The Virtual Attorney Blog

Knowing the differences between federal and state estate tax laws is essential for estate planning attorneys that want to ensure they are minimizing any tax burden on their clients. 

In Illinois, there are some important differences when it comes to estate tax considerations, including an exclusion amount that differs from the federal exclusion amount by over $1 million, the ability to use portability when planning for married couples, and differeing gift exclusion amounts which open up the potential...

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The leaves are just beginning to fall outside, but we’re already seeing changes to the Illinois Power of Attorney Act that will become effective on January 1, 2016. The changes are relatively minor compared to some of the most recent statutory restructuring that has occurred over the past few years. But, they are important nevertheless. For those that are bold enough to draft and execute their own statutory short form powers of attorney or maybe even an entirely customized HCPOA, the changes carry implications...

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easy button

An update is likely coming to the Illinois Trusts and Trustees Act which will make it more efficient for the trustee of an Illinois trust to deal with third parties and trust property. Illinois SB1877 will write into the Act (760 ILCS 5) a new section expressly authorizing the trustee to use a “Certification of Trust” in order to deal with trust affairs. Previously, when a trustee wished to act in his or her capacity as trustee, he often found that third...

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risk for money

I often receive questions from small business owners or folks thinking about starting a new business about how best to protect themselves from liability. Not surprisingly, from a legal standpoint, it’s usually the primary concern of new business owners. In the age of Google, it’s possible for curious entrepreneurs to look into that question on their own before coming to me for my opinion. No doubt your trusty search engine is a wonderful source of information, but as the saying goes, “don’t believe everything...

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digital assets

Law is a slow moving animal. More often than not, changes to laws or adoption of new laws are not so much of a function of foreseeing future issues for which they may be applicable, as they are reactionary- adopted in light of societal changes that require modifications to the formal constructs of society in order to keep up with an ever-changing world.

Perhaps no issue in the field of estate planning and asset management better illustrates that reality better than that of digital asset planning, management and access.

Digital Assets


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The cloud, while often intimidating to attorneys, has become a hot topic for law firms looking to stay on the forefront of technology. Terms like cloud storage, cloud computing, and Software as a Service (SaaS) add confusion to the definition. But, generally speaking, the cloud refers to an interconnected network of servers, systems and hard drives that enable a user to store and access data from multiple devices and locations (For a comprehensive overview of working in the cloud, see Ed Finkle’s article, “...

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