The Importance of Updating Your Will After a Divorce

divorce, DuPage County estate planning lawyerHave you drafted and signed a will that outlines your wishes regarding your property and other concerns in the event that you were to die unexpectedly? If so, you are in a better position than most American adults are. In fact, recent estimates suggest that approximately 60 percent of adults in the United States have no formal estate plan in place—not even a basic will. Having a will is a good thing, of course, but it is important to remember that certain life events can have a dramatic impact on the applicability of your existing estate plan. If you are considering a divorce, you will need to think about how it will affect your estate plan.

Your Ex-Spouse in Your Will

It is common for a married person to name his or her spouse as an heir in his or her will. In fact, many married individuals decide that their entire estate should go to their surviving spouse. Additionally, a person could also appoint his or her spouse to serve as the executor of the estate.

According to the Illinois Probate Act, if you divorce your spouse with a valid will still in place, your will remains valid and enforceable. However, the provisions in your will pertaining to your spouse are revoked automatically once the divorce is finalized. Such provisions include any appointments, nominations, responsibilities, and, intended inheritances. As a practical matter, the law treats the situation as if your spouse passed away before you did.

Making the Changes

Once your divorce is finalized, you will need to update any sections of your will that made reference to your former spouse. You might even wish to do so before the divorce actually finalizes. If you were to die before the divorce decree is issued, the provisions in your will that pertain to your spouse are not revoked because you were not divorced. If you do decide to amend your will prior to your divorce finalizing, remember that you will probably need to make more changes later after the distribution of marital property is complete.

You should also keep in mind that the automatic revocation of provisions only pertains to your spouse. If you have named your stepchildren or in-laws as heirs or fiduciaries, those provisions will remain in effect until you actively change them.

It is possible to keep your ex as an heir or a fiduciary in your will if you choose to do so. For example, you might trust your former spouse with managing your estate, or you may want him or her to have certain assets. In order to do so, you must draft and sign a new version of your will that includes your ex-spouse after the divorce decree is issued.

A Wheaton Wills Attorney Can Help

For more information about how your divorce might affect your will, contact an experienced DuPage County estate planning lawyer. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC today.

 

Source:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60

Thinking of Buying a Business? Watch Out for These Warning Signs

buying a business, Wheaton business lawyersAre you considering buying a business? Being a business owner is a challenging and rewarding career, but it can also be a risky endeavor. Many entrepreneurs purchase a standalone company or a franchise location with the best intentions, but then later realize that they have gotten into something they wish they could get out of. While you are on the hunt for your new business venture, make sure to be on the lookout for the following telltale signs that a particular business purchase is not in your best interest.

The Franchisor Seems Focused Only on Upfront Fees

Many potential business owners choose to invest in a franchise location of an existing company because it is often less risky than investing in a standalone company. When you buy a franchise, you already have an established brand and business model. Furthermore, you will likely receive guidance, supplies, and training from the corporate team. However, an unprofessional or incompetent franchisor can nearly ruin your chances of success. If the franchisor you are considering purchasing from offers to decrease future royalties in exchange for increased upfront fees, this could be a red flag that the company is desperate for funds.

The Deal Feels Too Good to Be True

In business, when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Make sure to do your due diligence and research any potential businesses thoroughly. Check that the information provided by the current owner matches financial documentation and records. If you can, look at the last five years of the company’s federal and state tax returns. When a deal seems impossibly good, this is usually an indication that you are missing part of the puzzle.

The Current Business Owner Lies or Withholds Information

Anyone selling a business should expect to provide potential buyers with ample information about the business. If a business owner is not interested in providing you the information you need to make an informed decision, he or she may be hiding something. Business owners who are worried about sharing sensitive financial data or other company information should utilize a nondisclosure contract to protect themselves. Concerns over confidentiality is not a valid excuse for withholding critical information from potential buyers. The owner should also be able to tell you why he or she is selling. An owner who cannot answer this question may be selling because the business is already failing.

Contact a DuPage County Business Lawyer

For help with buying a business or for other business law concerns, speak with an experienced Wheaton business law attorney from Stock, Carlson, Oldfield and McGrath LLC. Call 630-665-2500 today to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable team of business law professionals.

Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/195020

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2018/07/06/the-top-ten-red-flags-to-watch-out-for-when-buying-a-franchise/

What Is a Judicial Foreclosure?

foreclosure, Wheaton real estate lawyersIf own your home, you probably are familiar with the concept of foreclosure. You more than likely know that if you fall seriously behind on your monthly mortgage payments, your lender has the legal right to initiate proceedings through which the lender can seize your home. What you may not realize, however, is that foreclosure is a rather complicated series of steps and that Illinois law mandates that the court system must handle the foreclosure process. This means that every foreclosure in the state is known as a judicial foreclosure.

How Other States Handle Foreclosure

There are 16 states, including Illinois, which require the courts to oversee foreclosures. Five other states use judicial foreclosures almost exclusively—but as a customary practice rather than a legal requirement. Non-judicial proceedings are used in the 29 remaining states, either as just an option or because the law prohibits judicial foreclosures.

In situations where there is no requirement for judicial foreclosure, the mortgage contract will often include a provision that grants the “power of sale” to the lender. This provision effectively allows the lender to foreclose and seize the property without going through the court system. If the homeowner does not make the payments required by the mortgage agreement, power of sale gives the lender the authority to take the home and sell it in an effort to recover the remainder of the loan balance. In Illinois, a power of sale provision is not enforceable.

State or Federal Court

In most cases, a lender will begin a foreclosure by filing a complaint in the appropriate county court based on the location of the property. Lenders have the option, however, of filing foreclosures in federal court instead. Some believe that federal courts act more efficiently on foreclosures that state-level courts do, but others say that it is harder for lenders to sell properties in federal foreclosures. The U.S. Marshall Service handles federal foreclosure sales, while that responsibility at the state level usually falls on the county sheriff’s department.

How to Handle a Notice of Foreclosure

Assuming that you are least four months behind on your payments, you most likely have received a notice of default in the mail. However, when the lender files for foreclosure, you must be personally served with notice of the lender’s filing. You have 30 days in which to file a response to the complaint and summons or the court could enter a default judgment in favor of the lender.

The best thing you could possibly do in such a situation is to immediately call a qualified lawyer to talk about your options. Your strategy for moving forward will depend on your unique circumstances, and it is important to act quickly.

Call a Wheaton Real Estate Attorney for Help

If you are facing possible foreclosure, contact an experienced Wheaton residential foreclosure attorney at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC today. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team. We will help ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected.

 

Sources:

http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/241366/Insolvency+Bankruptcy/Is+Federal+Court+Really+a+Better+Place+to+Foreclose

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2017&ChapterID=56&SeqStart=107100000&SeqEnd=115800000