Naperville probate attorneyWhen a loved one passes away, it can be a very difficult time for the remaining family members and friends. While you may want to just concentrate on the grieving process, you also have to think about administering the decedent’s estate. Whoever is named as the personal representative of the estate (sometimes called the executor, administrator, or trustee) will also need to start resolving everything related to the decedent’s affairs and last wishes. Even under the best of circumstances, estate administration (which can include a court proceeding called probate) can be a complex process. The role of the personal representative is an important position, and this person has a lot of responsibilities.

Some people assume that retaining an Illinois estate administration attorney is a waste of money, but they could not be more wrong. An experienced attorney can help you through this trying time and streamline the estate administration process. An attorney will also help make sure that all of the decedent’s outstanding liabilities (including taxes) are resolved and that the estate is subsequently properly closed. 

At Momkus, LLC, our team of attorneys have experience in all aspects of estate planning and estate/trust administration. We can work with estates of all sizes, providing top-notch legal guidance and service to ensure the estate is distributed in a cost-efficient manner.

Estate Administration Tasks

In general, the process for estate administration will vary based on the circumstances surrounding the estate. For example, if someone dies without a will, this is referred to as being “intestate,” which is a different process when compared to someone with a will. The main scenarios for estate administration are:

  • Estate under $100,000:  For estates that contain personal property valued under $100,000, the estate may be distributed cost efficiently via a Small Estate Affidavit.
  • No Will or Trust: The decedent’s assets are passed to family members per the state’s intestate succession laws. There is likely still a need for probate, which will be more expensive and may take longer, since the court has to appoint a representative of the estate first.
  • Will: Assets may be subject to a probate proceeding, which will take six months or longer if there are disputes.
  • Trust: Administration and distribution of assets can be handled efficiently and privately, with no need to involve the court.

Many times, a combination of the above processes is utilized in one estate administration.

Tasks a Personal Representative Has to Perform

The personal representative (be it the executor, administrator or trustee) will have a series of duties throughout the estate administration process. These include:

  • Verify the will is valid, if any.
  • Prepare an inventory of all the estate’s assets.
  • Resolve outstanding debts (including payment of final expenses and taxes).
  • Locate all heirs and/or beneficiaries.
  • Liquidate estate property as needed.
  • Distribute the estate’s property to its beneficiaries according to the decedent’s final wishes and/or state law.
  • Prepare annual accountings detailing all financial aspects of the estate throughout the year.
  • Complete all required tax filings and provide for any payments from the estate for both federal and state income and estate taxes.

Personal Representative Who Is Out-of-State

One aspect that can make estate administration more complicated is when the personal representative resides in another state. This is one of the many cases in which a skilled attorney is helpful. Your attorney will utilize the latest in technology to make the process easier and minimize the amount of travel needed.

Contact a Lisle Estate Planning and Estate Administration Attorney

If you need assistance with estate planning tools, or if you need to address legal issues during the estate administration process, it is important to work with an experienced DuPage County estate planning and estate administration attorney. Contact Momkus, LLC today at 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation.


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Naperville marital property division attorneyCouples who are planning to get a divorce are likely to wonder how their property will be divided. Understandably, a big concern for you when you are facing a divorce is what will happen to your assets and what you stand to “lose” to your ex-spouse. If you have questions regarding asset distribution and other aspects of an Illinois divorce, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Illinois divorce attorney who can answer questions specific to your individual situation.

Equitable Distribution

Like many other states, Illinois follows the theory of equitable distribution. Unlike a community property state where everything is essentially divided in half, equitable distribution means the asset division is fair and equitable. In other words, assets are not split down the middle. A family court judge will look at particular factors, and that may mean one person gets asset X, while the other spouse gets asset Y, both of which have similar value.

Determining What is Separate and Marital Property

One of the first steps in asset distribution during a divorce is to determine what assets are subject to being distributed. This is referred to as separate and marital property. Marital property includes the assets and liabilities a couple acquires during the course of their marriage. Separate property is anything that belongs to one spouse only.

Determining what is separate property is not necessarily as straightforward as you might imagine. Sometimes, separate property can convert into marital property without spouses even realizing it. This is often due to commingling, which is where assets become mixed, causing separate property to become marital property. For example, a separately owned bank account can become marital property if the other spouse has made deposits to it.

Factors Considered in Asset Distribution

If you are unable to reach an agreement on your own regarding asset distribution, the court, or maybe even an arbitrator, will make a ruling. Some of the factors they look at when deciding how to divide a couple’s assets include:

  • How long the marriage lasted.
  • Each spouse’s job, employability, and vocational skills.
  • Whether one spouse will receive spousal maintenance.
  • The economic situation of each spouse.
  • Each spouse’s opportunity for the future in regards to income and additional asset acquisition.
  • Custody arrangements, if there are children.
  • The value of all property assigned to each spouse.
  • The contributions made by each spouse to the marriage.
  • Whether one spouse wasted or purposely tried to decrease the value of marital property.
  • The effects of any prenuptial agreement in place.
  • Each spouse’s health and age.

Asset Valuation

In some cases, especially ones involving high-value asset portfolios, it is necessary to retain experts to determine the value of a particular asset. If you and your spouse own a business together or have a lot of investments, you may need the expertise of a forensic accountant and business valuation expert, as you may have a complex divorce situation. Experts can also be used when there is the chance the other spouse is hiding or depleting assets.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you have questions regarding asset distribution or are involved in disputes over marital property during your divorce, you need an experienced Lisle divorce lawyer on your side. Contact Momkus, LLC today at 630-434-0400 to schedule an initial consultation.


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Naperville Alimony LawyerWhen you begin the divorce process, there are many concerns that arise. Some of the more important elements include child custody, child support, and spousal support. You may be worried whether there will be enough money to cover expenses and if you can keep your family home.

Awarding spousal maintenance in an Illinois divorce case is based on need, and contrary to popular belief, it is gender neutral. Support awards are not designed to punish one spouse or unfairly reward the other. These payments are meant to assist the spouse who is the lower earner as they transition from married to single life again.

If you have questions or need assistance with spousal maintenance, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Illinois alimony attorney. Here is a general guide on what courts look at when deciding if, and how much, support to award:

Earning Potential of Each Spouse

One of the first things the courts look at is earning capacity, even if one person is not currently employed. Some people consider changing to a lower-paying job, thinking they would not have to pay more in alimony, but that is not how it works. If the judge determines you could earn significantly more, you could still be ordered to pay more.

Marital Standard of Living

The courts will also look at what the standard of living was while a couple was married. The idea is to help both parties achieve a standard of living that was similar to what it was during the marriage.

Duration of Marriage

The length of marriage also plays a role in the determination of alimony. If the marriage lasted one or two years, the award may be a low amount, especially when compared to a couple that was married for decades.

Contribution to the Household

Stay-at-home spouses are eligible for spousal support depending on the overall contribution they made to the household. Any sacrifices made to help further a spouse’s career, thus making them the higher wage earner, are considered in the determination.

Physical Condition, Age, and Emotional Status

A judge will also look at each spouse’s individual condition. Age can be an important factor in determining the amount of spousal support. This is especially important if one party is close to retirement but plans to return to school or train to start learning a new trade. If one spouse has emotional and/or physical disabilities, this could impact the award since they might not be able to maintain a full-time job to sustain themselves.

Changes to Alimony in 2019

This year brought some changes to how alimony is awarded and taxed in Illinois. Now, 25 percent of the recipient’s net income is deducted from 33.33 percent of the payor’s net income in order to reach a total for spousal maintenance.

New tax rules are in play for alimony this year as well. Previously the spouse paying alimony could deduct the expense from their federal taxes and the recipient spouse had to claim as taxable income. Now, there is no tax deduction and the recipient does not pay income tax on it.

Contact a Lisle Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about spousal maintenance or need assistance pursuing it in your divorce, contact Momkus LLC at 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation. Our dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys are eager to help you today.

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Lisle divorce and child custody lawyerA parenting plan is a document created during a divorce that is approved by the court and governs the relationship between parents and their minor children. A parenting plan will describe how parents will handle the allocation of parental responsibility (formerly known as child custody in Illinois) and parenting time (formerly known as visitation).

In a perfect world, parents will work in good faith to reach an agreement on how parental responsibility and parenting time will be allocated between each spouse. In order to reduce the potential for disputes between you and your soon-to-be ex, it is helpful to work with a knowledgeable attorney. Utilizing some of the following tips can also help you create a successful parenting plan:

Determine Vacations

It is good to discuss your children’s school vacations ahead of time. They will typically have breaks in the winter, spring, and summer. Determining which parent is responsible for taking care of them when they are off school is a good starting point. This may help discussions and enable compromises in other areas of the parenting plan.

Be Consistent

Inconsistency affects children more than many parents realize. Because both parents are not around at the same time, and your kids will be dividing time between two homes, it is even more important to try to maintain consistency wherever possible. This can include both parents following the same rules, methods of discipline, and expectations, and your parenting plan can specify how you and your ex will handle communication about these issues. For example, if your child is grounded and cannot watch TV because of something he or she did at your ex’s house, you should respect that punishment and not let them watch television at your home either.

Ask Your Kids for Their Opinion

Granted, this is only an option in certain situations, but if your kids are not too young, they may have input on what they want and need. For example, a teenager might want to stay in the same home during the week when they are attending school. If this is an option, it is important to recognize what your kids need and want too. This can help make the transition easier.

Plan for Future Dating

It is not likely that both parents will stay single forever, which means you will need to figure out how you will handle the introduction of new partners to your children. It is a good idea to discuss this with your ex and set some ground rules you can both agree on when it comes to new significant others.

Be Specific

Do not leave any important details out of your parenting plan. One of the biggest mistakes is drafting a plan that is too vague and leaves room for arguments and confusion. This is one of the reasons why it is helpful to have an Illinois family law attorney assist you with child custody matters.

Contact a Lisle Divorce Lawyer

If you have questions or need assistance with developing a parenting plan, a skilled DuPage County family law attorney can help. At Momkus LLC, we can ensure that your parenting plan contains the necessary elements for success as you and your ex-spouse work together to co-parent your children. Contact us at 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation.


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DuPage County legal separation attorneyIs it possible to get legally separated in Illinois? Illinois does allow for legal separation, although it is not necessarily a commonly used process. A legal separation agreement must be filed with the court, and it will state that spouses will live separately from one another, both physically and financially. This is different from physical separation, and it does not legally terminate a couple’s marriage. The spouses will remain married and cannot enter into another marriage without first getting divorced.

If you are contemplating legal separation, we recommend speaking with a knowledgeable Illinois family law attorney who can walk you through the process and discuss the pros and cons.

Legal Separation in Illinois

Legal separation is primarily a technical term and differs from physical separation, which refers to a couple’s decision to live apart. A legal separation agreement can include decisions between spouses regarding a variety of factors, including parenting time, spousal support, parental responsibilities, and child support. The court cannot divide your property unless it is something you specifically request and both spouses have consented to the property division.

Benefits of Legal Separation Versus Divorce

One of the main reasons people opt to file for legal separation as opposed to divorce is because it allows them time to decide if they wish to reconcile. Some people really want to avoid divorce if possible, and a legal separation may give them the time apart they need. Even if they do opt to file for divorce down the line, most of the major issues have likely been negotiated in the legal separation phase, which makes for a smoother and less expensive divorce.

Another reason some couples want to remain married is in order to retain certain benefits. Perhaps there is medical insurance under one spouse, and the other has major health issues where access to medical insurance coverage is important. In these cases, you will want to speak with your insurance provider to ensure that you will still be eligible for coverage under the policy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Separation

Not surprisingly, there are a number of questions people often have about legal separation. Some of these include:

What is the difference between divorce and legal separation?

As stated above, a legal separation does not mean your marriage is legally terminated. Legal separation allows for the potential for reconciliation.

How do you get a legal separation?

You need to be physically separated already when you ask the court for a legal separation. Either spouse can file a petition for legal separation with the court.

Is there a legal requirement to live in Illinois a particular amount of time before getting a legal separation?

The rule is you must live in the state for at least 90 days before you can ask for a legal separation. Only one spouse needs to reside in the state in order to file. However, if your spouse has never lived in Illinois at all, the court will not be able to decide issues like spousal support and child support. In order for the courts to decide child custody, the children must have lived in the state for at least six months.

Where do I file for legal separation?

The easiest place to file is in the county where you resided with your spouse. The next option is to choose the county where you or your spouse now live. If your separation involves a spouse who has never resided in Illinois, you must file your petition in the county where you currently live.

Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about legal separation or need assistance with any other family law issues, contact a skilled DuPage County divorce lawyer at Momkus, LLC for assistance. Call our office today at 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation.


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