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Estate Planning, Wills and Elder Law
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- Attorneys and StaffWendy R. Morgan, Attorney
John O. Walsh, Attorney
Sean P. Sullivan, Attorney
Katherine C. Adams, Attorney
Rodney C. Adams, Administrator
Brandy J. Rybak, Paralegal
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PROTECTING ASSETS AND
NET WORTH IN A DIVORCE
Illinois law requires an equitable division of property in divorce, which does not necessarily mean an equal division. Many factors are considered in determining property division, such as relative incomes, available non-marital assets, and future ability to replace assets. The Law Firm of Wendy R. Morgan has attorneys who understand the most intricate financial details of any financial transaction you engage in with your spouse, either by settlement or judicial determination.
Although property divisions between spouses incident to divorce are generally tax free transfers, there are often future tax implications which must be considered when dividing property. Unfortunately, many attorneys lack this knowledge and their clients are subsequently surprised by the true net value of their assets when sold because of unidentified tax implication. For example, Wife keeps the marital residence in which Husband ran his home office. Five years after the divorce, Wife sells the home, but is required to pay tax on all of the recaptured depreciation taken on the home office during the marriage.
Personal property can also create traps for inexperienced attorneys. Values of personal property can be significant and it is important to properly appraise the value of both non-marital and marital personal assets. These values can play significantly in the division of other assets. Antiques, collectibles, and jewelry often possess surprisingly high values, which all too often are ignored by the parties to divorce.
Other complications regarding the division of assets involve the proper allocation and separation of retirement accounts in relation to other available assets for division. Proper qualified orders are required to divide retirement money so that penalty and taxation are not triggered. Also, consideration of a client's need for liquidity must be considered. A million dollars in retirement funds awarded to a 40-year-old client will not satisfy his/her immediate needs for money without triggering losses caused by early withdrawals. Additionally, consideration of marital and non-marital financial accounts and the commingling of accounts require very detail-oriented attorneys, like those members of The Law Firm of Wendy R. Morgan.
The Law Firm of Wendy R. Morgan is also equipped to deal with the complex issues involving valuation and division of financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, and other more complex derivatives such as stock options, structured debt obligations and deposits, swaps, futures, caps, floors, collars, forwards and other sophisticated combinations of financial instruments. Most important is the ongoing update of values to the date of settlement or Judicial determination. A failure to monitor and update values could leave one party with a windfall or the other with an unidentified loss.
Many of our clients also own and operate their business(es), and complicated issues of business valuation and conflicting business valuations arise, which require a deep understanding of the valuation process in order to arrive at an acceptable number for division.
Business cash flows, issues of compensation, and life style cost analysis are also important for a determination of spousal maintenance and support. All too often, the higher income spouse attempts to create the illusion of lower income through thrifty accounting techniques. Asset concealment and dissipation are also common problems with high net worth individuals; therefore, attention to the financial details in each case is needed to protect client interests.
At the conclusion of your divorce, in order not to make all of your efforts for naught, you need to examine and re-organize your estate plan. If this detail is forgotten at the conclusion of your case, all of your assets could fall back into the hands of your ex-spouse, either by direct inheritance or as trustee for your children. The Law Firm of Wendy R. Morgan is fully equipped to prepare all of the estate planning documents needed to up-date your financial affairs.
If you have questions about protecting your assets and a high net-worth divorce, contact The Law Firm of Wendy R. Morgan to schedule your consultation with one of our experienced Family Law Attorneys.
How Can We Help?
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Whether you're contemplating a divorce or legal seperation, dealing with adoption or paternity, concerned about preserving assets in a high net worth situation, or any of the other financial or family law issues, our firm has been serving Illinois clients since 1981 with just the right combination of compassion and strength.
Our lawyers practice family law through choice, not chance. We're dedicated to ensuring your rights are protected, whether in negotiations or in litigation.
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