Since opening her office in Skokie, Illinois more than 25 years ago, Barbara E. Lusky has been helping clients with a wide range of family law and estate planning matters, including:
- Divorce & Collaborative Divorce
- Separation Agreements
- Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
- Equitable Property Division
- Child Custody & Visitation
- Spousal Support
- Child Support
- Non-Traditional Family, Partnership & Cohabitation Agreements
- Estate Planning
- Powers of Attorney
- Disabled Persons Guardianships
Barbara E. Lusky understands that divorce can be an emotionally trying process for spouses and children alike, and is dedicated to providing compassionate representation to help ease the burden of this sometimes-difficult process. Barbara's extensive experience in both litigation and negotiations give her the skills to reach an effective resolution in any of the myriad of issues that arise during a divorce.
Prenuptial agreements, or "prenups," and post-marital agreements are essential tools for both marital and estate planning. These agreements can help minimize conflict by allowing spouses to determine who will have ownership of certain property and assets at the outset of the marriage. Prenups are especially important for couples who have children from previous marriages because they can help protect the inheritance rights of these children, by providing legally enforceable provisions disallowing spousal rights.
Equitable Property Division
Divorces often involve complex financial issues, including classification of property as marital or separate, equitable division of assets and debts, and allocation of retirement funds and investment accounts. Former spouses may also need to consider who will be responsible for medical bills, mortgages, and health care coverage for both adults and minor children. Barbara regularly works with accountants, financial planners, psychologists, mediators, and other professionals so as to fully address these issues, even in complicated cases with significant assets at stake.
Child Custody & Visitation
Recent changes to the laws require that the parents of minor children try to work out the residential placement of the child between the parents, as well as decision making for major decisions affecting the welfare of their child (Such as education, medical treatment, religious instruction and extracurricular activities) These comprehensive arrangements are now referred to as the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities. In the event parents cannot agree on these issues, the Court will make a ruling as to the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities. The terminology used in the past, referring to Custody, Joint Custody, and Visitation, are no longer a part of the current statutes as they relate to child issues.
Unmarried Cohabitants, Partnerships & Non-Traditional Families
The state of Illinois does not recognize common law marriages, meaning that no matter how long a couple has lived together or what type of relationship they have, they are still not afforded the same protections as married couples. However, it is possible to protect your rights by creating a cohabitation or partnership agreement, and by utilizing estate planning documents.
Estate planning is the process of determining how to manage, administer and distribute your estate upon your death, as well as providing a plan for the possibility of incapacity in the event you are unable to make medical or financial decisions for yourself. Your estate may include all of the assets you hold an interest in at the time of your death, including your home, life insurance, bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts and personal property. Barbara offers comprehensive, tax-sensitive estate planning services, including the preparation of trusts, wills, powers of attorney and advance health care directives.
A will is a legal document that controls who will receive the assets in your estate after your death. A will should take into account issues such as debts and taxes, who you want to receive your property, whether a guardian needs to be appointed for any minor children, at what age minor children should receive any assets, and whether you have any disabled loved ones who may need assistance with living expenses and personal care.
In Illinois, there are two types of powers of attorney: financial powers of attorney and advance health care directives (also known as "living wills"). Financial powers of attorney allow you, as the principal, to appoint an agent to make financial decisions for you in the event that you cannot do so because of your incapacity, which may be due to disease, illness, disability, or another reason. A "durable" power of attorney will last until it is revoked or you pass away.
An advance health care directive allows you to appoint an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event that you cannot do so. An advance health care directive allows you to specify whether you would want surgery, a blood transfusion, to remain on life support, to donate organs, and much more. By planning for your incapacity in advance, you can save your family a great deal of grief and acrimony, not to mention costly court battles.
A trust is created when a "grantor" names a "trustee" to manage specified trust assets for the benefit of named "beneficiaries." The grantor, who may also act as trustee during his or her lifetime, can plan for the trust assets to be distributed to the beneficiaries upon the grantor's death, or the trust may continue for a specified time period with the beneficiaries receiving periodic payments or a lump sum when they reach a specified age or accomplishment.
A trust can be a very valuable estate planning tool; it may permit you to avoid probate, minimize tax consequences, and even provide for minor children who are not old enough to manage an inheritance at the time of your death or incapacity. Barbara assists clients in creating many different kinds of trusts, including:
Seek Compassionate Representation
Family law and estate planning matters can be highly complex and emotionally charged. When seeking legal representation, consult with an attorney who is sensitive to the concerns you and your family may be facing, and thoroughly understands the complicated legal issues that may be involved. To speak to a skilled attorney about your legal issue, contact Barbara E. Lusky today.
Probate is the process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will, or if there is no will, in accordance with Illinois's intestate succession statute. In Illinois, an estate may be administered by process of Supervised Administration, which is court-supervised, or by Independent Administration, which does not require an accounting with the court. Whether probate is supervised or performed independently may depend on what is specified in the will, or if the will is silent, whether the executor or a beneficiary requests either process, or whether there are issues regarding minor children which require court supervision.