What You Should Know About Selling Your Marital Home During a Divorce

divorce, DuPage County real estate attorneyFor a dedicated real estate broker, there are few things that as satisfying as helping a client buy a new home or to sell a home at a substantial profit. In many situations, the same broker can help a client with both deals at the same time—selling their current home while buying a bigger and better home for the future. At some point, however, most real estate professionals will eventually find themselves caught in the middle of a contentious divorce—one where the couple is being forced by the circumstances to sell their marital home. To manage such a situation, many real estate agents have developed strategies to help them thrive in what has become known as the “divorce niche” of real estate.

Be Very Patient

If you are going through a divorce, you want the proceedings to move as fast as possible without compromising your best interests. The same holds true for a real estate broker who is trying to help you sell your family home. Selling a house is difficult under the best of circumstances, and the added complications of the divorce can slow things down even more. Your agent might need to get approvals from both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, which is often very challenging if the divorce has turned bitter. Therefore, you and your broker will need to be extremely patient as you work on selling your home.

Keeping the Divorce Talk to a Minimum

While your divorce may be the only reason that you are selling your home, your potential buyers do not need to know that. In fact, many agents say that it is a good idea to avoid mentioning your divorce to prospective buyers altogether. If you tell a buyer that you are only selling because of a divorce, it may create the impression that you are desperate to make a deal. In turn, this could lead to lower bids and increased demands from buyers looking to capitalize on a perceived opportunity.

Your agent might also do some things around the house to address evidence of a pending divorce. For example, he or she may rearrange your bedroom furniture or the contents of your closets to make it less obvious that your spouse moved out recently.

Creating Loyalty

A real estate broker who can adeptly handle the sale of a home during a divorce will usually be well-positioned to help you and your spouses as you move forward. There is a good chance that both of you will soon be looking for a new place to live. If your agent was honest, communicative, and easy to work with, you might be inclined to work with him or her again in the future. Your broker could also benefit from you sharing your positive experiences with your friends and family.

A Wheaton Real Estate Lawyer Can Help Too

There is little question that a qualified real estate broker can be a tremendous source of guidance when you are looking to sell your home during your divorce. However, there are many legal concerns that must be dealt with, as well. A real estate agent is not trained or permitted to offer legal advice, which means that you should contact an experienced DuPage County real estate attorney. By adding a legal professional to your sales team, you can ensure that all important aspects of the deal have been addressed. Call Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC at 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Sources:

https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/real-estate-mistakes-you-dont-want-to-make-in-a-divorce

https://www.npr.org/2011/01/20/133026583/for-sale-by-divorce-a-real-estate-niche

Can I Include My Pets in My Estate Plan?

pet trust, Wheaton estate planning attorneyAs you go through the steps of creating an estate plan, you will probably give plenty of consideration to which of your family members will receive a particular asset or a part of your estate. If you have a young grandchild, for example, you could choose to bequeath one of your vehicles to him or her. With children, grandchildren, and other loved ones to consider, many people often overlook their companion animals. Could it be possible to include provisions for a pet dog or cat in your Illinois estate plan? Put simply, the answer is yes, but there are some limitations.

The Basics of a Pet Trust

Under the law in Illinois, you are permitted to make provisions for the care and protection of certain domestic animals through estate planning. In fact, the law explicitly allows for the creation of “trusts for domestic or pet animals”—more commonly known as “pet trusts.” The statute is not precise regarding the species of animals that are eligible to be covered under pet trust, as it simply states that the trust can be set up for the benefit of “one or more designated domestic or pet animals.” Over the years, however, Illinois courts have determined that pet trusts can apply to cats, dogs, and horses, as well as a number of other kinds of animals. Generally, livestock and farm animals are not considered domestic or pet animals.

In setting up your pet trust, you will be required to specify each animal that you wish to have covered. The trust documentation must include the animal’s name, sex, age, species, breed, and any other important details. You should also list any known health or medical conditions so that the individual you choose to manage the trust—known as the trustee—will be better prepared for the future.

Establishing Expectations

It is your right to decide how the assets you have put into a pet trust will be used. With this in mind, you should be sure to be specific about the level and type of care that you wish to be provided for the covered animals. For example, if you expect your trustee to have your beloved dog groomed every other month, you should include such directions in the trust documents.

Choosing a trustee wisely is also important. The person you choose should share your love of animals and be willing to carry out your wishes exactly as you intend.

At your discretion, your pet trust could also provide the trustee with the power to sell or give the animal to a new owner in the right situation. Consider a scenario, for example, in which your selected caregiver has taken in your dog—a friendly animal who loves children. About a year following your death, your granddaughter—who now has two children—asks to adopt your dog, promising to give him a loving home. Your chosen caregiver could only allow the adoption if you have given him or her the permission to do so.

Closing the Pet Trust

An Illinois pet trust can remain in effect only while the covered animals are still living. The trust must be closed upon the death of the last designated pet, or when the chosen caregiver is no longer caring for the last designated pet. Any assets remaining in the trust will then be distributed according to the plan that you established. This means that you must decide in advance what will happen to those funds. Should the caregiver be allowed to keep them? Should the money be given to a local animal rescue organization? The choice is yours, but it is important to include your decision in the trust documents to ensure that your wishes are carried out properly.

Call a Wheaton Estate Planning Lawyer

A pet trust is just one piece of a comprehensive estate plan. If you have questions about pet trusts or other instruments of estate planning, contact an experienced DuPage County wills and trusts attorney at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation and get the guidance you need.

 

Source:

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

Why Does Wording Matter in Business Contracts?

wording, Wheaton business contract lawyersMost people were taught at a reasonably young age to be sure to read anything they sign, especially documents that create a contractual relationship. If you own a business, you probably realize the importance of doing so now more than ever. The reason is simple: the wording of your contracts matters a great deal. Moreover, the way that a contract is worded is crucial to the enforceability of the agreement. One misunderstood clause or provision could cost your company thousands of dollars, and the contract might not be enforceable in the way that you understood it to be.

How Poor Wording Can Cost Your Business

Nearly all business transactions are guided by some type of contract, including those between you and your suppliers, your clients, and even your employees. The reality is that poor wording or confusing language in a contract can put your company at risk in just about every way you can imagine. You could face legal action for failing to meet your customers’ expectations. You could find yourself on the short end of deals with your suppliers. You could even be facing wrongful termination lawsuits and other litigation related to your employees.

Key Elements of Business Contracts

Each contract is going to be different, as various types of contracts are used to serve specific purposes. For this reason, you should work with a qualified business contact attorney before signing any agreement with a partner, distributor, supplier, employee, customer, or client. This can allow you to be sure that the wording of the contract does not put your company at risk and that you did not overlook any elements that should have been included in the contact. Such elements may include, but are not limited to:

  • Clear verbiage in simple language to reduce misunderstandings;
  • A section that defines the terms as they used in the agreement;
  • Warranties, limitations, and exclusions that are applicable to specific products or services;
  • Limitations on liability or liability exclusions, as appropriate;
  • Provisions on how disputes regarding the contract;
  • A provision that releases both parties from the contract if unforeseen circumstances should occur; and
  • All relevant details about the services and products, such as pricing, payments, interests, and penalties.

Contract Review Is Crucial

Whether you have drafted the contract yourself or the contract was drawn up by the other party, you should always have it reviewed by your lawyer before you sign it. Your attorney can help you identify possible areas of concern and can propose changes that might need to be made to protect your best interests.

Call a Wheaton Contract Lawyer for Help

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC, each of our attorneys has over 40 years of legal experience, and we are equipped to help you with all of your business contract concerns. For guidance with drafting a new contract or to have a contract reviewed, contact an experienced DuPage County business lawyer at our firm. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation

 

Sources:

https://smallbusiness.chron.com/write-contract-verbiage-17516.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2013/10/03/big-legal-mistakes-made-by-start-ups/