The last thing that you want to do is leave this world without a will. Your legacy is important, and you don’t want to leave your loved ones scrambling to sort out finances and split assets without direction. Without a will, your assets will also be split up according to the laws that govern the place in which you live. You will not have a say in where they go, and they may end up not going to the person which you want to have them. The best way to avoid a headache for your family and ensure your assets go to your loved ones is to draft a proper will with a wills and estates attorney that outlines all possible aspects and accounts for your desires.
Make a plan
When you want to create a will, you need to go through your life and look at everyone that may be affected by your death and has a stake in your estate. This includes examples such as your spouse, ex-spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, and parents, though friends and other loved ones do factor in as well. These are the people who will benefit as a result of you having a properly planned out will.
Once you have taken these individuals into account, you must analyze your assets. This includes personal possessions, finances, real estate, and business ventures.
The value of all of your assets, once you have taken out all of the taxes, legal fees, and funeral expenses that come with passing away, you then have an idea of how much you will have to leave to your loved ones.
Should you put funds into a trust?
A trust is an excellent solution to help financially support minors, support charities, as well as have safeguards in place for beneficiaries. When funds are held in a trust, they are held with rules and stipulations that the person who set up the trust puts in place. For example, a cottage can be put in a trust with multiple children put on the trust as beneficiaries, but a rule can stipulate that the property cannot be sold without agreement between all parties. A trust can be a great tool to help you ensure that your loved ones are taken care of.
What about minor children?
If you have minor children, then you need a will that stipulates who will become their legal guardian in the event of your death. If you have a spouse or an ex-spouse, then they will retain custody, but if you are a single parent, then you need to include in your will who takes over as their guardian. If you do not include this, then your death can be even more turbulent for your children.
It sounds like a lot
Trying to create a will on your own that considers everything, including the tax that your heirs may owe, is incredibly difficult. Hiring a lawyer to draft your will and ensure that everything is in order will take a weight off of your shoulders. Contact the estate planning attorney team at The Knee Law Firm, Ltd., so that we can help you set up your will today.
Real estate transactions can be hard to understand, especially if you are a first time homeowner. Even if you’ve had previous experience in buying and selling, it is important to have professional help to make sure there are no surprises later. After all, there is a lot of investment at stake - your entire life’s hard-earned savings in many cases. A real estate lawyer can look into transactions that miss your eye, especially when you are buying property. There are bigger risks in buying than selling. Make sure you protect your interests by asking your real estate lawyer these four important questions before you close the deal:
Selling and buying has different requirements; but buying comes with more risks. Check the background of your real estate lawyer, even if they come recommended by a friend. Find out how many years of experience they have. Many years of experience translates to more security for you. Sometimes issues can get complicated when you least expect. It helps to have an experienced lawyer sort things out smoothly. Ask if they had similar transactions earlier. They may be in a better position to deal with yours then. Sometimes, things may miss your eye but an experienced lawyer is quick to spot problems and resolve them. They may know something that you were not told by your realtor for example. An experienced lawyer can point that out before you sign the deal.
Not every lawyer deals with the same situation in the same way. It takes a great deal of knowledge and self-assurance to handle complications. If the lawyer sounds vague, under-confident and unsure, you know you may be heading for a no-win situation. The stakes are high. You cannot take a chance. Ask your lawyer about his expertise in buying condos and homes. Each has its own challenges that he should know about. He should have knowledge about the differences and strengths in buying different kinds of properties from commercial, to co-ops and of course, different kind of residential properties.
Not all lawyers work alone. Some are part of a law firm so they work with teams for extra support, assistance and quicker delivery. At other times, your lawyer may have a junior attorney or paralegal to give a hand, but at no point should you find yourself dealing with the junior assistant more than the one you hired, especially regarding important decisions regarding your real estate matters. At all times, whoever you are dealing with, it is important for you to be cordial, even if you disagree.
Find out about the fee requirements. There are some lawyers who work on a standard hourly rate. Others may work in the fee of the junior assistants or team. Many others demand a flat fee. Try to negotiate if you can.
The Knee Law Firm, Ltd. Services
If you are looking for specialized services with years of experience in real estate, contact us. At The Knee Law Firm, you are much more than a client. We have extensive experience to help you and encourage you to keep in touch with us, even after you close the deal. Our friendly experts are known to build long term relationships with our clients. Call us for any help in Illinois real estate matters.
When you are looking to buy your first home, the investment that you will be making is enormous. For most people, buying real estate is the most significant investment that they will make in their lifetime. The financial costs of purchasing a home do not end with the price of the house and the banks and real estate agents, while wanting to help you achieve your dream of homeownership, all are looking out for their own interests as well. A real estate attorney, who receives a fee for their work, has only your best interests at heart. In fact, there are many things that real estate lawyers do that help save you money. Here are the top three ways that real estate lawyers save you money!
Review Your Contract
You would not be able to review your contract unless you went to law school yourself. Being able to understand the intricacies of a real estate deal without training is next to impossible. There is a lot at stake, much of which is your hard earned money. By having a real estate lawyer look over your contract, they will be able to make sure that everything in the contract is above board and that you are paying only what you have agreed to pay.
Advice Regarding Property Restrictions
When you purchase a piece of property, there are sometimes restrictions on the property that you may be unaware of. If you want to buy a home, you may not be aware that it is in a historic district and that, because of that, it has stipulations as to what you can and cannot renovate. There may also be bylaws that restrict what you can do with the exterior of your home, your yard, or any renovations you want to do to your home. Real estate lawyers can help with this so that you do not end up in a situation where you need to resell your home, as most times reselling your home soon after purchasing it will not allow you to recoup your costs.
A title, also referred to as a deed, is a representation of the ownership of the property. When you purchase a piece of property the title is transferred from the owners and to you, which makes you the new owner of the property. If this is messed up in any way it can mean that another party has a legal claim to the property, which means that you will need to go to court to defend the rights to your property. Hiring a knowledgeable real estate lawyer protects you from this situation, which will save you money.
You need a real estate lawyer when purchasing a property. There is no one better to protect you and your new property. Buying a home is stressful and costly, and while hiring a real estate lawyer is an additional cost, the amount that they save you is huge. The team at The Knee Law Firm wants to help you purchase your new home. If you are looking for a real estate attorney in Chicago, contact us today.
Buying a home is an exciting yet difficult task, especially if you are on a restricted budget and have a lot of preferences. Real estate negotiations give buyers an opportunity to reach a favorable offer and ensure that their hard earned money is being invested rightfully. We have compiled a list of important suggestions that will ensure buyers a successful real estate negotiation.
Positivity and Ethics
Some people are under the impression that intimidation and confrontation are the keys to drifting negotiations in their favor. However, a negative approach will encourage the seller to also respond negatively. The best way to negotiate is with positivity, which motivates other people to cooperate for a mutually favorable outcome.
Buyers should also take into account that they are buying a property that the seller has invested in, built a relationship with and hopefully, maintained. It is vital to first gain the seller’s trust in order to acquire their property for a good price. Having an honest communication about your price limit and preferences is the safest route to take in order to help make the seller feel secure.
Take time to negotiate your offer with the buyer. Avoiding a debate due to a fear of friction will result in you walking away dissatisfied, while the seller will just assume you are happy with the price. Although a complying attitude by both the parties may result in a good negotiation, it will leave both parties feeling that they did not strive hard enough to reach the best deal for themselves.
While you should take ample amount of time to negotiate, discuss and consider all matters on the table, you should close the topic once consensus has been reached by both the parties regarding a particular affair. Reopening issues may frustrate the seller.
Know your Market
Markets can tip in the favor of either the buyer or the seller. An area with more homes for sale than buyers is considered a buyer’s market. In this case, homes take a long time to sell and buyers are prepared to negotiate the price. This is the perfect sphere for buyers to hold maximum negotiations in. In these markets, sellers may also assist the buyers with the closing costs and inspections.
On the flip side, real estate markets with a limited number of homes but a large number of buyers form a seller’s market. In this case, buyers need to be on their front foot. Immediately put in the highest price you can offer to the seller and do not wait for any discount. Avoid asking for any concessions and inquire if a home sale contingency must be included.
Contact The Knee Law Firm, Ltd.
Real estate transactions are complex and tedious processes that entail consideration of numerous factors. This must be the reason why real estate attorneys and advisers at The Knee Law Firm strive to make your home buying experience stress-free! We ensure that you experience a smooth closing and move into your residential and commercial property with a peace of mind.
Visit thekneelawfirm.com to read about our legal services. You may call to speak with us at 847-807-5633.
If the worst happens and you die without a will in place you are considered to have died "intestate." When you have a will in place then your estate, which includes your property, possessions, and other personal items, will be distributed according to the will. This is, of course, contingent on your debts being paid off as well as your funeral and burial costs. A will can be challenged in some cases and be made invalid by others, but for the most part, the instructions left in a will are followed.
When there is no will in place, your property must still be distributed. Here are the rules for which this distribution works:
As you can see, the rules for distributing an estate if the deceased does not have a will can be very complicated. It can also lead to fighting between family members and destroyed relationships.
While it may seem that death is far off and preparing for it is not a pressing matter, anything can happen at any time. Being reasonably prepared for the worst is always a smart idea, and creating a will is one of the most responsible things you can do to protect your family and legacy.
The team at The Knee Law Firm, Ltd. can help you establish a legally binding will that can speak for you if the worst were to happen.
If you are going through a divorce, then you need to work hard to keep your cool. It is a turbulent time. You can feel anger, be afraid of the future, and even be grieving the loss of your relationship. You have to separate the emotional from the logistics and take them on as two separate issues so that you can get through the proceedings and come out the other side with a reasonable arrangement in place. Here are some tips on what you should do if you are going through a divorce.
Set Reasonable Expectations
You need to think rationally when you are dividing assets. You are not going to get everything that you want in a divorce, and if you are the primary breadwinner, then you will most likely be expected to pay child/spousal support, even if you think it is unfair. If you receive child/spousal support, you may be surprised at how little it is to what you thought. Be prepared for things to go differently than you may have initially imagined.
Learn to Let Go
There are often a lot of things that you will need to divide up when you get a divorce. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to be able to let go of things that are not important to you. Squabbling over every single little thing will just drag things out and cause hurt feelings. Focus on the big things such as custody and any property like cars or homes.
Never try to hide assets from your spouse, lawyer, or the courts. Never move money from joint accounts to a personal one once you separate. If you do these things, you can be sanctioned or held in contempt.
Stop Adding Money to Joint Accounts
Once you have separated, it is a good idea to no longer use the joint accounts that you have. Open up your personal account and start putting your paycheques there. You will need to report this money when proceedings begin, but it is not the same as hiding assets.
Try to Settle
You don't have to have a “big day” in court to get a divorce. In fact, it is a better option to try to settle out of court. Your lawyer will be able to negotiate for you, and it can be especially good if you have children so they won’t have to be apart of a courtroom or have not been married very long.
Don't Be Spiteful
Never ruin property, throw away important things, or act in a spiteful way towards your ex-spouse. This can come back to bite you and will most likely make them want to take you to court and refuse to settle outside of court. Furthermore, it is the right thing to do.
The most important thing that you can do when you are in the midst of a divorce is to be forthcoming and rational. Take care of yourself. Try to keep up with your social life, your job, and taking care of your children if you have any. Your life does not end with your divorce, and you need to remember that as you go through the proceedings. If you need a divorce lawyer, then the team at Beyer Knee Law Services are here for you. If you need legal assistance for any family law proceeding, then contact us today, we are here to help.
Splitting up assets during a divorce can be trying. Deciding who gets what and if it is kept intact or sold and split up can result in a headache and a lot of hurt feelings. This stress is compounded when there is debt. It can be difficult to split up debt when a relationship ends. Most debt is assumed under both members of the couple names, as it is easier at the time. When a split happens, this becomes tricky. Who is responsible for the mortgage? Are the car or cars going to be paid off by one individual? Are both of you responsible for the family loan from dad? Hopefully, divorce ends as amicably as possible, but debt can complicate this, so here are some tips for making things go as smoothly as possible while separating with debt.
Keep the Status Quo
When you decide to separate you should keep the status quo as much as possible until you go to court. Joint debts need to be paid as they usually are, and unless you agree with your spouse to up payments on these debts, then just keep paying them off as you usually would. Keep spending to a minimum, as much as possible, and do not make excessive spending decisions on joint credit cards or lines of credit. If you spend irresonsibly after you have decided to separate then a judge can take that into consideration when splitting up finances and debts. Keep the status quo.
If you have joint debts, then you are both equally responsible for paying the debt back. That does not mean that you cannot be pursued by creditors, however, if your ex-spouse does not pay their portion. To try to mitigate this, you can contact banks and creditors that you will be separating from your spouse and that you are not liable for any spending your spouse makes moving forward. This can help protect you from future debts, but you need to understand you may be pursued for current debts owed by you and your spouse jointly.
Debt in Your Name
If you have debt that is not joint, then your spouse is not liable for payment of the debt, even if you used the credit to purchase things that your spouse uses, like their wardrobe. If you let your spouse use your credit card for spendings, such as groceries or gas, then you are also still responsible for it, as this is under your name. On the same hand, you are not responsible for their debt unless you have guaranteed it.
All assets and debt are included in calculations for the net family property when equalization occurs. Debt that you hold in your name is your sole responsibility, but debt that you hold together is split equally between both of you. If you receive more property, though, such as the family home, then more debt may be given to you to equalize things.
Discuss debt early on with your spouse when you are going through a separation, and if things are too heated to discuss debt and assets properly then contact a lawyer immediately so that they can act as a mediator between you both. Separation is never easy, but with the right team on your side it can go as smooth as possible.
Estate planning can be a topic that some people would rather avoid. Dealing with your mortality is not something that most people want to do, but if something were to happen to you, and you did not have a will in place, then it can be a nightmare for those you leave behind. When penning your will there are a lot of things that must be considered, and you do not want to leave anything out that may slip your mind. Working with a family law attorney makes the process easy, as they have the knowledge needed to set up your will without any accidental omissions. Here are some of the most important things that you need to consider putting in your will.
Choose Your Executor
An executor is someone that you either decide upon in advance to execute your will or someone who is appointed by a court to execute your will. An executor files the will with probate; notifies the banks, credit card companies and government agencies of the death; sets up any accounts for incoming funds and pay bills; files an inventory of the estate's assets with the court; maintains property; distributes assets; disposes of other property; and represent the estate in court. You need to talk to the executor you choose if you have selected a family member, and go over these responsibilities with them. It is also a good idea to have an alternate executor, so in case the primary executor cannot perform the duties there is a backup.
If you are a parent, this is the most important reason why you need to create a will! In the will, you can name who your children will go to in the event of your death. Whether your will dictates they go to your spouse, or in the case of both of your deaths a close relative or sibling who has reached the age of majority, having this in writing is incredibly important for the lives of those you leave behind if you die. You can also choose someone to manage your children's property if you want to leave it to them when they come of age.
Your assets, such as cars, property, and even special items such as a watch or specific piece of jewelry that just have to go to a particular person, need to be properly noted in a will. You have to describe the item in detail, for instance, the make and model of a car you are leaving, and the person's name that you are leaving the item to. Not every single item that you own needs to be included in the will, but be as specific as you need to avoid contention after your death.
Store Your Will Safely
Whether you store it in a safety deposit box or keep it in a firebox at home, make sure that your will is protected and that those who need access to it can do so. This is crucial, as the last thing anyone needs is to be scrambling and searching for your will.
The best thing that you can do when you are looking to create a will is to get legal advice on how to create it so that it cannot be contested in court. The team at Beyer Knee Law Services are ready to help you with estate planning, with our team you will have the security that you need and the confidence that if the worst were to happen everything would be taken care of.
If you want to legally protect your children, spouse, and assets, and make sure your things are handled and distributed properly after you have passed away, having a will is extremely important. Although wills can get very specific in what is determined after you have passed, here are some of the more general reasons why you need to get a will as soon as possible.
Decide who will take care of your children
If you have children who are under the age of 18 and you pass away suddenly while not having a will, the court will choose who gets to take care of your children among your family or an appointed guardian. Having a will allows you to choose who you would trust to raise your children.
Properly distribute your estate
Many fights have risen after a person in their family has passed away without a will. When you don’t determine how your estate will be distributed, it is basically a free-for-all for your surviving family members. Having a will is a legally-binding contract that lets you control how your estate is distributed so everyone is aware of what they are inheriting.
Avoid an extended probate process
All estates must go through a probate process whether you have a will or not. If you have a will, the process will go a lot faster since the court will know how you want your estate divided. If you don’t have a will, it’s up to the judgement of the court to administer and distribute your estate without your consent, which may cause long delays.
Customize your will whenever you want
While you are alive, you can change your will if anything comes up like a birth, death, or divorce. You can also disinherit individuals out of your will if you need to because of a falling out with a beneficiary or family member. If you don’t have a will, your estate could find its way into the hands of somebody you don’t want to have it.
Lower estate taxes
Having a will allows you to minimize your estate taxes and the value of what is distributed from your estate, whether to family members or charity, will lower the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.
Donation and gifting options
If you have a favourite charity you have been donating to through your life, you can set up a way to donate or gift a portion of your estate after you have passed away. Gifts up to $13,000 are exempt from estate tax, which will increase the value of your estate meaning your heirs will get more out of your estate. Gift tax exclusions can change from year to year, so make sure you are always up to date on the laws and how it works.
If you are looking to write a will but don’t know where to start, let the experienced team at The Knee Law Firm, Ltd. be your guide. We can help you properly write a will to ensure that your estate is accounted for and distributed to the people you trust the most.