Farrell, Hamilton & Julian, P.C.

Godfrey Illinois Law Blog

Understanding the Offer in Compromise

If you are like many residents in Illinois, you may find yourself facing a large federal income tax bill that you are not able to pay in full by April 15. In situations like this, it is important to understand your options in order to avoid amassing a high level of penalties or interest charges that only make your already unmanageable tax bill even less manageable for you.

As explained by the Internal Revenue Service, taxpayers may enter into an installment agreement in which they make regular payments to the IRS over a period of time in order to satisfy a tax debt. These agreements require that the original tax bill be paid in full by the end of the agreement term. Some people, however, are not able to do this. In these situations, you may want to investigate the Offer in Compromise.

The purpose of a well-written real estate contract

Real estate can be a tricky business, especially for people in Illinois who are unfamiliar with how buying and selling property typically goes. Because there are so many unique contingencies based on each buyer's varying circumstances, it is critical that people take adequate time to familiarize themselves with the purpose and effect of a real estate contract before they sign their name on the dotted line. 

According to opendoor.com, a real estate contract is a formal agreement between both the buyer and the seller about who will maintain which responsibilities throughout the sale process. If there are contingencies that must be met, these are listed within the contract. Once the buyer has negotiated any terms they wanted to modify and signed the documents, the property will be listed as "under contract" meaning that the process of transferring the title is underway. Usually, the property will not be removed from real estate listings until the title is transferred and the new homeowners take up occupancy.

Using strategy to secure rewarding business contracts

Some of the most rewarding parts of operating your company in Illinois will be the invaluable opportunities you have to network with and form agreements with other successful entities that may enable you to access an entirely new level of success. Developing contracts to sustain and support these agreements is critical in laying a foundation for a relationship that is bound by trust and follow-through. At Farrell, Hamilton & Julian, P.C., we are committed to helping companies protect their assets in the world of business. 

When you are presented with an opportunity to collaborate with another organization and potentially form a long-lasting agreement, first you must articulate a contract that details each party's responsibility and lays ground rules for the function of the relationship. According to the American Express Company, developing consistency within your brand imaging is important to align social media campaigns, messaging and the culture of your company to effectively define your service promise to your customers and employees. Another valuable step you can take is to create a capability statement that defines the areas that make you stand out as an organization. 

What steps must you take to dissolve your business?

There are many different reasons you may have to dissolve a business in Illinois. Regardless of your rationale, however, there are certain steps you have to take when shutting down a corporation, limited liability company or partnership. The following is not an all-inclusive list of necessary steps to business dissolution but just an overview of some of the most important.

One of the most important steps, according to FindLaw, is to inform people with a stake in the company that the business is shutting down. This obviously includes your employees, and if you rent office space rather than own your commercial property, it includes your landlord as well. If you close your business before your lease expires, you may be responsible for whatever months remain on your lease, although there may be exceptions.

How to avoid common financial powers of attorney problems

A financial power of attorney can be a very beneficial component of an estate plan. However, it is important to be aware of some problems other people have experienced with their power of attorney documents, so you can avoid those common problems.

Act early

Detailing Illinois' guidelines for intestate succession

Godfrey residents are counseled to create a will early on in their lives. However, even with this advice in place, many fail to see to their estate planning. Indeed, according to information shared by the American Association of Retired Persons, only 4 in 10 American adults have created any type of estate planning instrument. Some may think that if they do not have a will, their heirs will be able to decide how to divide their assets on their own, However, that is not the case. The state sets forth the terms of how one's estate is distributed if they die intestate (without a will). 

The details of Illinois' guidelines for intestate succession can be found in Section 2-1 of the state's Probate Act. They recognize a decedent's surviving spouse as the first one entitled to receive any portion of an intestate estate. If the decedent had no surviving descendants, then their surviving spouse is entitled to the entirety of their estate. If, however, the decedent did leave descendants, then one-half of the estate will go to them, with the remaining half going to their surviving spouse. 

Illinois relies on small businesses, treats them poorly

According to Illinois Policy, businesses with less than 50 employees created the vast majority of new jobs in the state of Illinois, accounting for 83 percent of new job growth in 2017. In fact, small businesses, which generated nearly 130,000 new jobs between 2011 and 2017, are the primary reason for the state's recovery from the most recent depression. That is more than 60 percent of all new jobs created in the state. Because of its reliance on small business, one might think that the state would thank mom and pop shops via tax incentives and small business-friendly legislature. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be happening. 

Though Illinois is so reliant on small business for revenue, the small business climate in the Land of Lincoln is far from healthy. In fact, in August of 2018, entrepreneurs and small business owners gave Illinois a failing grade in terms of small business friendliness. The state ranked last in the nation. This is due to many reasons, but the most significant is the increasing number of tax hikes.

Reviewing an estate plan is crucial to optimize effectiveness

Estate planning is a time-consuming process for many people in Illinois who carefully analyze several areas of their life to identify where clarifications need to be made that will allow their surviving family members to know how to distribute their estate. Decisions regarding health care and financial proxies, guardianship of minors, distribution of assets and even allotment of their sentimental possessions to heirs, are all a part of creating a well-rounded estate plan. 

What many people may not recognize is how important it is to continually revisit and update their estate plan even after its creation and legal authorization is complete. Many industry professionals recommend that people assess the effectiveness and validity of their plan every three years to determine that it will still function as they desire despite changes to their family, alterations to laws, or personal changes to final wishes. 

What terms should you be aware of in a real estate contract?

You are preparing to buy a property in Illinois and are anticipating signing a contract reasonably soon. Now, you are wondering if there are specific terms that you should better understand before you sit down with the contract in front of you. Familiarizing yourself with some common terms can help you to more confidently understand each clause before you agree to them when you sign your name on the dotted line. 

A good rule of thumb is to have someone you trust and who is experienced in reading contracts, review and read the documents with you. They may be able to provide clarification on parts and give you a better understanding of what is being said. According to Realtor.com, some of the terms you may notice include the following:

  • Inspection: This process involves a third-party coming in to assess the condition of your property to determine that it is compliant with legal requirements. 
  • Appraisal: This process also involves a third-party coming in to establish a fair estimate on your property so the new buyer's lender can be sure they are not going to be taken advantage of.
  • Contingencies: These requirements will need to be accomplished by either you or the buyer before the real estate transaction can be completed. 
  • Title search: This process verifies that you are, indeed, the owner of the property and have all of the rights on the title. 

Illinois leads the pack for veteran entrepreneurship incentives

Though Illinois ranks as the least friendly state to start or operate a small business, it ranks in the top 10 for most veteran entrepreneur-friendly states. According to the State of Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs, the state has 89,110 veteran-owned businesses, earning the seventh spot on the top 10 list. There are several reasons for this, which the IDVA outlines in depth. 

According to the IDVA, the administration partnered with the Illinois Department of Central Management Services to bring together relevant government agencies, trade associations, educational institutions, employers and business professionals to educate veterans and returning servicemembers on the many advancement opportunities and resources available to aspiring veteran entrepreneurs. The two administrations also strive to help existing veteran-owned operations expand their reach.

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