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Cook County living will attorneyFor many people and families, the process of estate planning is focused on what will happen after a person’s death. By creating a will or using tools such as trusts, a person can make decisions about how their final affairs will be handled, including how they will pass their assets to their heirs. However, an estate plan can also address how various matters will be handled before a person’s death. In addition to ensuring that they will have the financial resources they need, a person can make decisions about the medical care they will receive. This can help a family avoid uncertainty as a person gets closer to the end of their life, and the person can make sure their wishes will be followed if they become ill enough that they cannot express their preferences to others. A living will can often be the best way to address these issues.

What Is a Living Will?

A last will and testament will only take effect after a person’s death, and it will address a person’s final wishes. A living will, on the other hand, will address the medical care that a person may receive before their death. This legal document takes the form of a declaration stating a person’s preferences for medical care and treatment if they are terminally ill.

A living will is only applicable in situations where a person has an irreversible medical condition that will result in their death. Once a doctor determines that a person’s condition is terminal, and medical treatment would only serve to delay the moment of death, the living will’s terms will go into effect. These terms may address the types of medical treatment a person should receive and whether certain types of treatment should be withheld. By using a living will, a person can ensure that they will receive the proper treatment in cases where they become incapacitated and cannot make their desires known to others.


Chicago Probate Lawyer

A person’s last will and testament details their decisions about how their final affairs should be handled following their death. Some of the most important provisions of a will involve the distribution of a person’s property to their heirs. In some cases, one or more a person’s loved ones may be unhappy with the decisions made in a will, especially if they do not receive certain property that they expected to inherit. In these situations, a person’s heirs, the executor of their estate, and any other interested parties will want to understand when a will may be contested.

Grounds to Contest a Will in Illinois

A person who has died is known as a decedent. After a decedent’s death, the person they named as the executor of their estate will file their will in probate court. The executor will take a complete inventory of the estate, notify the person’s heirs, and ensure that the person’s assets are distributed according to their wishes. During the probate process, an interested party (including a person named as a beneficiary in a will or another loved one who expects to inherit property) may contest the will based on claims that it is invalid.


Posted on in Estate Planning

Chicago Estate Planning LawyerOf the different estate planning tools that a person can use to ensure that their wishes will be followed during their life and after their death, powers of attorney can be some of the most powerful and beneficial. When a person creates a power of attorney agreement, they will name someone who will have the legal authorization to make certain types of decisions on their behalf. In many cases, a power of attorney will be “durable,” ensuring that a person’s wishes will be followed correctly if they become unable to make decisions for themselves.

What Makes a Power of Attorney Durable?

The person who creates a power of attorney will give another person, known as their “agent,” the authority to make certain types of decisions. These decisions will depend on the type of power of attorney that is created. A power of attorney for healthcare will address decisions related to a person’s medical care and personal needs, and an agent may be able to address issues such as the forms of treatment a person will or will not receive, whether they should be admitted to a hospital or mental health facility, and whether they should receive life-sustaining treatment if they are terminally ill. A power of attorney for property will address financial decisions, and an agent may be able to manage a person’s income and assets, make purchases or investments, pay bills and expenses, or manage a business.

In some cases, a power of attorney may be created with a start and end date. These types of agreements may be used in cases where a person gives their agent the power to enter into financial transactions on their behalf or in situations where a person wants to have their agent make medical decisions for them when they are undergoing surgery or other forms of major medical treatment. However, durable powers of attorney are used in many cases, and these types of agreements will continue to apply if a person becomes incapacitated. 


Cook County Estate Planning and Probate attorneyA last will and testament can be crucial for a person of any age. A will makes decisions about issues such as how a person’s property will be distributed to their beneficiaries, who they would like to be the guardian of their minor children, how their funeral and burial arrangements should be handled, and any other last wishes they want to address. However, there are some situations where a person may die without having a will in place. In these cases, family members and other loved ones will need to understand how the person’s final affairs will be handled.

Intestate Succession in Illinois

If a person had no valid will at the time of their death, this is known as dying “intestate,” and the laws of intestate succession will be used to determine how their assets will be distributed to their heirs. In Illinois, these laws state that:

  • If a person was married and had no children or other descendants, their spouse will receive their entire estate.


Probate attorney in Cook County for GuardianshipThere are a variety of situations where a person may become unable to fully care for themselves or provide for their own ongoing needs. In some cases, a person may have developmental disabilities that prevent them from working full-time while also caring for household responsibilities, whereas in others, an elderly person or someone suffering from a debilitating injury or health condition may require assistance with daily tasks and activities. In these situations, legal guardianship, which is established in a probate court, can ensure that a person’s needs will be provided for.

Types of Adult Guardianship

Guardianships fall into two main categories depending on whether a guardian will be responsible for a person’s financial affairs or their personal needs. A guardian of the person will provide for a person’s ongoing care and comfort while ensuring that their health-related needs are met, that they have the appropriate living arrangements, and that they receive the proper education and professional services. A guardian of the person is required to help a person maintain as much independence and self-reliance as possible while offering the necessary support to ensure that they can be safe, happy, and healthy.

A guardian of the estate is responsible for managing a person’s property and finances. This may include making purchases or completing transactions on behalf of the person, entering into contracts, managing benefits such as life insurance or retirement plans, and paying expenses, debts, or taxes. A guardian of the estate is required to manage a person’s finances frugally while using the person’s assets to provide for the needs of themselves and their dependents.


Cook County foreclosure defense attorneyDue to financial issues that have affected many people during the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has implemented a moratorium on foreclosures, which is meant to ensure that families can continue living in their homes during this public health emergency. While the moratorium has been extended multiple times, it is currently set to expire on June 30, 2021. This means that those who have been unable to make mortgage payments may face the loss of their homes. Some lenders have stated that they will resume foreclosures as soon as the moratorium ends, while others may wait to proceed with foreclosures until the end of 2021. Homeowners who are facing foreclosure will want to understand their options and determine whether they can work with their lender to create new payment options or whether they will need to find new living arrangements. 

Options for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

To prevent foreclosure, those who have been unable to make mortgage payments will need to determine how they can become current on past-due payments, and they will also need to make sure they will be able to make ongoing mortgage payments. Homeowners may be able to work with lenders to address these issues, and available options may include:

  • Forbearance - Those who have been unable to make mortgage payments may qualify for relief in which they will not be required to make payments for a certain period of time, or the amount of payments may be temporarily reduced. While missed payments will need to be made up, homeowners will generally not be required to pay a lump sum at the end of the forbearance period. Instead, missed payments may be added on to the end of the loan, or the amount of payments may be increased temporarily. Homeowners who received a forbearance before June 30, 2020 may request up to two extensions of three months each, but the maximum period for forbearance is 18 months.


Beverly commercial real estate lawyer for due diligenceAll types of real estate transactions can be complicated, and buyers and sellers will need to address multiple issues related to the financing, the title to the property, the condition of the premises, and land use laws. Commercial real estate closings can be especially complex, and unlike residential closings, the parties will not be protected by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Because of this, it is crucial for buyers and sellers of commercial real estate to conduct due diligence that will allow them to identify any issues that may need to be addressed before the sale can be finalized.

Types of Due Diligence in Commercial Real Estate Closings

The issues that need to be addressed when performing due diligence can generally be grouped into the following categories:

  • Physical - A physical inspection of the property should be performed to examine its condition, ensure that it is up to code, and determine whether repairs, renovations, or improvements will be needed. This can identify any defects that the buyer may ask the seller to correct while also helping the buyer determine their budget for any work that will need to be done to be able to use the property as planned.


Cook County real estate attorney for COVID-19 landlord reliefFor more than a year, people and businesses throughout the United States have been struggling to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation has placed many landlords in a difficult position, since residential tenants who have lost their jobs or commercial tenants who have experienced a loss of revenue may be unable to pay rent. At the same time, federal, state, and local governments have placed a moratorium on evictions to protect the health and safety of tenants. In many cases, this has left landlords with few options, since the standard ways of dealing with non-paying tenants are unavailable. Fortunately, multiple relief programs may provide assistance for landlords, ensuring that they can cover their ongoing expenses.

Emergency COVID-19 Relief

The federal government has created the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to make funds available for those who have been unable to pay rent or utilities. A household can qualify for relief if they meet the eligibility criteria. These include a reduction in income or other financial hardship because of COVID-19, a risk that a person or family will experience homelessness or housing instability, and a household income that is at or below 80% of the median income in the area.

A household can receive up to 12 months of rental assistance, and this may be extended for an additional three months if necessary. At least 90% of any funds awarded must be used to pay housing-related expenses, including ongoing rent payments and rent that is past due, utilities, and home energy costs. Landlords can apply for relief on behalf of tenants, and funds awarded may be paid directly to a landlord.


Cook County real estate attorney

There are a variety of complex legal and financial issues involved in a residential real estate transaction. Buyers and sellers will both need to meet multiple requirements, and as they get closer to the date where the transaction will be finalized, various concerns can arise that may affect the sale. Closing costs are one issue that the parties to a transaction should be aware of, and buyers and sellers should be sure to understand what costs they will be required to pay.

Typical Closing Costs

Multiple people or companies will be involved in a real estate transaction, and there are costs for the services they provide. These costs must usually be paid by the closing date. While certain costs may be assigned to the buyer or the seller, the parties may negotiate the terms of their purchase contract to address these issues, such as by agreeing that the seller will be responsible for paying certain costs that would usually be paid by the buyer.


Cook County real estate attorney short sale

No matter how careful you are about managing your money, unexpected financial difficulties can arise that may cause you to be unable to pay your bills and cover your ongoing expenses. Currently, many people throughout the United States are struggling with financial issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who have lost their jobs or who have faced additional expenses related to an illness may have trouble making mortgage payments, and defaulting on a mortgage may lead a lender to begin foreclosure proceedings. While the federal government has placed a moratorium on foreclosures for the time being, if you are unable to become current on your mortgage payments by the end of this moratorium, you may face the loss of your home. If you are unable to prevent foreclosure, you may be able to complete a short sale that will allow you to avoid owing additional money to your mortgage lender.

What Is a Short Sale?

In a short sale, you will sell your home for less than the total amount that is owed on your mortgage. This can be a good option if your home is “underwater,” meaning that you owe more money on the mortgage than the home is actually worth. Typically, your mortgage lender will need to approve a short sale, and they may do so if you can show that it will be more financially beneficial for them to allow this type of sale rather than pursuing foreclosure proceedings. 


Cook County real estate attorney home closing

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the lives of everyone in the United States in a variety of ways. Those who have been lucky enough to avoid getting sick or losing their job are still likely to feel the effects of COVID-19, both in their daily lives and their plans for the future. If you are considering buying or selling a home in Illinois, you will need to be aware of certain issues that may affect you, and you will want to take the right steps to protect yourself and make sure you can complete your transaction successfully.

Legal, Financial, and Other Issues Affecting Real Estate Transactions

One of the first things that home buyers and sellers need to be aware of right now is that they may need to take steps to protect the safety of themselves and others and avoid the risks of contracting or spreading infections. Social distancing concerns have led to restrictions on in-person visits to a home, and in many cases, buyers may be limited to virtual visits or video tours conducted by a real estate agent. Buyers may also be unable to be present for home inspections or appraisals, and they will need to rely on professionals to ensure that any defects are identified and addressed properly.


Cook County real esate attorney lease modification

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has affected many individuals, families, and businesses, and it has caused financial struggles for both landlords and tenants. Some residential tenants have experienced job losses, and many businesses have been required to close or scale back their operations. When residential or commercial tenants are unable to pay rent, this can put landlords in a difficult position, since they may be unable to meet their own financial obligations. 

Typically, landlords are able to pursue evictions when tenants do not meet their rent requirements or otherwise violate the terms of a lease. However, the state of Illinois has placed a moratorium on evictions, and this prohibition has been repeatedly extended as the pandemic continues to affect people throughout the state. Most recently, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order extending this moratorium through January 9, 2021, and additional extensions may be made if they are determined to be necessary. For landlords who are currently unable to evict tenants who have not paid rent, other options may be available, including making lease modifications that can provide protections and benefits for both landlords and tenants.


Cook County real estate attorney loan modification

There are many different types of issues that can cause you to struggle financially. For example, the loss of a job, an unexpected illness, or a disability could affect your ability to pay your ongoing expenses, or overwhelming debt could become impossible to manage. As a homeowner, these types of issues can be especially worrisome, since falling behind on your mortgage payments could lead your lender to pursue the foreclosure of your home. Fortunately, you will typically have options for defending against foreclosure, and an experienced real estate attorney can help you determine whether you can receive a loan modification that will allow you to become current on your payments and maintain ownership of your home.

Loan Modification Options

Depending on your circumstances, the details of your mortgage, and your ability to make ongoing payments, you may be able to negotiate with your lender to modify your loan in one or more of the following ways:


Cook County residential real estate attorney

A residential real estate transaction begins when a buyer makes an offer to purchase a home and the seller accepts that offer. The parties will then sign a contract, known as a purchase agreement, which will outline the details of the transaction, the costs for which each party is responsible, and important dates during the process, including the date when the home closing will take place. Contingencies are an important part of a residential real estate contract, and these terms specify conditions that will apply to the transaction while stating when either party can back out of the sale. When buying or selling a home, a real estate attorney can help you understand the contingencies that apply to the sale and make sure that your contract includes terms that provide the protection you need.

Types of Contingencies

A contract’s contingencies will describe the conditions that each party must meet before a real estate transaction can be completed. These terms can help reduce the risk for both buyers and sellers, allowing them to terminate the sale if necessary. Some common contingencies in a real estate contract include:


Cook County residential real estate closing attorney

Buying a home is likely to be one of the most important and significant purchases you will make in your entire life. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or are planning to sell your house and move to a new home, the process of making an offer, securing financing, and meeting the requirements to complete the sale can be very complicated. As you get closer to the date of your residential real estate closing, you will want to make sure to address the following issues:

  • Contingencies - Before you can close on your home, you will need to address any contingencies that were included in your purchase contract. These may include securing financing, performing an appraisal of the property, or completing a home inspection, and determining how to correct any issues that were discovered.


Evergreen Park real estate attorney foreclosure defense

Over the past six months, Illinois renters and homeowners have been struggling to make ends meet. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many employees experiencing pay cuts, getting furloughed, or being laid off altogether. A halt in the working world has trickled down to unpaid rent and mortgages due to a lack of income. Governor J.B. Pritzker recognized this financial crisis in late April, enacting an eviction and foreclosure moratorium throughout the state of Illinois—although residents were still required to pay the rent or mortgage, evictions and foreclosures could not be enforced during this time. The moratorium was set to expire on Aug. 22, but Governor Pritzker extended the state’s moratorium on evictions for another 30 days, so it will now expire on Sept. 22. In addition, the state has turned to other means to protect Illinois citizens from mass homelessness.

Housing Grants

Approximately 14,000 Chicagoans who lost their jobs or whose pay was reduced because of the pandemic asked the city for help paying their rent or mortgages, according to officials. A new state program launched on August 10, allowing Illinois residents to apply for financial assistance if they are struggling to make rent or mortgage payments due to coronavirus-related financial difficulties. Applications came from all areas of the city, but South Side residents made up the highest number of applicants.

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