Friday, February 19, 2010

Guardianship Court and Seniors

Last night, I went to a Bolingbrook Chamber of Commerce and Romeoville Chamber of Commerce after hours networking session. I spoke with a gentleman active in the Lion's Club. He informed me and the table about how his mother and is family where involved in guardianship court for his elderly mother.

First, guardianship court is the court where disabled adults go when there is a question of incapacity. In this example, this gentleman's story his elderly mother contested guardianship and had spent $150,000 of the estate's money on this guardianship case. Furthermore, major decisions cannot be made without the permission of the court. This can make everyday decisions frustrating and expensive.

At the Robertson Law Group, LLC, we can counsel your family on how to avoid guardianship and probate court or how to navigate probate or guardianship court.
We can be reached at 312-498-6080 or 630-364-2318 or via email Check out our website at

Sean Robertson is Principal and Attorney for Robertson Law Group, LLC. Robertson Law Group, LLC is a wills, trusts, estate planning, and elder law firm. We counsel clients and entities on how to better structure their estates, business interests, and personal property. In today's economy, it is increasing becoming important to avoid probate court and deal with creditor concerns.

Sean Robertson graduated from DePaul University College of Law in 2003 and concentrated his legal studies in the areas of taxation, corporate, and estate planning law.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Citation to Discover Assets-Exemptions in Naperville

A Citation to Discover Assets becomes relevant when a judgment has been placed against you or your entity in Illinois. A Citation to Discover Assets is essentially an interview process designed to see which assets can be frozen or levied to satisfy a creditor's judgment.

A Rule to Show Cause is a court order, which orders a debtor to be present at the court hearing. If the debtor ignores this court order, they will be placed in contempt of court. Contempt of court likely will include jail time and a possibly a civil fine.

There are several exemptions debtors can exercise in Illinois. Personal exemptions deal with art work, furniture, and bank accounts. In 2010, a debtor can claim a $4,000 exemption for personal property. Thus, a husband and wife that have a judgment may claim $8,000 as a personal property exemption. The homestead exemption is $15,000 in Illinois. A homestead exemption is when a person gets to claim their house as exempt from creditor claims up to the first $15,000 in equity. Hence, your mortgage company must get paid first, than any other liens must get paid prior to the creditor getting paid.

Sean Robertson is an estate, asset protection, and business planning attorney concentrating in wills, trusts, citation to discover assets, rule to show cause, breach of contract cases, and medical malpractice lawsuits involving individuals and entities. Robertson Law Group, LLC works with physicians, surgeons, nurses, builders, construction owners, self-employed individuals, corporate executives, and police officers for their asset protection legal needs.

Sean Robertson can be reached at 312-498-6080 or Check out our website at

Key words: Naperville, Westmont, Hinsdale, Dupage County, Western Suburbs, Lawsuit protection, asset preservation and protection, inheritance law, wills, trusts, powers of attorney (healthcare), and estate planning.

Guardianship Court and Seniors


Guardianship court is a court that administers court proceedings for adult disabled persons that are incapacitated. Seniors are living longer and health difficulties such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are affecting are friends and family.
Incapacity is when one is unable to understand the consequences of making financial or healthcare decisions for oneself. When our loved ones fail to designate individuals to manage their healthcare and financial decisions, a court called Guardianship court must make those decisions for disabled adults.
First, Guardianship court must determine whether a person has the capacity to make his or her own decisions. Typically, Guardianship court requires a physician to give their professional recommendation on a court form, which ask the physician several questions regarding a person’s ability to make healthcare and financial decisions.
Too often, we hear stories about how somebody we know or in our family have been deceived out of their real estate or money. Often times, seniors rely on close relatives when they make important financial decisions. In several instances, our family members breach our trust. One of the purposes behind guardianship court is to find a responsible adult that will manage your loved one’s finances and healthcare decisions.
In many states, a guardian consists of two types of guardian: guardian of the person and guardian of the estate. Guardian of the person is responsible for making healthcare decisions. In contrasts, the guardian of the estate assumes responsibility for making financial decisions. Guardianship court manages Guardians and makes sure Guardians are accountable for their handling of a person’s finances and healthcare decisions.
Guardianship court involves a lot of emotion and often times family’s conflict against one another. There are several documents, which can reduce family conflict. First, a power of attorney for healthcare is one of these documents and it states a person’s desire regarding healthcare choices such as whether they want blood transfusions or want to be resuscitated.
More importantly, a person designates an agent, which acts when they lack the ability to make their own healthcare choices and informs the agent how they desire their healthcare decisions to be made.
Often times, families want their agent to consult with the patient’s physician and family before making important healthcare decisions. The second important document is a power of attorney for property. A power of attorney for property chooses an agent (a person) that is responsible for managing their healthcare decisions.
In conclusion, a power of attorney for property and healthcare are important legal documents, which decrease the likelihood of family conflict and assist a senior.

Financial Tips-Wills and Trusts

Financial Tips from a
Wealth Preservation Attorney’s Perspective:
Part 1 of 2 part series

Often times, my clients ask for my financial advice despite not being a financial advisor. Seniors want an unbiased perspective and unfortunately, commissions make many financial advisors hungry to sell financial products versus assist seniors with their financial needs.
As an estate planning attorney, I have the opportunity to see a wide range of seniors. In my experience, I see several different types of wealth (or senior). The first type of senior is what I describe as a middle-class baby boomer family. Middle-class baby boomers typically begin at age 50 and up and include a husband and wife that have a college education with at least one adult child.
In my experience, this family has a two household income with a nice home Access to credit is vital to this family because they have a modest to high lifestyle. The strength of this family is their hard working ability and commitment to their family. Financial advisors often advise this family to buy more life insurance, increase their 401(k) offerings and savings. Thus, this family has large bills, which threaten their lifestyle upon retirement. My advice to this family is pay off all of your debt including mortgage debt prior to retirement if possible. Clients without any debt are my most financially secure clients. Pay cash for your cars and do not incur additional debt. If you cannot pay cash for the item, then my recommendation is do not buy it.
The second type of senior is a blue collar worker/family person (hereinafter referred to as “blue collar worker”) with a simple lifestyle. Often times, these clients have modest assets with little or no debt. The blue collar worker has lived in the same house for at least twenty (20) years, is married, and has a couple of children.
It is also possible they either live in the suburbs or a rural community. The blue collar worker is a hard worker and loyal. Their house is modest and they have paid off their house.
Due to their modest lifestyle, retirement is easier because their bills are easy to maintain.
Unfortunately, in today’s economy, many of these individuals are unemployed or underemployed. The key with this group is long-term health care insurance. Nursing home care can quickly jeopardize your retirement and family’s standard of living.
Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance designed to cover nursing home or at home care. Despite the high premium, it is absolutely necessary! Seniors are facing health issues and unfortunately, the blue collar worker is too well off to receive Medicaid a/k/a state nursing home assistance. Many seniors are selling their homes to qualify for Medicaid or if they qualify for Medicaid, than Medicaid has a right of reimbursement upon your death. This simply means that Medicaid will recover the amount of expenses incurred by you during your life time and your children will not get an inheritance.
In conclusion, a family’s wealth is measured like a business. A business is profitable only if its’ revenues greatly exceed its’ expenses. The higher your operating expenses such as your household bills, the more difficult it is to make a profit. The key to retirement is lower your expenses while increasing your revenue (or income). In the next Article, we will continue to this discussion.

Sean Robertson is a Wealth Preservation Attorney and Founder of Robertson Law Group, LLC. Robertson Law Group, LLC is based in Naperville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Sean Robertson can be reached at 312-498-6080 or Sean Robertson concentrates in Wills and Trusts, Advanced Estate Planning, Elder law, and Asset Protection.

Living Wills vs. Power of Attorney (Healthcare)


A common question is what is the difference between a living will and a power of attorney. Simply put, a living will is often called an advanced directive or health care direction. A living will answers basic health care questions such as whether a patient wants feeding tubes to prolong their life or what type of treatments a patient wants if you suffer a terminal illness. Thus, a living will is a legal document that expresses your individual healthcare treatment plan.

A living will becomes effective upon your incapacity or your inability to direct your physician on how you want your healthcare decisions made. Therefore, a living will explains to your medical professionals how you want them to answer important medical questions. Often times, a living will and power of attorney for healthcare work in concert with one another. A power of attorney for property is critical because a living will is limited in its’ ability to predict your particular medical scenario.

In contrasts, a power of attorney for healthcare is a legal document that appoints a trusted person to manage your healthcare decisions when you cannot make your own decisions. Again, the key difference between a power of attorney for healthcare and living will is control. With a power of attorney for healthcare, you appoint another person to make your healthcare decisions when you are incapable to making these decisions yourself.

It is important to state your philosophy towards blood transfusions, feeding tubes, or enhanced life support among many other factors. In my experience, a person’s ethnicity, religion, and personal philosophy makes each living will and power of attorney unique.

In conclusion, a living will and power of attorney for healthcare are typically included in an estate planning attorney’s estate planning documents. Each state has different legal requirements, but often times, a proper living will and power of attorney for healthcare requires your signature to be notarized or witnesses to witness your signature in addition to the notary.

Sean Robertson is an estate and elder law attorney that concentrates in wills, trusts, estate planning and asset protection. Sean is available at 312-498-6080 or Sean welcomes your questions for future articles
Sean Robertson is Principal and Wealth Preservation Attorney with Robertson Law Group, LLC, which has offices in Naperville and downtown Chicago, Illinois. Robertson Law Group, LLC is mobile and is happy to travel to you within the Chicagoland region.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wills and Revocable Living Trusts

A will is simply a written agreement that explains who you want to inherit your property upon your death. A will also should have a guardianship provision, which explains who should be your guardian in case of an incapacity. Additionally, parents can explain who shall be the guardian of their children in case they are deceased. A will is simple and easy to implement. In the State of Illinois, one must have the will notarized along with two uninterested witnesses (witnesses that are not inheriting). Unfortunately, a will does not avoid probate court. Probate court is a court which determines who is the heir of property of the deceased person's estate.

A trust is a written agreement, which is a fictional person. A Trust is good for avoiding probate court and minimizing the impact of an incapacity. There are two major types of Trust. An irrevocable trust and a revocable trust. An irrevocable trust is a trust that may not be amended, altered, or changed. A revocable living trust is a trust that can be modified, changed, or altered.

Robertson Law Group, LLC
Naperville and downtown Chicago
312-498-6080 or 630-364-2318