What to Know About New Construction Contracts in Illinois

Buying a house is likely the biggest purchase you will make in your lifetime, next to purchasing a business or company. Depending on your wish list and budget, you may consider an older home or new construction. Besides being brand-new, one of the benefits of new construction is getting to pick out all the appliances, tile, flooring, fixtures, and more. However, it is also important to understand the legal details of your construction contract to make sure your rights are protected and you are not taken advantage of as a new homeowner. An experienced real estate attorney can guide you through this major endeavor so you can build the house of your dreams.

Reading the Fine Print

New residential construction contracts are legal documents that typically have been prepared by the builder. They will include many details of the agreement between the builder and the buyer, such as tax information, blueprints and specifications, warranties covering materials and workmanship, zoning ordinances, closing date, and more.

Giving a builder earnest money can be risky. If the builder files bankruptcy, disappears, or closes the business altogether, that money is most likely gone. Therefore, it is recommended that any earnest money is minimal. It is best to deposit the money with a third-party escrowee.

Before signing a contract for your new construction home, it is imperative that you read through the fine print. Here are a few helpful tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not agree to price escalators if the builder fails to start or complete the structure within a designated time period
  • Do not agree to pay a penalty for failing to close
  • Do not agree to release the builder from liability for their negligence
  • Do not sign a contract that does not have mutual remedies if a party defaults

It is also critical that you do some research before hiring a contractor. Talk to friends or family members who have had new houses constructed before. The majority of home builders are honest and reputable, but there can be some who are not as trustworthy. Time spent investigating can prove invaluable, and a knowledgeable real estate attorney can help you with this important step.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Real Estate Lawyer

Buying new construction can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, since you want to ensure your rights are protected during the process. At Stock, Carlson & Duff, LLC, we understand the complex nature of real estate law, including new construction contracts. Our skilled DuPage County real estates attorneys represent buyers and sellers at closings in both residential and commercial real estate transactions. We have successfully resolved disputes involving boundary lines, encroachments, easement, and survey issues. Call us today at 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation.


What Are the Benefits of a Special Needs Trust in Illinois?

IL special needs trust attorney, IL estate planning lawyerA special needs trust is typically established by parents for a disabled child, or for disabled adults who are eligible for aid that will be lost if there are assets in their parent or guardian’s names only. It is a legal and fiduciary arrangement that allows a physically or mentally disabled person to receive income without interrupting or interfering with his or her eligibility for the public assistance disability benefits provided by Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, or Medicaid. For disabled beneficiaries, this financial support can make their lives more enjoyable and fulfilling. Also known as a supplemental needs trust, this kind of trust may be a necessary part of your Illinois estate plan. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you draft this essential legal document to protect your family member.

Protecting Your Loved One

According to Illinois law, two types of supplemental needs trusts can be established: third party supplemental needs trusts and supplemental needs payback trusts. Both trusts provide the disabled beneficiary with the ability to improve his or her quality of life through services or assistive equipment that he or she would not receive with government assistance programs.

  • Third-Party Supplemental Needs Trust: This document is a trust for the benefit of someone who has a disability that “substantially impairs” his or her ability to care for himself or herself. The designated person is not “liable to pay or reimburse” a public or state agency for financial relief or services that he or she may have received. It is important to note, however, that the statute stipulates that the trust is discretionary, meaning the trustee determines how the monetary funds are spent, and the disabled person is not allowed control over the property and/or the income.
  • Supplemental Needs Payback Trust: In this type of trust, a disabled beneficiary is still eligible for Social Security and Medicaid benefits, but the beneficiary’s property can fund the trust without altering his or her benefit status. Basically, this means that if the disabled individual dies, any property left in the special needs payback trust must first reimburse Federal and State expenditures before being distributed to the beneficiary named in the trust.

Public assistance programs established for those individuals with special needs have certain income and asset restrictions. However, money put in the special needs trusts does not count toward the qualification for public assistance, as long as the funds are not used for food or shelter. Instead, the proceeds from this type of trust are generally used for medical bills, caretaker, and transportation costs, in addition to other relevant expenses.

It is crucial that the individual who creates the trust clearly explains the terms and directives of trust to ensure it is valid. A special needs trust must be established before the beneficiary reaches the age of 65.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Estate Planning Attorney

Planning for the future can help alleviate stress and disputes down the road. Creating a special needs trust that will continue to provide for your disabled family member is an important undertaking. A knowledgeable DuPage County estate planning lawyer At Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC, we are well-versed in Illinois law and prepared to assist you so you do not have to worry about your loved one’s future. Call us today at 630-665-2500 to schedule a private consultation and learn how we can meet your family’s personal needs.



What Is Intellectual Property and Why Should You Protect It?

Over the years, with the digitalization of nearly everything — from music and movies to books, newspapers, and magazines — you have probably heard the term “intellectual property” or “IP” mentioned countless times. As we all know, especially in the earlier stages of this digital age, it was a lot easier to steal products and even ideas in their digital forms. However, as time has passed, companies and their brands have sought to protect their intellectual properties through the legal system, safeguarding it from being copied, stolen, or otherwise plagiarized. Here is a brief overview of intellectual property and why you should protect it as a business owner.

Intellectual Property: Definition

In its simplest terms, intellectual property represents the intangible creations of the human mind. The word “intangible” here seems to challenge businesses since their entire existence, including bottom lines and team interactions — even their products or services, are based on tangible, physical things that exist in reality and derive financial benefit. However, creations of the intellect are just as valuable, if not more valuable, than physical, tangible objects. In fact, in many cases, physical creations are the manifestation of these intellectual properties or, at the least, the IP serves as an inspiration for something more tangible.

Types of Intellectual Properties

There are many IP types, but the four basics are:

  • Copyrights: Used to protect original creations, such as writing, music, movies, art; issued by the Copyright Office
  • Trademarks: Relevant to brand names, product names, and other specific titles, symbols, or designs for businesses and their offerings; issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • Patents: Meant for the ideas that lead to the invention, manufacturing, and distribution of specific products; issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • Trade Secrets: Methods, formulas, or any other non-physical vital information that can be used for economic gain

In addition, franchises might also be considered intellectual properties on their own.

Why Protect IP

There are many reasons to protect IP through the legal process, but some of the more compelling reasons include:

  • Loss of support for research and development to foster more original ideas (if businesses, artists, inventors have their ideas stolen, they stand to lose compensation for those ideas, making future idea development less enticing)
  • Less economic prosperity for those who develop the original ideas, thus making businesses less competitive in the marketplace
  • Consumer confusion caused by too many companies or people selling the same products, creations, brand names, etc.

Contact a DuPage County Intellectual Property Lawyer

If you or your business need to protect certain intellectual property or want to strengthen your brand by protecting more of its intangible assets, consider beginning the process of securing IP rights through a qualified Wheaton, IL business attorney. The skilled legal team at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC can provide you with a variety of different types of business solutions to fit your needs. Call us today at 630-665-2500 to learn more by scheduling a confidential consultation.