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22
March
2017

FRESHNESS DATING . . . AND ESTATE PLANNING??

Early this morning as I stared in the refrigerator, patiently waiting for its secrets to be revealed to me, I saw the plastic carton of blueberry Chobani smirking at me: “Best By March 15, 2017.”  Then my army of outdated condiments joined in.  And let’s not even talk about the lurking Styrofoam containers holding restaurant leftovers from sometime around Christmas.

As I took a gamble on the yogurt, I started mulling over the idea of “freshness dating” in general – and considered how “Best By” tags could enhance other aspects of our lives.  Perhaps careers could carry warnings: Best if New Job Search Started By __________.   Is it time to move?  Maybe neighborhoods could caution:  Best if Relocated By: __________.  Religion?  Best if You Sort This All Out By: __________.  And how useful would freshness dating be in relationships if your boyfriend came with this sticker: Best if Dumped By: __________.
Written by: William J. Cotter

16
February
2017

ESTATE PLANNING IN THE TRUMP ERA: A PEEK AROUND THE CORNER

As the tumultuous opening weeks of the new Donald Trump Presidency unfold, the pre-election histrionics have not abated, and everyone cautiously watches to see what’s next. Regardless of your politics, there is no denying that these are interesting times.

Meanwhile, in the GSRNH Estate Planning group, we’ve been following the trade winds to understand what the political sea change might have in store for estate and financial planning.  The President made broad promises during his campaign which, if implemented, will have a great impact on our corner of the office.
Written by: William J. Cotter

14
November
2016

The Cat’s Meow: Estate Planning for Pets

For 2016, it is estimated that pet owners in the United States will spend $62.75 billion dollars on their pets. This number has nearly doubled over the past ten years. With an ever growing supply of grain-free and organic pet foods and treats, pet “health insurance,” and daycare for furry friends complete with webcams, more families are treating their animals with the same level of care as human family members.
Written by: Michelle V. Hanlon

29
September
2016

PROPOSED IRS REGULATIONS THREATEN DISCOUNTS FOR CLOSELY HELD BUSINESSES

The United States Treasury (IRS) recently issued Proposed Regulations that could have a dramatic impact on your estate plan. In their current form, these Proposed Regulations would essentially eliminate discounts for minority control and a lack of marketability in transfer tax valuations of interests in closely held entities (e.g., family limited partnerships, closely held corporations, and other family controlled entities). Many observers see the proposed rules as the end, or near end, of discounted values for business interests transferred between family members. For individuals looking to minimize their future estate tax, this is a critical development.

Written by: Michelle V. Hanlon, Howard M. Hoff, and William J. Cotter

19
August
2016

ASSET PROTECTION CONSIDERATIONS

When working with clients to develop thorough and appropriate estate planning strategies, many issues need to be addressed:  guardians for minor children; minimizing or eliminating future tax liabilities; caring for elderly parents; designing structures for the education and support of minor children; confirming the appropriate beneficiary designations; assuring that advanced medical directives are in place; and many more.

One element of our financial/legal discussions with clients that has become increasingly important is the ability of our clients to protect themselves, and their children, from the claims of creditors.  This discussion of “asset protection” has risen up the menu of estate planning topics, and often takes precedence over many others.

Written by: William J. Cotter

03
May
2016

SIX MONTHS AND A DAY…

“New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that in terms of domestic migration — people moving about within the United States — Illinois saw roughly 105,200 more people leave than arrive.”   Illinois Policy Institute, December 23, 2015

“…Illinois struggles to keep people here. They’re leaving, in droves, for states with sunnier economic opportunities.”  Chicago Tribune, January 6, 2016

“By almost every metric, Illinois’ population is sharply declining because residents are fleeing the State.”  Chicago Tribune, March 25, 2016

“Millionaires are leaving Chicago more than any other city in the United States on a net basis, according to a new report.”   Chicago Tribune, April 4, 2016

________________________________________

This could be a piece on the demographic impact of cross-state migration . . . or of Illinois’s abject failure to address systemic economic problems . . . or the impact of personal wealth on economic mobility.  These are all juicy issues, and worthy of debate.  But instead of focusing on the causes or fixes to these problem issues, we’re going to look at one migration decision point – taxes.

Written by: William J. Cotter

02
November
2015

A Time to Be GRATful

This article will explore the implementation of a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (“GRAT”), in general, and provide specific examples of the estate and gift tax treatment of the transfer of assets to a GRAT. GRATs are a well-established estate planning strategy used to reduce the size of a client’s taxable estate.
Written by: William J. Cotter and Michelle V. Hanlon

30
June
2015

Mr. Cub - and Influence Undue?

In the days following the passing of Ernie Banks this past January, one of the most oft-heard tributes was that he was a true “ambassador” for the game of baseball.  Dubbed both “Mr. Cub” and “Mr. Sunshine,” Ernie’s broad smile was frequently flashed at The Friendly Confines as he tirelessly supported the Cubs and exhorted the fans, “It’s a beautiful day . . . let’s play two!”  So beloved was ol’ No. 14 that since 2008 his bronzed statue has graced Wrigley Field in a loving tribute to the man and his legacy.
Written by: Willam J. Cotter

30
March
2015

Illinois Pregnancy Discrimination Law

Beginning January 1, 2015, the Illinois Human Rights Act (“Act”) now prohibits pregnancy discrimination.  Private employers (i) having 15 of more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation, and (ii) any person employing one or more employees when a complainant alleges pregnancy discrimination will be covered by the new law.
Written by: Brian M. Dougherty

08
November
2014

Murder Most Foul . . . Visiting the “Slayer Statute” in Illinois

This article visits three cases with a common denominator:  murder.  We all have an intuitive and visceral understanding that if you kill someone from whom you may inherit, you ought not inherit (the “unworthy heir” concept).  This common sense notion has found a home in most State statutes, and these statutes have an ominous-sounding name: “slayer statutes.”   It will come as no surprise that sometimes these common sense statutes need a little fleshing out. . .

Dougherty v. Cole

Jack Jason Cole, Jr. heard voices.  He would later be diagnosed as suffering manic episodes “with psychotic features,” but in 2008 the voices told Jack that his mother was an enemy.  He took the advice of the voices and beat and stabbed his mother to death.  At his criminal trial, Jack was found not guilty of first degree murder by reason of insanity.
Written by: William J. Cotter

Practice Areas

We are uniquely staffed to handle most types of legal matters—whether personal or business related—within our main practice areas: business and corporate law; construction law; employment and labor law; estate and tax planning; family law; land use and development/local government; litigation; and real estate law.
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Attorneys

There are no shortcuts or compromises at Goldstine, Skrodzki, Russian, Nemec and Hoff, Ltd. Our attorneys respectfully listen to their clients, anticipate their needs and work diligently to provide sound and practical legal advice.
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Introducing our new partners: Alison J. Wetzel, Brian M. Dougherty, and Daniel J. McCarthy III.

Clients

Our attorneys represent a vast array of clients, from individuals to closely-held businesses and publicly-traded companies to municipalities.
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In Memoriam: Thomas P. Russian

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