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When people get married, the traditional vows state that the union is ‘til death do us part. Unfortunately, not all couples live happily ever after. Whether the relationship fails due to outside influences or addictions, or the partners simply grow apart, a divorce may be the best option for everyone involved. During the divorce process in Illinois, a couple must decide how to divide their property and assets. This may be especially important if there is a family-owned business or other high-net-worth assets at stake. If the couple had a prenuptial agreement (prenup) in place, these determinations may already be made, making the marriage dissolution process much easier and faster. However, there are certain factors that can make a prenuptial agreement invalid in Illinois, so it is important to avoid making a mistake when creating this legal document.

Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act governs all prenuptial agreements. In order to be legally binding, a prenup must be put in writing and signed by both spouses. If a couple decides not to get married, any premarital agreement they made is voided. Prior to signing a prenup, both parties should disclose all of their financial information to each other, including their income, any property they own, and outstanding debts.

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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.

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A 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.

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Couples choose to end their marriage for many reasons, including financial problems. Perhaps you were a saver and your spouse was a spender, which caused many arguments or conflicts. Regardless of why you have decided that divorce is your best option, there are many issues you and your spouse will have to resolve before you can legally dissolve your union. Your first thought may be how to divide up your assets and property. However, it is important to remember that any marital debt will also need to be divided before you can finalize your divorce in Illinois.

Debt Allocation in Illinois

When it comes to dividing marital assets, Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that each spouse will be allocated a fair amount of the marital estate, including both property and debt. The first step in determining who will be responsible for what is figuring out which assets or debts are part of the marital estate and which ones are considered personal debts. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), any property or debts that you and your spouse acquired after your wedding day and before the day you filed for divorce are included in the marital estate. If the debt was accumulated before you got married or after you filed for divorce, it is usually considered individual debt.

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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.

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