John T. Brooks

Partner
Foley & Lardner LLP

John T. Brooks is a partner with Foley & Lardner LLP focusing his practice in the area of estate, trust and fiduciary litigation. He has been Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system and was recently re-elected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2007-2012 in the field of trusts and estates. He was also selected for inclusion in the 2005-2012 Illinois Super Lawyers® lists and Leading Lawyer in 2003-2009.*

Mr. Brooks began his legal career in estate planning and administration and subsequently transferred the substantive knowledge he acquired in those areas into a successful practice litigating contested estate and trust matters. His practice encompasses all aspects of estate and trust litigation including breach of fiduciary duty issues, judicial constructions of wills and trusts, will and trust contests, tax litigation, contested heirship, adoption and paternity issues, charitable pledge disputes, guardianship matters, estate planning malpractice, and wrongful death actions. He also handles appeals of these matters as well.

Mr. Brooks is a frequent speaker on topics related to estate and trust litigation and fiduciary risk management. He has lectured to the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), ALI-ABA, the Heckerling Institute, the American Bankers Association, Chicago Estate Planning Council and the Chicago Council on Planned Giving. Besides the numerous publications listed below, Mr. Brooks is the general editor of IICLE’s 2009 Handbook for Lawyers: Litigating Disputed Estates, Trusts, Guardianships and Charitable Bequests. He also authors a monthly e-mail newsletter for and serves on the Advisory Board to Trusts & Estates magazine.

Mr. Brooks' professional activities include membership in the Chicago Bar Association and the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel.

Mr. Brooks earned both his B.S. (business administration) and law degree (magna cum laude) from the University of Illinois. He is admitted to the bar in both Illinois and Florida and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He represents individuals as well as banks and trust companies.

Articles by John T. Brooks
Heaven Can Wait
Young lawyers looking for the next hot area to specialize in might consider decedent’s defense work. An awful lot of folks seem to be wrongly accused of being departed these days.
Fight Erupts Over Portrait of an Angel
Our story this month has nothing short of an all-star cast, Farrah Fawcett, Ryan O’Neal, Andy Warhol and the kind of drama Hollywood writers are typically paid to make up.
Enforceability of Mandatory Arbitration Provisions in Trust Agreements
In recent years, arbitration clauses have finally started making their way into trust agreements. The big question that remains unanswered, however, is whether they’ll be enforced.
Mom and “De Son” Both in Trouble
A recent opinion by the Appellate Court in Missouri suggests that the beneficiaries of a trust may have a claim for breach of the trustees’ duties not only against the trustee, but also against the trustee’s mother.
The Walking Dead Come to Court
Earlier this month, Donald Eugene Miller stood before Judge Allen Davis in the probate court in Hancock County, Ohio, and asked for the court to recognize that he’s alive.
Borrowing Trouble
What began years ago in Illinois as a dispute among siblings over the administration of a trust created by their father and funded by his life insurance policy culminated recently in an opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court in Bullock v. BankChampaign, with serious implications for trustees everywhere.
“I Do – And Yes, He Does, Too”
Deathbed marriages have been a hot topic of concern in recent years, with many states enacting statutes to ensure that a decedent’s heirs have standing to challenge controversial nuptials.
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way
An unsigned, undated, unwitnessed copy of a will is admitted to probate by the drafting attorney’s former law partner judge on the strength of that attorney’s testimony that it would have been his practice to notarize it if it was, in fact, ever executed.
English or American Per Stirpes
The difference between strict per stirpes and modern per stirpes is the generation at which shares of the estate are divided.
Stripping Away the Mystery of the Probate Exception 1
In Curtis v. Brunsting, No. 12-20164 (Jan. 9, 2013), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit revisited the issue of the scope of the probate exception to federal subject matter jurisdiction.
A Reckless Act?
John T. Brooks and Samantha E. Weissbluth discuss the potential fiduciary law ramifications of Randy Curtis Bullock v. Bankchampaign, N.A.
Seeds of Controversy
John T. Brooks and Samantha E. Weissbluth highlight an interesting case unfolding in Kansas, in which a sperm donor is fighting state efforts to force him to pay child support
Trustees and the Lawyers Who Represent Them 1
In Stewart v. Kono (2012 Westlaw 4427096) we’re reminded of the often delicate balance needed when representing the fiduciary. In this case, John Stewart was trustee of his deceased brother’s living trust and executor of his estate.
The Estate Tax & Wrongful Death
John T. Brooks and Samantha E. Weissbluth discuss an interesting case out of New Jersey. In Estate of Kellogg, 2012 WL 1912261 (N.J. Super 2012), time (of death) is of the essence.
Dime Store Stock Costs Litigants Millions
John T. Brooks and Gregory Monday discuss the recent Knox decision and its implications for fidicuiaries everywhere
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