Estate Planning

For over thirty years, Hoogendoorn & Talbot attorneys have helped clients and their families plan for the future. Our Estate Planning Group is the core of the firm, and is comprised of more than half of our attorneys, many of whom began their careers at larger firms.  Our manageable size and vast experience allow us to offer sophisticated and innovative estate planning at an affordable cost.

Our attorneys understand that the estate planning process can be overwhelming and that clients may be concerned about discussing such personal details.  Whether our clients are our neighbors and friends, local business owners or executives at Fortune 500 companies, we strive to put our clients at ease as we listen to their concerns and dreams and we guide them towards an estate plan uniquely designed for them.  We view our relationships as ongoing and hope to create an environment where clients feel comfortable reaching out to us as questions arise or circumstances change.  

We frequently create joint trusts for our married clients, a technique that sets us apart from other firms in the city.  We find that many couples are more comfortable maintaining a joint form of ownership. This single trust structure simplifies funding and managing the trust, yet includes sophisticated tax-savings techniques.

Our practice entails all matters related to both lifetime and post-mortem estate planning, including:

  • Preparing the core estate planning documents: wills, revocable trusts and powers of attorney for health care and property
  • Advising clients on lifetime gifts and estate tax reduction strategies such as:
    • Irrevocable life insurance trusts (“ILIT”)
    • Grantor retained annuity trusts (“GRAT”)
    • Spousal limited access trusts (“SLAT”)
    • Sales to intentionally defective grantor trust (sale to an “IDGT”)
    • Qualified Personal residence trusts (“QPRT”)
    • Family limited partnerships and limited liability companies (“FLPs” and “FLLCs”)
  • Counseling clients with non-traditional or blended families
  • Creating special needs trusts for a disabled child or family member
  • Assisting clients in developing and implementing charitable goals
  • Helping grandparents develop an educational gifting program for grandchildren
  • Developing a succession plan or exit strategy for a closely-held business
  • Representing clients regarding premarital agreements
  • Preparing gift tax returns, generation-skipping tax returns, and personal and fiduciary income tax returns
  • Advising survivors on post mortem estate planning options to minimize or reduce tax through disclaimers or other strategies

Drafting vacation home trusts to provide for multi-family ownership after parents are deceased, including governance and exit strategies

Estate and Trust Administration

Hoogendoorn & Talbot attorneys work with family members, trustees, agents and executors following the incapacity or death of a client.  We have counseled many families through this difficult time and bring extensive experience to each stage of the process, including:

  • Advising executors and trustees on issues related to estate administration
  • Probate
  • Post-mortem tax planning
  • Will and trust contests and dispute resolution
  • Estate tax, final personal income tax, and fiduciary income tax returns
  • Tax audits
  • Guardianships for minors and disabled adults

Business Succession Planning

Family businesses present many challenges.  Should the business be sold or passed on to a younger generation?  If more than one child is involved, who should be in control?  If not all children are involved, how can inherited business interests be managed to minimize future family conflict?  Where will the estate find the liquidity to pay the estate tax that will be due?  Hoogendoorn & Talbot attorneys can help put the family business owner’s mind at ease by addressing each issue with experience, creativity and sensitivity.  A business succession plan may include:

  • Recapitalization into voting and non-voting stock
  • Buy-sell agreements
  • Exit strategies for minority owners
  • Irrevocable life insurance trusts
  • Gifting programs
  • Sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts
  • Self-cancelling instalment notes
  • Voting trusts

Charitable Tax Planning

Many of our clients have significant charitable goals. Our attorneys can help clients arrange for anything from a simple cash gift to a favorite charity at death, to the creation of a private foundation which could last in perpetuity.  Charitable gifts are often tied to the sale of a business interest, real estate or even art. Our attorneys frequently advise clients on making current or deferred charitable gifts in the most tax efficient manner and employ gift annuities, donor advised funds (“DAF”), charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts and private foundations.

Hoogendoorn & Talbot attorneys represent many charities, private foundations and community foundations. Many of our attorneys serve or have served on local and national charitable boards which enhances their understanding of these charitable gifts from both the donor’s and the donee’s perspective.

Elder Law

Hoogendoorn & Talbot attorneys have guided many clients and their families through the painful issues associated with aging, including advising clients on continuing care and life care contracts, care giver issues, as well as the need for appointing an agent to make health care and asset management decisions.  We also counsel families who are concerned that an elderly or otherwise disabled family member may be a victim of financial abuse.

Although with proper planning (including a will, revocable trust, and powers of attorney), guardianship proceedings can be avoided, not everyone implements a proper plan prior to becoming disabled.  When that happens, we advise family members on the legal and practical issues associated with guardianship, (sometimes referred to as a conservatorship or lifetime probate).  We then advise agents, guardians and trustees on how to carry out their legal responsibilities.

Irrevocable Trusts – Dealing with Changed Circumstances and Family Dispute Resolution

Despite the best planning, sometimes circumstances change, applicable laws change, or disputes arise among family members or between family members and a trustee or executor.  Rapidly developing Illinois law, including the Illinois Virtual Representation Statute and the Illinois Decanting Statute, provide non-judicial options for families to settle many matters regarding a trust.   Whether due to changed circumstances or conflict, the Virtual Representation Statute permits certain revisions to a trust and allows certain family members to represent minor or unborn beneficiaries whose lack of ability to consent ordinarily would be an obstacle to such an agreement. The Decanting Statute allows the trustee to “pour” one trust into a new trust for the same beneficiaries.  One or both statutes may be employed in finding a resolution to a dispute outside a courtroom.  Our attorneys have extensive experience with both statutes.  While neither statute allows you to “do away” with an estate plan, they can be used to resolve an ambiguity, or to effectively deal with a change in circumstances.