Why Hire an Attorney When Buying or Selling Residential Property?

Illinois real estate lawyersAs a consumer, you make hundreds – if not thousands – of purchases each year. Some are small and require nothing more than your debit card, credit card, or cash payment. Others, such as the purchase and sale of residential property, require a larger investment. Learn how the aid of an experienced real estate attorney can protect that investment while also decreasing the chances of costly or unexpected delays and challenges along the way.

Practicing Your Due Diligence

Anyone that has ever purchased a used car knows that there is always a risk of purchasing a “lemon” – a vehicle that never seems to run properly and always needs repairs. Sadly, not everyone knows that this can happen with houses, too. A home with the gorgeous wainscoting could be hiding mold or fire damage underneath. Structures that do not give much access to the crawl space could have more foundation issues than originally thought. Due diligence, performed with the aid of an attorney, can reduce the risk of these costly and unexpected problems.

Avoid Vague and Unclear Contract Terms

Real estate contracts are long, complex, and potentially confusing documents that few individuals have the knowledge to decipher. Instead, they usually find out too late that they are responsible for more of the closing costs than anticipated, or that the real estate agent has added commission fees to the contract. Avoid such issues by ensuring you have an experienced real estate attorney on your side, long before you ever sign a single document.

Negotiate a Better Deal in the Purchase Agreement

The purchase agreement is one of the single most important documents in a residential real estate transaction, and not understanding it can cost you dearly. For example, it may be listed that the home was altered, but it may not have been done lawfully. If you do not know this before signing the purchase agreement, you could become subject to fees and fines, imposed by your county, city, or state, for the continued use of unlawfully built or zoned structures. Additionally, you would be responsible for the demolition or correction of the structure in question.

Contact Our DuPage County Real Estate Lawyers

Regardless of whether you are purchasing or selling residential real estate, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC. Dedicated and experienced, our seasoned DuPage County real estate lawyers can protect your real estate investment. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule your personalized consultation to get started today.



What is a Titanic Clause and Do You Need One in Your Estate Plan?

Illinois wills and trusts lawyersEstate planning can be a complex and frustrating process – and not just because you must follow the letter of the law when creating your documents. Instead, there are numerous challenges and obstacles to consider and anticipate. For example, you could create a comprehensive will that clearly outlines your wishes, only to have it contested in court, which could send the estate to probate and ultimately decrease its overall value. Learn how a Titanic clause can reduce the risk of this happening to your heirs, and discover how an experienced wills and trusts lawyer can help you add one to your current (or future) estate plan.

What is a Titanic Clause?

Titanic clauses are designed to deal with “worst-case scenarios” in estate planning, such as all your heirs dying before your estate can be distributed. They can also address when the state should direct funds to another agency or organization (i.e. your favorite non-profit), rather than attempt to find additional heirs for your estate. Not only can this reduce your risk of probate, it can also reduce the chances that your assets will go to an unintended party, or a family member that you do not know and have never heard of or met. Most individuals are encouraged to have a Titanic clause in their estate plan – even if the value of their estate is small – but it can be especially crucial for those with a high-value estate.

Other Important Estate Planning Elements to Consider

Being predeceased by your heirs is not the only risk to your estate. If you and your spouse die simultaneously, or if you die around the same time but it is difficult to determine which of you passed away first, it can complicate or even completely alter how your estate is distributed. A simultaneous death clause can direct the state on how to treat such matters.

Survivorship deferral clauses can be used to direct your estate if an heir dies within a certain time-period after they have received their disbursement. This, too, can reduce the risk that your assets go to an unintended party. Talk to your attorney about other clauses or addendums that may benefit you and your heirs in your estate plan by scheduling a personalized consultation.

Contact Our Wheaton Wills and Trusts Lawyers

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we protect the financial futures of our clients and their heirs by providing comprehensive and personalized services. Dedicated and experienced, our DuPage County wills and trusts lawyers are here to serve you. Call our offices at 630-665-2500 and schedule your personalized consultation today.



Survey Says Small Business Owners Are Optimistic About the Future but There Are Still Concerns – How a Business Law Attorney Can Help Resolve Them

Illinois small business attorneysSmall businesses are the backbone of America’s economy, but they are also the most susceptible to failure – and not just because they must compete against corporations and large chain stores. The recession hit everyone hard, but small businesses experienced mass closure and bankruptcy. Those that survived had to weather out the recession and hope that people would start spending money again. Now that it is happening, new and old small business owners say they are optimistic about their future, a recent survey said. However, there are still concerns. Learn what they are, how to mitigate them, and what an experienced business law attorney can help.

Small Businesses and the Nuances of Business Law

Laws change all the time – and that includes laws relating to business. Corporations typically have teams of attorneys to inform them of major changes that could impact their company. The same cannot be said for small business owners. Because of this, smaller businesses tend to be more susceptible to things like lawsuits (sometimes from patrons or consumers, but usually from employees), and they may struggle to ensure that they stay in compliance with some of the more complex employment law matters. In some instances, such as those relating to federal or state taxes, can place not just a business at risk, but also its owner.

Preventing and Fighting Against Lawsuits

Since small businesses are inherently more susceptible to lawsuits, it is critical that they take preventative measures whenever possible. Examples of such measures can include:

  • Hiring an experienced attorney to ensure that the business’s employment handbook clearly and concisely outlines the employer’s expectations;
  • Ensuring there are clear policies regarding in-office harassment and discrimination;
  • Developing a management training program that refreshes all supervisors on applicable harassment and discrimination;
  • Maintaining an open-door policy; and
  • Handling all reports of harassment and discrimination in a professional and diligent manner.

Sadly, even when taking such measures, small businesses remain at a higher risk of a lawsuit than other businesses. In the event that one is filed against your business, it is crucial that you know where to turn for guidance, assistance, and aggressive representation.

Contact Our DuPage County Business Law Attorneys

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we understand the challenges that small businesses face because we, too, are a small business. Dedicated to ensuring your company thrives, now and for years to come, our DuPage County business law attorneys can help you protect your business from lawsuits through preventative measures. When aggressive representation is needed to fight against a suit, we put our knowledge and skills to work for you. Call 630-225-2500 and schedule a consultation to get started.