Wills and Trusts – Understanding the Difference and Why It Matters

DuPage County wills and trusts lawyersIt can take decades to build wealth, so it only makes sense for guarantors to want a say over how their assets will be distributed upon their death. Wills and estate plans are valuable estate planning tools that can allow you to do just that. There are some distinct differences between these two options, however, and a variety of factors can dictate which option is most appropriate for your situation. Learn more, including how our seasoned estate planning lawyers can help protect your heirs, and your estate, immediately and long into the future. 

What is a Will? 

A will is a written document that explains how a guarantor’s assets should be distributed, upon their death. A guarantor can retract or amend a will at any point in their lifetime, and an update is recommended any time that a guarantor experiences a significant change in their situation (i.e. marriage, divorce, children, etc.). Wills can also be used to name guardians for minor children. 

What is a Living Trust? 

Living trusts are meant to designate control over a guarantor’s assets. You can name yourself, but most guarantors assign a trustee to their estate. The trustee would have the power to manage any assets to which they have been assigned, should you become incapacitated. Living trusts can also  reduce the tax-load of an estate, and it allows heirs to avoid the probate process (in most situations). Another distinct benefit of a living trust is the anonymity that it grants your heirs; under this document, your financial affairs remain a private matter. 

Which Estate Planning Tool is Right for You?

Living trusts allow guarantor’s the most control over their assets, even after death, but they are not appropriate for every situation. Often costly and typically complex, these documents are generally reserved for more complex estate planning situations. Examples include an estate with:

  • A significant tax-load; 
  • Multiple heirs;
  • Minor children that must be supported until they come of age;
  • Children, grandchildren, or other dependents with special needs;
  • Heirs who poorly manage money; and
  • Assets or property that should be maintained or held within the family.

Because no two situations are exactly alike, and the estate planning process is complex and multi-layered, it is advised that guarantors seek skilled legal guidance when determining which estate planning tools are best suited for their needs. Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC is the firm to trust. Our experienced Wheaton wills and trusts lawyers offer more than 40 years of estate planning experience. Call 630-665-2500 for your consultation. 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2117&ChapterID=61

 

 

 

Is Your Company’s Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable? The Answer May Surprise You

DuPage County business law attorneysBusiness owners often use non-compete agreements to protect their brand and trade secrets. Previously reserved for high-level executives, these contracts have even made their way into the “lower-income” sector. However, state law prohibits the use of non-compete agreements in some situations. Furthermore, such agreements must meet certain criteria to be considered enforceable by the courts. Where does your company stand on its use of “covenants not to compete?” The answer may surprise you. 

What is a Non-Compete Agreement? 

While non-compete agreements are not stand-alone documents, they do frequently make an appearance in other types of contracts, such as employment agreements and contracts for the sale or purchase of a business. Used to protect things like a company’s trade secrets, marketing tactics, client or customer data, and other sensitive business information, they prohibit the signer from working in a specific industry, trade, or geographical location. It may also prohibit the singer from working with specific competitors (prospective employers). 

Examining the Rules for Non-Compete Agreements

Prior to the beginning of 2017, non-compete agreements only needed to be considered “reasonable” to be enforceable. As defined by the Illinois Supreme Court, non-compete agreements are only reasonable when they: 

  • Require no restrictions greater than necessary to ensure the protection of an employer’s legitimate business interest (which can only occur if a legitimate business interest exists);
  • Do not impose undue or unnecessary hardship on the employee; and
  • Are not directly or indirectly injurious to the public.

It is important to note that the rules of enforceability may not always be applied the same in each situation. For example, a non-compete agreement may meet all of the rules and requirements, but if the employee did not acquire confidential information during their employment, the contract may be considered void and unenforceable by the courts. 

The passage of the Illinois Freedom Act, which occurred in 2016, places some additional restrictions on non-compete agreements as well. According to Illinois state law, low-income employees (defined as those who make the greater or either minimum wage or $13 an hour) cannot be asked to enter into a non-compete agreement, even if they have access to sensitive or confidential trade or industry secrets. However, this law does not apply to non-compete agreements signed before the Act’s passage. In that case, the original criteria would apply. 

Our Wheaton Business Law Attorneys Can Assist Your Company with an Enforceable Non-Compete Agreement 

To get ahead in today’s competitive market, business owners need to carefully protect their trade and industry secrets. Non-compete agreements can help, but only if they are truly enforceable. Backed by more than 40 years of experience, the DuPage County small business lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can review your current agreement to determine its enforceability and assist you with closing loopholes. If you have not yet drafted a non-compete agreement, we can help to ensure yours is enforceable, right from the start. Schedule a personalized, no-obligation consultation to learn more. Call 630-665-2500 today.

Source:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/05/27/noncompete-clauses-jobs-workplace/348384001/

https://www.daily-chronicle.com/2017/10/26/state-ag-files-lawsuit-against-check-into-cash/ao65nak/

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/opinions/supremecourt/2011/december/111871.pdf

 

Old Buildings and State-of-the-Art Technology: How to Have the Best of Both Worlds in Your CRE Investment Properties

DuPage County real estate attorneysAlthough simpler times have long since passed, a great many people still feel a sense of nostalgia when they step into an old building. Older, convertible buildings can also be a boon for real estate investors, as they are often priced below market value. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to retrofit these buildings to ensure they offer the state-of-the-art technology that most commercial real estate tenants want and need for their businesses. The solution? Find a way to have the best of both worlds. 

When is Retrofitting an Old Building Worth the Cost and Effort?

Not every building can or should be retrofitted. Consider New York’s Pennsylvania Station as an example. The building, though a historical and architectural work of art, had become dilapidated to the point that it was a safety hazard, and the cost of repair was prohibitive. Without another practical use for the space, retrofitting seemed not only impossible, but also pointless. There are buildings that can be retrofitted, however – ones that would greatly benefit the community, investor, and potential tenant.

Consider a building that can be converted into an eco-friendly, high-tech space in a high-demand location with little additional building space. So long as the possible return on investment (ROI) and demand are high enough, the cost of retrofitting could be well worth the investment. As an added bonus, the investor is able to walk away from the project, knowing they benefited their community and the environment by not requiring a new space or additional resources.

Taking the First Steps – Due Diligence and Determining the Potential ROI

Before deciding to retrofit an older building, investors are encouraged to conduct their due diligence. First, determine the cost of repairs (which can be especially costly in older buildings). Be sure to consider things like bringing the electrical wiring and building structure up to code. Then determine if retrofitting is even possible, and calculate its total cost. It is also important to know what your potential ROI on the property might be. To reach an answer on this, you may want to look at what similar structures have rented or sold for in the area. If no transactions like yours have recently taken place, consider looking at structures in areas with similar demographics. Lastly, ensure you have the assistance and knowledge of a skilled legal professional on your side. 

Contact Our DuPage County Commercial Real Estate Lawyers

Whether you are considering retrofitting an older space or would like to build something completely new, Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC is the firm to call. Seasoned and backed by more than 40 years of legal experience, our Wheaton real estate attorneys can assist you with every legal aspect of your next real estate project. Call 630-655-2500 and schedule your consultation wth our offices to get started today. 

Sources:

https://www.crainsnewyork.com/real-estate/commercial-real-estate-conundrum-investors-want-old-buildings-new-tech

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/how-nostalgia-plays-into-our-love-of-buildings-old-and-new-180947649/