Dual Agency in Real Estate – What Every Home Buyer and Seller Should Know About Their Real Estate Agent’s Interests

Wheaton real estate lawyersPeople often assume that a real estate agent is there to represent them and their interests. Sadly, this is not always the case. Neither state or federal law prohibits a real estate agents from having conflicting interests, and some exploit that loophole to the fullest extent possible. Learn more about “dual agency” among real estate agents, including how it could affect your next real estate transaction, and discover how our seasoned Wheaton real estate attorneys can minimize the risks. 

Dual Agency in Real Estate – What It Is and Why It Matters

In an ideal world, a real estate agent would work with only the buyer or the seller – never both. Sadly, dual agency is extremely common among agents. In this scenario, the agent provides services to both the buyer and the seller, and that allows them to keep the entire commission. In short, the only interests they are representing are their own, and that can create all kinds of issues in a real estate transaction. 

As an example, consider a situation in which the seller informs the agent that they recently learned of some foundation issues with the house. Instead of disclosing the full extent of the details to potential buyers of the house, the agent may then downplay the severity of the issue. As a result, the buyer loses money on a house that is unfairly priced.

Avoiding Dual Agency in Your Next Real Estate Transaction 

The one key thing that buyers and sellers can do to protect themselves from the consequences of dual agency is to ensure they know whose interest their agent is serving. Ask them, point blank, if they are representing you exclusively, and if they have a fiduciary duty to do so. These are known as single agents. Other types of real estate agents – most of which you will want to avoid – include subagents, who work with the buyer but have a duty to the seller; transactional agents, who facilitate the transaction but have no responsibility to either party; and dual agents, who are somehow supposed to represent the interests of both parties in a real estate transaction. 

Our Wheaton Real Estate Lawyers Can Protect Your Interests in a Sale or Purchase 

Finding a single agent can be difficult, so not all buyers and sellers can rely solely on the ability to do so. Instead, know that there are other ways to protect your interests during the purchase or sale of a home. The seasoned DuPage County real estate lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can help. Call 630-655-2500 to schedule your consultation today.

Source:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-re-1223-kenneth-harney-20181223-story.html

 

Not Updating Your Estate Plan After a Divorce Can Put Your Heirs at Risk

Illinois wills and trusts attorneysIf you have an estate plan in place, congratulations! You are already doing better than most Americans. Estate planning documents are not evergreen, however. Instead, the guarantor must review them regularly and update them whenever a significant change occurs. Perhaps the most overlooked (and potentially devastating) issue is that of divorce. Learn more about how not updating your estate plan after a divorce can put your heirs at risk, and discover how our seasoned Wheaton wills and trusts lawyers can help set things right again. 

Divorce and Your Estate Planning Documents

During a divorce, marital assets are divided and then distributed, which can drastically affect the value of your estate. As such, the exact details of your will or trust may change. There may be less to distribute to your heirs, or perhaps some specific assets went to your ex-spouse. In either case, your estate plan must be updated to reflect these changes in your net worth. Furthermore, you must practice due diligence to ensure that an oversight does not occur. For example, your divorce decree may state that your spouse is no longer entitled to any of your retirement pension plan, but if you do not change the designated beneficiary and you pass away unexpectedly, the money could still go to your ex-spouse, rather than the intended heirs. 

Updating Your Estate Plan After an Illinois Divorce

People often put off updating their estate plan after a divorce – perhaps because they have a new lease on life and do not fear being affected by the potential consequences of doing so. Yet, every day, tragic and unexpected events occur. Protect your heirs from mishaps by ensuring you update your estate plan as soon as your divorce has been finalized. Areas to focus your attention include:

Your healthcare proxy. While there are some divorced parties who may trust their ex-spouse to continue acting as their healthcare proxy, this is a pretty rare occurrence. Ensure that someone you care about and trust is put in charge of your medical decisions, should an accident occur, by taking the time to name a new healthcare proxy in your estate plan;

Your power of attorney. Just as you may not trust your ex-spouse to make decisions regarding your life, you may not want to trust them with your finances after a divorce has occurred. 

Your designated beneficiaries. While, in most cases, your will or living trust will dictate how assets are distributed upon your death, certain assets, such as pension plans and retirement accounts, cannot be overruled by an estate plan. Instead, the policy goes to the named beneficiary. Avoid wrongful disbursement by ensuring you update your beneficiaries. 

Guardianship of any minor children. While, usually, children will go to the other parent if one passes away, there are scenarios in which this option may not be appropriate (i.e. abuse or neglect). Furthermore, there is always the chance that you and your ex-spouse’s deaths will occur in-tandem. If this happens, the courts may struggle to determine who has rightful guardianship over your children (this could be especially true if your spouse has also named possible guardians in their own estate plan). Whatever your scenario, protect your children by ensuring that guardianship is considered and updated accordingly after your divorce. Also, be sure to update the trustee if you have a trust account for your children. 

How Our Wheaton Estate Planning Lawyers Can Help 

For most people, divorce signifies the start of a happier, more fulfilled life. The last thing you want to worry about is the possibility of your death. Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can help. Backed by more than 40 years of legal experience, our DuPage County wills and trusts lawyers can examine your documents and assist you in making whatever changes are necessary. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule your consultation today. 

Source:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinefletcher/2019/01/08/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-estate-planning-after-divorce/#67dcac783e31

 

Examining the Different Types of Business Mergers and Acquisitions

DuPage County mergers and acquisitions lawyerMergers and acquisitions are highly misunderstood legal terms, and are often considered to be synonymous among small business owners and the general population. However, there are some distinct differences between the two; understanding them and how they change the dynamics of a business transaction can be critical for ensuring a company’s future success.

Mergers

A merger is a business transaction in which two companies join together to form one company. Many times, one of the two companies ceases to exist. One example is the2007 merger between Digital Computers and Compaq in which Digital Computers was absorbed by Compaq.

Yet, not all mergers are the same. Instead, there are five types of mergers, all of which are listed and described below:

  • Horizontal merger. This involves two companies in direct competition with one another, both in market and product line.
  • Vertical merger. This is an agreement between two companies in a similar industry, but different type of business. An example would be a merger between a framing company and a drywall company.
  • Market-extension merger. An agreement between companies in different markets but with similar products.
  • Product-extension merger. An agreement between companies in similar markets that sell distinct products.
  • Conglomerate merger. Two companies with seemingly nothing in common merge. An example would be an electronics company merging with a company that sells car parts.

Acqusitions

An acquisition is a business transaction in which one company purchases another company. The latter of ceases to exist. In this scenario, the buyers take over the operations and decision-making of the purchased company. Many times, acquisitions have negative connotations, while mergers are viewed in a positive light. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to know that there are three main acquisitions

  • Strategic Remix acquisition. This is an agreement in which the acquired asset, including operations and product line, are combined with an existing business to increase profit.
  • Private Equity acquisition. This is when a company buys another business at a cheap price, pumps it full of resources, and then sells it at a higher cost.
  • Alphabet acquisition. An agreement between two companies that is a hybrid of the other two types of acquisitions. When this happens, the buyers take on the operations and product line of the acquired company with the intention of waiting to see how the acquired company does. If they improve, the buyers have the choice to sell or pump in more resources and potentially keep running the company for their own profit.

If you are looking to enter the world of mergers and acquisitions, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC. Backed by more than 40 years of legal and business experience, our Wheaton small business attorneys can help you make informed decisions about your organization’s future. As a small business ourselves, our legal team knows how important a transaction like this can be for your business’ future. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a consultation with our office today.

Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/mergersandacquisitions.asp

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/mergersandacquisitions.asp

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/mergersandacquisitions.asp