Common Estate Planning Myths Debunked

myths, Wheaton estate planning lawyerA survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) shows that only about 40 percent of Americans have a will, trust, power of attorney, or other estate planning document in place. There are countless reasons that so many adults have neglected to create their estate plan. One reason is that many people do not understand the benefits that estate planning can offer them and their families. Some may only have a vague notion of what estate planning even entails and feel too overwhelmed by legal jargon to research estate planning further. Television and movies have not presented estate planning in a very positive light either. There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding estate planning which are simply not true.

Myth: I Do Not Need to Worry About Estate Planning Until I am Older

When most people imagine someone writing a will, an image of an elderly or sick person comes to mind. The truth is that waiting until you are older to start formulating estate plans is a poor idea for several reasons. The validity of a will can be questioned if the person writing the will, called the testator, is not of sound mind due to advanced age or cognitive decline.

Secondly, estate planning does not only deal with what happens to a person’s debts and assets after they die. For example, some estate planning instruments can allow you to choose a guardian for your minor children if anything should happen to you and your children’s other parent. While it is unpleasant to think about, accidents happen every day and it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

Myth: Only Rich People Need Estate Plans

While it is true that higher value estates and estates containing complex assets require more extensive estate planning, the reality is that every adult can benefit from some type of estate planning – regardless of wealth or status. For example, many people have strong beliefs about end-of-life medical care. They do not want to be kept alive via a ventilator or feeding tube if they are in a vegetative state. Others wish to sign a “do not resuscitate” order, or a “DNR,” for personal reasons. Still others wish to dictate exactly what types of death-delaying medical treatment they consent to and what they do not want if they ever become incapacitated. Estate planning allows you to make these types of decisions in advance.

Myth: I Do Not Need to Worry About Estate Planning Because My Loved Ones Can Handle it

Losing a relative or close friend is one of the most heartbreaking life events a person can experience. When an individual does not have any estate plans to dictate what happens to their assets and debt upon passing away, this responsibility falls to their surviving loved ones. This can be a difficult burden for them to bear, especially when they have just experienced a loss. Making decisions about your healthcare and finances in advance saves your family from having to make these decisions on your behalf.

Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Estate Planning Lawyer

If you want to learn more about how estate planning can benefit you and your family, contact an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield and McGrath LLC. Schedule a confidential consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today.


Common Reasons to Consider Selling Your Business

selling your business, DuPage County business lawyerFor many people, owning and operating a small (or medium-sized) private business is the realization of a lifelong dream. Reaching one’s dreams, of course, does not happen without many years of hard work, focused research, and an attitude of perseverance during the difficult times. When you stop to think about how much time, talent, and treasure that you have invested in your venture, you could be forgiven for being hesitant to realize that your run with the company is nearing its end. There are a few things you should keep in mind that might be indications that you should consider selling your business.

Reason #1: You Are Losing Your Passion

When you first started your business, you probably woke up every morning excited to get to work. Building a successful business and satisfying customers were more than daily operations—they were ideals that drove and motivated you into working as hard as you could.

They say that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. While this may not be exactly true, as many days certainly require hard work, things are certainly easier while your passion for your business is at its peak. As the years have passed, however, you might find that running your business feels more like a chore than ever before. If you notice that you are no longer as excited about your company as you once were, it is probably time to start thinking about how you will get out.

Reason #2: Too Big, Too Soon

Believe it or not, it is possible for a business to grow too much too fast. When your company was small and you had just a few people working for you, you might have been fully capable of running day-to-day operations as well as performing your “owner’s” duties. If the business has exploded, however, and now you are faced with serving more customers that you initially expected to serve, the scale of the business could be beyond your capabilities.

It is important to recognize and acknowledge your own limitations. In a case like this, you could even be looking at a tremendous financial opportunity. A fast-growing company is often extremely attractive to larger companies and investors who might be willing to give you top dollar for the business you have built. If you are interested in doing so, you might even be able to remain a part of the company in some capacity after the sale is completed.

Reason #3: An Economic Downturn

Some industries are built around annual business cycles. Others have cycles that are better measured in decades. Still other sectors explode in popularity all at once and then fade in obscurity—sometimes permanently. Business trends and advances in technology can have a direct impact on your company’s success and long-term profitability, and you may need to adapt or get out of the way. For example, the online shopping boom of the last few years has pushed many “brick-and-mortar” retailers to the brink of collapse. If the evolution of your industry has you seriously questioning your future, now could be the time to consider other options.

Call a Wheaton Business Lawyer

For more information about selling a business or advice about knowing when to sell, contact an experienced business law attorney in DuPage County. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC today.


The Dangers of Fake Real Estate Listings and Rental Scams

scams, DuPage County real estate attorneysWhen you are going through the process of a finding a new home, it understandable that you might feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all of the details. Whether you are looking to buy a new house or just to rent for right now, you have probably spent hours trying to find a place that meets your needs and those of your family.

Sadly, it is all too common in the internet age for unsuspecting individuals who have been worn out by their search to fall prey to online scammers. Even homes listed by qualified real estate agents are often involved in such scams.

Beware of Out-of-State Landlords

A successful real estate agent in the neighboring state of Missouri recently reported that she has just barely prevented at least two scams in six months involving properties for which she was contracted to sell. In one instance, she received a call from prospective renters who were ready to send a deposit to someone in Texas, despite the property being in the north part of Kansas City, Missouri. Apparently, an online scammer had used pictures from the agent’s sales listing and posted the property as a rental on Craigslist. In the post, the scammer purported that she was frustrated with her real estate agent, so she was trying to rent out the property on her own. Fortunately, the would-be renters go a hold of the agent before sending the money to the scammer.

The agent, along with the Better Business Bureau, advises renters to be very careful when landlords are from outside the area. Of course, there are many perfectly legitimate landlords who own properties in many states, but most generally have property managers or other representatives available near their properties. If you cannot meet with someone or see the property in person because the landlord is out of state or outside the country, this could be a serious red flag. Any respectable landlord will understand your caution and will take steps to prove his or her legitimacy.

Too Good to Be True

Real estate experts also recommend trusting any instincts that you may have about a potential deal being too good to be true. Internet real estate sites, including sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, offer great deals, but if you come across a property that is offered well below market value, there is likely to be a reason. In some cases, the reason is that the listing is a scam.

When you are looking for a new place to live, there is no such thing as too many questions or too much verification. If you are uneasy about your interactions with the landlord, ask for references, and then call those references, especially if they are professional references. If the landlord can only give the names of friends or other tenants instead of contractors or business associates, you should probably continue your search elsewhere.

Work With a Wheaton Real Estate Attorney

The best way to protect yourself when buying or renting a home is to contact an experienced DuPage County real estate lawyer at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. We will help you analyze your situation and conduct a full review of the landlord, the property, and any proposed contracts. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation today.