the year 2017 through 2019. It includes provisions […]

  • Integrating a Community Property Trust Into Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group A well-crafted estate plan has many individual parts, and careful, trust-based estate planning is the best way to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones. One way that married couples can get the most mileage out of their estate plans is to create a Community Property Trust. A Community Property Trust is a special type of trust that can own a couple’s jointly acquired assets as community property and can save a significant amount of taxes. Why Community Property Trusts (CPTs) are a great idea The essential benefit […]

  • Warning: An Alzheimer’s Tsunami is Coming and We Must Prepare

    Monday, May 8th, 2017

    That’s the message from Andrew Tisch, chairman of Loews Corporation, co-founder of the political reform group No Labels, and Vice Chair of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. In a recent article, Mr. Tisch describes how we are unprepared for the enormous costs we will soon be facing from a huge upswing in our aging population and the resulting number of Alzheimer’s patients. In 2010 there were 11.4 million Americans over the age of 80. By the year 2050, due to the power of modern medicine, there will be over 32 million. But amid that laudable success is a glaring problem: […]

  • Life Events That Require an Immediate Estate Plan Update

    Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Estate planning is the process of developing a strategy for the care and management of your estate if you become incapacitated and upon your death. One commonly known purpose of estate planning is to minimize taxes and costs, including probate court costs, gift taxes, estate taxes, and generation skipping transfer taxes. However, your plan must also name someone who will make medical and financial decisions for you if you cannot make decisions for yourself. You also need to consider how to leave your property and assets while considering your family’s circumstances and […]

  • 3 Ways NOT to Leave an Inheritance for Your Children

    Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Estate planning offers many ways to leave your wealth to your children, but it is just as important to know what not to do. Here are some things that are all-too-common, but textbook examples of what not to do or try. “Oral Wills” If you feel you have a good rapport with your family or don’t have many assets, you might be tempted simply to tell your children or loved ones how to handle your estate when you’re gone. However, even if your family members wanted to follow your directions, it may not be entirely up […]

  • “No One Dies Alone” Programs Offer Comfort at Life’s End

    Monday, April 24th, 2017

    Millions of older Americans live out their final hours alone in a hospital bed. But at some hospitals, a comforting presence at a patient’s bedside is considered essential end-of-life medicine. So, if there are no friends or loved ones to keep vigil, a volunteer might fill the void. Americans are living longer, with more seniors living alone — and dying alone. They may be single, childless, or getting treatment long distances away from their loved ones. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 18 million men and women aged 65 and older move through their golden years alone, either never married, […]

  • Open House and Senior Fair

    Friday, April 21st, 2017

    We are pleased to announce that on Friday, April 28, elder law attorney Jennifer A. Johnson, will be hosting a booth at the Open House and Senior Fair at Villa St. Benedict, a senior care living facility located in Lisle, Illinois.

  • Helping Clients Leave a Legacy, Not Just an Interitance

    Friday, April 21st, 2017

    The WealthCounsel Quarterly for the 1st Quarter of 2017 contains an article written by Heinz Brisske. The title of the article is Helping Clients Leave a Legacy . . . Not Just an Inheritance, and describes a planning philosophy that’s not just about transferring physical wealth at death. The intergenerational family planning model discussed in the article goes far beyond the mere drafting of a set of estate planning documents. Heinz has been a frequent speaker and lecturer for WealthCounsel, and has written for other WealthCounsel publications. WealthCounsel is a national association of estate planning attorneys, of which Heinz has […]

  • Sound Investments

    Thursday, April 20th, 2017

    Investment in law firm employee happiness benefits the legal community at large. In addition to enhancing firm productivity and protecting the firm’s brand, investment in employee happiness simply makes more effective lawyers, paralegals and staff members in the long run. Better lawyers, paralegals and legal staff help to elevate the legal profession as a whole, which benefits all of us. Thank you to the Huck Bouma PC Fun Committee for its continual, intentional efforts to enhance the attorney/paralegal/staff experience!   The monthly recognition of Firm birthdays,as part of the function of the Fun Committee, is greatly appreciated. A special ‘thank you’ to Cindy, […]

  • Huck Bouma attorneys received client recognition in the form of generous compliments for a ‘job well done’

    Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

    Recently, Huck Bouma attorneys received client recognition in the form of generous compliments for a ‘job well done’ after closing the sale of a significant Chicago area company.  Congratulations to all! “I would recommend your team any time.  Nick and all the other attorneys did a fantastic job, and we are all very grateful!  We will be recommending your firm to all friends and family (including other business owners) for excellent professional legal services.”  “Much thanks for all of the hard work that Nick, Brian and the rest of your team put in to help us!   Feel free to use […]

  • Does a Dynasty Trust Make Sense for Your Family

    Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Earlier this year, NBA team owner Gail Miller made headlines when she announced that she was effectively no longer the owner of the Utah Jazz or the Vivint Smart Home Arena. These assets, she said, were being placed into a Family Trust, therefore raising interest in an estate planning tool previously known only to the very wealthy­–the Dynasty Trust. Dynasty Trusts Explained A Dynasty Trust (also called a “Legacy Trust”) is a special Irrevocable Trust that is intended to survive for many generations. The beneficiaries may receive limited payments from the trust, but asset […]

  • IRS Warns of New Tax Season Scams

    Monday, April 17th, 2017

    The IRS wants taxpayers and tax professionals alike to be vigilant about potential tax scams as tax season winds down. The IRS noticed a spike in phishing (a form of internet fraud) email scams Thursday and Friday that sought to steal the usernames and passwords for IRS e-Services of tax professionals. The subject lines are generally related to e-Services closures, the agency said. Examples of subject lines are as follows: Account Closure! e-Service Account is Blocked Few Hours to Close Your Account Your Account is Closed Your Account is Terminated 24Hrs to Block Your Account Links in the email take […]

  • Employee or Independent Contractor?

    Monday, April 17th, 2017

    Avoid “Victimizing” Your Workers by Jennifer Villier, JD WealthCounsel, Legal Education Faculty In recent years, the U.S. Department of Labor has intensified its focus on the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. In its written materials on the subject, the DOL’s stance has shifted from impartial educator to supportive advocate for misclassified employees. In light of the DOL’s efforts (its “Misclassification Initiative”), attorneys should counsel business clients about the increased emphasis on employee misclassification, and the need to become and remain compliant with relevant state and federal laws. DOL Guidance and Resources Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1 In the summer of […]

  • Proposed Repeal of the Affordable Care Act: How Will Small Businesses Fare?

    Monday, April 17th, 2017

    by Jennifer L. Villier, JD Legal Education Faculty The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that before the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), small businesses paid on average 18% more in health insurance premiums than larger companies paid for the same benefits. In addition, small businesses sometimes faced unpredictable rate increases, higher rates for certain groups (like women or aging employees), and waiting periods or denied coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions. The ACA attempted to level the playing field for health insurance by lowering premiums and increasing access to quality, affordable health insurance for small business employees. Under the ACA, insurance […]

  • Safeguarding Your Estate Plan Against Three Worst-Case Scenarios

    Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

    Posted by The Life and Legacy Planning Group Even with an estate plan, things can happen that cause confusion for the estate – or threaten the plan altogether. Below are three examples of worst-case scenarios and ways to demonstrate how a carefully crafted plan can address issues, from the predictable to the total surprise. “There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.” Robert Burns Scenario One: Family Members Battle One Another What happens if the people you care about most get into a knockdown, drag-out fight over your estate? Despite your best intentions, disputes over who should get what […]

  • U.S. Supreme Court Sides with Special Needs Student over Service Dog Dispute

    Monday, April 10th, 2017

    Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously sided with a 13-year-old Michigan girl with cerebral palsy who had been fighting with school officials for years over whether she could bring her service dog to school with her. At issue are two federal disability laws. The school district claimed it could ban the dog under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which allows a teacher’s aide to assist students instead. The law also requires families that contest school decisions to first go through administrative proceedings. But the family said it could sue for damages under a different […]

  • Life Insurance and Estate Planning: Protecting Your Beneficiaries’ Interests

    Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group One misconception people have about life insurance is that naming beneficiaries is all you have to do to ensure the benefits of life insurance will be available for a surviving spouse, children, or other intended beneficiary. Life insurance is an important estate planning tool, but without certain protections in place, there’s no guarantee that your spouse or children will receive the benefit of your purchase of life insurance. Consider the following examples: Example 1: David identifies his wife Betsy as the beneficiary on a life insurance policy. Betsy does receive the death benefit […]

  • Labor Department Proposes 60-day Delay of Retirement Savings Rule

    Monday, April 3rd, 2017

    The Labor Department recently announced a proposal to push back the implementation of a controversial retirement savings rule by 60 days, giving officials more time to determine whether the rule should be revised or eliminated.  Without a delay, the fiduciary rule would take full effect April 10. But under the proposal, the rule would not take full effect until June 9. The move comes after President Trump signed a memo last month asking the department to reevaluate the rule, which requires brokers working with retirement savers to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. By delaying the rule, the […]

  • How You Can Build an Estate Plan that Includes Asset Protection

    Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Much of estate planning has to do with the way a person’s assets will be distributed upon their death. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. From incapacity planning to probate avoidance, there is a lot that goes into crafting a comprehensive estate plan. One important factor to consider is asset protection. One of the most important things to understand about asset protection is that not much good can come from trying to protect your assets reactively when surprised by situations like bankruptcy or divorce. The best way to take full […]

  • FDA Seeks Input on Autism Treatments

    Monday, March 27th, 2017

    Posted by:  Cynthia Tolan Federal regulators are looking for insight from people with autism and their families as they consider the need for new drug treatments to address the developmental disorder.  In a notice set to appear in the Federal Register next week, the Food and Drug Administration says it will host a public meeting this spring focused on autism. “The public meeting is intended to allow FDA to obtain patient perspectives on the impact of autism on daily life as well as patient views on treatment approaches for autism,” the notice reads. “Autism is one of at least 20 diagnoses that […]

  • 5 Reasons to Embrace the Emotional Side of Estate Planning

    Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group When you hear the phrase “estate plan,” you might first think about paperwork. Or your mind might land on some of the uncomfortable topics that estate planning confronts head-on: end-of-life decisions, incapacity, and your family’s legacy from generation to generation. Those subjects hit home for everyone. But while that could feel like a reason to avoid estate planning, the emotional nature of these decisions is actually a reason to embrace the process with enthusiasm. Here are a few ways in which emotion in estate planning is a good thing: 1.    Estate planning creates […]

  • The Flexible Protection of Trust-Based Planning

    Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

    As you assess your goals for the year ahead, take a moment to review your legacy planning. You’ve hopefully already handled a few key pieces—set up and funded a Living Trust, signed a Will, drafted Powers of Attorney, etc. But does your plan offer you and your family the greatest possible protection for the circumstances in your life right now? Ask yourself these questions: Does your plan provide adequate safeguards to prevent disputes and confusion among your family if you become incapacitated and upon your death? Does your plan designate someone and provide appropriate authority to a person you trust […]

  • Taking Care of YOU – Self Care for Family Caregivers

    Monday, March 20th, 2017

    On an airplane, an oxygen mask descends in front of you. What do you do? As we all know, the first rule is to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. Only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others. Caring for yourself is one of the most important—and one of the most often forgotten—things you can do as a caregiver. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will benefit, too. Effects of Caregiving on Health and Well Being Researchers know a lot about the effects of caregiving on […]

  • How Adding a Trust Protector Can Help You and Your Family

    Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group You probably remember the cast of characters in your estate plan. You were the creator of your trust, known as the  grantor, settlor, or trustmaker. The trustee controls the assets in the trust. For most revocable trusts, that’s also you, while you’re alive and well. The beneficiaries are the people entitled to the economic benefit of the trust. For most revocable trusts, that’s you while you’re alive, and after your death it becomes your spouse, your children, a charity, or someone else. In many situations, this lineup is adequate for achieving your goals. While […]

  • Making the Transition to Assisted Living

    Monday, March 13th, 2017

    If you’re having more and more difficulty with everyday activities such as showering, dressing, getting around the house, and running errands, an assisted living facility may be the answer. You can get the daily support you need, while remaining as independent as possible. Making the decision to leave your home can be difficult, but by taking time to find the right fit and being honest about your needs and concerns, you can you can make the choice that’s right for you and ensure your senior years are happy and fulfilling. An assisted living facility may be a good choice if […]

  • Do It Now – Name a Guardian for Your Minor Children

    Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group We know it’s hard. Thinking about someone else raising your children stops us all in our tracks. It feels crushing and too horrific to consider. But you must. If you don’t, a stranger will determine who raises your children if something happens to you – your child’s guardian could be a relative you despise or even a stranger you’ve never met. No one will ever be you or parent exactly like you, but the person that steps into your shoes should be someone that you choose. It should be someone that can provide for […]

  • What Will 2017 Bring to Seniors and Persons with Disabilities?

    Monday, March 6th, 2017

    What Will 2017 Bring to Seniors and Persons with Disabilities? Donald Trump’s election and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress surprised much of the nation. With control of legislative and executive branches of government, the expectation is Republicans will finally be able to push through long-awaited legislation, as well as follow through on promises made by President Trump. And they are expected to move quickly. What the Election Outcome Means in Congress The House has remained in Republican control—about 45% Democrat and 55% Republican. The majority rules, so while the Democrats may have loud opposition, they don’t have a […]

  • Medicaid Reform: Are Block Grants Coming

    Monday, March 6th, 2017

    Medicaid, the single largest source of health coverage in the United States, provides health coverage to almost 75 million Americans, including children, pregnant women, parents, seniors and individuals with disabilities. Medicaid is a federal program, but it is administered by the states. To participate in Medicaid, federal law requires states to cover certain groups of individuals, such as low income families and individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). States may choose to cover other groups, such as individuals receiving home- and community-based services. Funding for the Medicaid program comes from both the federal government and the individual state governments. Currently, […]

  • 5 Reasons to Protect Your Retirement Accounts Now

    Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group During your lifetime, your retirement account has asset protection, but as soon as you pass that account to a loved one, that protection evaporates. This means one lawsuit and POOF! Your lifelong, hard-earned savings could be gone. Fortunately, there is an answer.  A special trust called a “Standalone Retirement Trust” (SRT) can protect inherited assets from your beneficiaries’ creditors.  We’ll show you what we mean. When your spouse, child, or other loved one inherits your retirement account, their creditors have the power to seize it and take it as their own. If you’re […]

  • Are You Eligible for VA Disability Compensation

    Monday, February 27th, 2017

    If you were injured or became seriously ill while serving in the military, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation. In 2017, eligible veterans can receive up to $3,458 per month tax-free, depending on the level of disability and number of dependents. According to the VA’s website, disability compensation is paid to veterans who are at least 10% disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. A disability can apply to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee condition, as well as mental health […]

  • New Legislation Could Mean the End of Estate and GSTT Taxes

    Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group On January 24, 2017, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017, or H.R. 631, was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by South Dakota congresswoman Kristi Noem. If passed, H.R. 631 would completely repeal the federal estate tax. A separate companion bill put before the Senate by South Dakota senator John Thune, S. 205, would also repeal the generation-skipping transfer tax (GSTT). These bills carry a few subtleties beyond the abolishment of two substantial taxes. Interestingly, both bills retain the federal Gift Tax with a $5.49 million exemption and a maximum rate of […]

  • Home Modifications

    Monday, February 20th, 2017

    Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary, a place where you always feel comfortable and safe. As seniors get older though, that sanctuary can turn dangerous. Everyday items around your house and run-of-the mill tasks you do regularly at home start to come with a risk of falls. And a fall in your senior years can be serious.  For seniors that want to age in place, keeping your home safe and comfortable requires making a few home modifications. Basic Home Modifications Many of the home modifications that make you safer are easy. Each of these can likely be done […]

  • How to Pick a Fiduciary

    Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group While the term fiduciary is a legal term with a long history, it very generally means someone who is legally obligated to act in another person’s best interests. Trustees, executors, and agents are all examples of fiduciaries. When you pick trustees, executors, and agents in your estate plan, you’re picking one or more people to make decisions in your and your beneficiaries’ best interests and in accordance with the instructions you leave. Luckily, understanding the basics of what each of these terms means and what to consider when making your choices can make your […]

  • Tech For Seniors

    Monday, February 13th, 2017

    Is Grandma going gadget-crazy? Not quite yet. Yes, the number of older adults using the internet and related tech devices is increasing, with over 50% of seniors using the internet and owning cellphones, according to a recent survey. But there’s still a long way to go before we can consider our senior citizens to be fully tech savvy! The fact is, today’s technology can keep seniors engaged, connected, mentally active, and physically safe, making it increasingly important for our loved ones to keep in the high-tech loop. So what devices should seniors and their caregivers have their eye on? Must-Have Technology […]

  • Tax Policy Decisions Ahead

    Monday, February 13th, 2017

    Impact of the 2016 elections Deloitte Development LLC Business Taxes   In August of this year, when he delivered his first economic address as the GOP presidential nominee, Trump told the Detroit Economic Club that the current US tax laws “punish companies for making products in America” and promised that his administration would promote tax policies—centered on lower rates and simplification—that he characterized as “geared towards keeping jobs and wealth inside the United States.” Overview of Trump’s tax plan: Business Provisions The following table highlights the business provisions in Donald Trump’s tax plan (which was originally unveiled in 2015 and updated […]

  • Passing on a Legacy, Instead of Just Stuff

    Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

    posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Successful estate planning is about far more than simply passing your wealth to the next generation— it’s also about passing on your values. No matter which financial or legal structures you choose to contain and manage your assets, these instruments only preserve your wealth until it reaches the hands of your beneficiaries. What happens then? Your values enabled you to accumulate wealth and persevere in spite of obstacles and long odds. If your children and grandchildren don’t share and cherish those values, they could lose their inheritance as quickly as they received it. […]

  • Some Hospitals Are Making Changes to Meet the Needs of Elderly Patients

    Monday, February 6th, 2017

    Hospitals can be dangerous places for the elderly. Even if they recover from the illness or injury that required them to be admitted, many elderly patients deteriorate mentally and/or physically during their stay. One-third of patients over 70 and more than half of patients over 85 leave the hospital more disabled than when they arrived. Many are unable to care for themselves after discharge and need help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing or even walking—requiring them to need skilled nursing care in nursing homes instead of going home. Hospitals often fail to provide seniors with proper food, or […]

  • Revocable Trust vs. Irrevocable Trust: Which Do You Need

    Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Trusts allow you to avoid probate, minimize taxes, provide organization, maintain control, and provide for yourself and your heirs. In its simplest terms, a trust is a book of instructions wherein you tell your people what to do, and when. While there are many types of trusts, the major distinction between trusts is whether they are revocable or irrevocable. Let’s take a look at both so you’ll have the information you need: Revocable Trusts. Revocable trusts are also known as “Living Trusts” because they benefit you during your lifetime and you can alter, change, modify, or […]

  • What to Expect From the First 100 Days of the Trump Presidency

    Monday, January 30th, 2017

    Prior to being elected, Donald Trump published a contract with voters outlining what he would do during his first 100 days. One promise Trump made that has been getting a lot of attention lately and that could have significant impact on seniors and persons with disabilities is the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). In fact, the first executive order signed by President Trump following his inauguration addressed the Affordable Care Act. In the order, relevant federal agencies are directed to waive or defer provisions that “impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, […]

  • Why Factoring Long-Term Care Into Your Estate Plan Pays Off

    Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group For most people, thinking about estate planning means focusing on what will happen to their money after they pass away. But that misses one pretty significant consideration: the need to plan for long-term care. The last thing any of us want to contend with when a health issue arises later in life is having to throw together a hasty estate planning solution in the face of mounting medical costs. Your best defense is careful planning with the help of a trusted expert. Why it’s so important to plan for long-term care While […]

  • Shingles Can Lead to Stroke and Heart Attack

    Monday, January 23rd, 2017

    Shingles is a painful skin rash that affects about a million Americans every year, and one in three people will develop shingles during their lifetime. According to a recent study published in PLOS Medicine, shingles can also lead to strokes and heart attacks. Previous studies had suggested an increased risk of stroke and heart attacks following shingles. In this study, researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine looked at more than 67,000 U.S. Medicare patients (age 65 and older) who had shingles and subsequently suffered a stroke or heart attack during a five-year period afterwards. They determined that […]

  • Impacts of the Trump Presidency on Estate Planning: Your Quick Guide

    Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Impacts of the Trump Presidency on Estate Planning: Your Quick Guide It’s official — the Electoral College voted on December 19, 2016, essentially completing the 2016 presidential election cycle. With that bit of uncertainty behind us and a fresh year starting out, here’s what you need to know about planning your estate under the incoming Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress. President Trump’s tax plan A new president usually means major shakeups in fiscal and tax policy, and Trump’s tax plan is no exception. Here are several of the proposed changes we will potentially see […]

  • Avoiding Corporate Amnesia One Set of Minutes at a Time

    Monday, January 16th, 2017

    Avoiding Corporate Amnesia One Set of Minutes at a Time by Jennifer L. Villier, JD Business Law Faculty, WealthCounsel, LLC Any business that chooses to operate as a corporation, no matter how small, must comply with ongoing state law based requirements. For this reason, many small businesses choose to operate as limited liability companies, which are generally subject to minimal statutory requirements. Some states, such as Wyoming, have close corporation statutes that relax many of the formalities normally applicable to corporations. The majority of states do not have close corporation statutes, although close corporations, in the generic sense, may be formed […]

  • Late-Life Anxiety is Common – and Treatable

    Monday, January 16th, 2017

    Anxiety occurs in older Americans with surprising frequency. Some reports estimate between 10-20% of seniors has generalized anxiety. This number could be even higher, as many often deny having psychological issues when asked by their doctors, focusing more on the physical symptoms anxiety can cause. In a recent article, Hany Abdelaal, President of VNSNY Choice Health Plans, describes late-life anxiety this way. “It’s a pattern familiar to many of us with aging parents: the overwhelming worry or constant nervousness over day-to-day tasks, from taking medications to parking the car. Left untreated, this anxiety-related agitation in the elderly can disrupt sleep […]

  • Why Your Estate Planning Project Must Morph into a Process

    Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Many people put their estate plan on their to-do list as a one-time project: “Create estate plan” or “Meeting with lawyer 10:30 a.m. Thursday for estate plan.” And once the plan has been initially designed and drafted, they treat it as a “bucket list” item and check it off their list. The estate plan, to them, is a set of documents that, once drafted, can be ignored and forgotten. Thinking of your estate plan as a single project or task to complete and move off your list is a common approach – […]

  • Improve Balance in the Elderly and Prevent Falls

    Monday, January 9th, 2017

    Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among seniors, and the risk increases with age. One-third (1/3) of those over the age of 65 fall each year, and many suffer severe or even fatal injuries. Researchers at the Mobility and Brain Function Program at the Institute for Aging Research (Harvard Medical School) are concentrating on understanding what causes older adults to fall, which will hopefully lead to development of preventive measures. They have found a direct correlation between balance and reduction of fall risk in older adults. In a recent article, Dr. Brad Manor, the program’s director, explains […]

  • 10 Types of Trusts: A Quick Look

    Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Considering the myriad of trusts available, creating an estate plan that works can seem daunting.  However, that’s what we, as estate planning attorneys, do every day. We know the laws and will design a plan which addresses your specific situation. Here’s a look at the basics of ten common trusts to provide a general understanding. There will not be a quiz at the end. All you need to do when we meet is share your goals and insight into your family and financial situation, and we’ll design a plan that incorporates the best documents for your […]

  • The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act and its Benefits

    Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

    On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.B. 34).  A major component of H.B. 34 was the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, which now allows a disabled person to sign and establish their own first-party special needs trust. Previously, only parents, guardians, grandparents or a court could establish these trusts on behalf of the disabled person. What is a First Party Special Needs Trust and what are its benefits? A Special Needs Trust is a type of trust designed to protect the assets of a person with a disability. A “first-party” Special Needs Trust can be established […]

  • The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act and its Benefits

    Monday, January 2nd, 2017

    On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.B. 34).  A major component of H.B. 34 was the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, which now allows a disabled person to sign and establish their own first-party special needs trust. Previously, only parents, guardians, grandparents or a court could establish these trusts on behalf of the disabled person. What is a First Party Special Needs Trust and what are its benefits? A Special Needs Trust is a type of trust designed to protect the assets of a person with a disability. A “first-party” Special Needs Trust can be established […]

  • Talking About Estate Planning In The New Year

    Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group As 2016 draws to a close and 2017 approaches, it’s an excellent time to begin making plans for growth in the upcoming year. According to a study conducted by Fidelity Investments, 37 percent of Americans considered making at least one finance-based New Year’s resolution for 2016, up from 31 percent in the previous year. Those numbers are likely to increase again this year, especially since we won’t have a Presidential election to focus on during 2017. While many people avoid making New Year’s resolutions for fear that they will only break them, the […]

  • Preventing Dehydration in the Elderly

    Monday, December 26th, 2016

    Our bodies become dehydrated when we lose more water than we take in. Staying hydrated allows the body to regulate temperature through perspiration, maintain blood pressure and eliminate waste. Dehydration may show only small signs outwardly, but it can have dire consequences on the body, especially in the elderly. Severe dehydration can lead to confusion, impaired cognition, falling, urinary tract infections, constipation, pneumonia, bedsores in bed-ridden patients, and even death. It can accelerate or cause emergency hospitalization and/or increase the length of hospital stays. Why Dehydration is Common in the Elderly As we age, the amount of water in the […]

  • Technical Non-Compliance Voids Mechanic’s Lien

    Saturday, December 24th, 2016

    Posted by:  Tom Christensen The Illinois Appellate Court recently held a mechanics lien invalid based upon non-compliance with the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act, despite the fact that the non-compliance was strictly technical and caused no prejudice to the property owner. In Cityline Construction v. Roberts, the plaintiff was a builder who sought to foreclose a mechanics lien against property upon which the plaintiff had performed fire-restoration services. The plaintiff submitted pay applications but failed to submit a sworn contractors statement as required by Section 5 of the Act and failed to comply with requests to do so. When the defendants […]

  • Holiday Health for Seniors

    Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

    While the holidays are a time of gatherings with family and friends, they can also be a source of stress, as exercise schedules might be disrupted for shopping excursions and rich holiday meals make it difficult to adhere to a particular diet. Staying healthy can be a challenge during this time of year, especially for seniors. Get a senior’s caregiver involved to help manage expectations at this time of year. One of the difficulties of the holiday season is not knowing an elderly relative’s limits. To help seniors stay healthy during the holidays, reduce their stress and avoid the holiday […]

  • Email Hearing on the Proposed 2704 Regulations Leaves Open Questions

    Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

    by Jeramie J. Fortenberry, JD, LLM (Taxation) WealthCounsel, Executive Editor and Legal Education Faculty On December 1, 2016, representatives of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) held a hearing to discuss the proposed regulations on valuation discounts for family-owned businesses under Internal Revenue Code (Code) § 2704 (Proposed Regulations). The Proposed Regulations were released on August 2, 2016. This article summarizes that hearing in light of the Proposed Regulations and concludes with a few practical takeaways. Background of the Proposed Regulations The Proposed Regulations made several significant changes that were targeted at curbing the use of minority discounts […]

  • Hearing on the Proposed 2704 Regulations Leaves Open Questions

    Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

    On December 1, 2016, representatives of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) held a hearing to discuss the proposed regulations on valuation discounts for family-owned businesses under Internal Revenue Code (Code) § 2704 (Proposed Regulations). The Proposed Regulations were released on August 2, 2016. This article summarizes that hearing in light of the Proposed Regulations and concludes with a few practical takeaways.

  • What To Do When a Disability Throws Your Estate Plan Into Chaos

    Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

    Posted by:  Life and Legacy Planning Group As poet Robert Burns mused centuries ago, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Despite thoughtful effort and a concerted strategy, you cannot prepare for every emergency. A car accident, sudden illness, workplace injury or chronic medical condition can force you to re-evaluate the core assumptions you used to plan your future and set up your legacy. A 2015 report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offered this sobering assessment: “In 2013, approximately one in five U.S. adults reported any disability, with state-level prevalence of any disability ranging […]

  • Medicare to Begin Paying for Diabetes Prevention Strategy

    Monday, December 19th, 2016

    Medicare will start paying for a strategy to help millions of older Americans at high risk of diabetes from developing the disease. The new benefits, scheduled to begin in 2018, are part of an increasing shift in the federal entitlement program, from its half-century tradition of mainly covering treatment when beneficiaries are sick to paying to try to keep them healthy. The strategy to avert diabetes also is the first disease-prevention experiment, tested under part of the Affordable Care Act, which federal officials have concluded is worthwhile enough to adopt nationwide. The decision was announced as part of an annual […]

  • Talk to Your Family over the Holidays about Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

    – The Life and Legacy Planning Group Many of us labor a lifetime to build up our assets and fight for causes that matter to us. Few things are more fulfilling than the thought of sharing wealth and legacy with our family.  Of course, it’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, but careful planning can mitigate against the two primary risks: Your intentions regarding your estate weren’t made clear, resulting in the potential for costly, time-consuming conflict. Your family did not understand or share your wealth management vision, resulting in the possibility of asset dissipation. The good news is both […]

  • Don’t Leave Your Trust Unguarded – 6 Key Ways a Trust Protector Can Help You

    Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Trust Protectors are a fairly new tool, but one that is increasingly common in estate plans drafted in the United States. Trust Protectors have been in common use in off-shore and international trusts for years. In short, Trust Protector is a position in a trust that can add flexibility and some measure of control over an otherwise irrevocable document. Trust Protectors can ensure that the integrity of trusts is maintained, that trustees make solid distribution and investment decisions, and that the trust can react to changes in law and circumstance. Whenever changes […]

  • Medical Professionals, Elder Law Attorneys and Their Older Patients and Clients–All Benefit When the Professionals Work Together

    Monday, December 12th, 2016

    Medical Professionals, Elder Law Attorneys and Their Older Patients and Clients: All Benefit When the Professionals Work Together There are often situations in which an older person needs the services of an attorney and one or more medical professionals. A recent article in Bifocal, a publication of the American Bar Association, highlighted six scenarios in which such a collaboration would be beneficial to the older patient-client’s well-being, as well as the professionals. Decisional Capacity Issues When provided with adequate information, most older individuals retain sufficient cognitive and emotional ability to make autonomous, valid decisions about important aspects of their own […]

  • Most Americans on Social Security Will See Increase of $4 to $5 in 2017

    Monday, December 12th, 2016

    Yes, you read that right! There will be a 0.3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for those receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in 2017. That means most Americans will receive an increase of $4 to $5 per month. The COLA goes into effect in January 2017 for Social Security benefit recipients and on December 30, 2016 for those who receive SSI benefits. More than 60 million Americans receive Social Security benefits and another 8+ million receive SSI benefits. For some recipients, this increase may be offset by an increase in Medicare premiums. The premiums for Medicare […]

  • 3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Probate

    Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group When you pass away, members of your family may need to go through a court process, called probate, in order to claim their inheritance. This can happen if you own property (like a house, car, bank account, investment account, or other asset) in only your name. Although having a will is a good basic form of planning, a will does not avoid probate. Instead, a will simply lets you inform the probate court of your wishes – your family still has to go through the probate process to make those wishes legal. Now that […]

  • Five Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Health Plan

    Monday, December 5th, 2016

    It’s open enrollment season, the time of year when we need to sort through confusing options and try to predict how often we’ll get sick next year. Some people, especially those shopping for plans on the Obamacare insurance exchanges are facing bigger price tags. Rolling over into the same plan may not be an option for people who learned that their plans are being eliminated or that their premiums are doubling. Workers who get insurance through their jobs may also find new options for next year, such as telemedicine services, and rising drug costs. Those changes make it even more […]

  • Updating Your Revocable Trust: How Many “Tweaks” Are Too Many?

    Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group If your life or the law has changed since you signed your Living Trust, it needs to be updated. Updates can be made by way of an Amendment – or – a complete Restatement. An Amendment updates a specific part of the trust, whereas, a Restatement updates the entire Living Trust. You might think that an Amendment would cost less than a Restatement, but that’s not necessarily true. Amendments vs. Restatements: Which Is Better? Imagine a recipe card you’ve used for years. If one or two provisions have been crossed out and […]

  • Facebook Associated With a Longer Life

    Monday, November 28th, 2016

    As our social lives have moved onto social media sites like Facebook over the past decade, there’s been a lot of hand-wringing over what all that screen time might be doing to our health. But according to a new paper, time spent on social media could be associated with a longer life. The study asserts that the health effects of active online social lives largely mirror the benefits of busy offline social lives. “We find that people with more friends online are less likely to die than their disconnected counterparts,” the study says. “This evidence contradicts assertions that social media […]

  • Is a Financial Plan Enough? Why Experts Say You Need an Estate Plan, Too

    Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group If you want to leave a robust financial legacy for your family, a financial plan alone is like trying to guide a boat with just one oar. It’s only part of the big picture for your overall monetary health. A well-informed financial plan is worth your time for several reasons, but let’s look at how financial and estate planning can work in tandem to create the best possible future for you and your family in the years to come: What’s included in a financial plan Financial planners take stock of an individual’s […]

  • Textile Company Creates First Sheets to Prevent Bed Sores

    Monday, November 21st, 2016

    Precision Fabrics has partnered with Standard Textile, a global supplier of hospital linens with U.S., to test DermaTherapy. After 11 clinical trials at several hospitals showed incidences of pressure ulcers were reduced by 65%-80%, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) in June certified DermaTherapy as a medical device. It’s a first for a bed sheet, and it flips conventional thinking: Instead of sheets and pads protecting the mattress, they protect the patient. What the company found during the trials is that so-called pressure ulcers aren’t caused by pressure at all but rather by what happens when moisture, friction and shear of […]

  • 3 Famous Pet Trust Cases and the Lessons We Can Learn from Them

    Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group Not long ago, pet trusts were thought of as little more than eccentric things that famous people did for their pets when they had too much money. These days, pet trusts are considered mainstream. For example: in May 2016, Minnesota became the 50th (and final) state to recognize pet trusts. But not every pet trust is enacted exactly according to the owner’s wishes. Let’s look at 3 famous pet trust cases and consider the lessons we can take away from them so your furry family member can be protected through your plan. Leona […]

  • What Has Happened to Long Term Care Insurance?

    Monday, November 14th, 2016

    Over recent years, many people have purchased long term care (“LTC”) insurance to protect themselves against the rising costs of care in their final years. But lately, policy holders have seen their premiums rise and/or benefits decrease. Two of the largest LTC insurance companies, MetLife and Unum, recently appeared before the Florida insurance commissioner to explain why they asked some of their policy holders to pay double what they paid in premiums the previous year. Unum explained that when it entered this market in the late 1980s, they determined their prices using the best data available about how future experience […]

  • Veterans’ Day: November 11

    Friday, November 11th, 2016

    World War I was history’s largest, most destructive and costly war at the time, ending with the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on June 28, 1919. The armistice that signaled ceasing of hostilities, however, was declared on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The following year and every year after, the world celebrated Armistice Day on Nov. 11. It was declared a federal holiday in the U.S. in 1938. After World War II and the Korean War, it was expanded to include all veterans of all wars and renamed Veterans’ Day. Businesses across the country observe Veterans’ […]

  • 3 Tips for Overwhelmed Executors

    Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group While it is an honor to be named as an executor of a will or estate, it can also be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being a personal representative requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet all responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled. If you’ve found yourself in the position of “overwhelmed executor,” here are some tips to lighten the load. 1.  Get professional help from an experienced attorney. The caveat to being an executor is that once […]

  • Who Will Make Decisions About Your Health Care If You Cannot?

    Monday, November 7th, 2016

    A Health Care Power of Attorney, also called a Health Care Proxy or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, lets you give legal authority to another person (a proxy or agent) to make decisions about your health care if you are unable to make them yourself. This prevents the courts from getting involved if there is disagreement between family members and/or the medical community as to what actions you would want taken. Keep in mind that you will continue to make decisions about your care for as long as you are able. You are only naming someone as a […]

  • 3 Celebrity Probate Disasters and Lessons to Learn from Them

    Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group With all the wealth accumulated by the rich and famous, one would assume that celebrities would take steps to protect their estates once they pass on. But think again: Some of the world’s richest and most famous people have passed away without a will or a trust, while others have made mistakes that tied their fortunes and heirs up for years in court. Let’s take a look at three high-profile celebrity probate disasters and discover what lessons we can learn from them. 1. Tom Carvel As the man who invented soft-serve ice […]

  • The Largest Wealth Transfer in History has Already BegunThe Largest Wealth Transfer in History has Already Begun

    Monday, October 31st, 2016

    Ultra high-net-worth individuals will transfer $3.9 trillion to the next generation by 2026, according to “Preparing for Tomorrow: A Report on Family Wealth Transfers,” recently released by global wealth consultancy Wealth-X and insurance brokerage and consulting firm NFP. This reflects a 5% decline from the report’s 2014 estimate of $4.1 trillion, but this is because the massive global wealth transfer among the world’s newest superrich has already begun. The biggest concern for the world’s superrich was “succession and inheritance issues” (67%), a recent survey by global real estate consultants Knight Frank found. This $3.9 trillion expected to be transferred is […]

  • Your Estate Planning Binder: Tips for Proper Care and Maintenance

    Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life and Legacy Planning Group You finally crossed “getting your estate plan done” off your list, and you’ve (rightly) breathed a huge sigh of relief. By tackling this challenge, you’ve not only established protections for your loved ones and legacy, but you’ve also freed up some important “mental space” that had previously been preoccupied. Once you create the documents that make up your estate plan, your estate planning attorney will prepare a binder containing all pertinent documentation. This estate planning binder is critical because it provides key information regarding your intentions after you pass away or if […]

  • Study Strengthens Evidence that Cognitive Activity can Reduce Dementia Risk

    Monday, October 24th, 2016

    Posted by:  Cindy Tolan Are there any ways of preventing or delaying the development of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of age-associated dementia? While several previously published studies have suggested a protective effect for cognitive activities such as reading, playing games or attending cultural events, questions have been raised about whether these studies reveal a real cause-and-effect relationship or if the associations could result from unmeasured factors. A Boston-based research team conducted a formal bias analysis and concluded that, while potentially confounding factors might have affected previous studies’ results, it is doubtful that such factors totally account for observed associations […]

  • Aaron Ruswick presented at the WealthCounsel Symposium 2016

    Thursday, October 20th, 2016

    Attorney Aaron Ruswick presented at the WealthCounsel Symposium 2016, in Washington, D.C. on October 20, 2016.  Aaron discussed the topic “Succession Planning for the Small Law Firm/Sole Practitioner”.  The presentation covered how to effectively transition your practice to (i) protect the value; (ii) protect your clients; and (iii) avoid problems which often occur if there is no succession plan in place.  Focus included real life examples of value attained for different types of practices and stories of the calamity that occurs the moment that a sole practitioner dies with no plan, even with the alternative to sell a practice under Model Rule 1.17. WealthCounsel Symposium 2016 is […]

  • Did you Include Your Grandkids in Your Will? 5 Tips to Avoid Common Problems

    Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life & Legacy Planning Group As we build wealth, we naturally desire to pass that financial stability to our offspring. With the grandkids, especially, we often share a special bond that makes us want to provide well for their future. However, that bond can actually turn into a weakness if proper precautions aren’t set in place. If you’re planning to include the grandchildren in your will, here are five potential dangers to watch for, and ways you can avoid them. 1. Including no age stipulation. We have no idea how old the grandchildren will be when we […]

  • Flexible Tax Strategies Now Needed in Succession Planning for Business Owners

    Monday, October 17th, 2016

    By:  James G. Blase,  CPA, JD, LLM The most popular tax strategy in succession planning over the past 35 years has been to create minority interest discounts in an effort to lower the value of the client’s business for federal estate and gift tax purposes. With federal estate tax rates as high as 70 percent during this period, and with a federal estate tax exemption as low as $175,000, this strategy no doubt made common sense. This raises the obvious question:  With a federal estate tax exemption currently over 30 times its 1981 level,  does it still make sense to […]

  • Business Structuring Aspects of the PATH Act

    Monday, October 17th, 2016

    STEVEN B. GORIN, JD The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the “PATH Act”) was enacted on December 15, 2015. Extensive legislation, the PATH Act permanently reduced the built-in gains recognition period from 10 years to 5  years for C  corporations making an S  election. It also made permanent the exclusion of gain on the sale of certain C  corporation stock originally issued to the seller. This article discusses business restructuring in light of the PATH Act. First, the article considers the impact of the legislation on existing C corporations contemplating an S election. Second, the article examines […]

  • How Seniors are Tapping the Gig Economy

    Monday, October 17th, 2016

    Posted by:  Jennifer Johnson It’s no secret that many boomers approaching their retirement years are anxious about having enough income. But many are finding help — by turning to the so-called gig economy. Several seniors are making money in this 21st century way, and seem happy with the arrangement! One (a retired airline stewardess who speaks several languages) is an Uber driver and drives passengers to and from airports. During the drive, she shares valuable insights into travel and dealing with airlines.  Another is a retired empty-nest couple who rent out a room in their home for short term guests. It gives the couple […]

  • Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

    Sunday, October 16th, 2016

    Huck Bouma PC was pleased to sponsor a team walking in the Making Strides of DuPage event this year.  This year, The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event was held on Sunday, October 16, 2016 at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL.

  • Attorneys Aaron Ruswick and Tricia Buhrfiend presented at the Illinois CPA Society

    Friday, October 14th, 2016

    Attorneys Aaron Ruswick and Tricia Buhrfiend presented at the Illinois CPA Society, Lisle Chapter, JD/CPA Practitioner’s Breakfast on October 14, 2016, “Advanced Estate Planning & Proposed Regulations under Section 2704.”  This presentation reviewed estate planning techniques for high net worth clients with family businesses and the proposed regulations which will change the course of estate planning for business owners.

  • 5 Things Every New Mother Needs to Know About Wills

    Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life & Legacy Planning Group As a new mother, you naturally want to ensure your new baby’s future in every way. For many new mothers, infancy is a time for celebrating new life, and making a will is the last thing on their minds. For others, the process of bringing new life into the world sparks intense feelings of wanting control and needing organization. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, you might be struggling to figure out what steps you need to take to protect your children’s future should the unthinkable happen. Here are five […]

  • New Study Finds Shortcomings of Medicare Advantage Plans

    Monday, October 10th, 2016

    Posted by:  Cindy Tolan A growing number of Medicare beneficiaries receive their care through HMOs and PPOs, known as Medicare Advantage plans. Yet little is known about the size and scope of the provider networks available to them, and participants can face significant expense if treated by an out-of-network provider. A new study from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation looked at Advantage plans in 20 diverse U.S. counties (accounting for fourteen percent of those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans nationwide in 2015) to evaluate how these provider networks are structured. Medicare Advantage plans are appealing to many cost-conscious seniors […]

  • 5 Mistakes Made by Successor Trustees (and How to Prevent Them)

    Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life & Legacy Planning Group When establishing a trust, you need to give serious thought to choosing your successor trustee—the person who will administer your trust once you’re no longer able to do so. This individual ideally should be: Someone you trust implicitly. Someone who is organized, responsible and meticulous. Someone who can remain steadfast to your wishes in the face of family disagreements and other disputes regarding the trust. That said, even the most capable, well-intentioned successor trustees can make mistakes when managing affairs. Here are five surprisingly common mistakes along with steps to take to […]

  • Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Social Security, Medicare and Home Health Care?

    Monday, October 3rd, 2016

    Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson  With the election inching closer every day, voters are starting to pay more attention to the issues. Of great concern to millions of retirees is what the candidates’ plans are for Social Security and Medicare, and their positions on home health care. Here is a brief summary of what we currently know. Social Security Hillary Clinton opposes privatization, reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments or increasing the retirement age. She would expand Social Security benefits to caregivers who leave the workforce to look after children or ill family members, as well as for widows who face steep […]

  • Want to Give the Kids an Early Inheritance? 4 Things to Consider

    Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life & Legacy Planning Group If you’re thinking about giving your children their inheritance early, you’re not alone. A recent Merrill Lynch study suggests that these days, nearly two-thirds of people over the age of 50 would rather pass their assets to the children early than make them wait until the will is read. It can be especially satisfying to fund our children’s dreams while we’re alive to enjoy them, and there’s no real financial penalty for doing so, provided that you structure the arrangement correctly. Here are four important factors to take into account when planning to give […]

  • Labor Department Makes It Easier to Launch Retirement Plans

    Monday, September 26th, 2016

    Posted by:  Cynthia Tolan Millions of workers struggle to save for retirement in part because it isn’t easy enough to open an account or to have the money automatically deducted from their paychecks. But they could soon find themselves with more options. The Labor Department recently unveiled a rule that should make it easier for States to launch their own retirement plans for private-sector workers who don’t already have access to savings accounts through their jobs. The rules provide a clearer road map for States who want to provide such plans but needed more federal guidance. The Department also announced a proposed rule that would open the door for […]

  • New Estate Tax Law Changes Coming!

    Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

    By:  Brett Dale On August 4, the Treasury Department issued long-awaited Proposed Regulations regarding valuation discounts for family-owned assets and businesses under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code.  The Proposed Regulations will be discussed at a public hearing on December 1, 2016, and may become effective shortly thereafter. The Proposed Regulations introduce significant changes that eliminate almost all valuation discounts in the family context.  Therefore, certain family assets will be valued at a higher value causing greater Estate Tax liability. The most troubling aspect of the Proposed Regulations is the limiting of liquidation restrictions which will directly impact powerful […]

  • Longest Living Human Says, “The Recipe is Just Patience”

    Monday, September 19th, 2016

    Posted by:  Cindy Tolan An Indonesian man who claims to be the longest living human in recorded history has described how he “just wants to die”. Mbah Gotho, from Sragen in central Java, was born on December 31, 1870, according to the date of birth on his identity card. Now officials at the local record office say they have finally been able to confirm that remarkable date as genuine. If independently confirmed, the findings would make Mr. Gotho a staggering 145 years old – and the longest lived human in recorded history. But despite his incredible longevity, Mr. Gotho says […]

  • New Estate Tax Law Changes Coming!

    Monday, September 19th, 2016

    By:  Brett Dale On August 4, the Treasury Department issued long-awaited Proposed Regulations regarding valuation discounts for family-owned assets and businesses under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code.  The Proposed Regulations will be discussed at a public hearing on December 1, 2016, and may become effective shortly thereafter. The Proposed Regulations introduce significant changes that eliminate almost all valuation discounts in the family context.  Therefore, certain family assets will be valued at a higher value causing greater Estate Tax liability. The most troubling aspect of the Proposed Regulations is the limiting of liquidation restrictions which will directly impact powerful […]

  • Behavior Changes Are Often First Signs of Dementia New Checklist Helps Catch Symptoms Earlier

    Monday, September 12th, 2016

    Posted by:  Jennifer Johnson Researchers presenting at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2016 (AAIC 2016) in July introduced and described a new condition known as mild behavioral impairment (MBI) that may be a forerunner of dementia. They also proposed a new MBI checklist that physicians and research professionals can use to help recognize and measure sharp changes in mood and behavior that may precede the memory and cognitive problems of dementia. Eventually, a similar checklist may be used by caregivers and family members to document the nature and extent of symptoms, and measure changes over time. MBI would be a […]

  • Grandparents Day: Sunday, September 11th

    Sunday, September 11th, 2016

    September 11 is National Grandparents Day. Since 1978, the first Sunday after Labor Day has been designated as a day to pay tribute to our nation’s grandparents. Grandparents are our important connections to the past and they help to lay the groundwork for our futures. There is nothing that can compare to the cherished relationship that can exist between a grandparent and a grandchild. Not only do grandparents play an important role within their families, sometimes they may find themselves back in the role of parent raising children due to unfortunate events. For many grandparents, stepping into a parental role […]

  • Your Cyber Legacy: 3 Tips for Your Digital Assets

    Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

    Posted by:  The Life & Legacy Planning Group There’s an entire category of commonly-overlooked legacy to consider – digital assets. Don’t worry if you didn’t consider these assets when made your will or trust – it’s surprisingly common and, luckily, easy to correct. What are digital assets? They include: your photos (yes, all those selfies are a digital asset), files stored in the cloud or on your local computer, virtual currency accounts, URLs, social media profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) device backups, databases, digital business documents, and because technology is ever-evolving, much more will be added as the months and years […]

  • GoGoGrandparent Lets People Without Smartphones Use On-demand Services

    Monday, September 5th, 2016

    Posted by:  Cindy Tolan Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have cemented their position as the future of transportation, and other on-demand services have shown us that there is a real demand for, well, ordering things on-demand.  But here’s the problem: On-demand apps require a smartphone to use, and there are still more than 75 million Americans who don’t have a smartphone — essentially making them ineligible to use these life-changing services.  While these people range in economic status and location, there does seem to be one common factor — older Americans are more likely to not have a smartphone (or even a cell phone). Enter GoGoGrandparent! […]

  • Analysis of the New Proposed Regulations Under Code §2704

    Friday, September 2nd, 2016

    by Jeramie J. Fortenberry, JD, LLM Executive Editor, WealthCounsel LLC On August 4, the Treasury Department issued long-awaited Proposed Regulations (Proposed Regulations) on valuation discounts for family-owned businesses under §2704 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). The Proposed Regulations are out for comment until a public hearing on December 1, 2016, and will become effective on or after the date of publication of a Treasury decision adopting the Proposed Regulations as final regulations. Many practitioners feared that the Proposed Regulations would completely eliminate all valuation discounts in all contexts. Although the Proposed Regulations did not go that far, they did […]

  • Treasury Department has recently issued Proposed Regulations

    Thursday, September 1st, 2016

    The Treasury Department has recently issued Proposed Regulations restricting valuation discounts for family-owned assets and businesses under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code. One of our attorneys, Brett Dale, recently conducted an online presentation regarding this proposed change in federal law. He also wrote an article on the impact of the proposed change in this law on the planning that clients will be able to do if the Proposed Regulations become final.

  • Stress Test Your Estate Plan

    Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

    So you’ve done the hard work of establishing an estate plan. Good on you, as they say across the Pond. However, you still have serious work to do to ensure that the strategy you’ve selected will maximize your peace of mind and protect your legacy. Estate plans are living, breathing creations. Your life can and will change due to new births, children getting older and other shifts in the family; changes to your portfolio, career and business; and changes to your health, where you live and your core values. Likewise, external events, such as tax legislation passed in your state or the […]

  • Jennifer A. Johnson spoke at the ElderCounsel Elder Law Immersion Camp

    Friday, August 26th, 2016

    Jennifer A. Johnson spoke at the ElderCounsel Elder Law Immersion Camp on August 25 and 26, 2016.  Jennifer discussed why trust decanting may be necessary in certain circumstances, and how to do it effectively. Jennifer concentrates her practice in estate planning, special needs planning, business succession planning, guardianship, estate administration and elder law. She represents individuals and families at all income levels.

  • What These 4 Famous Estate Planning Debacles Can Tell You About Proper Planning

    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske These four celebrity estate planning fiascos offer lessons about how to handle your own planning and legacies.  Are you failing your family the way these 4 celebrities failed theirs? Pablo Picasso – The great Dada artist died in 1973 at 91 without a will, a status referred to as “intestate.” Of course, Picasso isn’t the first, or the last, celebrity to die intestate. However, after he died, his six heirs fought for six years over the wealth of assets he left behind. One lesson for us: Make sure you have your estate planning documents in place before you […]

  • Filial Responsibility Laws

    Monday, August 22nd, 2016

    Posted by:  Cindy Tolan Hopefully, your parents have saved, invested, and managed their money well enough to provide for themselves as they continue into old age. We encourage you to have these discussions with your parents, either jointly or separately.  If either or both of your parents end up in dire financial straits, the burden of rescuing them could fall on your shoulders. That is because twenty-nine states have filial responsibility laws. Nursing homes may begin turning to these statutes to demand payment of eldercare bills. These laws can be challenged in court, but children may have little recourse. In […]

  • 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

    Monday, August 15th, 2016

    Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson Early diagnosis of dementia provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and planning for the future. The Alzheimer’s Association has released the following list of signs and symptoms that can help individuals and family members recognize the beginnings of dementia. If you are concerned about any of these, be sure to see a doctor and, if suggested, begin treatment as soon as possible. 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Of concern: Forgetting recently learned information, important dates or events; repeatedly asking for the same information; relying on notes, devices or family members for things […]

  • Wrong Mix of Medications Can Lead to Faulty Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

    Monday, August 8th, 2016

    Posted by:  Cindy Tolan The main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss, confusion and changes in personality or mood. However, these symptoms can also be caused by medications, supplements and vitamins, or a dangerous mix of these—and often results in a false diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The list of drugs that can cause dementia-like symptoms is long and includes: antidepressants antihistamines anti-Parkinson drugs anti-anxiety medications cardiovascular drugs anticonvulsants corticosteroids narcotics sedatives statins The elderly are especially at risk of developing dementia-like symptoms because their bodies are not able to process medications as well as a younger person. A […]

  • IL Department on Aging Moving Forward with Changes to Program for Elderly

    Monday, August 1st, 2016

    Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson Despite a bill on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk that would block its plans, the Illinois Department on Aging is moving forward with proposed changes to a program that provides care to elderly Illinoisans so that they can remain in their homes. The department’s community care program is designed to keep people out of more-costly nursing homes by providing help with tasks such as cooking, laundry, and bathing. ​Facing an aging population and dwindling state resources, the department has proposed shifting more than half of the roughly 84,000 participants into a new “community reinvestment program.” The […]

  • Exercise and Physical Activity As We Age

    Monday, July 25th, 2016

    Posted by:  Jennifer Johnson The benefits of exercise and being physically active are well known for people of all ages, but it becomes increasingly important as we age. Regular exercise and physical activity can help you to: Maintain or improve physical strength and fitness Continue to do daily activities that are important to you, such as driving, shopping, carrying groceries and playing with grandchildren; Have better balance and prevent falls and fractures; Manage and improve diseases like diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis; Keep muscles and joints in shape, keep a healthy weight, and have regular toilet/sleep habits. Support emotional health […]

  • Avoiding Deadlocks in LLC Operating Agreements

    Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

    This is a complex issue, but here are the main things you need to know: 1.  IRS filing statistics suggest that about 70 percent of all LLCs are single-member LLCs whose members are individuals; only five percent have three or more members; and the remaining 25 percent are two-member LLCs. Thus, LLC practice for multi-member LLCs is almost entirely for two-member LLCs. 2.  Sound operating agreements for two member LLCs should address the roughly 25 main legal and tax issues that should be addressed in the operating agreements of all multi-member LLCs. However, in my experience, the members of most two-member LLCs […]

  • The Future of Long Term Care and How to Finance It

    Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

    The Future of Long Term Care and How to Finance It Long-term care is becoming an important issue for our nation to address.  We have 78 million aging baby boomers.  The costs of long-term care to these baby boomers can be catastrophic and few people have sufficient resources to pay for needed long-term care. In an effort to deal with this growing concern, the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative (the “Collaborative”) began meeting informally in 2012 for the purpose of finding a solution.  They have since become a formalized group made up of a variety of national experts and stakeholders with […]

  • Long-Term Care Costs Continue to Rise

    Monday, July 18th, 2016

    Posted by: Cindy Tolan Genworth, a long-term care insurance provider, has just released the findings of its 2016 survey on the costs of providing long-term care. Not surprisingly, costs have increased since the 2015 survey. In fact, costs have steadily risen over the past 13 years since Genworth began tracking them.* Long-term care can be provided in a variety of settings, as explained below, and many people use the full range of services as needs increase. Families are often shocked to find out how much long-term care can cost, especially when they learn that Medicare benefits are limited for these […]

  • “Senior Moments” Explained: Older Adults Have Weaker Clutter Control

    Monday, July 11th, 2016

    Posted by:  Jennifer Johnson A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology finds that older people struggle to remember important details because their brains can’t resist the irrelevant “stuff” they soak up subconsciously. As a result, they tend to be less confident in their memories. Researchers looked at brain activity from EEG sensors and saw that older participants wandered into a brief “mental time travel” when trying to recall details. This journey into their subconscious veered them into a cluttered space that was filled with both relevant and irrelevant information. This clutter led to less confidence, even when their […]

  • July 1 Marks the 50th Anniversary of Medicare Coverage

    Friday, July 1st, 2016

    Posted by:  Cindy Tolan We’ve come a long way since Medicare first started covering Americans who were 65 or over on July 1, 1966. Imagine what it took to get everyone enrolled, since half of everyone in that age group had no health insurance at the time. Imagine the relief the new program brought to families all over the country! On July 1st of this year, the Medicare program will mark the 50th anniversary of coverage for persons 65 and older. The Center for Medicare Advocacy is honoring this accomplishment by counting down to July 1st. It will recount little […]

  • The Best Way to Help a Grandchild with College

    Monday, June 27th, 2016

    Posted by:  Kathy Ryding A college education, even at a highly rated private institution, was once regarded as a relatively affordable route to lifelong prosperity, but in recent years it has become a hobbling financial burden for many families. As a result, older generations are often stepping up to help their families with college funding. According to a Fidelity Investments survey of its investors (a more affluent group than the average) more than half of grandparents “are saving or plan to start saving to help pay for college costs.” The desire for one generation to help another with college has […]

  • Top Mistakes in Buy-Sell Agreements

    Monday, June 20th, 2016

    The buy-sell agreement arguably is the most important legal agreement for closely-held entitles.  Whether you are the client’s business attorney or the estate planning attorney advising the owner of a small business, understanding what can go wrong with buy-sell agreements will help you better serve your clients. FAILURE TO COORDINATE Many times, business owners think seriously about buy-sell agreements only after they’ve already entered into other agreements that can impact the effectiveness of the buy-sell.  Examples include articles of incorporation/organization or partnership agreement, bylaws/operating agreements, loans or security agreements, franchise agreements and leases.  Buy-sell agreements must be coordinated with these […]

  • Social Security Mails Letters to Seniors Eligible for Extra Help

    Monday, June 20th, 2016

    Posted by:  Cynthia Tolan A letter arrives in the mail with this opening line: “We are writing to let you know how you can get help paying your Medicare costs.” Your fraud detector probably goes on high alert – the mailboxes of retirees routinely are stuffed with bogus come-ons.  But this letter is no scam! More than 2 million seniors are receiving letters this month from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) telling them that they could be eligible for Extra Help, a program that often covers up to 75 percent of prescription drug costs. Others may be eligible for a […]

  • The Customized Sandwich Generation

    Friday, June 17th, 2016

    The Customized Sandwich Generation By:  Jennifer A. Johnson, Esq. and Scott Tolan The term “Sandwich Generation” has been around since 1981 when a woman named Dorothy Miller coined the term essentially to describe those individuals who were taking care of both their own children and providing some level of care for their aging parent(s). Since that time, numerous books and articles have been written about the subject from various perspectives. This particular piece will extend the metaphor to discuss the specific components involved in the sandwich generation concept as though they are actual parts of a sandwich. The goal here is […]

  • How to Avoid Sending Your Assets and Loved Ones Into Probate Court

    Friday, June 17th, 2016

    By:  Heinz Brisske Over the years, we’ve discovered that many people make a BIG mistake, catapulting their assets and loved ones right into the court system. Most of our clients want to avoid probate because it has a reputation for being expensive, time consuming, stressful – and public, meaning anyone anywhere can see who got what and how to contact them. Beneficiaries may become victims to nosy neighbors, predators, and unscrupulous “charities.” Q:  What’s the one mistake that causes all these problems?   A:  An unfunded Living Trust. What Does it Mean to Fund Your Living Trust? Funding a Living […]

  • Employee Benefits and Early-Onset Alzheimer’s

    Monday, June 13th, 2016

    Posted by:  Kathy Ryding Getting a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s for those under age 65 can be difficult. Early-onset Alzheimer’s, which can even strike people in their 30s and 40s, affects less than five percent (5%) of all Alzheimer’s patients. Because doctors don’t usually suspect Alzheimer’s at such young ages, the symptoms are often attributed to other causes, such as depression, stress, and even (in women) menopause. But it’s important that employees get the diagnosis as early as possible, in order to maximize benefits that are available to them. If you are fired before anyone knows what is going on, you […]

  • Who’s the ‘Right Who’ to Take Over Your Business?

    Monday, June 13th, 2016

    By: Jim Kendall For the next few paragraphs, let’s assume you own the business — lock, stock and barrel, the whole kit and caboodle. That makes you eligible to answer a question not that many advisers ask, a question even fewer business owners can answer: Who’s your Right Who? The answer has nothing to do with Dr. Seuss. Instead, according to Aaron Ruswick, identifying the Right Who can greatly impact the value of your business — particularly when you reach, or near, the end of the road. Ruswick is a partner at the Wheaton law firm of Huck Bouma PC, where his […]

  • Who’s the ‘Right Who’ to Take Over Your Business?

    Monday, June 13th, 2016

    Aaron E. Ruswick was interviewed by Jim Kendall of Kendall Communications on issues of corporate succession. The resulting article entitled “Who’s the ‘Right Who’ to Take Over Your Business?” was published in the Daily Herald on June 13. You can read Jim’s article here, or in the Daily Herald. Jim writes a weekly column for the Daily Herald on a range of small business issues.

  • Who’s the ‘Right Who’ to Take Over Your Business?

    Monday, June 13th, 2016

    Aaron E. Ruswick was interviewed by Jim Kendall of Kendall Communications on issues of corporate succession. The resulting article entitled “Who’s the ‘Right Who’ to Take Over Your Business?” was published in the Daily Herald on June 13. You can read Jim’s article here, or in the Daily Herald. Jim writes a weekly column for the Daily Herald on a range of small business issues.

  • May is National Elder Law Month

    Sunday, June 12th, 2016

    May is National Elder Law Month. This designation was established by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys as a way to acknowledge the profession which supports the senior community (defined as people over 65 years) with all of their planning needs. It is celebrated by Elder Law attorneys throughout the country who offer special living days, public seminars, Elder Law clinics and other activities to educate the public. Many people question, “What is Elder Law?” Essentially, Elder Law is a classification of law that relates less to the type of casework performed and more to the type of person who is served. Elder […]

  • May is National Elder Law Month

    Sunday, June 12th, 2016

    May is National Elder Law Month. This designation was established by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys as a way to acknowledge the profession which supports the senior community (defined as people over 65 years) with all of their planning needs. It is celebrated by Elder Law attorneys throughout the country who offer special living days, public seminars, Elder Law clinics and other activities to educate the public. Many people question, “What is Elder Law?” Essentially, Elder Law is a classification of law that relates less to the type of casework performed and more to the type of person who is served. Elder […]

  • Some Social Security Reps Are Themselves Confused About New Social Security Law

    Saturday, June 11th, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske According to Forbes/Retirement, Social Security staff are telling people with 100 percent certainty something that is 100 percent false. This is happening in different parts of the country, in local offices and on the phone. These mistakes can cost tens of thousands of dollars in benefits. On Nov. 2, 2015, Social Security benefit provisions changed dramatically, but the Social Security Administration has yet to issue final regulations with respect to the new law. The critical deadline under the new law for suspending benefits, namely April 29, is rapidly approaching. Earlier this month, SSA issued an emergency memo to its staff […]

  • Some Social Security Reps Are Themselves Confused About New Social Security Law

    Saturday, June 11th, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske According to Forbes/Retirement, Social Security staff are telling people with 100 percent certainty something that is 100 percent false. This is happening in different parts of the country, in local offices and on the phone. These mistakes can cost tens of thousands of dollars in benefits. On Nov. 2, 2015, Social Security benefit provisions changed dramatically, but the Social Security Administration has yet to issue final regulations with respect to the new law. The critical deadline under the new law for suspending benefits, namely April 29, is rapidly approaching. Earlier this month, SSA issued an emergency […]

  • White Sox Plan Game with Autism Accommodations in June

    Monday, June 6th, 2016

    Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson The sights and sounds of a Major League Baseball game are something most of us have come to expect as part of the overall ball park experience. But for children living with autism, all of that can be too much to handle. Now Major League Baseball teams are trying to make sure those youngsters and their families can come out and enjoy a game. It’s a program started four years ago by the league and the advocacy group “Autism Speaks.” Later this month, the White Sox will host an excited group at U.S. Cellular Field […]

  • Finding Out Your Power of Attorney Is Powerless

    Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

    Posted by:  Cynthia Tolan You think you’ve done everything right: Your parents or other relatives have signed a durable power of attorney. Among other things, it allows you to handle their finances — taxes, bills, bank accounts, real estate sales — if they become incapacitated. Then the time comes when older family members can no longer manage transactions on their own. You take the witnessed and notarized document to a financial institution — a big brokerage firm like Wells Fargo or Ameriprise, or a national or regional bank or credit union. And officials say no, they won’t honor your power […]

  • Supporting Orphan Elders

    Monday, May 23rd, 2016

    Posted by:  Jennifer A. Johnson “Orphan elders” is a term meant to describe the coming wave of childless and unmarried Baby Boomers and seniors who are aging essentially alone. Orphan elders may have no surviving spouse, may never have had children, or may have lived long enough to have no surviving close friends or family. Because of health or financial reasons, they may be socially isolated, either completely or partially. Research presented at the 2015 American Geriatrics Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting was conducted as a case study and literature review by principal author Maria Torroella Carney, MD, Chief of Geriatric […]

  • Doctors Find Barriers to End-of-Life Talks

    Monday, May 16th, 2016

    Posted by:  Kathy Ryding A new poll finds that some barriers remain for doctors to have end-of-life planning conversations with patients, a once-controversial subject that Medicare recently began paying for. The poll from the John A. Hartford Foundation finds that forty-six percent of doctors who see patients 65 and older are sometimes unsure what to say in these conversations, which are intended to help patients develop plans on areas such as whether they want to be kept on life support. Only twenty-nine percent of doctors say that they have had any formal training on talking with patients and their families […]

  • Organ Donation: State Efforts Have Done Little to Close the Supply Gap

    Monday, May 9th, 2016

    Posted by:  Melissa C. Pennuto In the U.S., an average of 21 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant, and the wait times can range from four months for a heart to five years for a kidney, depending on the how sick the patient is, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) and the Gift of Life Donor Program. But public policies have done little to close this gap between supply and demand, according to a study published earlier this month in JAMA Internal Medicine. In this look at the national impact of a variety of […]

  • Should Medicare Add a Long-Term Care Benefit?

    Monday, May 2nd, 2016

    Posted by:  Cynthia Tolan Public opinion surveys show that most Americans incorrectly think Medicare pays for long-term supports and services (LTSS). It does not. But should it? Should Congress add a long-term care benefit to the program’s current package of insurance for hospital care, doctor visits, and drugs? Three highly respected health researchers, Karen Davis, Amber Willink, and Cathy Schoen, think it should. In a blog post for the journal Health Affairs, they’ve proposed “Medicare Help at Home”. It has three elements: (1) A limited benefit for support at home; (2) a new health delivery model called an Integrated Care […]

  • Huck Bouma PC was pleased to be able to sponsor two (2) teams

    Saturday, April 30th, 2016

    Huck Bouma PC was pleased to be able to sponsor two (2) teams bowling in the Bowl for the Torch event benefitting and supporting the District 200 Special Olympics program.  This event was held on Saturday, April 30 at Fox Bowl, 1101 Butterfield Road, Wheaton, IL.

  • Can a Popular Diabetes Drug Slow Aging?

    Monday, April 25th, 2016

    Posted by:  Jennifer Johnson  Last December, the FDA approved a clinical trial in people to determine if metformin, a popular medication used to control diabetes, might be used to slow the aging process in seniors. The trial is called Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME). Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, is heading the study. They plan to enroll 3,000 people, ages 65 to 80, who have or are at risk for cancer, heart disease or dementia. Half will take metformin. All will be tracked for about […]

  • Tax Freedom Day

    Sunday, April 24th, 2016

    Each year the Tax Foundation publishes the “Tax Freedom Day,” the day we stop working for the government and begin working for ourselves. For 2015, Tax Freedom Day is April 24. This is 114 days into the full year and is one day later than Tax Freedom Day in 2014. The reason Tax Freedom Day has moved forward is that the recovering economy is generating higher federal tax receipts from individual, payroll and corporate taxes. The Tax Foundation estimates that, in 2015, there will be $3.28 trillion in federal taxes and $1.57 trillion in state and local taxes, bringing total […]

  • Series LLCs: Could a Uniform Protected Series Act Be Coming Soon?- Part II

    Monday, April 18th, 2016

    In Part I, some of the history and issues surrounding series LLCs and their application were discussed; in Part II, we will investigate more recent developments, including a look at the status of the Uniform Protected Series Act  currently under consideration by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (“NCCUSL”). Which States Have Authorized Series LLCs?   Presently, there are 15 states with series LLC legislation: Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.  The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico also have provisions for series LLCs. California does not authorize series LLCs, but permits series LLCs formed elsewhere to register […]

  • Getting Appreciated Real Estate Out of C Corporations –Part II

    Monday, April 18th, 2016

    As discussed in the first part of this series, C corporations are tax-inefficient forms of business.  C corporation income is taxed twice—once when it is earned, and again when it is distributed to the shareholders. To avoid this double taxation, most newly formed businesses use pass-through entities like S corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs) to own real estate. But a few decades ago, S corporation requirements were more onerous and LLCs didn’t exist.  Because of this, and for other reasons, many C corporations still own real estate. Part I of this series discussed two strategies to get real estate […]

  • Home Improvements to Consider for Aging in Place

    Monday, April 18th, 2016

    Posted by:  Kathy Ryding Americans are getting older, and most want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. As a result, many homeowners are taking steps to modify their homes so they will be able to safely and comfortably remain in their homes for as long as possible. This is called “aging in place.” With the average annual cost of assisted living at $43,200 and nursing home care at $80,300 you will likely save money over the long run by investing in aging-in-place home improvements. Also, if you have long-term care insurance, it may help cover some […]

  • Tom Christensen was recently awarded

    Friday, April 15th, 2016

    Tom Christensen was recently awarded a rating of AV-Preeminent® by the respected Martindale-Hubbell® peer review service. This is the highest rating available, and is based upon the attorney’s legal ability and ethical standards, as reported by members of the bench and bar in anonymous surveys.  The rating reflects Tom’s excellent legal abilities and his adherence to the highest ethical standards, over his 23 years of practice. AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • WASHINGTON — Huck Bouma is honored to share the exciting news

    Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Huck Bouma is honored to share the exciting news that leaders of the U.S. House and Senate presented a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers, to member Mr. Ramon Rodriguez, father of our Legal Assistant, Jeannette Berg, on Wednesday, April 13. This Medal of Honor recognizes the pioneering military service of this Regiment, its devotion to duty, and its many acts of valor in the face of adversity. The 65th Infantry is a Puerto Rican regiment of the United States Army that bravely fought and served the U.S. during times of combat, including World War I, World […]

  • Patrick Hurley has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer for 2016 in the area of Family Law

    Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

    Huck Bouma partner Patrick Hurley has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer for 2016 in the area of Family Law. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Super Lawyers uses a patented multiphase selection process in which peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on twelve (12) indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys […]

  • IRS Sees Big Increase in Tax-Related Schemes This Season

    Monday, April 11th, 2016

    Posted by:  Cindy Tolan The IRS has seen an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far in the 2016 tax season. The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. When people click on these email links, they are taken to sites designed to imitate an official-looking website, such as IRS.gov. The sites also may carry malware, which can infect people’s computers and allow criminals to access […]

  • Retail Prescription Prices Increasing Six Times Faster

    Monday, April 4th, 2016

    Posted by:  Melissa Pennuto Retail prescription drug prices have increased six times faster than the general inflation rate of 1.5 percent, according to a new AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) report out this month. The average annual cost of prescriptions reached new heights of more than $11,000 which comes out to about 75 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit. “If these trends continue, more and more Americans will simply be unable to afford the medications that they need to get and stay healthy,” said Debra Whitman, PhD, AARP’s Chief Public Policy Officer. “When the price of a drug […]

  • Helping Mom or Dad Stay at Home: Tips for Selecting an In-Home Care Provider

    Monday, March 28th, 2016

    Posted by: Jennifer Johnson There may come a time when your parent is no longer safe living at home due to physical or emotional concerns. Instead of moving Mom or Dad to an assisted living or nursing home, in-home care can provide a solution that makes everyone happy— your parent can stay at home in familiar surroundings, and you can gain peace of mind that someone is there to help. When selecting an in-home care provider: Determine the level of care needed. There are several options available, depending on the assistance your parent needs.  In-home care is available to even […]

  • Plan Ahead to Protect your Disabled Children

    Monday, March 21st, 2016

    Posted by:  Melissa Pennuto To the loved ones of disabled individuals, I am forever humbled in your presence as you care for your family members of all ages who are living with a disability.  Working in the community and being around my friends’ families enables me to see, almost on a daily basis, how hard you work to ensure that they are living a comfortable and happy life.  I admire your strength, and I empathize with how exhausting this can be, especially for parents. As a mother of two, I am ready to turn in by 8:30 p.m. each day after […]

  • Is There an Income Tax Time Bomb Lurking in Your Estate Plan?

    Monday, March 21st, 2016

    By:  Heinz Brisske As the federal estate tax exemption has ballooned from $1.5 million ten years ago to $5.45 million today, the need for estate tax planning has decreased for many of our clients.  Instead, higher income tax rates that were ushered in under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) have shifted the focus of estate planning to a new frontier:  income tax basis planning. Whether estate tax planning remains relevant to your plan or not, income tax basis planning is becoming increasingly relevant. The Basics of Income Tax Basis In its simplest form, income tax basis is […]

  • What Happens When There are No Children to Provide Care to a Parent?

    Sunday, March 20th, 2016

    Posted by:  Melissa Pennuto As we age, it is likely that many of us will need help for at least some period of time with life’s daily activities. (These activities include bathing, dressing, eating and using the bathroom.) And while we may not want to think much about being in that position some day, it would be a good idea to start thinking now about who will take care of us in our old age. According to a 2011 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about half of all informal caregiving is provided by adult children, […]

  • The Elderly are also Victims of Student Debt Crisis

    Monday, March 14th, 2016

    Posted by:  Melissa Pennuto The economic crisis facing many Americans is growing a new set of horns as it continues to take on our most fragile demographic: Seniors.  The amount of student loan debt held by Americans age 60 and older rapidly increased from $6 billion in 2004 when it affected less than 1% of that population, to $58 billion in 2014 and affecting more than 4%.  With more than half of the loans held by those 75 and over in default, the cost of education and the student loan debt crisis is hitting seniors in the ribs by garnishing […]

  • Underestimating the Risk of Disability

    Monday, March 7th, 2016

    Posted by:  Cindy Tolan No one likes to think about the possibility of their own disability or the disability of a loved one. However, as the statistics below demonstrate, we should all plan for at least a temporary disability. Disability planning is one area where we can give each and every person and family we work with great comfort in knowing that, if they or a loved one becomes disabled, they will be prepared. Most Individuals Will Face At Least a Temporary Disability Study after study confirms that nearly everyone will face at least a temporary disability sometime during their […]

  • Why Candidates Are Not Talking About Long-Term Care

    Monday, February 29th, 2016

    Posted by:  Cindy Tolan With Super Tuesday upon us and the Illinois primary fast approaching, there has been a lot of name-calling, and disagreement among the candidates.  Regardless of your political affiliation one thing that appears common to all candidates is the lack of attention to the long-term care crisis in our country.  I found this to be a particularly interesting article… Why Candidates Aren’t Talking About Long-Term Care It should be a hot issue – but it’s been met largely with silence By Richard Harris Work & Living Writer January 29, 2016 On the eve of the first votes of […]

  • LONG-TERM CARE: The Problems and the Opportunities

    Thursday, February 25th, 2016

    Long-Term Care: The Problems and the Opportunities Introduction Most Americans do not know, or refuse to accept, the facts surrounding their potential need for long-term care and the costs associated with it. This was reconfirmed recently in a telephone survey of 1,735 Americans over the age of 40, funded by the SCAN Foundation and conducted by the Associated Press (AP) – NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (“survey”).[1] This survey highlights many of the misconceptions Americans have about long-term care, including: the potential that a loved one may need some sort of long-term care within the next five (5) years; lack of […]

  • What Happens If a Family Member Becomes Incapacitated?

    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

    The Unpopular Topic of Discussion Every Family Needs to Have By Cindy Tolan  “Our family is concerned about our dad.”  (mom, aunt, uncle you fill in the blank)  This is often how the call I receive begins from a family member facing the challenge of a loved one who has become incapacitated. Just bringing up the possibility of someone in your family becoming mentally or physically incapacitated is often difficult. We tend to think of only the very elderly needing long-term, hands-on care, but a recent report by the Alzheimer’s Association found that one in nine Americans age 65 or […]

  • Getting Appreciated Real Estate Out of C Corporations (Part I)

    Monday, January 25th, 2016

    Corporations are taxed under subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code unless the shareholders elect to be taxed under subchapter S.  Of these two tax regimes, subchapter C is more onerous.  It taxes all income twice: once when it is earned and again when it is distributed to shareholders.  If a corporation taxed under subchapter C (C corporation) sells appreciated property, the corporation must pay income tax on the difference between the amount received and the corporation’s tax basis in the property.  When the sales proceeds are distributed to the shareholders as dividends, the shareholders must pay income tax on […]

  • Series LLCs: Could a Uniform Protected Series Act Be Coming Soon? Part I

    Monday, January 25th, 2016

    While series LLCs have gained in popularity and use among states that have authorized them, the lack of state uniformity in the treatment and acceptance of series LLCs has led more conservative attorneys, advisors and clients to avoid them, believing that the uncertainties and potential risks outweigh the perceived benefits. In the last year, however, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (“NCCUSL”) has been hard at work and there are encouraging signs that a uniform law for series LLCs may be forthcoming. In Part I of this two-part series, we’ll cover some of the background and issues surrounding series LLCs. In Part II, […]

  • Federal Health Care Spending Tops Social Security for the First Time

    Monday, January 25th, 2016

    By Sarah Ferris – 01/25/16 03:19 PM EST Spending on federal healthcare programs outpaced spending on Social Security for the first time in 2015, according to an expansive report from the congressional budget scorekeeper released Monday. The government spent $936 billion last year on health programs including Medicare, Medicaid and subsidies related to the Affordable Care Act, a jump of 13 percent from 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Spending on Social Security, in contrast, totaled $882 billion, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported. The swelling cost of health programs is likely to ignite an election-year debate on the right over ObamaCare […]

  • Digital Assets

    Monday, January 25th, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske An article in Technology Fox News is a good example of the issues that we face in dealing with digital assets after death. The general assumption has always been that estate plans deal with “hard” assets, but we have come to appreciate the importance of “digital” assets, and the difficulties raised by those assets when someone dies. More and more, we live in a digital world, and our daily lives involve technology to varying degrees, and the rights, access, use and value of the assets that go along with that technology. We have Facebook accounts, LinkedIn profiles, photographs […]

  • Federal Health Care Spending Tops Social Security for the First Time

    Monday, January 25th, 2016

    By Sarah Ferris – 01/25/16 03:19 PM EST Spending on federal healthcare programs outpaced spending on Social Security for the first time in 2015, according to an expansive report from the congressional budget scorekeeper released Monday. The government spent $936 billion last year on health programs including Medicare, Medicaid and subsidies related to the Affordable Care Act, a jump of 13 percent from 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Spending on Social Security, in contrast, totaled $882 billion, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported. The swelling cost of health programs is likely to ignite an election-year debate on the right over ObamaCare […]

  • IRA Charitable Rollovers Made Permanent

    Sunday, January 24th, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske IRA Charitable Rollovers are now a permanent part of the tax code. On December 18, 2015, Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) was passed by both the House of Representatives (318 to 109) and by the Senate (65 to 33). The law provides that each IRA owner over age 70½ may make a transfer of up to $100,000 per year to a qualified charity. An IRA charitable rollover may fulfill part or all of a required minimum distribution (RMD). Such a rollover is tax-free and not included in adjusted gross income.

  • IRA Charitable Rollovers Made Permanent

    Sunday, January 24th, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske IRA Charitable Rollovers are now a permanent part of the tax code. On December 18, 2015, Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) was passed by both the House of Representatives (318 to 109) and by the Senate (65 to 33). The law provides that each IRA owner over age 70½ may make a transfer of up to $100,000 per year to a qualified charity. An IRA charitable rollover may fulfill part or all of a required minimum distribution (RMD). Such a rollover is tax-free and not included in adjusted gross income.

  • Battle Lines Being Drawn in Medicare Premium Increase Proposal

    Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske A tight year for Medicare could force millions of seniors to pay at least $650 more for public insurance in 2016, sparking a likely showdown between policymakers and activist groups, according to news sources. AARP promises to fight the 52 percent increase in premiums forecast for nearly a third of Medicare Part B beneficiaries, including higher-income families and those enrolling in the program for the first time. All enrollees could see yearly deductibles climb from $147 to $223 under Part B, which covers outpatient services, emergency visits, and other medical care for more than 47 million […]

  • Battle Lines Being Drawn in Medicare Premium Increase Proposal

    Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske A tight year for Medicare could force millions of seniors to pay at least $650 more for public insurance in 2016, sparking a likely showdown between policymakers and activist groups, according to news sources. AARP promises to fight the 52 percent increase in premiums forecast for nearly a third of Medicare Part B beneficiaries, including higher-income families and those enrolling in the program for the first time. All enrollees could see yearly deductibles climb from $147 to $223 under Part B, which covers outpatient services, emergency visits, and other medical care for more than 47 million […]

  • No Social Security COLA Increase for 2016

    Friday, January 22nd, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz J. Brisske Conjecture regarding the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients has been reported by various media sources for some time. The Social Security Administration just announced that, in fact, there will be no COLA adjustment for 2016. This is only the third time in 40 years that Social Security recipients, disabled veterans, and federal retirees can expect no increase in benefits. Obviously, this is unwelcome news to approximately one-fifth of the nation’s population that receive such benefits. Only twice before, in 2010 and 2011, have there been no increases. The culprit? Low gas prices. By law, […]

  • No Social Security COLA Increase for 2016

    Friday, January 22nd, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz J. Brisske Conjecture regarding the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients has been reported by various media sources for some time. The Social Security Administration just announced that, in fact, there will be no COLA adjustment for 2016. This is only the third time in 40 years that Social Security recipients, disabled veterans, and federal retirees can expect no increase in benefits. Obviously, this is unwelcome news to approximately one-fifth of the nation’s population that receive such benefits. Only twice before, in 2010 and 2011, have there been no increases. The culprit? Low gas prices. By law, […]

  • Inflation Adjustments in Revenue Procedure 2015-53

    Thursday, January 21st, 2016

    Posted by:  Beth Cwik October 21, 2015  The Internal Revenue Service recently announced the 2016 Inflation Adjustments in Revenue Procedure 2015-53. ADJUSTED – Estate and Trust Tax Rate Tables – for taxable years beginning in 2016 the 15% rate applies to income not over $2,550 and the maximum 39.6% rate applies to income over $12,400 with graduated rates in between. ADJUSTED – Valuation of Qualified Real Property in Decedent’s Gross Estate – for an estate of a decedent dying in calendar year 2016, if the executor elects to use the special use valuation method under § 2032A for qualified real […]

  • Inflation Adjustments in Revenue Procedure 2015-53

    Thursday, January 21st, 2016

    Posted by:  Beth Cwik October 21, 2015 The Internal Revenue Service recently announced the 2016 Inflation Adjustments in Revenue Procedure 2015-53. ADJUSTED – Estate and Trust Tax Rate Tables – for taxable years beginning in 2016 the 15% rate applies to income not over $2,550 and the maximum 39.6% rate applies to income over $12,400 with graduated rates in between. ADJUSTED – Valuation of Qualified Real Property in Decedent’s Gross Estate – for an estate of a decedent dying in calendar year 2016, if the executor elects to use the special use valuation method under § 2032A for qualified real […]

  • Tax Return Due Dates

    Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

    Posted by:  Beth Cwik October 21, 2015 New law changes a number of due dates for tax returns. With respect to partnership and S corporation tax returns, the new due date is March 15 for calendar year partnerships and the 15th day of the third month after the close of the fiscal year for fiscal year partnerships. Note that this is a month earlier than the previous due date of April 15. With respect to C corporation returns, the new due date is the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the corporation’s year (that would be April 15 for […]

  • Tax Return Due Dates

    Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

    Posted by:  Beth Cwik October 21, 2015 New law changes a number of due dates for tax returns. With respect to partnership and S corporation tax returns, the new due date is March 15 for calendar year partnerships and the 15th day of the third month after the close of the fiscal year for fiscal year partnerships. Note that this is a month earlier than the previous due date of April 15. With respect to C corporation returns, the new due date is the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the corporation’s year (that would be April 15 […]

  • Medicare Drug Plan Prices are Scheduled to Rise in 2016

    Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske Seniors should get ready to pay more, or shop more wisely, when it comes to Medicare “Part D” prescriptions drug plans. According to Colin Shannon, senior manager at Avalere Health Care Consultancy: “Medicare beneficiaries should carefully review their prescription drug plan options in 2016. With many plans taking large premium increases in 2016, those beneficiaries that choose not to change plans will likely pay more in premiums than if they look for lower-cost options.” According to CNBC, Avalere found that the average prescription drug plan premium in 2016 will top $40 per month for the first time […]

  • Medicare Drug Plan Prices are Scheduled to Rise in 2016

    Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske Seniors should get ready to pay more, or shop more wisely, when it comes to Medicare “Part D” prescriptions drug plans. According to Colin Shannon, senior manager at Avalere Health Care Consultancy: “Medicare beneficiaries should carefully review their prescription drug plan options in 2016. With many plans taking large premium increases in 2016, those beneficiaries that choose not to change plans will likely pay more in premiums than if they look for lower-cost options.” According to CNBC, Avalere found that the average prescription drug plan premium in 2016 will top $40 per month for the first […]

  • IRS Issues Proposed ABLE Regulations; Many Questions Left Unanswered

    Monday, January 18th, 2016

    The IRS has published its proposed regulations for state ABLE plans. Unfortunately, the offered rules leave many questions unanswered. The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, was signed into law late last year. It allows people with disabilities, whose disabilities began prior to age 26, to set aside up to $14,000 a year in tax-free savings accounts without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. The proposed regulations deal with numerous aspects of creating and maintaining ABLE accounts, as well as the gift and estate tax treatment of contributions into the accounts, and a host of other implementation issues. The proposed regulations provide that […]

  • IRS Issues Proposed ABLE Regulations; Many Questions Left Unanswered

    Monday, January 18th, 2016

    The IRS has published its proposed regulations for state ABLE plans. Unfortunately, the offered rules leave many questions unanswered. The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, was signed into law late last year. It allows people with disabilities, whose disabilities began prior to age 26, to set aside up to $14,000 a year in tax-free savings accounts without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. The proposed regulations deal with numerous aspects of creating and maintaining ABLE accounts, as well as the gift and estate tax treatment of contributions into the accounts, and a host of other implementation issues. The […]

  • Tax Reform

    Friday, January 8th, 2016

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske With the onset of a new year, optimism for tax reform again blossoms in Washington. The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee will again embark on a journey toward major tax reform. But is there realistic potential for such reform in an election year? When it comes to personal and estate taxes, there is general agreement that the tax code should be broadened by reducing deductions and tax rates. The obvious political challenge for lowering rates is that state and local tax deductions would have to be eliminated and there must be […]

  • The Lifetime QTIP Trust

    Friday, December 4th, 2015

    (or How to Maintain Control of Your Estate and Keep Spouse No. 2 Happy) Posted by: Heinz Brisske Estate planning for couples in a second or later marriage can be tricky, particularly when one spouse is significantly wealthier than the other. One solution for allowing the well-to-do spouse to maintain control of his or her assets but keep the other spouse happy is the Lifetime QTIP Trust. In this article, you will learn what a Lifetime QTIP is and the multiple benefits this special type of trust can provide to you and your spouse if you have lopsided estates. The Basics of […]

  • Leaving Nursing Home During Medicare-Covered Stay

    Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske Good news around the holidays is always welcome. This item in the blog written by the Center for Medicare Advocacy comes at a great time. Nursing home residents often want to participate in holiday gatherings but may worry that they will lose Medicare coverage if they leave the facility to do so. Residents and their families and friends can put their minds at ease. According to Medicare law, nursing home residents may leave their facility for family events without losing their Medicare coverage. However, depending on the length of their absence, beneficiaries may be charged a […]

  • It’s Time for the Holidays and RMDs

    Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

    By:  Beth M. Cwik The holidays are here and the hustle and bustle of family gatherings and shopping is in the forefront of our mind.  This is also a good time to review our finances and in particular, whether or not we need to take a required minimum distribution. Even if you are still employed, you must take your first required minimum distribution (“RMD”) by April 1 of the year following the year in which you turn 70 ½.  You can figure out what your RMD will be by looking at your account balance(s) as of the end of the […]

  • Updates in the Special Needs Planning Area

    Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

    Updates in the Special Needs Planning Area By:  Heinz Brisske The special needs community and its advocates are making headway as of late.  Last month, the IRS proposed regulations for the new state-sponsored ABLE accounts.  In addition, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act was reintroduced to Congress earlier this year and appears to be making progress.  As advocates for those with special needs, we celebrate these minor, but important accomplishments and can use them as inspiration as we continue to fight for the rights of this special community. ABLE Act ABLE Accounts: In a recent article, we explained the recently […]

  • Five Ways to Make Trusts More Flixible

    Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

    Trusts that continue for the benefit of a surviving spouse’s lifetime and then for the benefit of several generations have become the norm. Drafting trust agreements that will cover the administration, investment, and distribution of trust property over the span of multiple decades is challenging. In this article you will learn how trust agreements can be made flexible to address changes in the lives of beneficiaries and governing laws by: Carefully selecting trustees. Defining trust beneficiaries. Including powers of appointment. Allowing for trust decanting. Providing for the appointment of a trust protector The Wrong Trustee Can Derail Your Client’s Wishes […]

  • Jennifer A. Johnson will be speaking at the November 18th noon meeting of the DuPage County Bar Association Elder Law Committee

    Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

    Jennifer A. Johnson will be speaking at the November 18th noon meeting of the DuPage County Bar Association Elder Law Committee.  Jennifer will discuss involuntary discharge proceedings from nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and supportive living facilities, and what to do in the instance that a client or family member receives an involuntary discharge notice. Jennifer concentrates her practice in estate planning, special needs planning, business succession planning, guardianship, estate administration and elder law. She represents individuals and families at all income levels.

  • From Opening to Close – A Construction Trial and the Technology to Win Your Case

    Friday, October 23rd, 2015

    On October 23, Tom Christensen will be serving as a moderator at a presentation of the Illinois State Bar Association LawEd series, “From Opening to Close – A Construction Trial and the Technology to Win Your Case.”  This presentation will be in the form of a mock trial, and will explore the complexities surrounding a construction trial and the role of technology in presenting evidence in such a trial.

  • Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2015

    Sunday, October 18th, 2015

    Huck Bouma PC was pleased to sponsor a team walking in the Making Strides of DuPage event this year.  This year, The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event was held on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL. Our team raised over $1,800 and was in the top 20 out of over 200 teams for fundraising!

  • The Future of the Estate Tax

    Thursday, September 24th, 2015

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske It has become a bit easier to predict changes in the federal estate tax since Congress removed the “sunset” provision from the law in early 2013 (retroactive to January 1, 2013). We can now claim to have a “permanent” federal estate tax law. We all know what that means: it’s permanent until Congress decides to change it yet again. Over the past several decades, there have been major federal estate tax changes at least every couple of years, either in the amount taxed, the tax rate, or both, and regarding other issues such as portability of […]

  • What’s Hot in Estate Planning Right Now May Surprise You

    Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

    By:  Heinz Brisske Estate planning has truly evolved over the past 20 years. Gone, for now, is the uncertainty about the federal estate tax exemptions. It may no longer be required for all married couples to use trusts to minimize these taxes. For most families, income taxes are a more important and more immediate concern than estate taxes, and planning for basis step-up and lower capital gains taxes have become a relevant concern. Also gone is “simple” planning for the “traditional” family; it can certainly be argued that “traditional” is an evolving term when it comes to estate planning. Major […]

  • Cloud Computing – What’s the Risk?

    Thursday, July 9th, 2015

    Storing data ‘in the cloud’ is not a new concept; it has become a fact of corporate life. We now, however, have a contemporary, terse way of referring to the off-site storage of accessible data via the Internet— essentially, ‘Cloud’ computing. Over time, cloud computing may very well become ubiquitous and unavoidable. But what are the risks associated with cloud computing, and how can you minimize that risk? Cloud Storage Services (CSS) are a great way to access work-related data both at home and while on the road. CSS also makes it possible to collaborate with co-workers, especially those who work […]

  • Reasonable Compensation: Avoiding Red Flags on S-Corp Audits

    Monday, July 6th, 2015

    By: Lawrence J. Gregory A compelling reason for a business to operate as an S-corp. is the beneficial income tax treatment afforded to its owner/directors. Generally speaking, net income from a partnership (or LLC taxed as a partnership) will be subject to the self-employment tax on the owner’s income tax return, while the net income of an S-Corp will not. However, to combat potential abuses by the owner to escape all employment taxes, the IRS requires that owners who work for the S-Corp. pay themselves a “reasonable salary”. What constitutes reasonable is a very fact specific inquiry, and the IRS […]

  • Protect Retirement Plan Assets for Your Family With Standalone Retirement Trusts

    Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

    In a landmark, unanimous decision handed down on June 12, 2014, the United States Supreme Court held that inherited IRAs are not “retirement funds” and therefore not protected from creditors (Clark, et ux v. Rameker, 573 U.S. (204)). This ruling is important to you and your family because it means you need to take action to insure that your retirement funds are protected when they pass to the next generation – and, perhaps, even to your spouse. Here’s what happened in the Clark case: Ruth Heffron created an IRA, naming her daughter, Heidi Heffron-Clark, as beneficiary. After Ruth died, Heidi […]

  • The women lawyers at Huck Bouma form a core group of attorneys at Huck Bouma

    Monday, June 1st, 2015

    The women lawyers at Huck Bouma provide services in various disciplines,representing clients in the areas of business services, including mergers and acquisitions and banking, in litigation, in tax planning, wealth transfer and estate planning, estate and trust administration, asset preservation, estates and trusts, elder law and commercial real estate. Representing business entities as well as individuals and their families, they form a core group of attorneys at Huck Bouma. To say that the firm is proud of its female attorneys would be a gross understatement. If you would like to see the promotional information that will appear in the  May, […]

  • Not Just a Facelift: The Amended Illinois Power of Attorney

    Saturday, May 30th, 2015

    The January 2015 edition of the DCBA Brief includes an article authored by Huck Bouma attorney Katie May entitled, Not Just a Facelift: The Amended Illinois Power of Attorney. The article explores some of the recent changes to the Illinois Power of Attorney Act which amends the Power of Attorney for Health Care, as well as provides a few practical pointers for practitioners to consider in drafting a Power of Attorney for Health Care. The changes in the Illinois Power of Attorney Act do not affect the Power of Attorney for Property.

  • After 20 Months Patrick Hurley’s client was recently granted a modification of custody of her 12 year-old son

    Friday, May 15th, 2015

    Following 20 months of contentious litigation and a five-day evidentiary hearing in the Circuit Court of DuPage County, Patrick Hurley‘s client was recently granted a modification of custody of her 12 year-old son and was further granted permission to relocate the child to her residence in the State of North Carolina, the court having determined that this relief was in the best interests of the minor child. The case involved complex child custody issues and featured the testimony of twelve witnesses, including the court-appointed Guardian ad Litem and a clinical psychologist. Patrick Hurley’s practice at Huck Bouma is primarily concentrated […]

  • Presenting and Defending Expert Witnesses

    Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

    On May 13, 2015, Larry Stein, Chairman of Huck Bouma’s litigation department, together with The Honorable Brian R. McKillip, a judge of the Circuit Court of DuPage, will be giving a presentation to fellow lawyers in the community on behalf of the Civil Law and Practice Committee of the Du Page County Bar Association on the topic of “Presenting and Defending Expert Witnesses.” The presentation will be held in the Attorney Resource Center of the Du Page County Courthouse at 11:45 am. Beginning July 1, 2015, Larry has been appointed to serve as the Vice-Chairman of the Civil Law and […]

  • Super Lawyers for 2015

    Friday, May 1st, 2015

    Huck Bouma partners Larry Stein and Pat Hurley have both been named Super Lawyers for 2015. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Super Lawyers uses a patented multiphase selection process in which peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Pat has been with […]

  • Tax Freedom Day

    Friday, April 24th, 2015

    Each year the Tax Foundation publishes the “Tax Freedom Day,” the day we stop working for the government and begin working for ourselves. For 2015, Tax Freedom Day is April 24. This is 114 days into the full year and is one day later than Tax Freedom Day in 2014. The reason Tax Freedom Day has moved forward is that the recovering economy is generating higher federal tax receipts from individual, payroll and corporate taxes. The Tax Foundation estimates that, in 2015, there will be $3.28 trillion in federal taxes and $1.57 trillion in state and local taxes, bringing total […]

  • New Illinois Law Requires Employers To Provide Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

    Friday, April 10th, 2015

    Posted by:  Brian LaFratta  Illinois recently enacted a new law requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. The new law, which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act, went into effect on January 1, 2015. It applies to all employers in Illinois, regardless of the number of employees. Reasonable Accommodations  The new law effectively requires employers to treat pregnancy much like a disability in terms of providing accommodations. Accordingly, if an employee is unable to perform aspects of her position due to her pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation which will allow her to […]

  • Tax Freedom Day

    Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

    Each year the Tax Foundation publishes the “Tax Freedom Day,” the day we stop working for the government and begin working for ourselves. For 2015, Tax Freedom Day is April 24. This is 114 days into the full year and is one day later than Tax Freedom Day in 2014. The reason Tax Freedom Day has moved forward is that the recovering economy is generating higher federal tax receipts from individual, payroll and corporate taxes. The Tax Foundation estimates that, in 2015, there will be $3.28 trillion in federal taxes and $1.57 trillion in state and local taxes, bringing total […]

  • Top Ten Tax Friendly States for Retirees

    Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske Kiplinger conducted an analysis of the most tax-friendly states for retirees, as reported by wsbradio.com. Some of the results may surprise you. The ten worst states in which to retire are predominantly in the northeast, though there are several from the west and the Midwest, as well. Ultimately, I suspect, the decision on where to retire won’t be made solely on the basis of taxation, though that will be a factor to be considered by most. I can’t see retirees flocking to Alaska because it was ranked as the most tax-friendly state for retirees. On the other […]

  • Five Ways to Modernize Your Estate Planning Using Flexible Trusts

    Sunday, March 15th, 2015

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske Your estate plan may include trusts that will continue for the benefit of your spouse’s lifetime and then for the benefit of several generations of your family.  Implementing and maintaining trusts that will cover the administration, investment, and distribution of trust property over the span of multiple decades is challenging and generally requires you to have flexibility in your trust agreements.  In this issue you will learn five ways that flexibility can be incorporated into your trust agreement. 1.      Carefully select your Trustees. 2.      Define your trust beneficiaries. 3.      Include powers of appointment. 4.      Allow for trust decanting. […]

  • The IRS Simplifies Repair Regulations for Small Businesses

    Friday, March 6th, 2015

    Posted by:  Brett Dale The IRS recently released special procedures that will allow small businesses to more easily adopt the tangible property regulations, more commonly known as the Repair Regs. These special procedures generally limit the changes in accounting needed to adopt the Repair Regs to amounts paid or incurred, and dispositions, in tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. The procedures also shed light on the de minimis safe harbors provided under the Repair Regs. Here are some frequently asked questions related to the Repair Regs and IRS Revenue Procedure 2015-20. What Do the Repair Regs Address? In […]

  • Heinz Brisske will be teaching a two-day Estate Planning Essentials course for WealthCounsel in Santa Ana, California.

    Friday, February 20th, 2015

    On February 19 and 20, 2015, Heinz Brisske will be teaching a two-day Estate Planning Essentials course for WealthCounsel in Santa Ana, California. The course is intended for attorneys new to the practice of Estate Planning. In addition to substantive issues of law, the course covers areas such as law office management and marketing. Heinz Brisske will be co-presenting the two-day program with Lew Dymond, a principal with WealthCounsel, LLC, a national network of Estate Planning attorneys, of which Huck Bouma is a member.

  • Not Just a Facelift: The Amended Illinois Power of Attorney

    Monday, February 16th, 2015

    The January 2015 edition of the DCBA Brief includes an article authored by Huck Bouma attorney Katie May entitled, Not Just a Facelift: The Amended Illinois Power of Attorney. The article explores some of the recent changes to the Illinois Power of Attorney Act which amends the Power of Attorney for Health Care, as well as provides a few practical pointers for practitioners to consider in drafting a Power of Attorney for Health Care. The changes in the Illinois Power of Attorney Act do not affect the Power of Attorney for Property.

  • IRS Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

    Monday, February 9th, 2015

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske The IRS published its “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2015 in Publication IR-2015-26 on February 9. John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner, noted that the list highlights two items: phone scams and e-mail phishing attempts: “We are doing everything we can to help taxpayers avoid scams as the tax season continues. Whether it is a phone scam or scheme to steal a taxpayer’s identity, there are simple steps to take to help stop these con artists. We urge taxpayers to visit www.irs.gov for more information and to be wary of these dozen tax scams.” 1. Phone Scams – Criminals impersonate […]

  • IRS Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

    Monday, February 9th, 2015

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske The IRS published its “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2015 in Publication IR-2015-26 on February 9. John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner, noted that the list highlights two items: phone scams and e-mail phishing attempts: “We are doing everything we can to help taxpayers avoid scams as the tax season continues. Whether it is a phone scam or scheme to steal a taxpayer’s identity, there are simple steps to take to help stop these con artists. We urge taxpayers to visit www.irs.gov for more information and to be wary of these dozen tax scams.” 1. Phone Scams – […]

  • IRS Tips to Protect Against Identity Theft

    Sunday, February 8th, 2015

    posted by:  Heinz Brisske As the tax filing season opens, the IRS has offered eight tips for protecting yourself against identity theft. 1. Social Security Number – Don’t carry your Social Security card or other identification items that contain a Social Security number in a wallet or purse. 2. Protect SSN – Don’t give out your Social Security number to stores or businesses unless there is a specific reason. 3. Financial Information – Protect your financial information and don’t give out any of your banking information to anyone without a specific reason or requirement. 4. Credit Report – Check your credit report at least […]

  • IRS Tips to Protect Against Identity Theft

    Sunday, February 8th, 2015

    posted by:  Heinz Brisske As the tax filing season opens, the IRS has offered eight tips for protecting yourself against identity theft. 1. Social Security Number – Don’t carry your Social Security card or other identification items that contain a Social Security number in a wallet or purse. 2. Protect SSN – Don’t give out your Social Security number to stores or businesses unless there is a specific reason. 3. Financial Information – Protect your financial information and don’t give out any of your banking information to anyone without a specific reason or requirement. 4. Credit Report – Check your […]

  • Katie May has been asked to participate in a panel discussion for the DuPage County Bar Association Health Law Committee

    Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

    Attorney Katie May has been asked to participate in a panel discussion for the DuPage County Bar Association Health Law Committee (along with Ronette Leal McCarthy of Elements Cremation, and Ben Neiburger of Generation Law), on the topic of Advanced Directives in Illinois. The panel discussion will address the advanced directives available in Illinois, including the DNR/POLST, Living Will, and updated Health Care Power of Attorney. Additionally, the Illinois Health Care Surrogate Act will be explored. The meeting is scheduled to take place on January 28th at 12:00 p.m. in the Attorney Resource Center of the DuPage County Courthouse.

  • VA Proposes New Three-Year Look Back

    Friday, January 23rd, 2015

    Posted by:  Katie May On January 23, 2015, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs proposed a rule that “would establish new requirements pertaining to the evaluation of net worth and asset transfers for pension purposes and would identify those medical expenses that may be deducted from countable income for VA’s needs-based benefit programs.” This rule pertains to the Veterans’ Pension Benefit, including Aid and Attendance, which provides pension benefits to those Veterans or their surviving spouses who need the assistance of another for their daily living activities, or who otherwise qualify for Veteran’s pension benefits. The rule incorporates a three-year […]

  • VA Proposes New Three-Year Look Back

    Friday, January 23rd, 2015

    Posted by:  Katie May On January 23, 2015, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs proposed a rule that “would establish new requirements pertaining to the evaluation of net worth and asset transfers for pension purposes and would identify those medical expenses that may be deducted from countable income for VA’s needs-based benefit programs.” This rule pertains to the Veterans’ Pension Benefit, including Aid and Attendance, which provides pension benefits to those Veterans or their surviving spouses who need the assistance of another for their daily living activities, or who otherwise qualify for Veteran’s pension benefits. The rule incorporates a three-year […]

  • Make a New Year’s Resolution to Review Your Estate Plan in 2015

    Monday, January 12th, 2015

    by: Heinz Brisske An article in JDSupra Business Advisor caught my eye: Make a New Year’s Resolution to Review Your Estate Plan in 2015 (https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/make-a-new-years-resolution-to-review-y-28424/). It contains advice that we give our clients every year. Keeping your plan current and viable is as important as creating an estate plan in the first place. The article lists several “significant” changes in the law that compel a review, and cites other reasons to revisit your plan. A summary follows: The federal exemption amount for gift and estate tax purposes for 2015 is $5,430,000 (up from $5,340,000 in 2014). In addition, the introduction […]

  • Still Alice

    Thursday, January 8th, 2015

    Posted by: Katie May By now, you may have begun hearing the buzz surrounding the novel turned movie, Still Alice, featuring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish. The movie adaption of Lisa Genova’s 2007 bestselling novel opens in theaters January 16th and the Oscar buzz following its release will likely continue to get louder. Lisa Genova is a Harvard professor of neuroscience, and in her debut novel writes about Alice Howland, a Harvard professor nationally renowned in linguistics. In the novel, Alice, is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at 50 years of age. Alice is […]

  • NDAA of 2015

    Friday, January 2nd, 2015

    Posted by: Katie May Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015, containing provisions that protect disabled children of members of the military. It specifically allows members of the military to leave their survivor benefits to a Special Needs Trust for the benefit of a disabled child. Until these provisions become law, the military parents’ survivor benefits had to go directly to the disabled child, resulting in a potential loss of benefits, thereby undermining the purpose of the survivor benefits: to protect loved ones in need of support after death. Special Needs Trusts make it possible for persons […]

  • NDAA of 2015

    Friday, January 2nd, 2015

    Posted by: Katie May Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015, containing provisions that protect disabled children of members of the military. It specifically allows members of the military to leave their survivor benefits to a Special Needs Trust for the benefit of a disabled child. Until these provisions become law, the military parents’ survivor benefits had to go directly to the disabled child, resulting in a potential loss of benefits, thereby undermining the purpose of the survivor benefits: to protect loved ones in need of support after death. Special Needs Trusts make it possible for persons […]

  • 2015 Amendment to Illinois Power of Attorney Act

    Thursday, January 1st, 2015

    posted by:  Heinz Brisske The Illinois Power of Attorney Act was amended effective January 1, 2015. The Amendment affects only the Power of Attorney for Health Care. As a part of the Amendment, the Illinois legislature changed the statutory form of the Power of Attorney for Health Care, though a Power of Attorney on the old form remains valid. The new Power of Attorney for Health Care form is completely different than the one that existed pre-2015. The Amendment and the new POA form have caused substantial controversy among estate planners and Elder Law attorneys throughout the state. As with […]

  • ABLE Act of 2014

    Thursday, January 1st, 2015

    Posted by: Katie May The ABLE Act  (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014) creates tax-favored accounts for children and adults whose disability occurred before age 26. These accounts can receive up to the annual gift tax exemption —  which for 2015 is $14,000 per year. While beneficiaries are restricted to one account, anyone can contribute to the account which is modeled after 529 college savings accounts. These account programs will need to be implemented by the states. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “assets in an ABLE account and distributions from the account for qualified disability expenses would […]

  • ABLE Act of 2014

    Thursday, January 1st, 2015

    Posted by: Katie May The ABLE Act  (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014) creates tax-favored accounts for children and adults whose disability occurred before age 26. These accounts can receive up to the annual gift tax exemption —  which for 2015 is $14,000 per year. While beneficiaries are restricted to one account, anyone can contribute to the account which is modeled after 529 college savings accounts. These account programs will need to be implemented by the states. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “assets in an ABLE account and distributions from the account for qualified disability expenses would […]

  • 2015 Amendment to Illinois Power of Attorney Act

    Thursday, January 1st, 2015

    posted by:  Heinz Brisske The Illinois Power of Attorney Act was amended effective January 1, 2015. The Amendment affects only the Power of Attorney for Health Care. As a part of the Amendment, the Illinois legislature changed the statutory form of the Power of Attorney for Health Care, though a Power of Attorney on the old form remains valid. The new Power of Attorney for Health Care form is completely different than the one that existed pre-2015. The Amendment and the new POA form have caused substantial controversy among estate planners and Elder Law attorneys throughout the state. As with […]

  • Social Security Announces 1.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2015

    Monday, December 29th, 2014

    Posted by: Katie May The Social Security Administration announced that Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will be increased in 2015 by 1.7% to adjust for cost of living increases. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result of this increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will go from $117,000 to $118,500.00. Link to the SSA Press Release: https://www.socialsecurity.gov/news/press/releases.html#!/post/10-2014-2

  • Social Security Announces 1.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2015

    Monday, December 29th, 2014

    Posted by: Katie May The Social Security Administration announced that Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will be increased in 2015 by 1.7% to adjust for cost of living increases. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result of this increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will go from $117,000 to $118,500.00. Link to the SSA Press Release: https://www.socialsecurity.gov/news/press/releases.html#!/post/10-2014-2

  • Proposal for Higher Estate Tax on Wealthy

    Sunday, December 28th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Bernie Sanders, an Independent Senator from Vermont, has introduced a bill that would increase the estate tax on the very wealthy. Sanders has been an ardent critic of the growing wealth inequality in the United States. He was quoted as saying: “A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much while so many have so little. We need a tax system which asks the billionaire class to pay its fair share of taxes and which reduces the obscene degree of wealth inequality in America.” Sanders then pointed out that the Walton […]

  • Proposal for Higher Estate Tax on Wealthy

    Sunday, December 28th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Bernie Sanders, an Independent Senator from Vermont, has introduced a bill that would increase the estate tax on the very wealthy. Sanders has been an ardent critic of the growing wealth inequality in the United States. He was quoted as saying: “A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much while so many have so little. We need a tax system which asks the billionaire class to pay its fair share of taxes and which reduces the obscene degree of wealth inequality in America.” Sanders then pointed out that the Walton […]

  • New Illinois Law Requires Employers to Provide Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

    Saturday, December 27th, 2014

    Posted by:  Brian LaFratta On August 26, 2014, Illinois enacted a new law requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees.  The new law, which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act, goes into effect on January 1, 2015.  It applies to all employers in Illinois, regardless of the number of employees the employer has. Reasonable Accommodations The new law effectively requires employers to treat pregnancy much like a disability in terms of providing accommodations.  Accordingly, if an employee is unable to perform aspects of her position due to her pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition, the employer must provide a reasonable […]

  • New Illinois Law Requires Employers to Provide Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

    Saturday, December 27th, 2014

    Posted by:  Brian LaFratta On August 26, 2014, Illinois enacted a new law requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees.  The new law, which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act, goes into effect on January 1, 2015.  It applies to all employers in Illinois, regardless of the number of employees the employer has. Reasonable Accommodations The new law effectively requires employers to treat pregnancy much like a disability in terms of providing accommodations.  Accordingly, if an employee is unable to perform aspects of her position due to her pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition, the employer must provide a reasonable […]

  • Illinois Enacts Law Limiting Criminal Background Checks of Employees

    Friday, December 26th, 2014

    Posted by: Brian LaFratta On July 19, 2014, Illinois enacted a new law limiting an employer’s use of criminal background checks. The new law, called the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, prohibits private employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal background until after the employer has determined the applicant is qualified for the job and notified the applicant that he or she was selected for an interview. If the employer does not conduct interviews for the position, then the employer cannot ask about criminal background until after making a conditional offer of employment. These requirements do not apply to […]

  • Illinois Enacts Law Limiting Criminal Background Checks of Employees

    Friday, December 26th, 2014

    Posted by: Brian LaFratta On July 19, 2014, Illinois enacted a new law limiting an employer’s use of criminal background checks. The new law, called the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, prohibits private employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal background until after the employer has determined the applicant is qualified for the job and notified the applicant that he or she was selected for an interview. If the employer does not conduct interviews for the position, then the employer cannot ask about criminal background until after making a conditional offer of employment. These requirements do not apply […]

  • Accountant Privilege Belongs to Client, not CPA

    Thursday, December 25th, 2014

    Posted by: Tom Christensen The Illinois Appellate Court recently clarified that the privilege of accountant confidentiality belongs to the client, not to the accountant.  Previously, two federal cases had construed Section 27 of the Illinois Public Accounting Act as creating a confidentiality privilege that must be asserted by the CPA.  In the recent case of Brunton v. Kruger, 2014 Il App (4th) 130421 (March 27, 2014), the Illinois Appellate Court held that even though Section 27 of the Act does not refer to clients, the privilege belongs to, and is properly asserted by, the client.  The Court reasoned that Section 27 […]

  • Accountant Privilege Belongs to Client, not CPA

    Thursday, December 25th, 2014

    Posted by: Tom Christensen The Illinois Appellate Court recently clarified that the privilege of accountant confidentiality belongs to the client, not to the accountant.  Previously, two federal cases had construed Section 27 of the Illinois Public Accounting Act as creating a confidentiality privilege that must be asserted by the CPA.  In the recent case of Brunton v. Kruger, 2014 Il App (4th) 130421 (March 27, 2014), the Illinois Appellate Court held that even though Section 27 of the Act does not refer to clients, the privilege belongs to, and is properly asserted by, the client.  The Court reasoned that Section […]

  • Shareholder Liable for Corporate Judgment

    Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

    Submitted by: Tom Christensen The Illinois Appellate Court recently held that even a non-shareholder in a corporation can be held personally liable under corporate veil piercing principles. In Buckley v. Abuzir, the plaintiff had obtained a substantial judgment against a corporation that operated a bakery. After obtaining the judgment the plaintiff filed suit against an individual, claiming that the individual had operational control over the corporation, and that the corporation had issued no shares and had no shareholders. After reiterating basic veil-piercing principles, including that the veil will be pierced where observing the corporate identity would sanction a fraud or promote […]

  • Shareholder Liable for Corporate Judgment

    Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

    Submitted by: Tom Christensen The Illinois Appellate Court recently held that even a non-shareholder in a corporation can be held personally liable under corporate veil piercing principles. In Buckley v. Abuzir, the plaintiff had obtained a substantial judgment against a corporation that operated a bakery. After obtaining the judgment the plaintiff filed suit against an individual, claiming that the individual had operational control over the corporation, and that the corporation had issued no shares and had no shareholders. After reiterating basic veil-piercing principles, including that the veil will be pierced where observing the corporate identity would sanction a fraud or […]

  • Smart Phone App for Advance Medical Directives

    Monday, December 22nd, 2014

    Submitted by: Kathleen “Katie” May The ABA Commission on Law and Aging has launched My Health Care Wishes, a smart phone app that allows individuals to store and access their health care advance directive documents in a .pdf version. It also allows them to store and access their essential health information and emergency contact information on their smart phones. In addition, the app sends the advance medical directive documents and other information directly to health care providers via e-mail or Bluetooth connectivity. The app is free, and is compatible with Apple or Android devices. For a payment of $3.99, the app […]

  • Smart Phone App for Advance Medical Directives

    Monday, December 22nd, 2014

    Submitted by: Kathleen “Katie” May The ABA Commission on Law and Aging has launched My Health Care Wishes, a smart phone app that allows individuals to store and access their health care advance directive documents in a .pdf version. It also allows them to store and access their essential health information and emergency contact information on their smart phones. In addition, the app sends the advance medical directive documents and other information directly to health care providers via e-mail or Bluetooth connectivity. The app is free, and is compatible with Apple or Android devices. For a payment of $3.99, the […]

  • New Illinois Employment Laws for 2015

    Thursday, December 18th, 2014

    by Brian LaFratta Illinois employers are well aware that the law in this state is very protective of employees.  During 2014, several new employment laws were enacted which go into effect in 2015.  The following is a summary of these laws.  Extension of Sexual Harassment Laws to Unpaid Interns The Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) prohibits sexual harassment of employees.  On August 25, 2014, Governor Quinn signed legislation amending the IHRA to prohibit sexual harassment of unpaid interns, by expanding the definition of “employee” under the IHRA to include unpaid interns for purposes of sexual harassment. ​Although most employers already have […]

  • IRS Publishes Top Tax Scams

    Friday, December 12th, 2014

    A letter from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen dated February 19 listed multiple potential scams that victimize American taxpayers. Each year, the IRS publishes a list of top tax scams, and this year, Koskinen indicated that “Taxpayers should be on the lookout for tax scams using the IRS name. There is an increase in these scams every year at tax time. Scams can be sophisticated and take many different forms. We urge people to protect themselves and use caution when viewing emails, receiving telephone calls or getting advice on tax issues.” The top five tax scams this year are identity theft, […]

  • Complete Commercial Real Estate Loan Closing Checklist

    Thursday, November 13th, 2014

    Jodi L. Henninger will be teaching a webinar presentation for Lorman titled Complete Commercial Real Estate Loan Closing Checklist. This live webinar presentation, will be held on Thursday, November 13, 2014 from 1:00-2:30 pm (ET) [(12:00-1:30 (CDT)]. The webinar will provide an overview of the entire process of closing a commercial real estate loan transaction, and explains the documentation required to close a commercial loan transaction from an attorney’s perspective. The target audience for this presentation is lenders, attorneys, borrowers and title company representatives. If you would like to participate in this presentation, you may register online at:  www.lorman.com/ID394420, or call (866)352-9539. Tuition […]

  • Star Search: Nursing Homes Compete for Perfect Star Rating

    Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

    Posted by: Katie May When I think of the Nursing Home Compare Five Star Quality Rating System, I can’t help but picture an impeccably dressed Ed McMahon on stage with a young Britney Spears or Adam Sandler competing for a coveted perfect score of four stars to beat the Challenger! While Star Search, produced from 1983-1995, brought us many rising stars, some — like Justin Timberlake — didn’t win. When utilizing the Five-Star Quality Rating System, it is important to keep in mind that some five–star facilities may not be the right place for your loved one, while lower-rated facilities […]

  • Madigan’s Office Warns of Phone Scam

    Monday, October 6th, 2014

    The Illinois Attorney General’s office is asking residents to be on the lookout for a phone scam in which callers posing as government officials attempt to get people to send money by claiming they are under criminal investigation or owe unpaid taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office issued a news release on the scam in late August (http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/pressroom/2014_08/20140818.html), but now the Office says it has seen an uptick in the number of calls in the last few weeks. The callers sometimes tell the people who answer the phone they should act quickly to avoid being arrested […]

  • Why Pursue a Florida Residency, Florida Tax Benefits and Establishing a Florida Domicile

    Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

    Brett Dale, together with Rob O’Dell of Wheaton Wealth Partners, recently hosted a seminar covering issues concerning Florida Domicile.  Some of the topics that were covered were Why Pursue a Florida Residency, Florida Tax Benefits and Establishing a Florida Domicile.  The seminar was held on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at McDonald’s Hamburger University, Oak Brook, Illinois.

  • Cindy Tolan was recognized in the DuPage Community Foundation newsletter, The Foundation Report

    Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

    Recently, attorney Cindy Tolan was recognized in the DuPage Community Foundation newsletter, The Foundation Report, as well as by the Firm for her outstanding service to client, Dianne Skeet.  As reported in The Foundation Report, Tolan told the story, dubbed by the author, “An American Success Story,” of married couple Dianne and Don Skeet. Dianne and Don were not only active, contributing residents of DuPage County, but also genuinely good people with a desire to leave a legacy for the children of DuPage County. Dianne and Don were long time clients of Huck Bouma. After Don passed, Dianne, an only child with no […]

  • Focus on Estate Tax May Be Misplaced

    Sunday, September 7th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske In a recent issue of The National Law Review, the authors, McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC, make an important point about the relative importance of estate taxes for most estates. Although, at a 40% flat rate, federal estate taxes certainly continue to be an important planning issue, especially when combined with an Illinois estate tax rate as high as 16%, other issues should dominate the planning for most estates. That point is one that the Life & Legacy Planning Group at Huck Bouma has been making consistently for a long time. Although estate taxes are certainly […]

  • The ABCs of Beneficiary Designations

    Sunday, September 7th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Earlier this year, I posted comments in this space about the unintended and potentially disastrous results of an incomplete, inaccurate or non-existent beneficiary designation. In the Personal Finance section of Forbes, Wendy S. Goffe, a trusts and estates lawyer in Seattle, makes the same point and sets out “The ABCs of Beneficiary Designations.” For anyone who has any misconceptions about the importance of beneficiary designations or the dire consequences that accrue when those designations aren’t completed correctly, should read that article. Ms. Goffe makes the point that “Nonexistent, incomplete or inaccurate beneficiary designations can leave already […]

  • Heinz Brisske will be teaching a two-day Estate Planning Essentials course for WealthCounsel in Cambridge

    Thursday, September 4th, 2014

    Heinz Brisske will be teaching a two-day Estate Planning Essentials course for WealthCounsel in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 3 and 4.  The course is intended for attorneys new to the practice of Estate Planning.  In addition to substantive issues of law, the course also covers areas such as law office management and marketing.  The course is taught by a team of two estate planners from WealthCounsel, LLC, a national network of Estate Planning attorneys, of which Huck Bouma is a member.

  • Revocable Living Trusts From Start to Finish

    Monday, August 18th, 2014

    Lawrence Gregory is a faculty presenter for a seminar titled The Probate Process From Start to Finish on June 23, 2014, and for a seminar titled Revocable Living Trusts From Start to Finish on August 18, 2014. Both seminars are hosted by the National Business Institute (NBI) at the Country Inn  & Suites in Naperville. NBI’s programs are aimed at attorneys, accountants, CPAs, administrators, trust officers, bankers, financial planners, and insurance professionals. To learn more about Larry, please contact him at (630)221-1755 or at lgregory@huckbouma.com.

  • Changes in Non-Compete Law Present Risk for Employers

    Monday, July 28th, 2014

    by:  Brian LaFratta Non-compete agreements are very important tools for protecting your business and customer relationships.  However, non-compete agreements must be reasonable in scope and properly drafted in order to be enforceable, and courts routinely refuse to enforce improperly drafted non-competes.  Further complicating this picture are recent court rulings fundamentally changing non-compete law. Among other requirements, in order for a non-compete agreement to be enforceable, it must be supported by consideration.  For years, the rules regarding consideration for non-competes was as follows.  With a new employee, the consideration for the non-compete is the employer’s agreement to hire the employee in the […]

  • The Importance of Succession Management

    Monday, July 28th, 2014

    With four generations of men and women in the workforce, we are in an unprecedented period in organizational life these days — one never experienced before. As of last year, there were approximately 35 million Traditionalists and 84 million Baby Boomers still in the workforce. For those who haven’t already retired since those numbers were calculated, many of the remaining Traditionalists, who range from 69 to 88 years old, are likely still maintaining active roles in the companies that they themselves once started simply because they haven’t determined how best to pass their batons to the next generation of business […]

  • Planning for the Generations

    Friday, July 18th, 2014

    Heinz Brisske and Katie May attended an Estate Planning, Elder Law and Special Needs Symposium in Denver on July 16 through July 18. The Symposium, an annual event sponsored by WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel and The Advisors Forum, is called Planning for the Generations because of its scope: the conference discusses and teaches planning strategies for clients of all ages and focuses on creating legacies that last for generations. Heinz attended courses at the Symposium that dealt primarily with Estate Planning and legacy creation, while Katie spent her time attending lectures and programs in the Elder Law and Special Needs areas of the practice. Both Heinz and […]

  • How Safe is Your Medicare Card From Identity Theft?

    Saturday, July 5th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske You just turned 65 and you’ve received your Medicare Card. The card has your Medicare ID number printed on it, and it instructs you to carry the card with you at all times. You immediately notice that your Medicare ID number is identical to your Social Security Number (SSN). How can you protect yourself? We are constantly warned not to carry our SSN around with us, because if it is lost or stolen then we might be victims of identity theft, yet here is the U.S. government virtually mandating that we carry our SSN at all […]

  • Failure to Designate Beneficiary Correctly Leads to Unintended Result

    Sunday, June 29th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske On the heels of my post on April 18 (Keep Your Beneficiary Designations Up-to-Date), Yahoo Finance recently reported that an IRA valued at some $400,000 that was intended for the decedent’s children went instead to his wife of two months. The Yahoo Finance article points out the importance of correctly designating beneficiaries of IRAs and other retirement accounts. Beneficiary designations are legal documents and are not to be taken lightly. Beneficiary forms should always be completed with the advice of an estate planning attorney who understands the laws and the income and estate tax consequences involved. And they […]

  • Mr. Ramon Rodriguez chosen to represent the 65th Infantry Regiment to witness President Obama’s signing of H.R. 1776

    Thursday, June 12th, 2014

    Huck Bouma is honored to share the exciting news that Mr. Ramon Rodriguez, father of our Legal Assistant, Jeannette Berg, was recently chosen to represent the 65th Infantry Regiment to witness President Obama’s signing of H.R. 1776. That piece of legislation grants the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest recognition that Congress can bestow on a group for outstanding and enduring achievement, to the 65th Infantry Regiment for service during the Korean War. Mr. Rodriguez traveled to Washington D.C., where President Obama signed the bill in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The 65th Infantry Regiment was a unit […]

  • Illinois General Assembly Replaces Health Care Power of Attorney with New Form

    Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

    Posted by:  Heinz Brisske On May 30, 2014, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation amending the Illinois Power of Attorney Act. That amendment affects the Illinois Statutory Power of Attorney for Health Care, replacing the form in effect since the last amendment of the Act, which was effective July 1, 2011. This is an attempt to make Health Care Powers of Attorney more accessible to the general public by simplifying the language of the Power of Attorney and expanding the accompanying explanation directed at the person signing the form. In fact, the explanation is longer than the form itself. The […]

  • Heinz Brisske and Cynthia Tolan were the featured speakers

    Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

    Heinz Brisske and Cynthia Tolan were the featured speakers at the Estate Planning and Probate Committee meeting of the DuPage County Bar Association on June 10, 2014. Heinz spoke on the topic of Powers of Attorney, and also discussed the pending amendment to the Illinois Power of Attorney Act passed by the Illinois General Assembly on May 30, 2014. Heinz pointed out that the amendment completely changes the existing Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form and the manner in which it is signed and interpreted. Cindy discussed POLST (Physicians’ Order for Life Sustaining Treatment), a relatively new program to Illinois and […]

  • Lawrence A. Stein, head of Huck Bouma’s litigation department, recently had an article published in The Brief

    Monday, June 9th, 2014

    Lawrence A. Stein, head of Huck Bouma’s litigation department, recently had an article published in The Brief, the online publication of the Appellate Lawyers Association.  The article, No Risk of Retroactively Validating Prior Void Orders when Submitting to the Jurisdiction of the Court After Final Judgment, resolved an intractable procedural issue that has festered in Illinois for decades.  Larry serves on the Board of Directors of the Appellate Lawyers Association.

  • Beth M. Cwik Appointed

    Sunday, June 8th, 2014

    Beth M. Cwik, a paralegal in the Business Services and Trusts and Estates practice areas, has been recently appointed to the Taxation, Estate, Gift and Trusts Committee of the Illinois CPA Society for the 2014-2015 term.

  • Patrick Hurley was recently appointed by the incoming President of the Illinois State Bar Association

    Saturday, June 7th, 2014

    Patrick Hurley was recently appointed by the incoming President of the Illinois State Bar Association to serve on the ISBA Family Law Section Council, whose members include numerous judges and prominent family law attorneys from across the State of Illinois.  The mission of the ISBA Family Law Section is (1) to encourage and support a high level of professional and ethical commitment and expertise among those who practice family law in all its substantive branches; (2) to remain sensitive to the changing needs and mores of families and individual family members in our society; (3) to respond, through reasoned efforts directed […]

  • Tom Christensen

    Friday, June 6th, 2014

    Tom Christensen recently won a successful jury verdict in a commercial litigation case.  After efforts to resolve the case before trial were unsuccessful, Tom tried the case to a jury in the Circuit Court of Cook County.  The jury rejected defenses raised by the defendant and returned verdicts in favor of Tom’s client on both of two breach of contract counts, awarding total damages of approximately $375,000.00.  Tom handles commercial litigation cases and construction disputes and can be reached via email at tchristensen@huckbouma.com, or by phone at (630)344-1152.

  • Lawrence Gregory

    Thursday, June 5th, 2014

    Lawrence Gregory is a faculty presenter for a seminar titled The Probate Process From Start to Finish on June 23, 2014, and for a seminar titled Revocable Living Trusts From Start to Finish on August 18, 2014. Both seminars are hosted by the National Business Institute (NBI) at the Country Inn  & Suites in Naperville. NBI’s programs are aimed at attorneys, accountants, CPAs, administrators, trust officers, bankers, financial planners, and insurance professionals. To learn more about Larry, please contact him at (630)221-1755 or at lgregory@huckbouma.com.

  • Technical Non-Compliance Voids Mechanic’s Lien

    Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

    A case that underscores the importance of careful compliance with the Mechanics Lien Act by any contractor or subcontractor attempting to assert a lien was recently decided by the Illinois Appellate Court. In Cityline Construction v. Roberts, the Illinois Appellate Court invalidated a mechanics lien based upon non-compliance with the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act, despite the fact that the non-compliance was strictly technical and caused no prejudice to the property owner. The plaintiff in that case was a builder who sought to foreclose a mechanics lien against property upon which the plaintiff had performed fire-restoration services. In his mechanic’s lien filing, […]

  • Kathleen (Katie) May has recently been appointed to the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

    Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

    Kathleen (Katie) May has recently been appointed to the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The Wheaton Chamber is dedicated to the success of the business community through leadership, education and service. Additionally, Katie was elected to the Illinois Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) Board of Directors. NAELA is a professional association of attorneys dedicated to improving the quality of legal services provided to seniors and people with special needs. Illinois  is one of the 26 states with an active state membership providing continuing legal education, conferences, grassroots legal advocacy, networking and newsletters to keep […]

  • Celebrating National Elder Law Month

    Thursday, May 29th, 2014

    Posted by:  Audrey Skiera Did you know the month of May is National Elder Law month? We’ve been celebrating all month long with our clients, colleagues and friends of the firm. To celebrate Elder Law Month, our firm has hosted three presentations: I presented Planning for Incapacity, attorney Cindy Tolan presented Lessons from the Silver Screen: Communicating a Personal Plan, and attorney Katie May presented an Update on Illinois Healthcare Law. Elder Law includes issues of planning for long-term care, estate planning, wealth preservation planning, disability planning, Social Security decisions, Medicare decisions, Veterans benefits planning, healthcare decision-making, guardianship and other […]

  • Shareholder Liable for Corporate Judgment

    Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

    The Illinois Appellate Court recently made a ruling that underscores the importance of carefully observing corporate formalities in the formation and operation of a corporation or other limited liability entity. In Buckley v. Abuzir, the plaintiff had obtained a substantial judgment against a corporation that operated a bakery. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed suit against an individual, alleging his operational control over the corporation. The appellate court held the defendant liable for corporate liability, even in the absence of any allegation that the defendant was a shareholder, director or officer, and even though the defendant was not named in the original lawsuit.

  • Employers Should Avoid Strict Attendance Policies

    Friday, May 23rd, 2014

    Posted by: Brian LaFratta In order to combat excessive absenteeism, many employers have implemented point systems.  Under such systems, the employee accumulates a point for each absence, and once the employee reaches a certain number of points, he or she is automatically terminated.  Such a system seems to be fair and reasonable, as presumably all employees will be treated the same way.  However, the EEOC feels differently and has cracked down on such policies in recent years.  According to the EEOC, such policies violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which requires employers to accommodate employees with disabilities.  The EEOC’s […]

  • Illinois Resolves Long-Standing Procedural Issue

    Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

    The Supreme Court of Illinois recently resolved an intractable procedural issue that has festered for decades. Read about it in No Risk of Retroactively Validating Prior Void Orders When Submitting to the Jurisdiction of the Court After Final Judgment, an article written by Lawrence A. Stein and published by the Appellate Lawyers Association on May 19, 2014. Larry reports that the Supreme Court held that a defendant who appeared in a case after judgment had been entered submitted to the trial court’s jurisdiction and waived any objection to personal jurisdiction prospectively only. The court vacated as void all orders entered before the […]

  • The Internet and Your Estate

    Friday, May 16th, 2014

    Posted by: Joanne Brown Digital access is such an important part of our lives, yet no one stops to think about what happens in the event of a death.  Since many of us have opted out of paper bank and brokerage statements and choose to receive our statements online, waiting for a statement to arrive in the mail has become a thing of the past.  In the event of your death, would someone be able to access your accounts?  Consider creating a log sheet or a binder with all of your information, such as log-ins, PINs and passwords.  Make sure that […]

  • Keep Your Beneficiary Designations Up-to-Date

    Friday, April 18th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske When was the last time you reviewed the beneficiary designations for your retirement accounts, life insurance policies and annuities? Failure to keep those beneficiary designations current, or to properly designate beneficiaries, is never a good thing and, in certain circumstances, can lead to disastrous results. In a recent case (that was ultimately settled), a widow had to fight for her late husband’s 401(k) plan because he had failed to name her as his beneficiary before he died. Prior to his marriage (his second), his children were his named beneficiaries. He didn’t expect to die, and he […]

  • AHA Files Suit Challenging Two-Midnight Rule

    Monday, April 14th, 2014

    Posted by: Kathleen “Katie” May The American Hospital Association filed two lawsuits in the US District Court  for the District of Columbia regarding the “two-midnight” rule employed by Medicare. This rule requires a physician to determine, on the day of admission, that the patient will need more than two nights of inpatient care before Medicare will pay for the stay under Medicare Part A benefits. If that determination is not made, Medicare Recovery Auditors will classify the stay “for observation.” Under observation status, hospitals are reimbursed under Medicare Part B, which leaves the patient with a 20% co-pay. The suits […]

  • AHA Files Suit Challenging Two-Midnight Rule

    Monday, April 14th, 2014

    Posted by: Kathleen “Katie” May The American Hospital Association filed two lawsuits in the US District Court  for the District of Columbia regarding the “two-midnight” rule employed by Medicare. This rule requires a physician to determine, on the day of admission, that the patient will need more than two nights of inpatient care before Medicare will pay for the stay under Medicare Part A benefits. If that determination is not made, Medicare Recovery Auditors will classify the stay “for observation.” Under observation status, hospitals are reimbursed under Medicare Part B, which leaves the patient with a 20% co-pay. The suits […]

  • Tax Freedom Day

    Sunday, April 13th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Tax Freedom Day is ostensibly the day on which we have collectively earned enough income to pay off all our federal and state taxes; all the income earned after Tax Freedom Day is ours to keep, free of any further taxes. This year, Tax Freedom Day, as published by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, is April 21, 3 days later than last year. Tax Freedom Day is actually an average date for all states and for citizens of all income classes. Because a larger percentage of taxes is paid by upper-income taxpayers, Tax Freedom Day for such […]

  • Tax Freedom Day

    Sunday, April 13th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Tax Freedom Day is ostensibly the day on which we have collectively earned enough income to pay off all our federal and state taxes; all the income earned after Tax Freedom Day is ours to keep, free of any further taxes. This year, Tax Freedom Day, as published by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, is April 21, 3 days later than last year. Tax Freedom Day is actually an average date for all states and for citizens of all income classes. Because a larger percentage of taxes is paid by upper-income taxpayers, Tax Freedom Day for such […]

  • IRS Publishes Top Tax Scams

    Saturday, April 12th, 2014

    A letter from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen dated February 19 listed multiple potential scams that victimize American taxpayers. Each year, the IRS publishes a list of top tax scams, and this year, Koskinen indicated that “Taxpayers should be on the lookout for tax scams using the IRS name. There is an increase in these scams every year at tax time. Scams can be sophisticated and take many different forms. We urge people to protect themselves and use caution when viewing emails, receiving telephone calls or getting advice on tax issues.” The top five tax scams this year are identity theft, […]

  • Seventh Circuit Broadly Interprets Contractual Duty of Good Faith

    Friday, April 11th, 2014

    In a recent decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that an employee could proceed with his suit against his employer for a contractually promised bonus, even though the bonus plan documents gave the employer broad discretion to terminate the plan. The Facts In Wilson v. Career Education Corp. the plaintiff was a recruiter for a culinary school owned by the defendant. The school had an incentive plan which provided a monetary bonus to employees if a student that they recruited met certain milestones while the employee was still employed by the school. The plan […]

  • Seventh Circuit Broadly Interprets Contractual Duty of Good Faith

    Friday, April 11th, 2014

    In a recent decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that an employee could proceed with his suit against his employer for a contractually promised bonus, even though the bonus plan documents gave the employer broad discretion to terminate the plan. The Facts In Wilson v. Career Education Corp. the plaintiff was a recruiter for a culinary school owned by the defendant. The school had an incentive plan which provided a monetary bonus to employees if a student that they recruited met certain milestones while the employee was still employed by the school. The plan […]

  • Are you ready for the new Health Care Law?

    Thursday, April 10th, 2014

    The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” looks like it is here to stay. Affected companies will have to offer health insurance required by the Act beginning in 2014. Have you started to plan how Obamacare could impact your Company? Now is the time to start. Depending on the size of your workforce, your Company may be subject to a sizeable penalty if you do not offer “affordable health coverage” to your full-time employees. If you qualify as a small employer, your Company could be eligible for certain tax credits if you do decide to offer your employees […]

  • Are you ready for the new Health Care Law?

    Thursday, April 10th, 2014

    The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” looks like it is here to stay. Affected companies will have to offer health insurance required by the Act beginning in 2014. Have you started to plan how Obamacare could impact your Company? Now is the time to start. Depending on the size of your workforce, your Company may be subject to a sizeable penalty if you do not offer “affordable health coverage” to your full-time employees. If you qualify as a small employer, your Company could be eligible for certain tax credits if you do decide to offer your employees […]

  • Tomorrow is Today: Discuss Your Health Care Wishes in Honor of National Health Care Decisions Day on April 16

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    Posted by: Kathleen (Katie) May As the 7th annual National Health Care Decisions Day approaches, it is a time for each of us to reflect on what we have done, what we are going to do, or what we are not doing to ensure our end-of-life wishes are honored. “National Healthcare Decisions Day reminds families about available resources and allows them the opportunity to include the patient’s wishes in critical conversations on health care decisions,” said National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) President, Howard S. Krooks, CELA, CAP. Ensuring that our end-of-life wishes are honored requires multiple steps, all […]

  • Portability Election Extended for Surviving Spouses

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    The Internal Revenue Service has issued Rev. Proc. 2014-18, which addressed two related issues: First, it provides a method for an extension of time to elect portability of a decedent’s unused exclusion amount (DSUEA) for the benefit of the decedent’s surviving spouse; and Second, it includes same-sex marriages in the extension of the filing deadline. Pursuant to this Revenue Procedure, certain taxpayers now have a simplified way to obtain an extension of time to make a portability election. Portability allows a surviving spouse to take advantage of his or her deceased spouse’s unused exclusion amount, or DSUEA, and apply it to the surviving spouse’s […]

  • Portability Election Extended for Surviving Spouses

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    The Internal Revenue Service has issued Rev. Proc. 2014-18, which addressed two related issues: First, it provides a method for an extension of time to elect portability of a decedent’s unused exclusion amount (DSUEA) for the benefit of the decedent’s surviving spouse; and Second, it includes same-sex marriages in the extension of the filing deadline. Pursuant to this Revenue Procedure, certain taxpayers now have a simplified way to obtain an extension of time to make a portability election. Portability allows a surviving spouse to take advantage of his or her deceased spouse’s unused exclusion amount, or DSUEA, and apply it […]

  • How to Sell Your Law Practice

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    Brett Dale and Aaron Ruswick presented a program on “How to Sell Your Law Practice” for the DuPage County Bar Association on April 9, 2014.  The seminar was held at the Attorney Resource Center in the DuPage County Courthouse.  Brett Dale and Aaron Ruswick concentrate their practices in the areas of Trusts & Estates, and in Business Law.

  • Will myRA Encourage Retirement Savings?

    Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

    In his State of the Union Address at the end of January, 2014, President Obama proposed a new retirement plan called “myRA.” Designed to help increase retirement savings for Americans who do not have a workplace retirement plan, “myRA” is described by the White House fact sheet as a “simple, safe and affordable starter plan.” The fact sheet describes four basic features of myRA plans: Safe and Secure – Plan contributions will be invested in government securities similar to savings bonds. The investment plan is patterned after the Government Securities Investment Fund, a part of federal employees’ Thrift Savings Plan. […]

  • Will myRA Encourage Retirement Savings?

    Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

    In his State of the Union Address at the end of January, 2014, President Obama proposed a new retirement plan called “myRA.” Designed to help increase retirement savings for Americans who do not have a workplace retirement plan, “myRA” is described by the White House fact sheet as a “simple, safe and affordable starter plan.” The fact sheet describes four basic features of myRA plans: Safe and Secure – Plan contributions will be invested in government securities similar to savings bonds. The investment plan is patterned after the Government Securities Investment Fund, a part of federal employees’ Thrift Savings Plan. […]

  • Greatest IRS Challenge: Identity Theft

    Monday, April 7th, 2014

    “Identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS today.” That statement was made by IRS Principal Deputy Commissioner Daniel Werfel on August 2, as he testified before the House Oversight and Government Committee. He testified that identity theft inflicts significant harm on many innocent taxpayers. As a result, 3,000 IRS employees have been focusing their efforts to prevent identity theft and fraudulent refunds. In the past year alone, there have been an estimated 565,000 cases where taxpayers were victims of identity theft. There are over 1,100 identity theft investigations this year. There have been 765 indictments and […]

  • Greatest IRS Challenge: Identity Theft

    Monday, April 7th, 2014

    “Identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS today.” That statement was made by IRS Principal Deputy Commissioner Daniel Werfel on August 2, as he testified before the House Oversight and Government Committee. He testified that identity theft inflicts significant harm on many innocent taxpayers. As a result, 3,000 IRS employees have been focusing their efforts to prevent identity theft and fraudulent refunds. In the past year alone, there have been an estimated 565,000 cases where taxpayers were victims of identity theft. There are over 1,100 identity theft investigations this year. There have been 765 indictments and […]

  • LTC Commission Second Hearing

    Sunday, April 6th, 2014

    On July 17th, the Long Term Care Commission, comprised of 15 appointees, held their second hearing on “Populations in Need of LTSS (Long-Term Service and Supports) with two separate panels of witnesses. The Commission is charged with coming up with a plan for delivering and funding long-term care services for seniors and people with disabilities – and to vote on it by September 12, 2013. During the second hearing, a geriatrician, Dr. Joanne Lynn, M.D. reported to the Commission that planning for long term care services needs to become a priority and that we currently have, “models of care that […]

  • President Obama’s Ideas for the Federal Estate Tax

    Sunday, April 6th, 2014

    The President’s overdue budget proposal for fiscal 2014 was recently released. No one was surprised that it included a wide array of proposals for getting more tax revenue from “the rich.” However, some of the details were unexpected. Overall, it reinforced the idea that nothing in Washington is “permanent,” least of all tax legislation. The President wants to roll the estate and gift tax back to 2009 levels. Specifically, the budget calls for a $3.5 million federal estate tax exemption, a $1 million federal gift tax exemption, and a 45% tax rate. His proposal eliminates indexing of these amounts for […]

  • President Obama’s Ideas for the Federal Estate Tax

    Sunday, April 6th, 2014

    The President’s overdue budget proposal for fiscal 2014 was recently released. No one was surprised that it included a wide array of proposals for getting more tax revenue from “the rich.” However, some of the details were unexpected. Overall, it reinforced the idea that nothing in Washington is “permanent,” least of all tax legislation. The President wants to roll the estate and gift tax back to 2009 levels. Specifically, the budget calls for a $3.5 million federal estate tax exemption, a $1 million federal gift tax exemption, and a 45% tax rate. His proposal eliminates indexing of these amounts for […]

  • LTC Commission Second Hearing

    Sunday, April 6th, 2014

    On July 17th, the Long Term Care Commission, comprised of 15 appointees, held their second hearing on “Populations in Need of LTSS (Long-Term Service and Supports) with two separate panels of witnesses. The Commission is charged with coming up with a plan for delivering and funding long-term care services for seniors and people with disabilities – and to vote on it by September 12, 2013. During the second hearing, a geriatrician, Dr. Joanne Lynn, M.D. reported to the Commission that planning for long term care services needs to become a priority and that we currently have, “models of care that […]

  • How Married Couples Can Boost Their Social Security Benefits

    Saturday, April 5th, 2014

    There are strategies available that can help married couples increase their Social Security benefits when they retire. This article explores a few such strategies. You are encouraged to discuss the full range of options available with a professional advisor. If a married couple is willing to wait to full retirement age and beyond, they have several unique claiming options that could actually add tens of thousands of dollars to their Social Security checks over their retirement. Waiting Strategy It is important to understand that the most commonly used strategy for increasing retirement benefits is to delay taking them. While workers […]

  • How Married Couples Can Boost Their Social Security Benefits

    Saturday, April 5th, 2014

    There are strategies available that can help married couples increase their Social Security benefits when they retire. This article explores a few such strategies. You are encouraged to discuss the full range of options available with a professional advisor. If a married couple is willing to wait to full retirement age and beyond, they have several unique claiming options that could actually add tens of thousands of dollars to their Social Security checks over their retirement. Waiting Strategy It is important to understand that the most commonly used strategy for increasing retirement benefits is to delay taking them. While workers […]

  • Health Care Reform Presentation at Frankfor Chamber of Commerce

    Friday, April 4th, 2014

    Attorneys Aaron Ruswick and Whitney Schmidt along with Stumm Insurance, LLC, presented to over 50 members of the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce at the Frankfort Educational Networking Symposium on May 15, 2013. The presentation included an overview of the past and future impact the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) has had and will have on individuals and businesses. You are welcome to view the Presentation here. Please give Aaron Ruswick, Whitney Schmidt, or your usual Huck Bouma PC contact a call to discuss how the Affordable Care Act may impact your business and how we can help you plan for these changes.

  • Health Care Reform Presentation at Frankfor Chamber of Commerce

    Friday, April 4th, 2014

    Attorneys Aaron Ruswick and Whitney Schmidt along with Stumm Insurance, LLC, presented to over 50 members of the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce at the Frankfort Educational Networking Symposium on May 15, 2013. The presentation included an overview of the past and future impact the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) has had and will have on individuals and businesses. You are welcome to view the Presentation here. Please give Aaron Ruswick, Whitney Schmidt, or your usual Huck Bouma PC contact a call to discuss how the Affordable Care Act may impact your business and how we can help you plan […]

  • White House Names Remaining LTC Commission Members

    Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

    The remaining three members of the Commission on Long-Term Care have been selected by President Obama. The selection of these individuals adds to the previously appointed members and completes the 15-member body. With appointments complete, the clock begins. The Commission has been given six months to come up with a “comprehensive, coordinated and high-quality system” for making long-term care services available to seniors and people with disabilities, and recommend legislation. As noted by Forbes contributor Howard Gleckman, with no budget to follow, the Commission and “its staff will be made up of congressional and administration aides. Additional support will probably […]

  • White House Names Remaining LTC Commission Members

    Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

    The remaining three members of the Commission on Long-Term Care have been selected by President Obama. The selection of these individuals adds to the previously appointed members and completes the 15-member body. With appointments complete, the clock begins. The Commission has been given six months to come up with a “comprehensive, coordinated and high-quality system” for making long-term care services available to seniors and people with disabilities, and recommend legislation. As noted by Forbes contributor Howard Gleckman, with no budget to follow, the Commission and “its staff will be made up of congressional and administration aides. Additional support will probably […]

  • IRS Cracks Down on Identity Theft

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

    The IRS has announced that it is cracking down on suspected identity thieves. In January of 2013 there were 734 enforcement actions. During the past fiscal year, there have been 109 arrests and 189 indictments. As reported previously in this blog, identity theft for obtaining tax refunds is a rapidly growing problem. After identity thieves have obtained an individual’s Social Security number, they attempt to file for a refund before the victim completes his or her IRS Form 1040. The identity thief benefits through assuming the identity of a lawful taxpayer. Stephen Miller, acting Commissioner of the IRS, stated, “As […]

  • IRS Cracks Down on Identity Theft

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

    The IRS has announced that it is cracking down on suspected identity thieves. In January of 2013 there were 734 enforcement actions. During the past fiscal year, there have been 109 arrests and 189 indictments. As reported previously in this blog, identity theft for obtaining tax refunds is a rapidly growing problem. After identity thieves have obtained an individual’s Social Security number, they attempt to file for a refund before the victim completes his or her IRS Form 1040. The identity thief benefits through assuming the identity of a lawful taxpayer. Stephen Miller, acting Commissioner of the IRS, stated, “As […]

  • MetLife Releases Annual Survey of Long-Term Care Costs

    Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

    This survey provides national, statewide, and area-specific, within certain states (based on population), average daily rates for private and semi-private rooms in a nursing home, monthly base rates in assisted living communities, hourly rates for home health aide and homemaker services, and daily rates for adult day services as well as the range of rates in each area surveyed for the year 2012. Highlights: • The national average daily rate for a private room in a nursing home is $248, while a semi-private room is $222 up from $239 and $214 respectively in 2011. • The national average monthly base rate in […]

  • MetLife Releases Annual Survey of Long-Term Care Costs

    Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

    This survey provides national, statewide, and area-specific, within certain states (based on population), average daily rates for private and semi-private rooms in a nursing home, monthly base rates in assisted living communities, hourly rates for home health aide and homemaker services, and daily rates for adult day services as well as the range of rates in each area surveyed for the year 2012. Highlights: • The national average daily rate for a private room in a nursing home is $248, while a semi-private room is $222 up from $239 and $214 respectively in 2011. • The national average monthly base rate in […]

  • No Tax Incentive to Make Gifts

    Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal reported that “The wealthy are gifting less to their families these days.” There has always been a liability associated with lifetime gifts of appreciated assets, in that such gifts merely transferred the donor’s tax basis to the donee. A transfer at death, on the other hand, carries with it a “step-up” in basis for the recipient of the gift. With less than 1% of the population now subject to the federal estate tax, it makes more sense from a tax standpoint for most folks to avoid lifetime gifts, and to […]

  • Audrey Skiera

    Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

    Audrey Skiera, Chair of the Estate Planning and Probate Committee of the DuPage County Bar Association (DCBA), recently hosted a presentation by Kathy Ryding, also of Huck Bouma, PC, on Contested Estates and Contested Trusts at the DCBA’s annual Mega Meeting continuing legal education seminar. Audrey is President of the Fox Valley Chapter of the Illinois CPA Society and will be hosting a presentation on The Taxation of Flow-Through Entities & Reorganizations of LLCs and S corporations in February 2014. Her networking group sponsored by the Fox Valley Chapter of the ICPAS, the “CPA and JD Practitioners Breakfast”, will resume in […]

  • U.S. Business Executives Call for Raising Social Security Retirement Age to 70

    Friday, March 28th, 2014

    A business group of top executives plan to pitch reforms to Social Security and Medicare to the White House and congressional members. They want to raise the enrollment age for both programs to 70 and reduce the Social Security cost of living adjustments scale. The Business Roundtable, led by a former Harvard economist and representing approximately 200 chief executives from some of the largest U.S. corporations, also urged Congress to add a “premium support” mechanism to Medicare, and to raise Medicare charges for wealthier beneficiaries. They estimate these strategies would save $300 billion in Medicare spending over the next 10 years, make […]

  • U.S. Business Executives Call for Raising Social Security Retirement Age to 70

    Friday, March 28th, 2014

    A business group of top executives plan to pitch reforms to Social Security and Medicare to the White House and congressional members. They want to raise the enrollment age for both programs to 70 and reduce the Social Security cost of living adjustments scale. The Business Roundtable, led by a former Harvard economist and representing approximately 200 chief executives from some of the largest U.S. corporations, also urged Congress to add a “premium support” mechanism to Medicare, and to raise Medicare charges for wealthier beneficiaries. They estimate these strategies would save $300 billion in Medicare spending over the next 10 years, make […]

  • Senate Meetings to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

    Thursday, March 27th, 2014

    A “Gang of Eight” Senators have been meeting to prepare a comprehensive budget and tax proposal. Four Democratic and four Republican Senators representing the whole spectrum of the Senate are diligently seeking a solution. Democratic Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) are joined by Republican colleagues Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Mike Johanns (R-NE). Immediately after the election, these members of Congress will meet to discuss a potential solution to the “Fiscal Cliff,” which looms if no compromise is reached.  The National Association of Manufacturers recently […]

  • Senate Meetings to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

    Thursday, March 27th, 2014

    A “Gang of Eight” Senators have been meeting to prepare a comprehensive budget and tax proposal. Four Democratic and four Republican Senators representing the whole spectrum of the Senate are diligently seeking a solution. Democratic Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) are joined by Republican colleagues Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Mike Johanns (R-NE). Immediately after the election, these members of Congress will meet to discuss a potential solution to the “Fiscal Cliff,” which looms if no compromise is reached. The National Association of Manufacturers recently […]

  • DOL issues

    Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

    You may have noticed that your FMLA notice and certification forms have an expiration date of December 31, 2011. No need to worry though. The DOL has issued “new” forms. These forms are virtually identical to the existing forms, but contain a February 28, 2015 expiration date. Here are links to the new forms: Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition (WH-380-E) Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition (WH-380-F) Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities (WH-381) Designation Notice (WH-382) Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave (WH-384) Certification of Serious […]

  • DOL issues

    Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

    You may have noticed that your FMLA notice and certification forms have an expiration date of December 31, 2011. No need to worry though. The DOL has issued “new” forms. These forms are virtually identical to the existing forms, but contain a February 28, 2015 expiration date. Here are links to the new forms: Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition (WH-380-E) Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition (WH-380-F) Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities (WH-381) Designation Notice (WH-382) Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave (WH-384) Certification of Serious […]

  • Coordinating FMLA leave and ADA obligations

    Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

    As any human resources professional will attest, complying with the FMLA is an administrative headache. The law is complicated and difficult to follow. However, the one part of the FMLA that is easy to understand is that the employee is required to return to work when her leave expires. Right? Well, maybe not. The EEOC has taken the position that leave is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. According to the EEOC, this includes leave following the expiration of FMLA leave. To make matters worse, the EEOC is starting to crack down on employers who maintain no-fault termination policies. Seemy earlier […]

  • Coordinating FMLA leave and ADA obligations

    Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

    As any human resources professional will attest, complying with the FMLA is an administrative headache. The law is complicated and difficult to follow. However, the one part of the FMLA that is easy to understand is that the employee is required to return to work when her leave expires. Right? Well, maybe not. The EEOC has taken the position that leave is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. According to the EEOC, this includes leave following the expiration of FMLA leave. To make matters worse, the EEOC is starting to crack down on employers who maintain no-fault termination policies. Seemy earlier […]

  • NLRB Poster effective date on hold – Again

    Monday, March 24th, 2014

    Good news for employers.  The effective date of the new NLRB poster is again on hold, thanks to two recent federal court decisions.  As I discussed in a previous post, the deadline for posting the new poster had been moved to April 30, 2012.  During the past week, there were two federal court decisions effectively putting the effective date of the poster requirement on hold indefinitely.  The first came out of the District Court of South Carolina.  In that case, the court ruled that the NLRB exceeded its authority in requiring the poster.  The second case was from the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  There, although […]

  • NLRB Poster effective date on hold – Again

    Monday, March 24th, 2014

    Good news for employers.  The effective date of the new NLRB poster is again on hold, thanks to two recent federal court decisions.  As I discussed in a previous post, the deadline for posting the new poster had been moved to April 30, 2012.  During the past week, there were two federal court decisions effectively putting the effective date of the poster requirement on hold indefinitely.  The first came out of the District Court of South Carolina.  In that case, the court ruled that the NLRB exceeded its authority in requiring the poster.  The second case was from the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  There, although […]

  • Medicare Open Enrollment

    Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

    Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7. Now is the time for beneficiaries to compare plans and make sure they have the right health and prescription drug coverage. Beneficiaries may stay with their current plans, or look for a new one with better coverage, higher quality, and lower cost. Review and compare plans, get answers to questions and learn where to get further help on the Medicare website or call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY 1-877-486-2048). – Kathleen M. May

  • Medicare Open Enrollment

    Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

    Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7. Now is the time for beneficiaries to compare plans and make sure they have the right health and prescription drug coverage. Beneficiaries may stay with their current plans, or look for a new one with better coverage, higher quality, and lower cost. Review and compare plans, get answers to questions and learn where to get further help on the Medicare website or call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY 1-877-486-2048). – Kathleen M. May

  • U.S. Works to Limit Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

    Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

    With the increase in electronic filing, stolen identity refund fraud is becoming a major and growing problem. Identity thieves obtain information about other individuals, such as their Social Security numbers and names, and then file to claim their tax refunds. One estimate puts the fraudulent refund figure as high as $26 billion over the next five years. Treasury officials understand that greater efforts will be needed by the IRS, Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office to confront the problem.  Identity theft requires primarily two pieces of information: a name and a Social Security number. There are numerous ways that […]

  • U.S. Works to Limit Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

    Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

    With the increase in electronic filing, stolen identity refund fraud is becoming a major and growing problem. Identity thieves obtain information about other individuals, such as their Social Security numbers and names, and then file to claim their tax refunds. One estimate puts the fraudulent refund figure as high as $26 billion over the next five years. Treasury officials understand that greater efforts will be needed by the IRS, Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office to confront the problem. Identity theft requires primarily two pieces of information: a name and a Social Security number. There are numerous ways that […]

  • Identity Theft Takes $11 Billion From IRS

    Friday, March 21st, 2014

    At a May 8 Congressional hearing, Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), indicated that, in tax year 2010, 2.2 million fraudulent returns were filed. About 940,000 returns involved identity theft. Fraudulent tax refunds totaled $6.5 billion from this group.  TIGTA auditors also estimated that there were 1.5 million other returns that involved identity theft. These returns included another $5.2 billion in fraudulent refunds. The total tax fraud due to identity theft in 2010 was estimated to be $11.7 billion. George indicated that the investigation showed that 48,357 Social Security numbers were used multiple times. These stolen Social […]

  • Identity Theft Takes $11 Billion From IRS

    Friday, March 21st, 2014

    At a May 8 Congressional hearing, Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), indicated that, in tax year 2010, 2.2 million fraudulent returns were filed. About 940,000 returns involved identity theft. Fraudulent tax refunds totaled $6.5 billion from this group. TIGTA auditors also estimated that there were 1.5 million other returns that involved identity theft. These returns included another $5.2 billion in fraudulent refunds. The total tax fraud due to identity theft in 2010 was estimated to be $11.7 billion. George indicated that the investigation showed that 48,357 Social Security numbers were used multiple times. These stolen Social […]

  • 2010: A Year of Many Changes in Elder Law and Special Needs Planning

    Thursday, March 20th, 2014

    The year 2010 was a busy one with many changes in the elder law, estate planning and special needs planning areas. We began the year with little congressional action and ended it with a flurry of activity. We will review some of the most important changes that took place, and consider what may happen in the years to come. Tax Code Changes Interestingly, the year 2010 began with Congress failing to act, which resulted in no estate tax for decedents dying in 2010. The collateral effect of this failure to act was the return of carryover basis rather than stepped-up basis […]

  • 2010: A Year of Many Changes in Elder Law and Special Needs Planning

    Thursday, March 20th, 2014

    The year 2010 was a busy one with many changes in the elder law, estate planning and special needs planning areas. We began the year with little congressional action and ended it with a flurry of activity. We will review some of the most important changes that took place, and consider what may happen in the years to come. Tax Code Changes Interestingly, the year 2010 began with Congress failing to act, which resulted in no estate tax for decedents dying in 2010. The collateral effect of this failure to act was the return of carryover basis rather than stepped-up basis […]

  • Estate and Generation-Skipping Taxes in 2011 and 2012

    Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

    On December 17, 2010, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the “Reid–McConnell Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010.” Primarily, that Act extends until the end of 2012 most of the provisions of two separate tax relief laws that were scheduled to expire at the end of 2010, viz., the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA). The provisions of the Act expire on January 1, 2013, and the affected provisions of the IRC revert back to pre-EGTRRA status. Reunification and […]

  • Estate and Generation-Skipping Taxes in 2011 and 2012

    Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

    On December 17, 2010, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the “Reid–McConnell Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010.” Primarily, that Act extends until the end of 2012 most of the provisions of two separate tax relief laws that were scheduled to expire at the end of 2010, viz., the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA). The provisions of the Act expire on January 1, 2013, and the affected provisions of the IRC revert back to pre-EGTRRA status. Reunification and […]

  • Elder Law: Peace of Mind Planning

    Monday, March 17th, 2014

    You can blame whomever you want, but doing so won’t change the fact that the financial, healthcare and related fields seniors (and their families and caregivers) must navigate today are more confusing than ever. That’s why Elder Law has become such an important practice area at Huck Bouma, PC. Elder Law is a relatively new legal specialty, intended to help older individuals make informed decisions about such topics as estate planning; asset preservation; and qualification for government benefits – including Social Security and, when appropriate, Medicaid. At Huck Bouma, our role is to help seniors and their loved ones develop […]

  • Elder Law: Peace of Mind Planning

    Monday, March 17th, 2014

    You can blame whomever you want, but doing so won’t change the fact that the financial, healthcare and related fields seniors (and their families and caregivers) must navigate today are more confusing than ever. That’s why Elder Law has become such an important practice area at Huck Bouma, PC. Elder Law is a relatively new legal specialty, intended to help older individuals make informed decisions about such topics as estate planning; asset preservation; and qualification for government benefits – including Social Security and, when appropriate, Medicaid. At Huck Bouma, our role is to help seniors and their loved ones develop […]

  • Obama Estate Tax Budget Proposal

    Saturday, March 8th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske President Obama’s proposed budget revises two “permanent” estate tax breaks signed into law in 2013 by restoring them to 2009 levels. First, the inflation-indexed estate tax exemption of $5 million is reduced to $3.5 million. Second, the top 40% estate tax rate is increased to 45%. The White House budget proposals also include a number of income tax provisions. The chances of any of these proposed tax changes passing through Congress unscathed are reported to be virtually nonexistent. In addition, Obama’s plan has to compete with legislation drafted by House Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp […]

  • Estate Administration

    Friday, February 28th, 2014

    It’s never easy when a loved one dies, especially if you’re the one chosen to guide the resulting estate through the necessary legal process. The process required to settle an estate can seem confusing, but the good news is that the professional Estate Administration attorneys at Huck Bouma, PC can help smooth the path. The goal, of course, is to assure that your loved one’s expressed final wishes are met. Whether the decedent had a will and/or used a living trust, there is a process that must be followed. Starting quickly after death to meet state-imposed deadlines can result in […]

  • Estate Administration

    Friday, February 28th, 2014

    It’s never easy when a loved one dies, especially if you’re the one chosen to guide the resulting estate through the necessary legal process. The process required to settle an estate can seem confusing, but the good news is that the professional Estate Administration attorneys at Huck Bouma, PC can help smooth the path. The goal, of course, is to assure that your loved one’s expressed final wishes are met. Whether the decedent had a will and/or used a living trust, there is a process that must be followed. Starting quickly after death to meet state-imposed deadlines can result in […]

  • As Senate Deal Breaks Down, Probability of $1 Million Estate Tax Exemption Rises

    Thursday, February 27th, 2014

    An agreement between Senate Democrats and Republicans on an estate tax proposal has broken down, according to one of the lead negotiators, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ). Observers say that with each passing day, estate tax legislation that would apply retroactively appears less and less likely, while the probability grows of a return to a 55 percent rate and $1 million exemption beginning January 1, 2011. “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). “It just doesn’t seem like there’s enough votes to do anything.” Although details of the short-lived deal have not been made […]

  • As Senate Deal Breaks Down, Probability of $1 Million Estate Tax Exemption Rises

    Thursday, February 27th, 2014

    An agreement between Senate Democrats and Republicans on an estate tax proposal has broken down, according to one of the lead negotiators, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ). Observers say that with each passing day, estate tax legislation that would apply retroactively appears less and less likely, while the probability grows of a return to a 55 percent rate and $1 million exemption beginning January 1, 2011. “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). “It just doesn’t seem like there’s enough votes to do anything.” Although details of the short-lived deal have not been made […]

  • Don’t Repeat Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Estate Planning Mistakes

    Thursday, February 27th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Lately, it seems that every time a celebrity dies, we have reason to shake our heads at the state of their estate. An article recently published online in DailyFinance.com suggests that Philip Seymour Hoffman made 3 big estate planning mistakes (the article doesn’t mention what “little” estate planning mistakes he made): He didn’t marry his honey; He failed to keep his plan up to date; and He put his family through an unnecessary public ordeal by not using a Revocable Living Trust. Hoffman died with an estate estimated at approximately $35 million. Since he was not married, […]

  • Congressional Inaction Leads to Unintended and Potentially Disastrous Results

    Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    What a mess Congress has created! We are now in a year where there is no federal estate tax – but hold the cheers. Congress has substituted another method of taxation that will collect more taxes from many of our clients and families than the estate tax. Additionally, as has been reported in the local and national press, these changes will, for some, greatly alter the planned-for and anticipated distributions among family members and heirs. A brief review of the law will help explain why this is so significant. The 2001 tax act, signed into law by President George W. Bush, gradually […]

  • Congressional Inaction Leads to Unintended and Potentially Disastrous Results

    Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    What a mess Congress has created! We are now in a year where there is no federal estate tax – but hold the cheers. Congress has substituted another method of taxation that will collect more taxes from many of our clients and families than the estate tax. Additionally, as has been reported in the local and national press, these changes will, for some, greatly alter the planned-for and anticipated distributions among family members and heirs. A brief review of the law will help explain why this is so significant. The 2001 tax act, signed into law by President George W. Bush, gradually […]

  • Charities See Downside of Probable Estate Tax Changes

    Monday, February 24th, 2014

    Change is in the air. Changes to the federal estate tax are coming, but what those changes will be is still uncertain. Charitable organizations are waiting anxiously as a repeal of the tax could remove an important incentive for tax-deductible giving. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced on October 27 that he expects the House of Representatives to revise the estate tax before it expires at the end of 2009. The estate tax, which is a tax on the transfer of assets from a deceased person to his or her beneficiaries, but does not apply to charitable bequests, is scheduled […]

  • Charities See Downside of Probable Estate Tax Changes

    Monday, February 24th, 2014

    Change is in the air. Changes to the federal estate tax are coming, but what those changes will be is still uncertain. Charitable organizations are waiting anxiously as a repeal of the tax could remove an important incentive for tax-deductible giving. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced on October 27 that he expects the House of Representatives to revise the estate tax before it expires at the end of 2009. The estate tax, which is a tax on the transfer of assets from a deceased person to his or her beneficiaries, but does not apply to charitable bequests, is scheduled […]

  • Four Legal Documents Everyone Must Have

    Monday, February 24th, 2014

    Posted by: Heinz  Brisske We have long advocated the importance of proactive estate planning. Failing to plan, as the old saw goes, is planning to fail. Now NAELA, the National Academy of ELder Law Attorneys, has forcefully weighed in on the subject. For thosoe that have never heard of NAELA,  it is a professional association of attorneys serving seniors, people with disabilities, and their families*. PRWeb, in an article published on February 21, 2014, reported that NAELA compiled a list of the most important legal documents that every American should have. For purposes of this post, I will use the Illinois equivalent of the […]

  • Are you ready for the new Health Care Law?

    Thursday, February 6th, 2014

    Are you ready for the new Health Care Law? The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” looks like it is here to stay. Affected companies will have to offer health insurance required by the Act beginning in 2014. Have you started to plan how Obamacare could impact your Company? Now is the time to start. Depending on the size of your workforce, your Company may be subject to a sizeable penalty if you do not offer “affordable health coverage” to your full-time employees. If you qualify as a small employer, your Company could be eligible for certain tax credits if […]

  • Red, White & Blue Disabled Children Need You!! Contact Your Congressional Representatives TODAY

    Thursday, July 25th, 2013

    Posted by: Katie May On May 23, 2013 Sen. Kay Hagan introduced S. 1076, the Disabled Military Child Protection Act of 2013. Rep. James Moran introduced similar legislation under the same title, H.R. 2249, on June 4, 2013. This legislation amends the rules for beneficiary payments of military annuities for deceased veterans by allowing payment to a special needs trust for the benefit of a disabled child. Currently, unlike most citizens, the respected members of our armed forces with disabled children are not permitted to roll their survivor benefits into a special needs trust for the benefit of that child.  Therefore, […]

  • GOP Introduces Tax Repeal Bill

    Thursday, June 20th, 2013

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Both Senator John Thune (R – S.D.) and Representative Kevin Brady (R – Texas) introduced bills to permanently get rid of the federal estate tax – or “death tax,” as Republicans have labeled it. The bills are almost identical to those introduced in the last Congress. Thune, who is on the Finance Committee, cited a study from the conservative economist, Douglas Holtz-Eakin to the effect that repealing the estate tx would create some 1.5 million new jobs. Thune said in a statement that “This tax punishes farmers and entrpreneurs for a lifetime of hard work. Death should […]

  • Hugette Who? Preventing a Battle Over Your Estate

    Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

    Posted by: Katie May Beyonce Knowles / Dale Jr. / Al Gore / Gisele Bündchen / A-Rod / Hugette Clark. Wait, Hugette Clark? We are all familiar with the first few names on the list, or at least some of them! Not many of us, however, know who Hugette Clark was and are probably wondering what she has in common with the more easily identifiable names or nicknames on the list. The common thread is a roughly $300 million estate. (All celebrity information from celebritynetworth.com). Hugette was the last living daughter of William A. Clark who amassed a fortune mining copper. […]

  • Patrick Hurley was installed as President of the DuPage County Bar Association

    Monday, June 3rd, 2013

    Patrick Hurley was installed as President of the DuPage County Bar Association in June, 2013 for its 2013-14 year. As the leader of this organization of some 2,800 members, Pat has embarked upon a theme of attorney wellness for his year as President.  He spearheaded the formation of a DCBA Wellness Committee, the purpose of which is to provide DCBA members with information, resources and contacts to help them address various wellness-related issues that plague the profession, including depression, stress, suicide, divorce and substance abuse.

  • Recent Developments in Illinois Non-Compete Law

    Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

    Brian LaFratta, the Chair of the firm’s Employment Law Practice Group, recently hosted a presentation entitled “Recent Developments in Illinois Non-Compete Law” at the DuPage County Bar Association’s annual Mega-Meeting. Brian is the Chair of the DCBA’s Labor and Employment Law Committee. The presentation, which was attended by over 70 local attorneys, provided a summary of Illinois non-compete law, as well as recent legal developments affecting employers and employees alike. If you have any questions about non-compete agreements, or employment law in general, please contact Brian at 630-221-1755 or blafratta@huckbouma.com.

  • Heinz Brisske taught a series of 5 workshops for estate planning attorneys around the country during 2013 for WealthCounsel, LLC

    Saturday, June 1st, 2013

    Heinz Brisske taught a series of 5 workshops for estate planning attorneys around the country during 2013 for WealthCounsel, LLC. WealthCounsel is a national organization of estate planning attorneys. Heinz traveled to Minneapolis, MN, Arlington Heights, IL, Pittsburgh, PA, Miami, FL, and San Diego, CA to teach the program, called “Comprehensive Revocable Living Trusts and Practice Development Solutions.”

  • Health Care Reform Presentation at Frankfort Chamber of Commerce

    Friday, May 17th, 2013

    Health Care Reform Presentation at Frankfort Chamber of Commerce Attorneys Aaron Ruswick and Whitney Schmidt along with Stumm Insurance, LLC, presented to over 50 members of the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce at the Frankfort Educational Networking Symposium on May 15, 2013. The presentation included an overview of the past and future impact the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) has had and will have on individuals and businesses. You are welcome to view the Presentation here. Please give Aaron Ruswick, Whitney Schmidt, or your usual Huck Bouma PC contact a call to discuss how the Affordable Care Act may impact your business and how we can […]

  • Frequent Flier Miles Don’t Have to Die with You

    Monday, April 15th, 2013

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske The Chicago Tribune reports that each year U.S. travelers earn as many as 3 trillion frequent flier miles. What most travelers don’t realize is that, if they are proactive, they may be able to retain these miles after they pass away. Most travel and credit-card programs allow their customers to leave ther frequent flier miles to heirs. If you want to leave points or miles to your heirs, you  should first decide whether to leave them in a will. Such a step guarantees that all assets will be properly identified in your Will, but it may bring additional scrutiny […]

  • Tax Freedom Day

    Sunday, April 7th, 2013

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Each year since 1990 the Tax Foundation has published Tax Freedom Day. The Tax Foundation calculates the total of federal, state and local taxes as a percentage of national income and selects the date on which the nation, as a whole, has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year. For 2013 Tax Freedom Day falls on April 18. This is five days later than 2012. The change reflects tax increases in the American Taxpayer Relief Act and the Affordable Care Act. The top rates for upper-income taxpayers increased to 39.6% for […]

  • New Site

    Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

    Huck Bouma is pleased to announce the launch of its new and improved website. This project has been in the works for several months. Please feel free to explore our site and all the new content that is available.

  • Facebook Newsfeed Strikes Again

    Monday, April 1st, 2013

    Posted by: Katie May Facebook has certainly become a way for us as individuals to express our feelings, tell our “friends” what we are up to, connect with family and long lost friends and to show our support for the people and causes we believe in. It’s no surprise that Facebook users utilize their account for more than just friendly hellos. Movements, campaigns and requests for help on Facebook consistently make the local and national news. Most recently, news media outlets reported on the equal sign many were posting or making their profile picture in support of an equal right […]

  • Huck & Brisske, LLC, formally merged its practice with the law firm of Huck Bouma, PC

    Monday, April 1st, 2013

    Effective April 1, 2013, the law firm of Huck & Brisske, LLC, formally merged its practice with the law firm of Huck Bouma, PC. The Huck brothers, Kevin and Jim, had never practiced law together, despite both having been engaged in the practice of law in DuPage County for their entire lives. Kevin Huck was a co-founder of the law firm of Huck & Brisske with Heinz Brisske. Jim Huck was a former principal of the law firm of Huck Bouma. Both are now retired.

  • How to Leave Assets to Minor Children

    Sunday, March 24th, 2013

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Every parent wants to make sure their children are provided for in the event something happens to them while the children are still minors. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives often want to leave some of their assets to young children, too. But good intentions and poor planning often have unintended results. For example, many parents think if they name a guardian for their minor children in their wills and something happens to them, the named person will automatically be able to use the inheritance to take care of the children. But that’s not what happens. When […]

  • What Would You Do: Life’s Defining Moments

    Thursday, January 24th, 2013

    Katie May writes: I came across an article that reminded me of the ABC Primetime show tilted, What Would You Do? In that show, controversial and difficult scenarios are presented to unsuspecting individuals, whose reactions are videotaped. The show’s host then reveals the fact that the entire scenario was “set up” and conducts an interview with the person about their reaction to the dilemma presented to them. Unfortunately, what I am reporting on today wasn’t a show; it actually happened, and was reported by www.today.com. The setting was a local steakhouse in Houston, Texas, a restaurant where regulars are treated as […]

  • IRS Delays Income Tax Filing Until January 30

    Saturday, January 12th, 2013

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has indicated that tax filing for the approximately 120 million expected returns will commence on January 30, 2013, rather than January 1, as would have been the case under normal circumstances. Because the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) was not passed until January 1, the IRS faced a challenge due to the many substantial tax changes contained in that tax legislation. Normally, tax provisions are passed in October or November, and the IRS has an opportunity to modify computer programs and prepare for the tax-filing season. Because the tax bill was delayed […]

  • Protecting Your Health Information

    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced that they have moved forward in strengthening security protections for protected health information originally established under the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) by establishing a new omnibus rule in connection with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The rule also provides individuals new rights and allows the government greater ability to enforce these regulations. One of the changes made in the 563-page rule is an expansion of the requirements of business associates of hospitals, physicians and other HIPAA-covered entities who […]

  • Fiscal Cliff Gift and Estate Tax Compromise

    Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske The fiscal cliff “compromise” hammered out over the New Year’s weekend included several provisions relating to gift and estate taxes. Bottom line: not much has changed. What follows is a summary of the provisions of the tax legislation passed by the House and the Senate and expected to be signed by President Obama. “Permanent” estate, gift and generation skipping transfer tax relief. EGTRRA (Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, commonly known as the Bush tax cuts) phased-out the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes so that they were fully repealed in 2010, and lowered the gift tax rate to 35 percent […]

  • Negotiations Continue on Fiscal Cliff

    Saturday, December 29th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske On Friday afternoon, December 28, President Obama held a “fiscal cliff” meeting at the White House. It was attended by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The President issued a statement, indicating that, “As of today, I am still ready and willing to get a compromise package done. I still believe that reducing our deficit is the right thing to do for the long-term health of our economy and the confidence of our businesses. I remain committed to working […]

  • Give the Gift of Holiday Memories Made

    Thursday, December 13th, 2012

    Posted by: Katie May The holiday season is upon us! Family gatherings offer a time to create new, lasting traditions as well as a time to reminisce with family and friends about Holidays past. While our family structures are changing, time spent with family is still cherished by all. For some, whose children or grandchildren have moved out of state to begin or further their careers, the holidays represent an opportunity to gather together once again. For others, whose children and grandchildren have moved back home, the holidays are even brighter because of their presence. Visiting with our families during the […]

  • Continued Stalemate on Fiscal Cliff

    Saturday, December 8th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske In response to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s proposal for approximately $1.6 trillion in tax increases, the Republican Congressional leadership submitted their response. The Republican plan proposes $800 billion in new revenue and approximately $1.4 trillion in savings by reducing the growth in federal spending. John Boehner (R-OH) compared the Republican proposal to a potential compromise plan discussed by Erskine Bowles, Co-Chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Boehner suggested that his plan produces new revenue “through pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates.” The plan also creates $900 billion […]

  • Administration Proposes $1.6 Trillion Tax Increase

    Saturday, December 1st, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) echoed Boehner’s concerns when he said, “The President has called for a balanced approach, and the President needs to come forward with what that is.” At a press conference, Democratic leaders responded to the Republican reaction. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) stated, “We don’t expect the Republicans to be enthusiastic and start cheerleading about a deal that includes higher rates on the wealthiest Americans. They’re not going to openly concede on this point this far out from the deadline, but they see the handwriting on the wall.” The Republican […]

  • Coordinating FMLA leave and ADA obligations

    Friday, November 30th, 2012

    Coordinating FMLA leave and ADA obligations As any human resources professional will attest, complying with the FMLA is an administrative headache. The law is complicated and difficult to follow. However, the one part of the FMLA that is easy to understand is that the employee is required to return to work when her leave expires. Right? Well, maybe not. The EEOC has taken the position that leave is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. According to the EEOC, this includes leave following the expiration of FMLA leave. To make matters worse, the EEOC is starting to crack down on employers […]

  • DOL issues

    Friday, November 30th, 2012

    You may have noticed that your FMLA notice and certification forms have an expiration date of December 31, 2011. No need to worry though. The DOL has issued “new” forms. These forms are virtually identical to the existing forms, but contain a February 28, 2015 expiration date. Here are links to the new forms: Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition (WH-380-E) Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition (WH-380-F) Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities (WH-381) Designation Notice (WH-382) Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave (WH-384) Certification of Serious […]

  • NLRB Poster effective date on hold – Again

    Friday, November 30th, 2012

    NLRB Poster effective date on hold – Again Good news for employers.  The effective date of the new NLRB poster is again on hold, thanks to two recent federal court decisions.  As I discussed in a previous post, the deadline for posting the new poster had been moved to April 30, 2012.  During the past week, there were two federal court decisions effectively putting the effective date of the poster requirement on hold indefinitely.  The first came out of the District Court of South Carolina.  In that case, the court ruled that the NLRB exceeded its authority in requiring the poster.  The second case was from the […]

  • Avoiding the Fiscal Cliff

    Saturday, November 17th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske On Nov. 16, President Obama met with Congressional leaders of both parties at the White House to open negotiations regarding the issue of the fiscal cliff. Participating in the meeting were Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The session was the first time in six months that all four leaders had gathered at the White House. At the meeting, President Obama stated: “My hope is this is going to be the beginning of a fruitful process, that we’re able to come […]

  • Katie May, Featured Attorney

    Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske One of our attorneys, Katie May, was recently featured in the NAELA Young/New Section Newsletter. NAELA (National Association of Elder Law Attorneys) is a national organization dedicated to was founded in 1987 as a professional association of attorneys who are dedicated to improving the quality of legal services provided to seniors and people with special needs. Katie joined Huck & Brisske, LLC in 2011, and concentrates her practice in the areas of Elder Law, including VA Pension Planning, and Estate Planning.

  • 100+ CEOs Support Bipartisan Budget Solution

    Saturday, October 27th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske It is unusual for a bipartisan group of business leaders to publicly support both a budget solution and higher taxes. But that is exactly what happened on October 25 in New York City. Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson, co-chairs of the national Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, cooperated with the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget to create a “Campaign to Fix the Debt.” They proposed a bipartisan budget solultion at the request of President Barack Obama. Over 100 CEOs gathered at the New York Stock Exchange to support a comprehensive budget solution similar to that proposed […]

  • The Best Way to Initiate an Estate Planning Engagement

    Thursday, October 25th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske First of all, you need to understand what an estate plan is and what it is not. Too many people regard an “estate plan” as simply a set of documents that directs the distribution of assets at time of death. A proper estate plan is far more than that. A proper estate plan will provide protections for you while you are living as well as provide for a responsible wealth transfer to your loved ones at your death. In many cases a well-drafted estate plan can eliminate costly and time-consuming probate proceedings and minimize, if not eliminate, […]

  • Expansion of Medicare Benefits

    Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

    The Center for Medicare Advocacy and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have agreed to settle in a nationwide class action case which challenged the “improvement standard” utilized when defining what services are considered “skilled” care, and therefore covered by a patient’s Medicare benefits. This settlement does not make any change to the existing law; however, it qualifies the definition of “skilled” to include those patients whose condition would deteriorate if the services of a professional, such as a nurse of licensed therapist, were no longer being provided. This clarification in the law applies to care being provided […]

  • The Best and the Worst States from a Tax Standpoint

    Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Fox Business recently listed the ten worst, and the ten best, states from the standpoint of state taxes. It might surprise you that Illinois was not among the worst – but it wasn’t among the best, either. If you’re planning to relocate to another state, this article may be of some interest to you: http://247wallst.com/2012/10/23/states-where-residents-pay-the-most-in-taxes/

  • Estate Planning Check-Up

    Friday, October 19th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Congratulations on making some difficult decisions, designing an estate plan and implementing it! While you are in a better position than many Americans, you are not done. Estate Planning is not an event that you can complete and be done with; Estate Planning is a process that involves an ongoing dialog between you and your Estate Planning attorney, as well as your other advisors. From time to time your finances, objectives, and the needs and dynamics of your family will change. Tax laws and state and federal laws regarding trusts and wills are forever changing, so your Estate Planning attorney needs […]

  • The Fiscal Cliff

    Thursday, October 18th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske As I am sure you are all aware, it is an election year! Every four years our television sets and radio stations broadcast campaign commercials, often pointing out the “other guy’s” imperfect political opinions. This year, the candidates’ positions on the Estate and Gift Tax are front and center. Why? Because we are facing what is known as the “Fiscal Cliff.” Currently, at the Federal level, there is a $5.12 million estate and gift tax exemption. This exemption, also known as the applicable exclusion, is scheduled to revert back to $1 million at year’s end if Congress […]

  • Planning for the Golden Years

    Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

    Posted by: Katie May People of all ages need to have an estate plan, but that is especially true as we enter the twilight of our lives. Estate planning issues confronting seniors differ in many respects from those faced by young families or those in their prime earning years. A few of the most important issues that should be discussed and addressed include: Leaving a Legacy As members of society we work during our lives to shape our legacy, whether that is to provide for our family or to leave a lasting impact on the greater community. By creating an estate […]

  • Protecting Minor Children

    Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

    Posted by: Katie May From the moment a child is born, and perhaps even before that, a parent’s heart awakens and feels an indescribable love. Suddenly, the parent’s world is forever changed. Initially, that change takes the form of sleepless nights and diaper changes, but once the fog clears, it is replaced by an overwhelming desire to love and protect the child indefinitely. In fact, parents often spend a great deal of time and energy trying to find the best person to “babysit” while they attend a dinner and a movie on date night. You should put that same thought and […]

  • College Preparation Checklist

    Monday, October 15th, 2012

    Posted by: Katie May Imagine the emotions of a child about to leave for the first year of college: excitement, anticipation of the future and the possibilities that lie ahead. In anticipation, parent and child make multiple trips to Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, crossing off the items for a comfortable dorm room. On the other hand, you, as the parent, feel a tremendous amount of stress as you prepare for you child to be on his or her own. You are concerned for the child’s well-being while the child is focused on his or her budding social life. In the majority of college […]

  • Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits

    Saturday, September 29th, 2012

    Although you can begin receiving Social Security benefits at age 62, the longer you wait, the higher the benefit to which you will be entitled. But what if you need money right away and can’t afford to wait? If you are married, there is a strategy that may allow you to claim some benefits immediately and then claim more benefits later. Kevin Huck, a principal in the estate planning law firm of Huck & Brisske, LLC, and John Dragstrem, of Wheaton Wealth Partners, conducted a series of workshops recently, at which they outlined this strategy, among others, to maximize Social […]

  • Family Legacy More Important than Personal Wealth

    Saturday, September 29th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Family Legacy is More Important than Personal Wealth, According to Study Some very interesting findings came out of a study conducted by the Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America earlier this year. The 2012 American Legacies Pulse Study sought input from baby boomers regarding their attitude about family legacies and inheriting physical possessions. The study explored opinions on both the giving and receiving side of the equation. Surprisingly, baby boomers rated keeping their family’s legacy going through stories more important than receiving a financial inheritance. The study seems to reaffirm the findings of a prior study, conducted […]

  • 5 Estate Planning Tasks That You Shouldn’t Put Off

    Friday, August 24th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Christine Benz, writing for Morningstar, urges readers to update their estate planning documents. She writes that, barring Congressional action, estates of $1 million will be subject to the estate tax starting next year, and the top estate tax rate will be 55%. “The exclusion limit has been extraordinarily benign for the past three years, affecting only very wealthy families, but it might not remain that way. When you consider that real estate holdings are included in one’s total estate value, it’s not hard to see how reducing the exclusion amount to $1 million or less could touch a […]

  • Back to School Loans Bite Social Security Recipients

    Friday, August 24th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske ABC News Reports that about twice as many Social Security recipients as last year are not receiving their entire Social Security payments due to a law passed in 1996 which allows the federal government to withhold portions of checks if defaulted debt is owed to the government, including federal student loans. Whether the loans were taken for their individual use or their children’s education, the government has reduced around 115,000 retirees’ Social Security checks. Typically, Social Security payments are protected from creditors. While the federal government can withhold funds, they must leave $750 a month untouched, which […]

  • Scam Targets Seniors

    Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

    The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) reports that Mark Green from the IRS in Atlanta says that scam artists have been calling senior citizens, promising a “big” tax refund on their social security. All the senior citizen has to do, according to the caller, is provide his/her social security number (because the caller promises to file the return) and their checking account number (because the caller promises to get the big refund automatically deposited into the person’s checking account) In reality, all that happens is that the senior is robbed. Green says that, in many cases, senior citizens […]

  • Spouse Cannot Discharge Nursing Home Debt in Bankruptcy

    Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

    Don’t let this happen to you! Before signing a nursing home agreement, always have it reviewed by an elder law attorney. A U.S. bankruptcy court held that a wife who was contractually bound through a nursing home admissions agreement to apply for Medicaid benefits on her husband’s behalf and failed to do so cannot discharge the debt owed to the nursing home through bankruptcy. In re Plybon (U.S. Bankr. E.D. Ky., No. 11–10146, March 9, 2012). When Glenna Plybon admitted her husband to a nursing home, she signed an admissions agreement as the responsible party. The agreement stated that Mrs. […]

  • Federal Benefits to be Paid Electronically

    Thursday, March 15th, 2012

    Beginning March 1, 2013 ALL federal benefits, including Social Security payments, will be exclusively be paid electronically. Rosie Rios, Treasurer of the United States, started an official countdown clock until the March deadline. Currently, 90% of federal benefit recipients receive payments electronically. The remaining 10% are being encouraged to make the switch now. Those who choose not to enroll in direct deposit payments will begin to receive their payments via the Direct Express® card. Money is posted to the card account on payment day each month. Cardholders can then make purchases and get cash back with purchases at no charge […]

  • Whitney Houston: Estate Planning Lesson

    Saturday, February 25th, 2012

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske The premature death of pop star Whitney Houston should serve as a reminder to everyone to make sure that their estate plans are up to date and that their trusts are properly funded. With Whitney Houston’s death we learned that tomorrow is promised to no one, regardless of fame or fortune. The story of Whitney Houston’s death, because she was a celebrity, highlights what should be done, what was done wrong and what was done right. It demonstrates the fragility of life, and teaches us that we need to be prepared for anything, at any time. It […]

  • Tax Policy Decisions Ahead Impact of the 2016 elections

    Monday, February 13th, 2012

    Tax Policy Decisions Ahead Impact of the 2016 elections Deloitte Development LLC Business Taxes    In August of this year, when he delivered his first economic address as the GOP presidential nominee, Trump told the Detroit Economic Club that the current US tax laws “punish companies for making products in America” and promised that his administration would promote tax policies—centered on lower rates and simplification—that he characterized as “geared towards keeping jobs and wealth inside the United States.” Overview of Trump’s tax plan: Business Provisions The following table highlights the business provisions in Donald Trump’s tax plan (which was originally unveiled […]

  • The Importance of Advance Medical Directives

    Sunday, November 20th, 2011

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Estate Planning involves not only the distribution of your assets after your death, but important lifetime issues, as well. One of the most important lifetime issues addressed in a typical estate plan is health care decision-making. Advance medical directives are the documents that specifically deal with health care decisions, specifically if you don’t have the capacity to make those decisions for yourself. Everyone over the age of eighteen (18) should have advance medical directives. In Illinois, there are two advance medical directives: Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (names agents, and grants those named agents the power […]

  • Rumors of Estate Tax Increase by Super Committee

    Saturday, November 19th, 2011

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske Rumors have been widespread that the Super Committee is considering cutting back the estate and gift tax exemptions from it’s current $5 million exemption to $1 million, and increasing the effective estate tax rate from 35% to a maximum 55% effective immediately. Those rumors, in fact, have gone viral, and no one is quite sure of their origin. Are the rumors based on fact or fancy? According to various estate planning professionals, there is no substantiation for those rumors. Yet commentators still remember with dismay when Congress allowed the estate tax to lapse for 2010, a move few thought would […]

  • Planning for Loved Ones

    Friday, November 11th, 2011

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske We’re hearing a lot about how Michael Jackson died, and learning the role of his physician in his death, but what was the legal fallout resulting from his death? Apparently, for someone who is considered by many to have been a bit “out there,” Michael Jackson did something surprisingly sensible before his death. He set up a smart estate plan. Jackson’s will provides for the care of his loved ones. A revocable living trust gathers his assets – said to be over $500 million, exceeding his debt by about $200 million – ensuring that his affairs stay […]

  • The Super Committee’ Position on the Estate Tax

    Friday, November 11th, 2011

    Posted by: Heinz Brisske On November 7, 2011, Linda Beale, in her Angry Bear blog, talked about the right’s “nutty” claims about job creation, specifically some of the claims being made by Newt Gingrich and the estate tax. She claims that the right is intent on promoting a program that will enrich the rich at the expense of the working class. Those claims, she says, are “full of false and nutty claims pitched to fool hard workers who are uninformed about the facts.” She cites Newt Gingrich’s claims that eliminating the estate tax (which applies only to the biggest multimillion dollar estates) will cause all […]

  • No Estate Tax in 2010: Good News or Bad?

    Monday, January 18th, 2010

    As we have reported in previous articles in this space, Congress shocked everyone by taking no action at the end of 2009, and thereby letting the estate tax lapse on January 1, 2010. The upshot, for many, is that this lapse will actually RAISE their taxes in 2010. In 2009, estates up to $3.5 million, or $7 million for married couples who planned appropriately, were exempt from federal estate tax. This year, the estate tax has been replaced by a fiendishly complex levy on the assets of those with little as $1.3 million. It will affect the heirs of at least 50,000 U.S. taxpayers […]

  • No Estate Tax in 2010: Good News or Bad?

    Monday, January 18th, 2010

    As we have reported in previous articles in this space, Congress shocked everyone by taking no action at the end of 2009, and thereby letting the estate tax lapse on January 1, 2010. The upshot, for many, is that this lapse will actually RAISE their taxes in 2010. In 2009, estates up to $3.5 million, or $7 million for married couples who planned appropriately, were exempt from federal estate tax. This year, the estate tax has been replaced by a fiendishly complex levy on the assets of those with little as $1.3 million. It will affect the heirs of at least 50,000 U.S. taxpayers […]

  • Gifting to Your Grandchildren

    Sunday, January 17th, 2010

    There are multiple benefits when you make gifts to your grandchildren: helping to assure their future by sharing your resources with them is a nice thing to do, of course, but gifting can also reduce the size of your estate and the tax that will be due upon your death. This year, each grandparent can give each grandchild up to $13,000 without having to report the gift to the IRS. Or you can give more; paying a grandchild’s health care or tuition expenses directly to the provider of those services does not count against the $13,000 per year limit (these gifting […]

  • Gifting to Your Grandchildren

    Sunday, January 17th, 2010

    There are multiple benefits when you make gifts to your grandchildren: helping to assure their future by sharing your resources with them is a nice thing to do, of course, but gifting can also reduce the size of your estate and the tax that will be due upon your death. This year, each grandparent can give each grandchild up to $13,000 without having to report the gift to the IRS. Or you can give more; paying a grandchild’s health care or tuition expenses directly to the provider of those services does not count against the $13,000 per year limit (these gifting […]