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Madison County Legal Issues Blog

Scrutinize potential estate plans for probate risks

Those Illinois residents who take the time to make sure their families are provided for after death should be applauded. A disproportionate amount of people still do not have estate plans, which leaves their surviving loved ones to face a potentially arduous probate process. Unfortunately, not assessing all of the risk associated with an estate plan could do the same thing.

Estate-planning documents can take many forms. They can accommodate a variety of situations and circumstances. For this reason, Illinois residents need to scrutinize their potential estate plans in order to make sure that they will not jeopardize smooth estate administration when the time comes.

Divorce could actually help children thrive

Many Illinois parents hesitate to end their marriages because they feel it would adversely affect their children. Their hearts may be in the right place, but remaining in these circumstances could actually do more harm than good. In reality, divorce could actually help the children thrive.

No matter how hard a couple tries, children often figure out that their parents are not getting along. Even younger children can feel tension in the air, and it could have an effect on them. One study of college age students whose parents divorced expressed that they learned a lot from their parents when they were supportive after the divorce.

Avoid these small business formation mistakes

For entrepreneurs dipping their toes into one of Illinois's for-profit industries for the first time, there is a lot to learn. Making certain small business formation mistakes could quickly and easily derail their efforts. Taking the time to learn what not to do from the start could help ensure a successful start.

For instance, new entrepreneurs may have some capital at their disposal to use when starting a business. It would be a mistake to overspend that money. Instead, saving as much of it as possible could help during leaner times since it takes time for a business to start making its own money. Frugality is a virtue when it comes to starting a business.

How children feel during divorce

Parents contemplating divorce often worry about their children. They may have heard stories from both ends of the spectrum: Either children never recover, or children bounce right back. As with most extremes, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. How do children feel during divorce? There is no way to predict their feelings, and each day is different. The only constant is that parents need to present a united front.

A child's emotions may ping-pong dramatically during a week, and even several times during a day. Divorcing parents may see a wide range of emotions until they wonder if their children will finally regain an even keel. They will, but not for some time. Divorce is unsettling for everyone. Adults need to parent up and do the right thing for their children. Mom and dad need to put the boxing gloves down and remain calm at home.

Certain events often require estate plan changes

Those Illinois residents who took the time to ensure their loved ones are taken care of after their death probably put the documents away believing that they have done what they needed to do to achieve that goal. They probably created an estate plan that fit the circumstances of the time, and while that was a good step, the plan may not stand the test of time. Life rarely remains the same over the years, and an estate plan needs to change with it.

For example, having another child, gaining another grandchild or remarrying are circumstances under which an estate plan may require changes. Other instances such as divorce, an estranged relationship with a child and more may also mean making changes to the plan. These changes need to be made not only for the person who made the plan, but also for loved ones who will need to contend with it after death.

Retirement plans can change with a late-in-life divorce

While the number of couples between the ages of 25 and 39 here in Illinois and elsewhere ending their marriages appears to be dropping, the number of people ages 50 and up doing the same thing has risen. Older couples may not have to worry about issues such as child support and custody, but they often wonder how the divorce affects their retirement plans. After spending years, if not decades, making plans for their golden years, this time in their lives can leave them uncertain about the future.

Since older Illinois residents tend to have fewer working years ahead than behind, the amount of time they have to accumulate more wealth and assets is shorter. On the other hand, these individuals can often look forward to receiving more assets in a divorce than their younger counterparts receive. This may provide a greater sense of security, but it also creates a greater urgency to make sure that they receive as much as possible in order to try to build a secure financial future.

Estate planning is often farthest from college students' minds

Many Illinois young people begin their adult lives in college. They feel as though their whole lives are ahead of them and that they have plenty of time to worry about "adult" issues. What they do not realize is that no one knows whether they will end up suffering from serious injuries, a serious illness or even death at any point. For this reason, college students tend not to consider the fact that estate planning should be a priority for them as well.

Because they could end up suffering serious injuries in a car accident or some other catastrophe, or an unexpected and debilitating illness, young people need health care powers of attorney and authorizations waiving certain privacy laws on file. Once an Illinois resident reaches the age of majority, his or her parents no longer have unfettered access to medical information. This means that when a young person is unable to communicate or make decisions on his or her behalf, parents could be unable to step in and take over these duties for their child. The same circumstances make a financial power of attorney just as important.

Ways the younger generation have changed the face of divorce

In decades past, ending a marriage came with a great deal of stigma, especially for women. As the generations passed and the views of marriage changed, here in Illinois and across the country, so has the way younger couples divorce. With the advent of the digital age, the divorce process continues to undergo changes.

For example, young couples tend to marry older these days. They often already began their careers and accumulated assets. They also view each other more as equals than in generations past. Prenuptial agreements no longer have the same negative connotations they used to for their parents and grandparents. Instead, they take a business-like approach to marriage when it comes to planning for divorce.

Terms in real estate transactions

When purchasing a piece of property here in Glen Carbon, one of the first documents signed after an offer is accepted is the purchase and sale contract. Understanding the language in the agreement could help put a buyer's mind at ease. A couple of the terms relating to real estate transactions are discussed below.

The settlement date is the date the closing will occur. This is when the sale becomes final. Monies are exchanged for keys to the property.

Your new home has issues the seller did not disclose: Now what?

Purchasing a home is exciting. Although it comes with a load of new responsibilities, that will not diminish your pride in owning a home.

Now that you have moved in, however, you notice some things seem off. Issues keep cropping up, including mold in the attic. You know mold did not grow there overnight, so it must have existed in that space before you purchased the house. When you find issues that existed before your ownership but were not disclosed, you may want to pursue legal action.