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Jeffrey R. Gottlieb

Jeffrey Gottlieb’s Answers

372 total


  • When a person dies, what happens to his/her debt?

    So suppose an unmarried man dies with $0 in assets and many thousands of dollars of unsecured debt. Is the debt forgiven, or could a family member or someone else be required to pay the decedent's creditors?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Unless the family member or someone else did something to make themselves personally liable (e.g. co-signed for a loan), then no one else is personally responsible. The estate (decedent's assets) is liable, but if the estate is $0, then the creditor has no recourse to collect. It's sort of like a bankruptcy. I wouldn't label it "forgiven", but for lack of a better term the creditor would be SOL.

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  • Will a simple will from a site from Legal Zoom hold up in the state of Illinois?

    I did my will on Legal Zoom a couple of years ago. My husband does not have a will and asked me to do his on Legal Zoom as well. A friend told me that everything needed to be in a trust here to avoid being taxed heavily and that my husband shoul...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Some points to consider:

    1. A will does not avoid probate - it only controls (some of) the terms of probate.
    2. A trust, in itself, does not avoid being taxed heavily, but that not be as much of a concern as you might think. If you're referring to estate taxes, those do not kick in unless your estate reaches a substantial threshold (currently $4 million in Illinois). If your combined estate is above that threshold, then a suitable plan can help minimize estate taxes.
    3. A will must be signed and witnessed properly to be valid at all.
    4. A will only controls property in your sole name -- joint property and accounts with beneficiary designations pass otherwise. Coordination is critical.

    I'd recommend that both you and your husband see an attorney to put together a comprehensive estate plan that meets your particular needs and goals.

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  • Can i introduce a will after a previous will had been accepted by the court probate still in process

    deceased company owner's last will completed yet left unsigned giving employees the company court accepted will gives company to surviving sons

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Generic answer is yes. If you find a more recent valid will, you can ask for it to be admitted over a previously admitted prior will. But if this more recent "will" is unsigned then it is not a "will" and can't be admitted. to probate.

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  • ¿Do I need to present an IRS transfer certificate for my TOD beneficiary designation if there is a Public Administrator named?

    I am TOD account beneficiary of my aunt. She was US citizen but died in Peru. I am not US citizen and nor resident. Parallel to my designation, her legal heirs have opened a probate case in Chicago for other accounts without beneficiaries. The pub...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Since this (POD Account) is property that is NOT administered by the appointed administrator, that you do need to provide transfer certificate information. The instructions indicate that you need information and documentation from the public administrator to comply with these detailed requirements.

    I suggest that you contact an attorney to help you understand the information that you need and to communicate with the public administrator to obtain what you need to comply with the IRS requirements.

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  • What can I do if my niece claimed my father's life insurance by stating she was his daughter on an affidavit

    I sent in an affidavit along with my birth certificate showing that I was next of kin after my sister passed a month after him along with death certificates for both there 2 other siblings besides me I also stated this in a letter I also sent...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    There is a lot of missing information here.

    Was there a designated beneficiary or beneficiaries on the life insurance? If so, who is named? If the sister who passed a month after your father was beneficiary, then her estate is likely entitled to her share. Niece may be representative for her mother's estate. Perhaps she is claiming in that capacity?

    If no designated beneficiary, then what do default life insurance rules provide? Is it payable to your father's estate? As an heir, your post-deceased sister (through her estate) would be entitled to a share through probate.

    There is quite a bit to sort through here. I suggest you gather all documents you have, including beneficiary designations, and meet with a probate attorney who can help you sort through it all and determine the proper course of action.

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  • My uncle passed away about 55 days ago is there a deadline for becoming the executor of the estate with no will .

    my brother has had access to all my uncles papers and has closed bank acts in excess of 400,000 and moved the money to cds and cash which he has put in a safety deposit box. there are also 2 houses involved.

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    There is no specific deadline to petition for appointment as administrator, but it sounds like your brother has already been appointed administrator. Unless your brother was co-owner or pay-on-death beneficiary on those accounts, he would not have access to the accounts unless he had already been appointed by the court.

    I suggest you consult directly with a probate attorney ASAP to ascertain what has happened and determine your best course of action.

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  • Are memorial stones considered as part of funeral cost in Illinois?

    My mom passed away suddenly. I was able to pay for the funeral from a loan, then repaid from the estate. I know in Illinois funeral cost you are able to pay first. I am wondering if I can go ahead and buy her marker from the estate, is it still ...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    The statute does include "reasonable amounts paid for ...a marker on the burial space" as a first-class claim. 755 ILCS 5/18-10.

    But ultimately it would be up the probate judge. You might want to petition the court for pre-approval.

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  • If my biological mother passed away without a will, am i entitled to be a part of her estate although i was adopted as a child.

    My biological mother was in a terrible accident years ago and awarded a significant amount of money in a wrongful death lawsuit. I feel my older siblings who were not adopted left me out of the estate and wanted to know if there was any rights tha...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Maybe. If you were adopted by a descendant or a spouse of a descendant of a great-grandparent of yours, then yes. Otherwise, no. Take a look at 755 ILCS 5/2-4(d).

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  • Last Will of deceased was invalidated after lawyer confessed to Judge that signatures were not witnessed

    Person A- May have written a Will 15 days before he died listing his 6 children and only two grand children of the 12. The distribution of the estate was very UN-proportional favoring two of the six children. Person B was to receive real estate an...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Based on your facts as stated, this lawyer has a lot to worry about.

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  • Can I put something into my aunt's Trust once she has resigned as trustee?

    My aunt went to a lawyer and set up a Trust. We went to the bank and they failed to do what they were supposed to and put her savings account into the trust. They screwed up and set up a savings with another person on the account (her sister). ...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Take a close look at the property POA. That might grant you, as agent, the power to transfer assets into the trust.

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