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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.  

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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.

Should you seek guardianship of your elderly parent?

As an adult, it can be quite difficult to watch your parents get older and struggle with certain activities. From driving to remembering basic daily needs, a time may come when a parent needs more than just emotional support. If you believe that it is time to step in and establish certain legal protections for your elderly parent, it may be necessary to seek guardianship.

If your parent is unable to care for him or herself, it may be the right time for you to seek guardianship. You may notice troubling actions like forgetting to take medications, skipping meals or missing appointments. These signs could indicate that your parent needs help. At this point, you could petition a court to name you guardian so that you can help your parent in specific ways.

Hints to avoid estate planning mistakes in 2019

As you have been making plans for the future at the start of a new year, we at Mockaitis Law recently cautioned you against a number of common estate planning errors made in Illinois.

This week, we are instead looking at things FindLaw suggests you do to avoid making estate planning mistakes in 2019. These hints do not constitute legal advice, but you may find them helpful to get the most out of your estate planning. 

Avoid these common estate planning mistakes in 2019

It is a new year, and for many in Illinois, that means looking ahead to the future. We at Mockaitis Law remind you that making plans for the future also includes deciding what happens to your property after your death. If you have yet to take any estate planning steps, now is the time to start. 

Execution of an estate plan may not always go perfectly smoothly, but matters will almost certainly be much more difficult for your surviving loved ones, possibly even involving litigation, if you do not have any plan at all. In order to help the process play out as intended when the time comes, FindLaw offers the following common mistakes to avoid when making your estate plan.

Employment background checks and criminal records

People in Illinois who find themselves facing a criminal conviction after being arrested may well be worried about how such a black mark on their record might impact their future. One area that a criminal record may impact is the ability to get a new job. However, it is possible to find a good job despite having a conviction in one's past.

According to Zip Recruiter, the Society for Human Resources Management indicates that nearly seven out of every 10 employers conduct background checks on job applicants before they officially hire people. With this is mind, it is recommended that job seekers take the time to run their own background checks before they start their job search. This will allow people to find out if there are any inaccuracies on their records and, if so, to have those corrected.

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.

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