Heyl Royster

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Heyl Royster






A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank), called a "trustee," holds legal title to property for another person, called a "beneficiary." The rules or instructions under which the trustee operates are set out in the trust instrument. Trusts often have a first set of beneficiaries and second set - often their children - who begin to benefit only after the first set has died. The first are often called "life beneficiaries" and the second "remaindermen."

Heyl Royster provides representation and services to individuals and families wishing to use trusts as part of their life planning. There can be several advantages to establishing a trust. Common uses of trusts prepared by our lawyers include:

  • Asset management
  • Probate avoidance
  • Second marriage planning
  • Estate tax planning
  • Asset protection (Medicaid planning)
  • Special needs planning to preserve public benefits

Our trust lawyers regularly draft trusts to meet the needs of our clients. We are always able to advise our clients on the advantages of different types of trusts and we can provide insight to our clients on choosing a trustee. We also routinely provide assistance to our trust planning clients when it is time to finalize the administration of a trust and make distributions to beneficiaries. 


Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person's property (the "estate") is transferred to his or her heirs and legatees (people named in the will). Strictly speaking, "probate" only includes property owned by the decedent in his or her individual name alone, not joint property, living trusts, life insurance or retirement accounts that pass automatically at death. But the term is often used to encompass the entire estate, including both probate and non-probate property.  

Our probate team routinely assists families through the process of transferring assets. Our legal services typically involve preparing all legal documents necessary to initiate and complete the probate process. We routinely assist with collecting and selling assets, guiding executors on paying bills and taxes and then in distributing assets to the estate beneficiaries. Heyl Royster attorneys regularly appear in Probate Court throughout downstate Illinois.

Significant Cases

  • Kanfer v. Busey Trust Co. 1 N.E.2d 61 (4th Dist. 2013) In a case alleging breach of fiduciary duty, appellate court affirmed dismissal of claims based on res judicata.
  • In Re Estate of Helen Blair Plaintiff sought to have annuity proceeds included in probate estate.  Defense verdict.