Archive | Trusts

Alzheimer’s: Early Planning Critical to Financial Health

In a recent article in Reuters Magazine, Alzheimer’s: Early Planning Critical to Financial Health, working with a certified elder law attorney is an important step in planning for the future.

Janna Dutton, founder of Dutton & Casey, is one of only 8 certified elder law attorneys in Illinois.

Click here to read the article.

For additional information on how Dutton & Casey can assist you, or someone who you care about, please go our website.

Planning for a Hospital……Discharge

An admission to, and a discharge from,  the hospital can be scary for the patient, and the family. The National Family Caregiver Alliance published a guide on the hospital discharge process. It is vital to pay attention, and be involved, in the plans being for when your relative leaves the hospital.

read the entire article.


The law firm of Dutton & Casey concentrates in assisting older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. Many times, plans following a hospital stay also include the need for legal planning.  With over 50 years in expertise and offices in Chicago, Skokie, Arlington Heights, and Vernon Hills, the advocates at Dutton & Casey are available to assist. Please click here to read more about how we can assist you or those you care about.

Family Caregiver Training in Arlington Heights Illinois

Training Tips for the Caregiving Marathon, Speaker: Daniel Kuhn, LCSW

May 18, 2011     7:00-8:30 p.m.

Arlington Heights Senior Center, 1801 Central Road, Arlington Heights, IL

 Please call Kathy Peck at (847) 253-5500 ext. 375 to reserve your seat


For assistance with the legal planning that is involved with being a family caregiver, please contact the law office of Dutton & Casey. Kathryn Casey is an experienced elder law attorney who sees clients in our Arlington Heights office. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please go to www.duttonelderlaw.comor email us at


10 Common Estate Planning Questions

 Attorney Melissa Howitt recently wrote an article answering the 10 questions most often asked about estate planning.  Please click here to read this informative, and easy to understand, article.


To discuss estate planning for you or someone you care about, please contact the office of Dutton Casey, PC, to schedule a consultation with a firm attorney. 312-899-0950 (Chicago), 847-906-3584 (Arlington Heights), 847-261-4708 (Skokie), or send an email

Planning for Your Disabled Child

Few questions can cause as much worry and anxiety for our clients as “who will take care of my disabled adult child or grandchild when I am gone” and “how will she be provided for?”  In particular, our clients are gravely concerned about who will manage their child’s inheritance.  Who will make sure the money is spent appropriately for their child’s benefit?  Will the inheritance affect their child’s supplemental security check, medicaid coverage and eligibility for an adult day program or residential placement?  What if the inheritance disqualifies their child from medicaid?

These are the questions that keep the parents and grandparents of disabled adult children up at night.  Fortunately, through a special needs trust our clients can make sure that their adult disabled child or grandchild will receive an inheritance that is managed by a trustworthy individual in a way that will not disqualify that child from supplemental security income, medicaid, adult day programs or residential placement.

For those who qualify, a special needs trust can substantially improve a disabled person’s quality of life.  Through a special needs trust, a parent can make sure their disabled child is not disqualified from public benefits like medicaid and supplemental security income.  A parent can also make sure the inheritance they leave their child will be managed properly and in a way that enhances their child’s life.

Special needs trusts have enhanced the quality of life of so many disabled adult children and grandchildren.  And they have also given peace of mind to concerned parents and grandparents.

For more information on the benefits of special needs trust or planning for disabled children please visit our website, or call our office to schedule a consultation.  This post is adapted from Kathryn Casey’s article published in the July 2008 issue of Chicago Hospital News.

When the Trustee is not Trustworthy: Remedies for the Trust Beneficiary

Before my mother passed away, she established a living trust and named my sister as Trustee.  My sister, my two brothers and I are the beneficiaries of this trust.  I recently found out that my sister used my mother’s trust to pay for a cruise for herself and her daughter, and also remodeled her home with my mother’s trust monies.  What can I do?

Naming a Trustee of your Trust is perhaps the most important estate planning decision you make.  Unfortunately, this mother made the wrong decision in naming her daughter as Trustee after her death.  A Trustee has the fiduciary duty to act in good faith, in accordance with the Trust terms and purposes, and to act for the sole interest of the beneficiaries.  Even though the Trustee may herself be a beneficiary of the trust, she is breaching her duties as Trustee by using the trust assets for her personal benefit.

This beneficiary needs to act quickly to prevent the Trustee from continuing to spend the trust assets. If the Trustee/sister spends more trust assets than she is to receive as a beneficiary, it will be difficult to actually recover those trust assets from her.  The beneficiary should engage an attorney to file an emergency action to freeze the trust assets so the Trustee can’t continue to spend them; to remove the Trustee; to force her to account for her actions as trustee; and, ultimately, to pay back the misappropriated funds.  Because the Trustee acted intentionally in using trust assets for her own benefit, the beneficiary may be able to obtain punitive damages – a monetary penalty for breaching her duties to the trust – against the Trustee.

The Trustee will not be allowed to use trust assets to defend herself.  However, because the beneficiary is acting to protect the trust, it is possible that the beneficiary’s attorney’s fees will be paid from the trust assets.

To set up a consulatation to discuss your particular needs, contact the experienced elder law attorneys at Janna Dutton & Associates.