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Madison County Legal Issues Blog

Property distribution can be complex for couples over 50

Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that in a divorce, the courts will make a decision that intends to distribute assets fairly, not necessarily equally.

For divorcing couples over the age of 50, this can represent a snag in the proceedings, because older couples married for many years have usually accumulated significant assets. More assets make for more complex distribution.

Do you need to know the basics of probate?

Whether you are putting together an estate plan or are responsible for administering a loved one's estate, having the right information can make your task easier. Understanding the basics of what happens during probate may change how you would create your estate plan. It may also give you an idea of what your responsibilities are as executor of a Georgia estate.

First, you need to know that an Illinois court will be supervising your efforts. The ultimate goal of a probate is to distribute the decedent's property to his or her heirs. This requires you to identify, gather and protect all of the assets of the estate in anticipation of distributing them at some point.

Are operating agreements really necessary for LLCs?

The simple answer to that question is yes. Even though Illinois does not require your limited liability company to have an operating agreement, it could provide you with many benefits. Operating agreements outline how the company will function, among other things, and putting those kinds of details in writing could help give your new company direction and avoid many potential conflicts in the future.

This type of agreement also gives you the chance to outline how you want things instead of relying on any statutory defaults set forth in Illinois law. For instance, no matter how amicable things are with you and the other members right now, the issues of ownership interest, shares of profits and losses and division of managerial tasks could easily become points of contention at some time in the future. Putting these understandings in writing provides everyone involved some protection and a guide when needed.

Business litigation: Are you accused of breach of contract?

When parties enter into a contract here in Illinois or elsewhere, the possibility always remains that a dispute will arise regarding the products or services or the payment for them. If that happened to you, and the other party accuses you of breaching the contract you entered into, you retain the right to defend yourself. There are viable defenses to this type of business litigation.

Perhaps you intended to fulfill your part of the contract, but discovered that the other party defrauded you in some way. Had you known the facts, you may never have entered into the contract. Perhaps a material mistake was made in the contract. Both parties agreed to a certain delivery date, but it was incorrectly inputted into the contract.

When finances keep you together during an Illinois divorce

Many Illinois families struggle financially, and yours may be one of them. This could pose a problem if you and your spouse decided to divorce. In order to preserve your financial resources, you may decide to remain living in the same house until matters are settled.

In this situation, it can be easy to let the formalities required by the divorce to be taken care of in a timely manner. Despite any discomfort the living arrangement causes, it remains familiar. It makes sense for you and your soon-to-be former spouse to sit down and create a workable plan to get through the divorce process. You may even make up a schedule regarding caring for the children to limit contact between the two of you and (perhaps) prepare each of you for taking care of the children on your own.

What you do during a business formation affects its future

As an Illinois entrepreneur, you are probably a "glass half full" type of person, and you may not be intimated by the fact that only about half of the small companies formed today will survive to their five-year anniversary. It may make you wary, however, and want to make sure that you do everything in your power to be one of those still standing after five years. You may already know that what you do during your business formation has a profound effect on its future.

Research and planning are crucial. You need to explore all of the angles, assess all of the risks and answer all of your questions before moving forward. One question that could set the course for your business is the type of entity you choose.

What you need to know about disclosure in real estate

When buying real estate in Illinois, the state has specific requirements about what a seller must tell the buyer about the property. This is a safeguard to help ensure the buyer is aware of issues the seller knows about. While it does not take the place of an inspection, it can bring to light issues that the buyer may want to have resolved before completing the purchase.

In general, a disclosure statement is used to provide information to the buyer from the seller, according to Zillow. It could tell the seller about an issue with something in the house, such as a broken garage door, or it could reveal information about the neighborhood, such as an issue with a disruptive barking dog. It is important for buyers to keep in mind the information given in a disclosure is only based on the seller's knowledge. If the seller does not know about something, then it is not required to be in the statement.

Where do pets fall when it comes to estate administration?

Millions of Americans, including many here in Illinois, consider their pets members of the family. As such, they may want to provide for them after death. When it comes to estate administration, executors and trustees are tasked with carrying out the wishes of the decedent by making sure they honor the provisions regarding pets.

When creating a plan for the care of a pet after death, it would be advisable not to make it too complex or unrealistic. For instance, including a requirement that the individual who is to care for the pet to feed it only a certain type of food may cause issues if the food specified is not available or affordable. In addition, it would be beneficial to consult with the person intended to take over the care of the pet prior to making it official in a will or trust.

Do you need legal counsel on mandatory disclosure requirements?

The simple answer to this question is, yes. Whether you are buying or selling real estate here in Illinois, having an understanding of the laws applicable to this topic is essential. Having legal counsel on mandatory disclosure requirements could keep a seller out of trouble and a buyer in the know.

If a seller knows about a material defect in the home being sold, it would violate Illinois law not to let a potential buyer know about it. Some sellers fear that revealing the problem could scare away potential buyers. This may be true, but the legal consequences for failing to disclose the issue could cost a significant amount of money in damages and attorney's fees.

Would arbitration be a better way to resolve your issues?

The prospect of spending hours in an Illinois courtroom litigating a dispute may not be enticing. Even so, you and the other party are unable to resolve your disputes on your own. You need another alternative that provides some measure of formality, yet does not mean airing your disputes in public or spending countless hours and dollars in court. If this scenario sounds familiar, arbitration may be the alternative you seek.

What can you expect? Well, the arbitrator will hear evidence from you and the other party in a private setting. The evidence will then be considered, and the arbitrator will render a decision. In many cases, the decision is binding on the parties, which means that you cannot take the case to court if you are not satisfied with the decision. There is no appeals process under these circumstances.