IL Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Questions You Should Ask About Home Aides

Taken from the Chicago Tribune 8/12/12:

In addition to checking whether an agency is licensed by the state health department, consumers should ask other questions before a paid caregiver comes into their home.  Northwestern University researchers have put together a checklist of questions to ask:

  • How does the agency recruit caregivers, and what are its hiring requirements?
  • What types of screenings are done before a caregiver is hired?  A federal or state criminal background check?  Drug screening?  Something else?
  • Is the caregiver certified in CPR?  Does he or she have any other health-related training?
  • Is the caregiver insured and bonded through the agency?
  • Does the caregiver have the skills you expect? (These could include lifting and transfers, homemaking and personal care such as bathing, dressing or toilet assistance, among others.)
  • How does the agency assess what the caregiver is capable of doing?
  • What is the agency's policy if the regular worker cannot provide the contracted services?  Will a substitute be provided if you are dissatisfied with a particular caregiver?
  • Does the agency provide a supervisor to evaluate the quality of home care on a regular basis?  How frequently?
  • Does supervision occur over the telephone, through progress reports or in-person at the home of the older adult?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Life's Simple 7: Seven Steps to a Healthier Heart

Taken from the American Heart Association:


No matter where you are in life, it's never too late to make better health choices.  All you need is a goal, a plan and the desire to live better.


You can achieve excellent cardiovascular health by keeping seven factors in check.  They're known as Life's Simple 7:

  • Don't smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products.
  • Keep a healthy body weight (body mass index less than 25 kg/m.  To find your body mass index, multiply your weight in pounds by 703 and divide by your height in inches.  Then divide again by your height in inches).
  • Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (or a combination) each week.
  • Eat a healthy diet consistent with current recommendations from the American Heart Association.
  • Keep total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL.
  • Keep blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg.
  • Keep fasting blood glucose less that 100 mg/dL.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Did you forget to register? Limited Seating Still Available!


Did you forget to register for one of two FREE informative workshops presented by Lifecare Innovations and Stephen Sutera?


Life Care Plans: The Other Half of Every Estate Plan

It's not too late to join us! 

Register online at or call our office at (708)857-7255

June 12th at 6:30pm at

Benedictine University in Lisle


June 14th at 6:30pm at

Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights

                                                                                                               Presented by:

Life Care Innovations—Martha Kern & Lori Lomahan

Law Offices of Stephen Sutera—Stephen M. Sutera, PC


“Good plans shape good decisions…good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.”

- Lester Robert Bittel, writer

Friday, April 27, 2012

Life Care Plans: The Other Half of Every Estate Plan

Life Care Plans: The Other Half of Every Estate Plan

“Good plans shape good decisions…good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.”

- Lester Robert Bittel, writer

  • Are you at or approaching retirement age ?
  • Are you concerned that you may outlive your life’s savings ?
  • Are you facing challenges of caring for a frail loved one ?
  • Are you aware of your best options for long term care or housing ?
  • Are you concerned about losing control of your life’s destiny ?

Don’t miss one of these free informative sessions 

presented by:

Life Care Innovations—Martha Kern & Lori Lomahan

Law Offices of Stephen Sutera—Stephen M. Sutera, PC

Mark your calendar!

June 12th at 6:30pm at

Benedictine University in Lisle


June 14th at 6:30pm at

Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights

Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited - more information to come!



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wealth Counsel Membership

Our law office is a member of the WealthCounsel, LLC, ( The WealthCounsel, LLC, is a cooperative alliance of nationally recognized estate planning attorney members from across the country. Together we provide one another with the support and tools needed to serve our clients better.

Being a member of the WealthCounsel, LLC, means that we are in close contact with other member attorneys nationwide in our mutual attempts to:

  • Better serve our clients in a caring and professional manner
  • Stay absolutely cutting edge in our respective knowledge of estate planning law and innovative estate planning techniques
  • Share practice ideas with one another — as we develop them independently in our practices — that will better accomplish our clients' objectives
  • Bring our clients the finest estate planning advice and documentation possible, and to do so with dignity and professionalism within the ethics of our profession

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Business Exit Strategies

According to John H. Brown, author of "The Completely Revised How To Run Your Business So You Can Leave It In Style":


Steps for choosing an exit strategy:

1) Start Early:  Business exits take time.  Sometimes buyout deals take months or years to orchestrate.  Brown suggests that owners think about their exits long before they are ready to make the move.

2) List Objectives:  Owners should prepare a list of their objectives including how much money they will need after leaving the business.

3) Time Frame: Owners should anticipate the timing of their departures.

4) Get Help:  There are professionals who specialize in business transitions.  Getting objective assistance with business valuation is extremely important.

5) Cash Flow:  Realistic projections of cash flow will determine if an "insider" purchase of stock is feasible.

6) Tax Analysis:  Owners need to know the tax consequences of their plans before committing to any strategy.

7) Mindset Changel: Understandably, a business owner who has worked hard to overcome hurdles and is finally in charge of a business may be reluctant to relinquish control and walk away.  It requires changing one's mind-set to work toward the next goal - exiting on one's own terms.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 Estate Tax Exemptions

The State of Illinois has increased the State Estate Tax Exemption for 2012 to $3,500,000.

The Federal Estate Tax Exemption for 2012 is $5,120,000.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Important Info to Post Near Your Phone

In an emergency, it is sometimes hard to think clearly.  Therefore, it is important to post the following information near your phone:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Home Phone number
  • Emergency contact info (including names, relationship and phone numbers)

This information is also useful for caregivers and others who may be caring for elderly family members.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011 Chicago Five Star Wealth Managers

The Law Offices of Stephen Sutera are proud to announce we were selected by Chicago Magazine (November 2011 Issue) as a 2011 FIVE STAR Wealth Manager in the Estate Planning Category.

The selection process was a survey, by mail and phone, to approximately 1 in 4 high-net-worth households and all identified financial services professionals within the Chicagoland area. 

On the surveys, recipients were asked to evaluate only wealth managers whom they know through personal experience and to evaluate them based upon nine criteria:  customer service, integrity, knowledge/expertise, communication, value for fee charged, meeting of financial objectives, post-sales service, quality of recommendations and overall satisfaction.

Both positive and negative evaluations were included in the scoring, and only wealth managers with more than five years of experience in the financial services industry were considered.

Next, each wealth manager was reviewed for regulatory actions, civil judicial action and customer complaints.  Then, before finalizing the list, wealth managers were reviewd by a blue ribbon panel comprised of individuals from within the financial services industry.

The resulting list of 2011 FIVE STAR Wealth Managers represents less than 2 percent of the wealth managers in the Chicagoland area

Friday, October 14, 2011

Estate Planning Awareness Week

The Law Offices of Stephen Sutera P.C. Join WealthCounsel Colleagues in Promoting
 National Estate Planning Awareness Week, October 17-23, 2011


Stephen Sutera, Esq. of The Law Offices of Stephen Sutera P.C. announced today that he is joining his colleagues at WealthCounsel in a public relations campaign to showcase National Estate Planning Awareness Week, October 17-23, 2011. 


According to a 2010 industry trends survey of estate planners conducted by WealthCounsel, nearly 70% of the respondents indicated that Americans fail to plan because they lack awareness as to why they should plan.  Stephen Sutera is passionate about building awareness of the importance of thoughtful planning and is committed to educating the public about the negative consequences of what can happen to one’s loved ones when the proper documents are not in place.


Stephen Sutera noted that estate planning is one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management.  More than 120 million Americans do not have proper estate plans to protect themselves or their families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death.  This costs many families wasted dollars and unnecessary hardship that can be minimized with proper planning.


In 2008, the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (NAEPC) worked with Congress to pass a resolution proclaiming the third week in October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week.  The resolution noted that “Many Americans are unaware that lack of estate planning and financial illiteracy may cause their assets to be disposed of to unintended parties by default through the complex process of probate.”


“Estate planning is a thoughtful process and not merely a single legal transaction,” said Stephen Sutera.  “As a member of WealthCounsel, my firm has access to a state-of-the-art document drafting system, a network of experienced colleagues throughout the country with whom I can collaborate, and superior educational resources to help me stay on the leading edge of knowledge,” Stephen Sutera stated. 


In addition to WealthCounsel, Stephen Sutera is also a member of Elder Counsel, National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, and the Illinois Bar Association.

About The Law Offices of Stephen Sutera P.C.

Established in 1990, The Law Offices of Stephen Sutera P.C. focuses in all areas of estate planning, including asset protection, charitable planning, business succession planning, and elder planning for families.  For more information, please visit our website at, or call 708-857-7255.

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With two offices in Oak Lawn and Oak Brook, Stephen M. Sutera assists clients throughout Cook County, DuPage County and Will County IL including Chicago, Hometown, Barrington, Burbank, Burr Ridge, Chicago Ridge, Darien, Downers Grove, Evergreen Park, Geneva, Worth, Bridgeview, Palos Park, Palos Hills, Palos Heights, Hickory Hills, Midlothian, Willow Springs, Oak Forest, Orland Park, La Grange, Brookfield, Berwyn, Tinley Park, Hinsdale, Villa Park, Clarendon Hills, Westchester, Westmont, Lombard, Elmhurst, Western Springs, Berkeley, Downers Grove, Fox Valley, Glen Ellyn, Willowbrook, Aurora, Addison, Lisle, Forest Park, Bensenville, Wheaton, River Forest, Itasca, Shorewood, Frankfort, Mokena, Naperville, Crest Hill, Homer Glen, New Lenox, Bollingbrook, Schaumburg, Channahon and Woodridge.

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4927 W. 95th Street, Oak Lawn, IL 60453
| Phone: 708-857-7255
2021 Midwest Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523
| Phone: 630-396-6800 | 708-857-7255
250 Monroe Avenue Northwest, #400, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
| Phone: 616-717-5752 | 708-857-7255

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