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I’ve been involved in a accident…What happens now?

I’ve been involved in a accident…what happens now?

When involved in an accident your well-being is most the important aspect and we will fight to ensure your physical and emotional injuries are compensated. A personal injury accident can result in any of the following injuries:

• Loss of income (current or future income)
• Permanent or temporary physical impairment
• Decreased quality of life
• Overall pain and suffering

Do I have a case?
you should begin by asking yourself three basic questions: First, did you suffer a personal injury and not just property damage? Second, were your injuries caused by the negligence of another person or entity? Finally, do you have recoverable damages? If the answer to all three questions is “yes,” you may be able to obtain financial compensation for your injuries by bringing a personal injury lawsuit

Here’s some basic DO’s and DON’Ts when

dealing with a personal injury situation.

DO…..

1. Report your accident as soon as possible.

2. Seek medical attention for any injuries.

3. Gather as much information as you can about the accident.

4. Contact a personal injury attorney .

DON’T…..

1. Volunteer information to your insurance company regarding your claim.

2. Give your insurance company any recorded statement without talking to your Attorney first.

3. Admit fault.

4. Negotiate directly with the other driver.

5. DON’T accept or sign any settlements from any insurance companies        before speaking to an attorney.

Contact our office when dealing with a personal injury matter

(773) 721-3333.

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Guidelines for having “The Talk” about Estate Planning

 

Guidelines for having “The Talk” with your parents about Estate Planning

Have you had “THE TALK” with your parents about their estate plans? If not, don’t worry you’re not alone. 34% of parents haven’t had a detailed conversation with their adult children about their living expenses in retirement 43% of parents said they haven’t had detailed discussions about their long-term-care plans, according to a survey of 221 parents (age 55+) and their adult children, conducted by Fidelity Investments. Here’s some questions to ask first when talking to your family.

1. Have you done any Estate Planning thus far? – Ask this question first, you might be surprised by the answer, many parents have started the process but need guidance completing it. This provides a great head start if some documents have already been drafted. You can now steer the conversation towards updating and amending them.

2. If you haven’t started Estate Planning yet, what do you have in mind? – Make it clear from the beginning your intentions are only to help and care for your parents. Make it clear they still have control over their own decisions.

3. Have you considered contacting an estate planning Attorney? – You can do some research on this before having the conversation with your parents. If might be helpful to even provide some insight on attorneys in the area you’ve sought out already.

4. What are your plans post retirement? – This question is crucial and determines how you move forward. Ask your parents what their plans are for the home and their finances, these things need to be discussed so documents can be drafted to protect their assets.

5. Who are you leaving your home to? Who will make financial and business decisions for you and where are the accounts located? – This will help determine what estate plans your parents need. A Land Trust for the home, and Powers of Attorney for them also. Depending on financials of the estate a Living Trust may be necessary also. The actual amounts in each account don’t need to be discussed or brought up only the locations of the accounts so Power of Attorney documents can be given to the proper institutions.

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Estate Planning Must Haves

 

Estate Planning Must Haves

 

Often times, people are adamant about using a Will instead of a Land Trust. The reasoning behind that is because many people simply don’t know what a Land Trust is, and the many advantages of placing their property in a Land Trust. We challenge you to educate yourself on Land Trusts and let us help you establish a proper estate plan.  Also, everyone needs Power of Attorney documents for healthcare and durable, The Law Offices of Theodore London includes BOTH Power of Attorney documents in the Estate Planning package.

 

  1. Land Trust – documentation used to simplify the transference of real estate upon one’s death. There are three important elements to a Land Trust:
  • The beneficial owner (the current owner(s) of the property)
  • The holder of the power of direction (the party with the power to direct the trustee to act)
  • The contingent beneficiary (the party who will inherit the property upon the owner’s death)

 

  1. Healthcare Power of Attorney – A Power of Attorney for Healthcare document allows a person, called the principal, to delegate another person, called the agent (a trusted friend or family member), the power to make decisions regarding healthcare that the principal is unable to make. The agent, who does not need to be an attorney, will speak for the principal and make decisions according to the principal’s wishes even when the principal is physically or mentally incapacitated.

 

  1. Durable (Property) Power of Attorney – A Power of Attorney for Property is a way for you to decide in advance who will handle, your financial affairs if you are not able to act on your own in the future. Executing this document will save your family from the burden of having to make financial decisions without knowing your wishes. It gives you (rather than for courts) more control over your life. For example, you may want to have the power to authorize real estate and stock transactions; to handle banking, tax or other types of business matters; to represent you in court; or to address other types of legal claims.

 

With these three documents, you can solidify your family’s future without the interruptions of probate court.

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We’re over half way through the year…have you done your estate planning yet?

Here are your Estate Planning MUST HAVES!

  1. Land Trust – documentation used to simplify the transference of real estate upon one’s death. There are three important elements to a Land Trust:
  • The beneficial owner (the current owner(s) of the property)
  • The holder of the power of direction (the party with the power to direct the trustee to act)
  • The contingent beneficiary (the party who will inherit the property upon the owner’s death)
  1. Healthcare Power of Attorney – A Power of Attorney for Healthcare document allows a person, called the principal, to delegate another person, called the agent (a trusted friend or family member), the power to make decisions regarding healthcare that the principal is unable to make. The agent, who does not need to be an attorney, will speak for the principal and make decisions according to the principal’s wishes even when the principal is physically or mentally incapacitated.
  1. Durable (Property) Power of Attorney – A Power of Attorney for Property is a way for you to decide in advance who will handle, your financial affairs if you are not able to act on your own in the future. Executing this document will save your family from the burden of having to make financial decisions without knowing your wishes. It gives you (rather than for courts) more control over your life. For example, you may want to have the power to authorize real estate and stock transactions; to handle banking, tax or other types of business matters; to represent you in court; or to address other types of legal claims.

With these three documents, you can solidify your family’s future without the interruptions of probate court.

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We’re in The Chicago Defender!

📰EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! 📰Check out this week’s The Chicago Defender to find out the good news about Estate Planning written by our office available everywhere TODAY! We will be contributing pertinent information on estate planning on a weekly basis! #thechicagodefender #estateplanningmatter 🗞

We will be contributing weekly, so stay tuned!!!

Make 2019 a productive year: How to get your affairs in order

Make 2019 a Productive Year!

Here’ s a list of things you need to complete this year to get your affairs in order.

1.) Find out how much your home is worth – you don’t need an appraisal to do this, you can find out this information online through the property tax portal.

2.) Find out how much is owed on your home – this will help you create realistic goals for paying off your home.

3.) Pay off your mortgage – if possible, or plan to pay it off sooner than later.

4.) Find out your personal net worth – retrieve bank statements from all your financial institutions and find out how much you currently have saved.  This will help you set goals for better saving habits.  

5.) Update your beneficiaries on all your financial accounts – this can be done at your financial institutions for free. 

6.) Get ahold of your credit card debt  – retrieve an updated statement and make a plan to pay it down or off. 

7.) Organize all important documents – this will prevent chaos in an emergency situation, make sure your folders are labeled and in a fireproof lockbox.  Also, let your family know where to find these documents just in case they need access to them.

8.) Prioritize your health this year – take time to get a regular check up, go to the dentist or get that pain checked out that you’ve been neglecting.

9.) Be kind to someone in 2019- often times we forget about others, take this year to make amends with friends or family and help someone in need.

10.) Protect your home – prioritize your estate planning and protect your assets. 

Estate Planning is the new sexy!

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What is a Living Trust? Do I need one?

 

What is a Living Trust? Do I need it?

What is a Living Trust? 

A Living Trust is a written legal document through which your assets are placed into a trust for your benefit during your lifetime and then transferred to designated beneficiaries at your death by your chosen representative, called a “Successor Trustee.” A Living Trust cannot be contested in court like a will, what’s written in the trust is much more secure.

 

What are the advantages? 

1. A living trust, AVOIDS probate, which often means a faster distribution of assets to your heirs—from months or years with a will down to weeks with a living trust. Your successor trustee will pay your debts and distribute your assets according to your instructions.

2. While a Living Trust is costlier to draft, it saves your estate thousands of dollars in probate court fees as the distribution of assets in the trust will NOT go through probate.

3. As a living trust is not made public, upon your death, your estate will be distributed in private. A will, on the other hand, is public record and so all transactions will be public as well.

 

Do I need a Living Trust?

Here’s a few things to consider when determining whether is Living Trust is right for you or not. A Living Trust is not mandatory when establishing an estate plan, but, if you’ve accumulated a substantial financial saving over a lifetime; a Living Trust is necessary. The first thing to consider is your financial standings, simply, the more money you have, the more you should protect it with a Living Trust.  Speak to your estate planning Attorney how you’d like the finances delegated.

Common misconceptions about Wills

Many people believe a will protects from having your loved one’s estate probated but this is not true! Having a will REQUIRES the estate to be probated. Read below to find out more about why a will IS NOT sufficient estate planning.

  1. I have a will, so my family will avoid probate when I pass. Unfortunately, this is not true. A will REQUIRES your property to go through probate after you pass. Probate is the legal process through which the court makes sure your assets are distributed according to the instructions in your will. A will is a set of instructions to the probate court and only works if there is a probate.

 

  1. I DON’T have a will, so my family will not have to go through probate. If you own assets in your name and you don’t have a will, the state in which you live will require your estate to be divided through the probate court. Also, the laws in most states allow for the inheritance of property only by bloodline or marriage, so an unmarried partner or close friend would not receive anything.

 

  1. If I become incapacitated, my executor will be able to handle my financial affairs. Unfortunately, any instructions in a Will are ignored if you become incapacitated. That’s because a will can only go into effect after you pass; it is of no use before then. Unless you have established Power of Attorney documents, the court will likely appoint an individual to take control of your assets and your care if you become unable to conduct business. This person is commonly referred to as a guardian, and the court will continue to supervise the actions of the guardian.

 

  1. Joint ownership is a good way to avoid probate. Joint ownership with right of survivorship (the most commonly used form of joint ownership) allows the jointly owned asset to transfer automatically to the other joint owner when one owner passes, without probate. However, if both owners pass simultaneously or if the surviving owner does not add a new joint owner before he or she passes, the asset will have to go through probate before it can go to the heirs. In most cases, joint ownership merely postpones probate.

 

  1. I don’t need to do any estate planning because I own much less than the federal estate tax exemption. Don’t confuse estate planning with estate tax planning. Estate planning is about making sure your assets will go to the people you want to have them with the least amount of delay and costs. Good estate planning also includes a plan for incapacity. This is something everyone needs to do, regardless of the size of your estate.
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The Advantages of a Land Trust

 

Should I have a Land Trust OR Transfer On Death Instrument (TODI)?

Well, here are the similaries; both documents allow property to pass property from one person to another without probate.  AND THATS IT!

  1. The TODI must be recorded with the County Recorder of Deeds office before the owner passes, making the owners information public as well as the beneficiaries.  This is a major privacy concern and only a Land Trust can keep your personal information offline.  In the Land Trust,  the Trustee protects your privacy and will only disclose this information if required by law.
  2.  The TODI is also only applies to residential properties.  A Land Trust can be used for all types of properties including, but not limited to, residential, commercial, investment and industrial.
  3. In order to amend a TODI, the owner must follow a tedious process of re-drafting, and recording both a revocation of the previous TODI and a new TODI.  With a Land Trust, all you have to do it fill out a one page form and send it back to the title company.
  4. In order to establish or revoke a TODI, Power of Attorney documents cannot be used.  With a Land Trust, a Power of Attorney can be use to establish, amend or revoke a trust.
  5. A Land Trust Protects you from judgement liens, A TODI doesn’t protect you or your beneficiaries.

Land Trust is the way to go!

Home Buying 101

Home Buying 101

Closing your home in a Land Trust is EXTREMELY  important when estate planning, there’s also privacy benefits…

Looking to purchase a home? Already in the process? Well, take a moment to consider these things BEFORE finalizing a new purchase. Closing you home in  a land trust not only secures a legacy, but also protects personal information online. When closing a home in a Land Trust, all your personal information regarding the purchase of the home is kept OFF LINE.  Your name will NOT appear when the property address is searched, only a trust number will appear.  This keeps eager “house hunting enthusiasts” from digging into any personal business.  Here are so other useful tips when purchasing a home for the first time. Here are 3  checklists you need to keep in your back pocket!

 

Real Estate Checklist

  • Get pre-approval for a mortgage
  • Hire a Real Estate Broker
  • Look at several properties
  • Negotiate sales price and get a contrac
  • HIRE A LAWYER and deposit earnest money
  • Get a home inspection and appraisal
  • Have your ATTORNEY schedule the closing date
  • Do a final walkthrough of the property
  • Have the balance of down payment and other documents required from the lender
  • Be prepared to sign final documents and close in a Land Trust

 

Important Documents for Closing

  • The deed – A document that transfers the property from seller to buyer.
  • The Bill of Sale – This transfers all personal property being sold along with the home.
  • Affidavit of Title or Seller’s Affidavit – This document is a notarized statement by the seller confirming ownership of the property and describing an known title defects.
  • Transfer Tax Declarations – Many states, counties and municipal governments charge real estate property transfer taxes and require the buyer and seller to sign declarations disclosing the purchase price and tax.

 

What does the closing Attorney do?

  • Title Examination – The closing attorney will identify any existing mortgages against the real estate that will need to be satisfied at closing in order to transfer good title.
  • Title insurance –  Title insurance protects the purchaser and the lender in the event a future problem is found with the title.
  • Coordinator – The closing attorney creates lines of communication between many parties for the real estate closing.
  • Review of documents –  On the day of closing the closing attorney is present to review the various instruments associated with the real estate and loan closing.
  • Record and disburse –  The closing attorney is responsible for closing on the transaction and distributing all monies.