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Parents land favorable court decision re real estate contracts

Many Illinois parents know what it's like to squabble with adult children. Such situations often cause serious breakdowns in familial relationships. Some families even wind up battling one another in court, as made evident by a recent case involving a grown daughter and her spouse. They got into a dispute with her parents. Real estate contracts in family situations have the potential to spawn intense disagreements.

The situation actually pertains to an agreement made when the woman's father was still alive. It seems the parents own a parcel of land, on which sits a residential dwelling, a barn, a workshop and a private lake. At some point, a contract was signed so the younger couple could rent-to-own the real estate.

The contract expired before the financial obligations were satisfied. A new contract was made so the woman and her husband could make an outright purchase of the real property. At some time during these events, the woman's father passed away. Since then, there's been an ongoing argument regarding the terms of the second contract; the couple thought they were buying all assets included in the real estate, while the woman's mother said the terms of the purchase pertained only to the residential dwelling and one acre of land. 

The disagreement led to a court battle. The court ruled that since the contract did not contain a description of the property, as required by law in that particular state, it rendered the agreement legally unenforceable. The woman's parents were also awarded $24,000 in damages (based on fair market rental value) for economic losses they suffered when the younger couple continued to live in their dwelling without paying. Anyone facing similar problems regarding real estate contracts in Illinois can seek resolution by requesting assistance from a business and commercial law attorney. 

Source:, "COA affirms summary judgment to parents in family land dispute", Olivia Covington, May 4, 2017

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