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 As you are probably aware, there are many different ways to distribute  your assets at death.  

As estate planners, our goal is to present the  different options currently available, and then allow you to make an  informed decision as to the best possible plan for your individual  needs. 

Trust Administration FAQs

Bankruptcy & Debt Consulting FAQs

Trust Administration FAQs

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Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about Trustee, Guardianship and Executor Services

Bankruptcy & Debt Consulting FAQs

Bankruptcy & Debt Consulting FAQs

Bankruptcy & Debt Consulting FAQs

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 Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about Bankruptcy & Debt Consulting 

Probate FAQs

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

Bankruptcy & Debt Consulting FAQs

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Answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions 

about Probate

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

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 It's easy!  

You can click on the Contact Us button or simply call our office at (630) 416-4500 and schedule an appointment. 

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HOW DO I GET STARTED?

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

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Estate Planning FAQs

I HAVE A WILL, ISN'T THAT ENOUGH?

WHAT IS "DEATH" PROBATE AND WHAT IS "LIVING" PROBATE?

I HAVE A WILL, ISN'T THAT ENOUGH?

 A will guarantees probate.  The word "probate" comes from Latin and  means, "to prove the will".  Having a will may not be the best way to  plan your estate.  


The court must verify all wills before they can be  enforced.  A will can only go into effect after you die, with no  protection if you become mentally or physically incapacitated during  lifetime.  


A Living Trust avoids probate and is less likely to be  modified by the courts if challenged by unhappy family members at your  death or disability.  

WHAT IS A LIVING TRUST?

WHAT IS "DEATH" PROBATE AND WHAT IS "LIVING" PROBATE?

I HAVE A WILL, ISN'T THAT ENOUGH?

 A Living Trust is a legal document that allows you to give what you have  to whom you want, when you want and in the way you want.  The trust can  be changed or revoked according to your wishes while you are alive. 


The  trust avoids probate and can reduce or eliminate estate taxes provided  that it is personalized to your needs, properly planned and properly  drafted. 

WHAT IS "DEATH" PROBATE AND WHAT IS "LIVING" PROBATE?

WHAT IS "DEATH" PROBATE AND WHAT IS "LIVING" PROBATE?

WHAT IS "DEATH" PROBATE AND WHAT IS "LIVING" PROBATE?

 Death probate is a process that makes sure, when you die, your debts are  paid and your assets are distributed according to your will.  


Living  probate is a process by which the court can take control of your assets,  decide who should take care of you, and determine how you should be  cared for in the event you become incapacitated.  

WHY SHOULD I TRY TO AVOID PROBATE?

WHAT IF YOU HAVE A SMALL ESTATE, DO YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING?

WHAT IS "DEATH" PROBATE AND WHAT IS "LIVING" PROBATE?

 

It is expensive!  A significant portion of your estate's gross value goes for legal/executor fees and court costs.


It is time consuming!  Assets are frozen subject to probate court  action during the probate process which lasts at least 6 months, and a  year on average.


It is required in every state where you own real estate!  There will  need to be a separate probate proceeding in every state where you own  real property, including vacant lots, vacation property, investment  property and timeshare interests.


It is public!  Anyone can read the probate files to see what you  owned, who you owe, to whom you gave your assets and where those  beneficiaries live. 

WON'T JOINT OWNERSHIP AVOID PROBATE?

WHAT IF YOU HAVE A SMALL ESTATE, DO YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING?

WHAT IF YOU HAVE A SMALL ESTATE, DO YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING?

 No. It will only delay probate until the surviving joint tenant dies.   The property is then probated before it goes to the heirs.  

WHAT IF YOU HAVE A SMALL ESTATE, DO YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING?

WHAT IF YOU HAVE A SMALL ESTATE, DO YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING?

WHAT IF YOU HAVE A SMALL ESTATE, DO YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING?

 Yes.  While an estate under $5,000,000.00 (for 2011 and 2012) is free  from federal estate taxes, you will probably not avoid a living probate  if you become disabled or a death probate when you die.  


Remember,  probate and federal estate taxes have nothing to do with each other.   Estate taxes are paid to the federal government for the right to  transfer property at your death.  


Probate fees and costs are paid to the  probate court, attorneys and the personal representatives of your  estate for supervising the administration of your estate and  distributing assets to your beneficiaries. 


Trust Administration FAQs

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WHAT ARE THE FEES ASSOCIATED WITH THESE SERVICES?

 

Trustee/Guardianship fees are based upon mutual agreement between the  client and WEBSTER & SCHELLI.  Generally, fees are based upon one  of two methods:

  • Billed hourly for the services rendered.  Usually  this is the method of billing for probate estate when acting as an  executor or small trust and guardianship estates, when the breadth of  services is not required or the management of the estate is simplified.
  • For complex trust and guardianship estate, as well  as for trusts and guardianship estates that will be in existence for  several years, fees are calculated based upon the market value of the  assets of the trust estate.

The annual trustee fee is 0.5% of the value of the assets of the  estate on the first $5,000,000.00 and 0.3% on the next $10,000,000 and  0.2% on any amount in excess of $15,000,000.00, excluding the value of  real estate and any structured settlement annuities.  The trustee fee is  paid quarterly, in advance, based upon the value of the assets of the  trust estate on the last day of the preceding calendar quarter. 

No additions fees will be charged for tax services, holding of special assets or extraordinary services.

Bankruptcy & Debt Consulting FAQs

 

Are there different types of bankruptcy?

There are several “Chapters” of the bankruptcy code.  Most  individual debtors will chose between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13  bankruptcy.


What is the difference between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as a liquidating bankruptcy.  A  Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization, or payment plan bankruptcy.   Most individuals would prefer to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  There are  three general factors that could cause a debtor to choose a Chapter 13  instead of a Chapter 7.  The first factor is having too much equity in  the debtor’s assets.  In this situation the debtor would file a Chapter  13 bankruptcy and pay the Trustee an amount of money at least equal to  the “excess” equity in their assets.  The second factor for filing a  Chapter 13 is to stop a foreclosure or repossession of the debtor’s  assets.  A common example would be a debtor who, due to illness or  unemployment, has fallen behind in their house or car payments but now  is working and can afford to make the regular payments and perhaps a  little more to catch-up on the arrearage.  The lender, however, wants  all the back payments immediately or they threaten to foreclose on, or  repossess, the asset.  If the debtor files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the  court, upon confirmation, will force the lender to allow the debtor  additional time to pay back the arrearage.  The third major factor  causing the debtor to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy would be if a debtor  makes too much money as determined by a surplus in their budget (before  deducting credit card payments) or if their income exceeds the median  income for a family of the same size in the county where the debtor  resides.


What is a “means test”?

The means test is an objective calculation created by the  Bankruptcy Reform Act that became effective in October 2005.  The means  test starts with comparing the debtor’s gross income to the median  income for a family of the same size in the state and county where the  debtor resides.  If the debtor’s income is lower than the median income,  it is said that the “presumption of abuse” does not arise and the  debtor can file a Chapter 7.  If the debtor’s income is higher than the  applicable median income, the means test has additional calculations to  determine whether the debtor’s personal expenses on its secured debt or  medical expenses exceeds the average and thus might still allow the  debtor to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  The means test is quite complex  and in some situations a debtor may qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy,  notwithstanding personal income that exceeds the median income by  thousands of dollars.


Will I lose my IRA or 401k savings plans?

No.  Tax deferred, tax qualified, retirement assets are considered exempt assets in Illinois.


Will my pending personal injury case or workman’s compensation claim be effected?

Personal injury claims are only exempt up to the first  $15,000.00.  Any award in excess of $15,000.00 would likely be claimed  by the Trustee to distribute to your unsecured creditors.  Workman’s  compensation claims are completely exempt under Illinois law so long as  the debtor keeps the proceeds from that type of claim segregated from  their other assets.


Can I pay back friends or family members before I file a bankruptcy?

No.  You can payoff any debt of your choice after your bankruptcy,  but the Trustee can retrieve payments made up to a year in advance of  your bankruptcy filing if paid to a friend, family member, or business  associate.


How long until my credit scores recover?

There are several specific dates that apply to someone who has  filed a personal bankruptcy.  The bankruptcy will be reported on your  credit report for up to 10 years, the same length as most other  information, good or bad, is reported.  Another date that is often  confused is the time limit before a debtor is eligible to file another  bankruptcy.  In the case of a Chapter 7 debtor they cannot file another  Chapter 7 bankruptcy until eight years after the date of discharge from  the prior bankruptcy.  The time period for your credit score to recover  is not governed by any law; but, instead, your credit score and  availability of credit is governed by the practices of lenders.  In some  cases, credit scores can increase by up to 100 points in the first 18  months after your bankruptcy.  Some lenders will make offers to debtors  immediately after filing their bankruptcy, although these offers tend to  be high cost, high interest, low limit offers.  12 to 24 months after  your bankruptcy most debtors who work to rebuild their credit scores  will find themselves getting credit card offers from more traditional  credit card issuers.  Finally, most individuals find that they would be  eligible for any loan as early as 36 months after their discharge,  provided they make all their post bankruptcy payments timely and work to  rebuild their credit scores.


Does Webster & Schelli charge a fee for the initial consultation?

Yes.  Because your initial consultation will be with Mr. Schelli  (as opposed to an intake clerk or paralegal) we charge $200.00 for the  initial consultation.  Consultations typically last between one and one  and one-half hours and the fee represents approximately one-half of Mr.  Schelli’s normal billing rate.  The $200.00 consultation fee is,  however, applied against the bankruptcy fee ultimately charged.   Therefore, if you were to hire Mr. Schelli to represent you in your  bankruptcy, the initial consultation really does not cost any extra. 

Mr. Schelli’s bankruptcy practice is different than many other  practitioner’s in that he conducts the initial consultation, he will  work with you directly in completing and reviewing your petition, and he  will be with you at your Section 341 Creditor’s Meeting.  When  comparing the services of other firms it may be wise to ask whom you  will be dealing with, as well as whom will be returning your telephone  calls if you should call with a question.


Will I have go to debtor’s school?

The 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act did create the requirement that  debtors take both a pre-filing credit counseling course as well as a  post-filing financial management training course.  Fortunately, both  courses can be taken online or on the telephone from the privacy of your  own home.  Webster & Schelli has arranged an agreement with a  service provider that will be billed to the firm and will be included in  the cost of your bankruptcy.


How much will my bankruptcy cost?

While each case is unique, generally the legal fees for a Chapter 7  bankruptcy range from $3,000.00 - $5,000.00.  Some very straightforward  cases may be slightly less.  Additionally, Mr. Schelli has the ability  to discount further if the facts and the debtor’s ability to pay warrant  a hardship exception.  Mr. Schelli will determine a fixed fee and  payment arrangements at the initial consultation.



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Probate FAQs

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What is Probate?

Probate is a legal preceding that supervises the collection, liquidation and distribution of the Decedent’s property.


Is all of the Decedent’s property subject to probate?

No.  Some or all of the Decedent’s property may be held in Joint  Tenancy, in an account with a “Payable upon Death” or beneficiary  designation or held in the Decedent’s Trust.  Simply put, probate  property is any property that is not titled in such a way as to provide a  successor owner.


What if the Decedent had a Trust but not all of the Decedent’s property was owned by the Trust?

In fact, it is very common that some of the Decedent’s property in  not owned by the Decedent’s Trust.  Some property gets overlooked or  could not be put into the Trust.  Some property, such as a personal  injury claim or a wrongful death claim does not even exist until the  Decedent’s death.  For these reasons most Estate Planning attorneys  provide their Trust clients with a “pour over” Will to control any of  the Decedent’s property not owed by his or her Trust at the Decedent’s  date of death.


If the Decedent put most of his asset’s  in Trust but missed one or two assets, does the Decedent’s estate still  have to be probated?

Generally all probate assets have to go through probate.  However,  Illinois allows a simplified, less expensive, probate procedure if the  total of all probate assets are less than $100,000 and all claims  against the Decedent’s estate have been paid.


How long does a Probate proceeding last?

The length of time a probate proceeding may last depends upon many  factors.  All probate proceeding must remain open for a minimum of six  months after the first date the notice of the probate proceeding is  published in the newspaper.  Most probate proceedings last between 12  and 24 months but some can be open for many years. 


What is the difference between an Executor and an Administrator?

An Executor is named in the Will to handle the administration of  the estate.  An Administrator is used when there is no Will or if all  the named Executor can not or will not serve.  The Administrator does  the exact same job as the Executor but but has to petition the court to  become the Administrator.


Is it necessary for and Executor or Administrator to be bonded?

Unless specifically waived by the Decedent in his Will, the Court  will require the Executor to purchase a surety bond to insure that the  Executor does not abscond with the assets of the estate.  Most Wills  however waive the requirement of a bond of any named Executor.   Administrators will always need to purchase a bond.


What is the difference between a Legatee and an Heir?

A Legatee is someone who has been named in a Will as a  beneficiary.  An Heir is a person related to the decedent who would  inherit some or all of the decedent’s property if the Decedent had no  Will.  A person can be both an Heir and a Legatee.


What if I am an heir or legatee but do not trust the Executor/Administrator?

Typically an Executor or Administrator petition the court for  unsupervised administration.  This means that they do their job without  direct supervision of the court and are required only to provide a First  and Final accounting to the heirs and legatees.  Any party of interest  (i.e., an heir, a legatee or a representative of a minor heir or  legatee) can petition the court to demand a supervised administration or  that an independent administrator be appointed.


Can the Decedent’s property be lost to the State?

The property will not be lost to the State.  Occasionally, banks,  financial institutions and other entities will turn over unclaimed  property to the State but the property can always be claimed by the  rightful owners or heirs.


What If the Decedent had more than one Will?

Generally, the most recently dated Will is the Decedent’s correct  Will.  Most Wills begin with language stating that “This is my Last Will  and Testament, hereby revoking all my prior Wills and Codicils made by  me”.  However, If the Decedent left more that one originally executed  Wills you should keep all of them until the Court have admitted the  correct Will.

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