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Tread carefully when buying your first home

Buying your first home is an exciting time, but you may be nervous. It is a major purchase, and making a mistake may mean years of struggle or discontent with your decision. If you are wise and taking your time, you are likely looking at a variety of properties and comparing the pros and cons of each. The price, the neighborhood, the amenities are all important considerations.

It is also critical to see past how things look on paper. A house that checks all the boxes on your wish list may be too good to be true, so you would be wise to take a closer look.

Remarriage and estate planning

If you are one of the many people in Illinois who are preparing to get married for the second or subsequent time, you likely know and appreciate how precious a marriage and family is. In addition to taking vows and sharing a daily life with someone, another way to show your love for a spouse and your other family members is to have plans in place to help them after you die. A solid estate plan can take a big load off of people already struggling to adjust to life without you.

When you get remarried, it is important to re-evaluate your estate planning wishes through a different lens. As Fidelity Investments explains, providing for your new spouse and your children from a prior marriage can be more complicated than providing for an intact, nuclear family from a first marriage. Regardless of how well a step-parent gets along with their stepchildren, these people can end up at odds over what should happen after the death of the spouse or parent.

How can I avoid probate problems as a business owner?

If you have a business partner in Illinois, one fear you may have is problems with probate. Probate describes the process by which the courts verify whether or not a will is legitimate. This sounds simple enough, so why does it bother business owners? The short answer is that probate decisions can affect business successions and lead to lengthy court battles.

According to Forbes, probate does not always result in difficulties for family members and business partners. This typically only happens when the deceased did not engage in proper planning for their final affairs. This could lead to problems sorting out assets, debts and final wishes.

Estate planning beyond the will

At Mockaitis Law, we know that many people in Illinois only think about wills when they hear the phrase "estate planning." It is true that a will is an important and essential part of an estate plan, but it does not apply to every possible contingency. Because a will does not go into effect until after you die, your estate plan should include other documents delineating what is to happen in the event that you become permanently incapacitated due to an accident or illness.

According to FindLaw, advance directives take effect in the event that you can no longer make decisions for yourself and express what you want to happen and what treatment you do and do not want to receive after becoming incapacitated. There are two basic types of advance directives: a health care power of attorney and a living will. A comprehensive estate plan should include both. 

Is your estate plan meeting your goals?

Creating an estate plan is not something you should do casually without serious thought to your goals. Jotting your last will and testament in a notebook is likely to create more confusion and frustration than you anticipate, and it won't provide much protection for you or your heirs.

Your first step to establishing an effective and thorough estate plan is to decide what goals you want that plan to help you meet. Understanding the many elements and instruments in a complete estate plan may help you clarify your objectives and determine the best options for reaching them.

Importance of choosing the right trustee for your estate

If you are making plans for your future in Illinois, you will need to assign a trustee to your estate. It is important to understand what the role of a trustee is so you can choose the right person for the job. Doing so will ensure he or she meets your wishes and there is no dispute after your passing.

According to the SF Gate, you assign a trustee to manage the assets in your estate and follow your direction in terms of who gets what. While it may sound like a fairly simple job, the trustee carries a lot of responsibility and, after you pass, he or she has a lot of work to do. A trustee must

  • Take inventory of all assets and make sure they are safe
  • Appoint appraisal for assets that do not have a defined value
  • Buy or sell assets to make sure trust gets good investment return
  • Distribute property to appropriate beneficiaries
  • Files all necessary tax returns 

Understanding easements and rights

Most people in Illinois who are interested in buying a single family home look forward to having their very own property that they do not have to share with someone else. This is understandable but home buyers should know that this is not always the case. It is always possible that the home of your dreams may well come with an easement that requires you to share some portion of your property or let other people have access to or use it. 

An easement may allow many things including the right to pass through your property to access another location. It may also grant someone the right to do certain work on your property as in the case of a utility company that might be able to dig holes or do other things in order to run lines through your property. As explained by Zillow, an easement may or may not be recorded so some diligence on your end is important. A recorded easement is part of the property's official record and would be found in a title report.

What should you know about quiet title actions?

In Illinois, real estate law can be somewhat complex even if you have dealt with related matters before. Because of this, having Mockaitis Law on board to help you navigate the issues you are currently dealing with can be a huge help.

Today, we will take a look at quiet title actions. This legal action is typically taken when someone wants to determine who the owner of real property is. Generally speaking, "real property" is considered to be land – or specifically, things under or over the surface of it. This can include building structures or minerals.

What should I expect during a home inspection?

Home inspections are an important part of the home buying process. Without an inspection, you’ll be unaware of the quality of the home you’re purchasing, as well as being left in the dark about potential issues. The Balance explains what you can expect during a home inspection in Illinois, as being fully aware of the process allows you to make smarter decisions.  

Roofing issues

What should you know about probate?

Illinois residents have a lot of legalities to deal with in the aftermath of a loved one's passing. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional weight of grief, but you may sometimes need to deal with matters of the estate. Dividing up property or assets and splitting debts can be a tough experience, especially if you haven't done this before. Fortunately, the probate process may be helpful.

FindLaw has a page dedicated to what to expect from probate. It is the process in which debts or assets that are left behind by a person after they pass get divided up by those who survive them. This process can be somewhat costly and time-consuming, which is why there are those who advocate to avoid it if possible. However, there are some benefits to the process. For example, probate is actually required in certain situations, so knowing what to expect is invaluable.

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