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IL business lawyerBeing laid off or fired is disappointing and may even be confusing - Was it something that you did? Was it something that you did not do? Especially in cases when an employee has done nothing wrong, employers often opt to have the employee sign a severance agreement before they sever ties. A severance agreement is a legal contract that employers use to maintain some sort of post-employment control and to prevent the employee from suing. Because Illinois is an at-will state - meaning as an employer, you can fire an employee at any time, and an employee can quit at any time - severance agreements are most commonly used when a contract was signed prior to employment. Before you give the agreement to your employee, you should have an experienced attorney look over the contract and pay special attention to specific clauses.

Severance Pay or Money the Employer Owes

Sometimes, due to an existing employment contract or company policy, your employee is already entitled to severance pay, so a clause included in the severance agreement is not necessary. If you owe your employee any money, such as for unreimbursed job expenses, it should be noted in the agreement, along with a date by which you will pay.

Employee Benefits

Your agreement should outline which benefits your employee is entitled to following termination, like medical benefits or stock options. Your employee has the option to stay on health insurance through your company’s insurer for up to 18 months after termination, thanks to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1995 (COBRA). You should also include who is responsible for insurance premiums if the employee does choose to remain on the company’s health insurance plan.

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IL family lawyerWhen it comes to children, the court’s job is to make sure that the children’s best interests are protected at all times. In some cases, this may mean that a parent loses custody of his or her children for a while, but in some cases, a person may lose their parental rights altogether. A parent can only lose their rights to their child if they are considered to be an “unfit” parent by the court’s standards. Unfortunately, this can be the outcome of many situations when custody is contested or when couples get divorced.

What Makes a Parent “Unfit?”

Unlike years ago, most people believe that a child grows up happiest and healthiest when they have a relationship with both their mother and father. In most cases, the goal of the court is to make sure that the child has a relationship with both parents by any means necessary. If a parent’s actions are of concern to the court, they may choose to restrict the amount of time that they spend with the child or restrict some of the decision-making responsibilities that they have.

In some cases, the court may determine that the best course of action is to cut ties between the parent and the child completely. In these cases, they must be able to come to a determination that the person is unfit to be a parent. A person can be considered unfit if they have:

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IL real estate lawyerWhen you are a first-time homebuyer, the experience of shopping for your home can be confusing and overwhelming. While you are probably excited to find a place that you can make your home, you are also likely to be very cognizant of the financial side of things. Things such as the interest rate of your mortgage, taxes on the property, and the cost of the home itself can all affect how much you can expect to pay for your home. However, there are also other costs that many people forget about during the home buying process - closing costs. Understanding what your closing costs are and what the funds are used for is an important step toward purchasing a home.

What Are Closing Costs?

When you purchase a home, there are certain fees associated with the closing, or finalization, of the purchase. These costs together are typically referred to as closing costs and include a variety of fees and charges. In general, closing costs usually total to be around 2 to 5 percent of the total purchase price of the home, though the final costs largely depend on the location you are purchasing the home and other factors.

What Is Covered by Closing Costs?

There are a variety of things that the closing costs pay for. You will be able to see all of these itemized costs listed out on the estimate given to you by your lender, but typically they include things such as appraising the home, the cost associated with performing a title search, etc. Items that are often lumped together under the umbrella term of closing costs can include:

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Il business lawyerThere are several reasons why contracts are used in business. Contracts are commonly used when a business is formed, when it is sold or purchased, when it buys supplies and goods from other vendors, and when it sells its own goods or services to its customers. A contract spells out what each party should expect to give and to get in a certain situation. For a contract to be enforceable and upheld, it must be valid. There are certain specific elements that a contract must contain in order for it to be considered valid, which is why consulting with a business lawyer is a smart idea when forming or signing a contract.

Elements of a Contract

In the business world, a contract can appear for a variety of reasons. However, not all contracts are enforceable or even valid. When you do business, you should be sure that your contracts are clear and unambiguous to avoid any misunderstandings or confusion. When creating a contract for any reason, the contract should contain:

  • The parties addressed in the agreement - The first element that should be included is the parties that are included in the agreement. If you are creating a sales agreement, you would include your business’s name and your customer’s name, indicating who is the buyer and who is the seller. If you were creating an employment agreement, you would include your business’ name and the name of your employee. This section typically also addresses the “consideration” of the contract or a simple explanation of what the contract is to do for each party.
  • The main purpose and terms of the contract - Next, the meat and potatoes of the contract are included -- the main terms and conditions. Typically, this portion of the contract is extremely detailed and specific. This is where the actions of each party are written out and explain what each party is expected to do. If you are creating a sales contract, you would include the price of the goods or services, a description of those goods, how delivery is to take place, any warranties included with the product, and how payment is to be made.
  • Any additional terms in the contract - You can also include additional terms in a contract that are supplementary to the main terms. Things such as how the contract can be terminated or how disputes arising from the contract can be handled are typically included here.
  • How the contract is to be signed and accepted - Here you can include stipulations as to how the contract must be signed. In some cases, a person may need to sign the contract in the presence of certain people in order for the contract to be valid. In other cases, multiple signatures may be required to ensure the contract is valid.
  • Which state’s laws govern the contract - If you and the person you are entering into the contract with are in different states, it is important that you designate a specific set of laws that govern the contract. State laws are not always the same when it comes to business issues, which is why you should specify how the contract is to be governed.

Our DuPage County Business Contract Lawyers Are Here to Help

At Stock, Carlson & Duff, LLC, we will not only help you create your business contracts, but we can also assist if any disputes arise related to those contracts. Our skilled team of Wheaton, IL business contract attorneys have the experience needed for swift and effective action in any situation. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 630-665-2500.

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IL estate planning lawyerWhen you think of estate planning, many people jump directly to a will. While a will can be an important part of your estate plan, you should also consider implementing a power of attorney and adding it to your plan. Many people may not be familiar with powers of attorney, but they can be an essential part of any estate plan. A power of attorney is a document that allows another person to make a decision on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. There are various types of powers of attorney that you could enact depending on your situation and your needs. If you are thinking of adding a power of attorney to your estate plan, hiring a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer is your best option for creating a valid and enforceable power of attorney.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

In basic terms, a power of attorney is a document that gives another person the power to make certain decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. The person you give these powers to, usually referred to as your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact,” is a person of your choosing. In many cases, a person may designate their spouse or child to be their power of attorney. You can also customize your power of attorney to include (or exclude) certain decision-making powers.

The extent of a Power of Attorney

If you create a power of attorney and do not specify which decisions they cannot make, your agent is usually able to make most decisions if you are rendered incapable of making those decisions yourself. Your agent will also be the decision-maker about the rest of your estate if you pass away if you include a durable clause in the document that allows your power of attorney to continue after death.

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