Estate Planning for Your Pet – What Pet Owners Should Know Before Writing Their Will

Wheaton will and trust attorneysWhen creating an estate plan, most people ensure their children and spouse are covered. Sadly, few people consider how their death could impact their furry family members. In fact, statistics indicate that only about 18 percent of pet owners have considered making provisions for their pet in their will. This oversight, which may be partially attributed to the fact that not everyone knows you can estate plan for a pet, often results in a poor outcome for beloved animals. Learn how you can prevent such a fate for your family pet using a pet trust or comprehensive estate plan, and discover how a seasoned estate planning lawyer can assist you with the estate planning process. 

Why Include Your Pet in an Estate Plan? 

In most states (including Illinois), pets are considered property. That means, if a pet owner dies, the animal is distributed like any other asset. Unfortunately, because a pet holds no financial benefit for the inheriting heir, it may be abandoned, surrendered, or neglected due to a lack of funds or desire to care for the animal. An estate plan can reduce the risk of such an issue occurring – and not just because the guarantor usually speaks with the inheriting party to ensure there is a desire to care for the pet, but because it often allows the pet owner to set up a fund that ensures the pet is well cared for, long after they are gone. Pet owners can also elect to set up alternate or subsequent guardians for their pet, just in case something should happen to the primary heir of the animal, such as a death, the birth of a child, or the development of allergies. 

How to Estate Plan for Your Pet

Creating an estate plan for an animal is a lot like making provisions for a child, but there are many special conditions and limitations that must be considered. For example, pet owners may be able to find a life insurance policy that can be left to the pet heir to ensure proper care of the animal, but these can be both difficult to find and costly – especially for older pet owners. Alternatively, the pet owner can set up a trust for the animal that covers the expected cost of vet bills, food, and grooming for the life of the pet. In either case, it is critical to ensure that the person receiving the money is interested not just in inheriting the funds, but also caring for the animal for the rest of its natural life. As such, it is highly recommended that pet owners take the time to discuss their wishes and desires with a potential pet heir to ensure they are both willing and able to accept the responsibility that comes with caring for a beloved pet. 

Contact Our Seasoned DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyers

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we prioritize the wishes and desires of our clients. Seasoned and experienced, our Wheaton estate planning attorneys can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that covers all your family members – even the furry ones. Schedule a personalized consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today. 

Source:

https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/estate-planning-pets-why-you-should-do-it

 

When Business Partnerships End – How to Survive a Business Divorce

Wheaton small business attorneysBusiness partnerships can end for all sorts of reasons. One of the partners may have a shift in their personal needs or goals (i.e. having a family, wanting to change industries, etc.). Other partnerships end over a matter of contention (unprofessional behavior, poorly job performance, etc.). Yet, regardless of the reasons, ending a partnership can be a complex process, and there are numerous pitfalls that can cost one or both parties a great deal of money. Learn how to mitigate against such issues, and discover how a seasoned business law attorney can help you survive the end of your business partnership. 

Protecting Your Business Before the End of a Partnership

While partners do not typically enter a business together, thinking it will one day end, it is highly encouraged that they anticipate and effectively plan for its eventual end. Not only does this make ending the partnership easier, should the need arise, it can also protect the interests of the partners and ensure the continuity of the business. Additionally, partners are encouraged to revisit their original agreement when needs change or the company grows, as this can ensure the exit strategy always reflects the business’s most current goals, profits, and vested parties. 

Business Valuations and the End of a Partnership

While an exit strategy will typically address most matters involved with ending a business partnership, there are elements to the process that must still be completed. One such item is an accurate valuation of the business, which accounts for all the company’s debts, assets, and projected future profits. Partners are encouraged to seek their valuation from an appraiser that they can both agree upon, instead of just one partner simply choosing an appraiser, as this can minimize the risk of a slated valuation that benefits only one of the vested parties (i.e. inflating the company’s debts to keep more of the money within the business). 

Deciding How to End Your Business Partnership

There are numerous methods that partners can use to end their relationship, but most require that the business either buy out the exiting party completely or make scheduled payments at pre-determined times. Businesses that need to preserve money for growth or are still new may benefit most from scheduled payment increments. Those that have the ability to make a complete buyout may benefit more from simply dissolving the partner completely. In either case, it is critical that parties discuss their options and the potential ramifications with a seasoned legal professional, as there are pros and cons to each method. 

Contact Our Wheaton Business Law Attorneys

Whether you need assistance with developing an exit strategy at the start of your business or need help with dissolving a business partner, Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC is the firm to call. Backed by more than four decades of experience, our DuPage County small business lawyers work hard to protect the interests and financial futures of our clients. Start by scheduling a personalized, no-obligation consultation. Call 630-665-2500 today. 

Source:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/191782

 

Student Housing Market is Growing – What You Need to Know Before Investing in It

DuPage County real estate lawyersThinking of expanding your investment portfolio this fall? Student housing saw a 10 percent increase in value over the past year, even as several other commercial real estate (CRE) sectors experienced a decline. The student housing market is also projected to continue in an upward trend over the next several years. Learn more about how to invest this growing market, and discover how a seasoned real estate lawyer can help you make the first steps. 

Why Invest in Student Housing? 

Student housing is unlike any other CRE sector. It tends to be less volatile since students typically continue to enroll in college, despite (and sometimes because of) economic downturns. Another major advantage to this market is that students typically only sign year-long leases, so landlords can analyze the market each year and increase their rental rates accordingly. Since the rent costs are typically shared between roommates, landlords can also typically charge more per square foot in a student housing unit – especially if they are in a highly desirable location. Lease renewals may also be easier to obtain in areas nearest to campus since students often know well in advance whether they will be returning the following year. 

Student Housing Landlords Face Unique Challenges

Although there are many potential benefits to investing in student housing, landlords who invest in this market often face some unique challenges. While rent may be paid by the student’s parents (which often means consistent, timely payments), there are students who rely on financial aid for their housing needs. As such, the landlord may need to accommodate a tenant who pays their rent on a quarterly basis. Students may also return home for the summer, so they may not sign a full year lease, so landlords often need to prepare for a lag in the summer months. 

Maturing adults may also struggle with certain tenant issues, like calling in to let the landlord know that there is a leak. There could also be issues with noise disturbances with certain students. Landlords can attempt to mitigate these issues by being patient but firm about their expectations for student tenants. 

Breaking Into the Student Housing Market

Whether you want to take a hands-off approach to student housing and invest in an REIT or wish to purchase and rent student housing on your own, it is important to have seasoned legal assistance. With more than 40 years of legal experience, Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can help protect your investment and advise you of your options in the student housing market. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule your personalized consultation with our DuPage County real estate lawyers to learn more.
Sources:

https://money.usnews.com/investing/real-estate-investments/articles/2018-08-10/take-a-crash-course-in-student-housing-investments

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bisnow/2017/07/10/these-two-public-reits-are-making-a-killing-in-student-housing/#46c6ed985eff

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-commercial-property-values-surge-in-niche-sectors-1531825204