Special Needs Estate Planning
Nine months ago, The Child & Family Law Center of the North Shore became a division of Grund & Leavitt, P.C. As result, we are now able to expand the range of legal services we can offer our clients. Our office has added an estate planning division with the addition to our firm of Attorney Richard Klott and will now be able to assist clients in creating special needs trusts, guardianship, alternatives to guardianship and estate planning. Richard has been an expert in handling a full range of estate planning for over 38 years. Call our office at 312-640-0500 to schedule a consultation.
Planning for your disabled family member's future is essential. The creation of a special needs trust and other estate planning tools can prevent the loss of government benefits which may result if the disabled person inherits money of is the beneficiary of a well intentioned relative's gift. The most common document created to protect a disabled child's benefits is a special needs trust. Depending upon the needs, this trust can be used to pay for activities, home care, items that help your disabled child sustain a quality of life that would be otherwise out of reach.
The decision on whether or not your disabled child requires a guardianship is a complex decision and does not lend itself to a one-size fits all solution. For some parents, there is a bright line that makes it clear that their child cannot make informed decisions, so guardianship becomes the right choice. For others, the decision is not as clear. Guardianships carry some limitations that may seem too onerous and may not be required when a person can make some of their own decisions. A discussion of supported decision making is embedded in our process of meeting with families to discuss what works best for the disabled family member.
Alternatives to Guardianship:
Powers of Attorney for Health Care
Declaration for Mental Heath Treatment
Illinois Statutory Short From Power of Attorney for Property
Call our office to schedule a consultation with Richard Klott for a consultation regarding your estate planning needs to protect your disabled family member's future. 312-640-0500
Juvenile Interrogations HB 2627 amends the School Code to require law enforcement or school security personnel to take certain actions before detaining or questioning a student under the age of 18 on school grounds during regular school hours. These actions include attempting to notify the student;s parent to ensure that the parent or guardian is present during questioning. There is an exception if a reasonable person believes that urgent and immediate action is necessary. Drop date: August 27, 2019. Effective immediately.
Divorce - Decision Making: Allocation of Decision Making Responsibilities
Section 602.5(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/602.5(b) (West, 2016) permits the trial court to allocate to one or both of the parents, the decision making responsibility for significant issues affecting the child as to education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities. The decision is based on the best interests of the child standard. 750 ILCS 5/602.5(c) (West 2016). To determine the child's best interests for purposes of allocating the decision making responsibilities, the court should consider all relevant factors, including: (1) the child's wishes; (2) the child's adjustment to home, school and community; (3) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved; (4) the parents' ability to cooperate to make decisions; (5) the level of each parents' participation in past decision making about the child; (6) any prior agreement or course of conduct between the parents regarding decision making; (7) the parents' wishes; (8) the child's needs; (9) the distance between the parents' residences (10) whether a restriction on decision making is appropriate under section 603.10 of the Act; (11) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a relationship with the other parent; (12) the physical violence or threat of physical violence directed against the child; (13) the occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child's household; (14) whether one parent is a sex offender or resides with a sex offender; and (15) any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant. 750 ILCS 5/602.5. (West 2016).
Not all factors are relevant in every case and some factors may be weighed more heavily buy a trial court in the determination of what is in a child's best interest. In determining decision making, the court can allocate certain decisions to one parent exclusively if it finds that this would be in the child's best interests. Keep in mind that shared decision making requires that parents have some minimal ability to cooperate with each other and to act in their child's best interests.
The allocation of decision making may mean that certain areas of decision making are divided between the parties. For example, in one case, a court required the parties to confer on all medical decisions regarding their autistic son. However, ultimately the court determined that the father was in the best position to make the final decision on the choice of providers. The parties shared equally in decision making in other areas such as education and extracurricular activities.
Call our office for a free consultation regarding your divorce and the best customized legal solution for your family in this difficult time.