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Insurers not expected to decline with driverless cars

Many experts have predicted that the introduction of self-driving cars will mean the decline of insurance companies. A Morgan Stanley report back in 2016 estimated that the insurance industry would dwindle by as much as 80 percent by the year 2040. Newer research, however, is debunking this idea. Instead, future coverage may just be shifting away from Illinois drivers.

Analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance have stated that rather than a sudden decline in revenue, insurance companies will experience a gradual shift in the type of auto insurance products that they can make available. New sources of revenue are also likely to open up. Policies will remain, but who pays for them may change; manufacturers and technology companies will be needing coverage instead of individual drivers.

Charitable trusts provide tax benefits, flexibility and control

Establishing charitable trusts provides Illinois residents with a number of significant benefits. Charitable trusts can be important components of tax management and estate planning strategies, and they allow people to fulfill their philanthropic objectives while providing them with flexibility and control. Trusts can be set up to make charitable donations in the form of lump sums or income streams, and people are able to determine how and when these payments will be made.

There is more than one type of charitable trust. Assets that have great value or do not produce income are generally placed in charitable remainder trusts. These trusts make at least one payment to non-charitable beneficiaries each year, and whatever remains after a term of no longer than 20 years passes to the charitable beneficiaries. This arrangement is mirrored with a charitable lead trust. With this kind of arrangement, annual payments are made to charitable beneficiaries and non-charitable beneficiaries receive what remains when the trust ends.

Safety groups urge cautious approach to self-driving cars

The Illinois House Transportation Committee approved a bill in March that paved the way for fully autonomous vehicles to use the state's streets and highways. Several auto and technology companies have vowed to bring such a vehicle to the market within five years, and this has captured the attention of the nation's lawmakers and worried some road safety advocacy groups. Organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration want the regulation of self-driving cars to be dealt with at the federal level, and proponents say that a patchwork of local laws could allow unproven and potentially dangerous technology onto the roads.

Proposals dealing with autonomous vehicles are being discussed by lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Manufacturers also want clear national rules, but they are urging legislators to regulate delicately. A House Energy and Commerce panel is mulling stricter measures that would restrict autonomous vehicle testing and require companies like Google and Tesla to obtain certification for any new equipment before deploying it on public roads.

Important steps to take in the aftermath of a car accident

Illinois drivers who are involved in a car accident should check to see if others have been injured if they have not themselves. While injured people should only be moved if necessary, vehicles should be moved out of the way to prevent another accident. A driver who is not at fault in the accident should get insurance and contact information from the driver at fault even though it is that driver's responsibility to report the accident to the insurance company. Taking witness statements and photos and even calling the police may help protect a motorist who is not at fault.

Once a person has left the scene of the accident, it is important to take notes about the situation. A person's insurance company may be of assistance if the other driver does not report the accident or if that driver's insurance company denies the driver's fault in the accident. Therefore, contacting the insurance company may be a good precaution.

Ways to provide for special needs children

Illinois parents of special needs children face challenges that others are not required to deal with. Among the biggest issues tied to raising a special needs child is finance. Parents are put in a position where they must not only provide for specialized treatment and care during their lives, but they must also plan to provide for their child after they're gone.

Special needs trusts are among the most effective instruments to provide for an individual's financial requirements without compromising his or her rights to receive Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid. The family can fund the trust with cash or other assets for the benefit of the child. If the trust is properly established and managed, the funds therein should not count against the beneficiary when it comes to means testing.

Estate planning considerations for same-sex couples

Same-sex couples or people who have been in same-sex marriages in Illinois may have certain concerns in estate planning. While same-sex marriage has been legal nationwide since 2015, the variations in state law prior to that point created some uncertainties. People who married in a state in which gay marriage was legal prior to 2015 and moved to a state where it was not may not have bothered with a divorce and may not realize they are married. Furthermore, some states converted domestic partnerships to marriages.

Same-sex couples may want additional legal protection. They might be more likely to be estranged from their families. They may also face more challenges when they attempt to make decisions for an incapacitated spouse. Documents such as powers of attorney, a health care proxy and a living will may help with this. People may also want to consider a trust. Since a trust does not go through probate, this may make it more difficult to challenge.

New study looks at link between employment status and divorce

When an Illinois couple sees their marriage come to an end, many factors can contribute to the decision to split. A study that appeared in the American Sociological Review shared insights gained after a Harvard sociology professor analyzed data about approximately 6,300 couples collected over 46 years. When looking at the employment status of married partners, a different picture emerged for men and women.

The advances women made as members of the workforce during the 1970s added to their economic independence, which could enable their decision to divorce. The employment status of women in general, however, did not appear to influence their desire to end marriages. Women got divorces whether they had jobs or not.

Think about child custody in military cases

Military divorces are often challenging because they involve a host of issues. One of the issues that must be considered when you are going through a military divorce is child custody.

As anyone who has served knows, it isn't always possible to stick to a set schedule. Having to stand duty and change schedules according to the needs of the military are just facts of life. This can make coming up with a child custody schedule difficult. Fortunately, you can use certain strategies to make the child custody agreement a bit easier to reach.

The importance of succession planning for farmers

Illinois residents may be interested to know that 97 percent of all farms are family owned, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. However, there are many challenges that may result when family members choose to pursue other fields, such as volatile commodity prices, tougher lending standards and increased regulation.

Succession planning is critical to the smooth operation of a family farm over many generations. Since not all family members may be interested in or capable of running the farm, it may not be wise to put just anybody in charge once the current leaders step aside. If no one in the family member is willing to run the business, an outside party should be tapped to be the new leader. Doing so may preserve family ownership of the farm while ensuring it is run properly.

How do uncontested divorces minimize conflict?

If you are considering filing for divorce, then you are likely already struggling with a very difficult situation. You could be constantly fighting with your spouse, barely speaking to each other or coming to terms with the fact that you have simply fallen out of love.

Under these circumstances, filing for divorce, though inevitable, may seem overwhelming. You might think that the legal system and complexities of unraveling your shared life can only make things harder. However, if you file for uncontested divorce, you could be minimizing the conflict associated with divorce in a few ways.

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