What You Should Know About Wills and Living Trusts

Illinois estate planning attorney, Illinois will lawyer, IL trust attorney, The process of estate planning can be challenging, depending on the size and complexity of your estate and what you want done with your assets upon your death. Proper estate planning requires a level of knowledge of the various tools, methods, and strategies that are often employed. For example, it is important to understand the differences between a will and a living trust and how those differences could affect your heirs. It is also a good idea to work closely with a qualified lawyer who can provide assistance in meeting your estate planning needs.

What Is a Will?

At its most basic, a will is a legal document that allows you to specify how your assets and possessions are to be distributed. A will can also name a legal guardian for any minor children. An important characteristic of a will is that it is a revocable and amendable document that you can control until your death. It can be updated, altered, or changed to accommodate changing situations, such as the death of an heir or divorce. Keep in mind, however, that there are some major limitations with a will—particularly when it comes to the amount of control you have over your estate after your death. The tax consequences for your heirs may also be significant if your estate plan consists only of a will.

What Is a Living Trust?

Living trusts are generally more complex than wills are, but they offer you more control over your estate after death. A living trust also gives you more control over how your estate is structured prior to your death. For example, you can be the trustee of your own estate and then plan for a successor after death or incapacitation, or you can simply name another individual as the trustee from the start. Like a will, a revocable living trust can be amended, updated, or revoked for as long as the creator of the trust is alive.

Compared to a will, a living trust also provides more privacy regarding the disbursement of your estate, and, in the case of larger estates, it can reduce the tax load for your heirs. Keep in mind, however, that living trusts must be properly funded, and they can be more expensive to set up initially. Still, for those with large, complex, or potentially problematic estates, the cost of a living trust may be well worth the peace of mind the trust can provide.

Contact a Wheaton Wills and Trusts Lawyer

If you have questions about wills, trusts, or any other estate planning tool, the team at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC is ready and willing to help you. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced DuPage County estate planning attorneys today. We will work with you in finding the answers you need and the security you and your family deserve.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=4001&ChapterID=61

3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Terminating an Employee

For many business owners, terminating an employee is something they hope they will not have to do. Unfortunately, letting employees go is just as much a part of being a business owner as hiring employees is. When an employer fires an employee, the employer must be careful to avoid creating an opportunity for the employee to sue.

Illinois is an “at-will employment” state, which means that a workers’ employment can be terminated for nearly any reason, including no reason at all. However, there are exceptions. For example, it is illegal to fire an employee on the basis of the employee’s age, race, national origin, and other characteristics protected by law. This creates a vast gray area when it comes to letting an employee go, and employers must make certain that the termination was handled in compliance with the law. There is no way to completely eliminate the risk of being sued, but avoiding these common mistakes can help business owners avoid litigation.

Mistake #1: Sloppy Recordkeeping

Sometimes, employers become overwhelmed with the demands of running a business, and they allow some duties to slip. One of these often-overlooked responsibilities is recordkeeping. For example, employers have the responsibility to track employee hours worked. When keeping track of the hours worked by employees is based on the “honor system” or is inadequately managed, employees can claim that they were not paid for the actual hours they worked.

Problems can also arise when a business fails to sufficiently document employee performance issues or instances of misconduct. Complete and accurate records of performance concerns and misbehavior could become extremely useful if an employee ever claims to have been terminated illegally.

Mistake #2: Divulging Sensitive Information

It is impossible to completely eliminate gossip in any group of people, including a team of employees. However, inappropriate discussions regarding an employee’s termination can become evidence in a discrimination lawsuit. Management and human resources should be cautious not to discuss the termination with employees who do not have a legitimate need to know.  Furthermore, business owners should be on the lookout for emails that reference terminated employees. These emails can be used as evidence in litigation. It is best to always write emails with the understanding that others may see them and to be as professional as possible.

Mistake #3: Inadequate Investigation

Serious problems can arise when an employer receives a complaint of discrimination or harassment and does not investigate it thoroughly. Employers should take all claims of misconduct seriously and take steps to determine the validity of the claim. A thorough investigation should include interviewing witnesses and preserving any evidence of the discrimination or harassment. One of the biggest mistakes an employer can make is not having clear, written anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures.

Wheaton Business Attorneys Helping Business Owners

The dedicated DuPage County business law attorneys at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC have the experience and skill necessary to make sure your business operates within the boundaries of the law. If you have questions about terminating an employee, we can help you find the answers. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://www.score.org/resource/how-fire-employee-legally-and-fairly

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel/2017/04/05/5-tips-on-how-to-fire-an-employee-gracefully/

What Are Your Options for Avoiding a Foreclosure in Illinois?

IL foreclosure attorney, Illinois real estate lawyer, When homeowners default on their mortgage payments, sometimes the only option for lenders is to initiate foreclosure proceedings. However, this can lead to conflict between lenders and borrowers that may result in property damage, increased expenses, and challenges related to finding a new buyer. Sometimes, it is in the best interest of both lenders and borrowers to consider other options that may prevent the need for foreclosure.

Understanding Illinois Foreclosure Alternatives

When possible, lenders may consider working with homeowners to explore options that can prevent defaulting on payments or otherwise make a foreclosure unnecessary. These options include:

  • Loan modifications: Depending on the type of loan, it may be possible to pursue a modification to the terms, including lower monthly payments, lower interest rates, and a longer payback period.
  • Forbearance: As a temporary solution, the lender may allow the borrower to make smaller monthly payments for a period of time and then make up the difference in future monthly payments.
  • Refinancing: Similar to a loan modification, refinancing may allow borrowers to lower interest rates or monthly payments, but it often requires ownership of a certain amount of equity in the home, a good credit score, and the payment of additional closing costs.
  • Short sales: In a short sale, the homeowner agrees to sell the property for less than the remaining amount of the mortgage and give all proceeds to the lender in exchange for the lender’s forgiveness of the remaining balance.
  • Acquiring the deed in lieu of foreclosure: In this option, the borrower turns the deed for the home over to the lender and is not required to make any further mortgage payments. This often saves lenders and borrowers time and court costs when compared to a foreclosure.

An experienced real estate attorney can advise lenders and borrowers as to the viability and benefits of each of these options depending on the specific situation and work toward a solution that best meets each party’s needs. When a foreclosure is necessary, we can also represent and advise lenders to ensure that correct procedures are followed throughout each step.

Contact a DuPage County Real Estate Attorney

At The Illinois Law Office of Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC, we are committed to helping buyers, sellers, and lenders in residential real estate transactions. We can work to help you avoid or manage legal conflict and ensure that the relevant processes go as smoothly as possible. Contact an experienced Wheaton residential real estate lawyer today at 630-665-2500.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2017&ChapterID=56&SeqStart=107100000&SeqEnd=115800000