One estate planning topic sure to become more and more important as we advance in the digital age is the issue of what to do with a person’s digital assets. Our own Richard Magnone was interviewed about the topic for an article in the August 26, 2012 Chicago Tribune. Right now, it seems, the most important task for estate planners is making their clients aware of the issues related to digital assets. Few people feel the need to plan for digital assets but that does not mean that they should not do so. There are a variety of types of digital property – more than people might guess. A few years back, Rich did a series of blog articles on the topic that deserve a fresh look.
Cook County, Illinois residents will get a big surprise in their mailboxes around July 1. Just in time to celebrate the nation’s birthday, the Cook County Treasurer will come looking for the 2nd installment of 2011 real estate taxes (remember, property taxes are paid in arrears). This year will mark the first time in decades that the bills are not tardy. Most property owners will wonder why their bills are going up when the values of their homes are going down. Its easy to see why once you know the process used by the to calculate a tax bill. Continue reading
Without much advance fanfare, the State of Illinois has passed a law intended to close Illinois’ $2.7 billion dollar Medicaid funding gap. On June 14, 2012, Governor Quinn signed Public Act 97-689 into law. Among other things, the law amends the Illinois Public Aid Code to change Medicaid eligibility rules. The Chicago Sun Times printed a story criticizing the law for “cutting people off of medicaid”. The law changes medicaid eligibility rules for people who own real estate and suspended the use of “OBRA” pooled trusts (one form of special needs trust) for anyone over age 65 who is not a ward of the public guardian (OPG) or the state guardian (OSG).
Real estate MLS listings often proclaim “HAFA Approved Short-Sale” as a key selling point for a listed short sale property. HAFA is the “Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative” program. Part of the program is a process for pre-approving a short sale (a short sale is when a bank with a mortgage releases the mortgage in return for less money than is owed on the loan secured by the real estate). In theory, HAFA approved short sales should be quicker and less complicated than a standard short sale because the home seller applies to the program in advance and is provided with an approval based upon the seller obtaining a contract to sell at a certain price. HAFA short sales benefit a seller because, among other things, the Seller can get some relocation funds from the sale and can avoid being pursued for any repayment deficiency. The trouble is that even if a property is HAFA approved, there may be other parties that have a hand in blocking the sale. Continue reading
An EIN is an “Employer ID Number” issued by the Internal Revenue Service. (Sometimes, this is referred to as a Federal Employer ID Number or “FEIN”) EINs are necessary for decedent’s probate estates, non-grantor trusts, corporations, and LLCs. Even single member limited liability companies, which are treated by the IRS as disregarded entities, can obtain an EIN. The EIN is basically the “social security number” of for entity.
Years ago, if someone wanted an EIN, that person would have to fill out a form ss-4 and mail or fax it in to the IRS and the IRS would mail back the number or, if the number was needed sooner, one could call the IRS and get the number over the phone. The most common and fast way to get an EIN these days is to apply online. Continue reading
This April, Cook County unveiled a one-stop source that consolidates information from the Cook County Assessor, Cook County Treasurer, and Cook County Recorder all in one place. Even better, a search may be done by common address only if you don’t have a PIN number handy. Kudos to the people running the various Cook County government websites for creating this useful tool.
You can find it here: www.CookCountyPropertyInfo.com
Welcome to the new and improved version of the Reda | Ciprian | Magnone, LLC website. We’ve redesigned our site to make access to our information easier and to allow us to blog about interesting issues related to our practice and Illinois law. A big thanks to the boys at ethercycle.com who helped us with the website.
Political notions aside, many unmarried couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, may be at risk of passing their estate in a manner that does not suit their desires. Despite the rapidly changing mores and norms of modern society, increasingly accepting of committed co-habitation among unmarried couples, the estate planning and probate laws are slow reflect these changing standards. Continue reading
On January 1, 2010, a new law, the Illinois Banking Convenience Account for Depositors Act goes into effect throughout Illinois. The law allows banks to offer a new type of bank account, known as a convenience account, to their customers.
Prior to the new law’s passage, many people engage in the somewhat unsophisticated and dangerous practice of adding, for their “convenience”, a friend or relative’s name to a bank account as a joint owner to allow that added person access to the bank account to assist them with with activities like bill paying or to allow for ready access to cash in the case of an emergency. Continue reading
Many people utilize the concept of joint assets or joint tenancy to plan their estate without a will or a trust. Because joint assets transfer automatically to the surviving owner upon the death of a co-owner, the assets avoid probate. Assets commonly owned in this way are real estate, bank accounts, and stocks or bonds. For some individuals, under the right circumstances, joint ownership estate planning can be a simple and inexpensive way to plan for asset transfers upon death. For others, however, the results can be disastrous. Continue reading