As part of the estate planning process, we counsel clients on methods for the preservation and distribution of their assets, taking into consideration family dynamics as well as tax and probate laws. As clients age, the focus of estate planning includes issues such as retirement, loss of mental and physical capacity, guardianship, conservatorship, special needs trust, and long-term care, as well as end-of-life decision making. We counsel our clients (and their family members) concerning the availability of government programs such as Medicaid and Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other support programs. We are experienced at crafting a plan which will address the concerns of the older population to protect themselves and their assets and to allow them to maintain their independence while planning for future diminished mental or physical capacity. We draft documents such as powers of attorney and health care designation of patient advocate forms as well as trusts to accomplish these goals.
Eric Dorkin, MacKenzie Hyde and Ray Koenig obtained a significant victory in the 1st District Appellate Court. In a case of first impression, the Illinois Appellate Court granted Clark Hill’s emergency appeal in favor of Nina L., a minor seeking to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status to stay in the United States following her 18th birthday. The trial court had denied Nina L.’s request for the judicial findings necessary for her to apply to remain in the United States after being abandoned by her natural parents. The trial court held that it was not proper for it to enter findings pursuant to federal statute. The Appellate Court reversed and entered the required findings itself on an emergency basis so that Nina L. could timely file the required documents with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as her 18th birthday was just days away.
As reported in the local legal press, “This is a case that really mattered,” said Dorkin, who represented Nina L. “If the case was decided the other way, she was going back to Taiwan with no known family or connections and just a high school degree, and I think that’s a recipe for lifelong disaster.”
Estate of Donald Howell v. Donald Brenard Howell, 2015 IL App (1st) 133247 and 1140810 (cons.)
The Raymond W. Pontarelli Trust, et al. v. Michael Pontarelli, et al., 2015 IL App (1st) 133138
In re Estate of Leonard Koenen, 2014 IL App (1st) 140080-U
In re Guardianship of Florence Pontarelli, 2014 IL App (1st) 122782-U
Represented client in formation of a Family LLC to leverage discounts available to pass family wealth to second and more remote generations while minimizing estate and gift taxes
Represented multiple clients in “second home planning” for properties on Lake Michigan and inland lakes in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois
Represented high net worth clients in the negotiation and implementation of pre-nuptial agreements
Represented client in three-way commercial closing in excess of $7 million dollars
Represented executor in negotiation and approval of a multi-million dollar wrongful-death settlement, including a partial sealing of the court file in order to secure settlement confidentiality requirement
Representing the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit and the American Red Cross in separate will and trust contests in Oakland County Probate Court
Successfully representing Comerica Bank in a complex will and trust contest in the Wayne County Probate Court
Obtaining a favorable settlement on behalf of two beneficiaries of a substantial family trust against Standard Federal Bank and one of the largest Michigan law firms in a case involving breach of the prudent investor rule and breach of fiduciary duties in the management of a hedge fund which stuffed its gain to the trust