Chicagoland Law Blog

Administering an estate: what will you have to do?

When a loved one dies, there are various things you and your loved ones will have to do to handle his or her estate. This can be a difficult process, especially if you are in a time of grief and upheaval due to the loss. Administering an estate is a tremendous responsibility, and you would be wise to learn what your expectations are and how you should proceed.

As the executor of an estate, you have the responsibility to take certain steps to wrap up the financial affairs of the deceased. This can be a daunting task, and it helps to be prepared and reach out for help. Your Illinois family does not have to walk through this process alone. 

Civil asset forfeiture case goes to the Supreme Court

Citizens of Illinois arrested for a crime may see the state confiscate their property, such as houses or cars, if the state believes that the owner of the property used it in the commission of a crime, even if the use was only tangential. However, the United States Supreme Court may decide to limit this process, known as civil asset forfeiture, on the grounds that it may violate the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects against excessive fines. Up until now, the prevailing opinion of the courts has been that the ban against excessive fines applies only to the federal government, not the states, when it comes to levying fines against property. 

A man arrested in Indiana for selling a small amount of heroin to an undercover cop for $400 saw his $42,000 Land Rover seized by the state government. His punishment also included a year of house detention and other fines. The Indiana Supreme Court disagreed with a trial judge and appeals court that decided it was a grossly disproportionate punishment for the state to take the man's SUV in addition to other penalties.

Defense options for involuntary manslaughter

If you were involved in an Illinois incident that resulted in the death of another person, charges may be brought against you. Although the charge typically depends on the circumstances and evidence, in situations where the death was inadvertent, the charges may be involuntary manslaughter. At Mockaitis Law, we defend clients against charges of crimes against persons, also referred to as violent crimes.

According to FindLaw, involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person disregards unjustifiable and substantial risk and takes action that causes an individual’s death. There are several legal defenses for these charges, based on the situation.

What is a restrictive driving permit?

If you have a DUI conviction, then the court will usually suspend your Illinois license. This means you cannot drive legally. This can be quite detrimental and inconvenient since driving is often an incredibly important part of your life. You have to drive to work, to the store and many other places. Luckily, there is an option called a restrictive driving permit.

According to the Illinois General Assembly, a restrictive driving permit allows you to have some driving privileges for specific reasons if your license is under suspension. The Secretary of State issues this permit and it is usually classified for only specific activities. This may include driving to and from work, medical appointments, school, support groups, court-ordered activities or daycare. You have to prove that you need the privileges by providing proof for the activity. For example, if you need to drive to and from work, you would have to give the court a verification of employment.

How can I protect my parents from elder financial abuse?

It can be difficult to see your parents age and decline, mentally as well as physically. You always saw your parents as examples of strength and wisdom. As Illinois residents age, many will develop physical and cognitive conditions that can make them more vulnerable to abuse.

According to the National Adult Protective Services, one out of every 20 seniors in the United States will become the victims of financial abuse. Your parents might be targeted by one of many scams that go after the elderly and incapacitated, or they could even be victimized by caregivers they should have been able to trust. Regardless of the source, elder financial abuse scams have a common goal – to separate your loved ones from their money. Some of the common scams and abuses include the following:

  • Fake IRS scams claiming to have the victim arrested or fined
  • False sweepstakes that require a processing fee before winnings are awarded
  • Emails or text messages claiming to be from a relative who is in trouble and needs money
  • Calls from bogus utility companies claiming the utilities are about to be shut off unless immediate payment is made

Are you accused of violating your probation?

Your sentence of probation meant you avoided time in jail. This may have been a relief to you, but it certainly did not mean you were completely off the hook. You may have received probation in return for a plea of guilty, which means you still have a criminal record. Additionally, your probation likely came with terms you may not violate without serious consequences.

The consequences of failing to fulfill the terms of your probation may vary depending on the circumstances of your conviction and the details of the alleged violation. You will want to take this offense seriously and seek quality legal advice since your freedom may be on the line.

Understanding title insurance and title reviews

In the last decade since the economy has been recovering from the great recession, many people in Illinois have been buying and selling homes as their personal financial situations also rebound and maybe even improve. While it is not uncommon to buy or sell a home, that does not mean consumers should not take the process seriously. Without the right steps being taken, a buyer could end up with a serious problem on their hands.

The need for title insurance is one thing that should not be overlooked or considered unimportant. As explained by Zillow, during the escrow process of a real estate transaction, a title company will conduct a thorough review of the property's title history. This is intended to confirm that the person selling the home actually has the legal right to do so and that the person buying the home will have full ownership and legal rights to the property upon close of the sale.

Can you buy a home without a real estate agent?

You would probably not have to have a real estate agent — or an attorney, for that matter — involved when you buy a home in Illinois. However, regardless of whether it is a legal requirement, it is often a practical necessity to engage the services of someone who is familiar with the buying process. 

If you were to work with a professional, you would be in good company. While not everybody uses agents, first-time homebuyers and seasoned investors alike often work through legal representatives during these purchases. There are several reasons:

  • Buying property is a legal transaction.
  • Only lawyers may draft contracts and property-specific riders.
  • Attorneys are ethically bound not to work on commission. 

Estate planning for blended families

It is not uncommon for people in Illinois to get married after having been married previously whether the prior marriages ended due to death or divorce. In many of these new marriages, at least one spouse has children from their prior marriage and this is where things can become complicated very quickly, especially when looking ahead to inheritances and estate planning.

As Forbes explains, one situation that can cause a lot of upset in families occurs when one spouse in a remarriage dies. Without the right estate plan in place identifying any other path, all of that person's assets may pass directly to the surviving spouse, leaving nothing for the children of the decedent. When the surviving spouse eventually dies, there may either be nothing left for the children of the first spouse or the last spouse to die may have left everything to their own children.

How an IID impacts a driver's life

A person who finds themselves facing a criminal charge for drunk driving will want to get a good understanding of the potential consequences they may face if they are convicted. Certainly this may involve logistics like what fines might be owed, the details of any driver's license suspension and even if they will be required to spend any time in jail. As unpleasant as some of these things may be, there are other factors to learn about that may impact a person's life on a daily basis for some time.

As explained by Cyberdrive Illinois, even someone charged with a first-ever offense for impaired driving may have to install and use a breath alcohol ignition interlock device. This is often in exchange for the right to drive in lieu of serving a full term license suspension. One thing a driver should know is that they will be fully responsible for all costs associated with the BAIID from installation through to removal. This includes regular rental or lease payments and potentially ongoing maintenance or calibration as well.

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Mockaitis Law
123 W Washington Street, Suite 102
Oswego, IL 60543

Phone: 331-642-1515
Fax: 630-427-4947
Fax: 331-216-5920
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Our office is accessible via the store front on Washington Street.