Are you starting an LLC in Illinois?  Start here

Are you starting an LLC in Illinois? Start here

A Limited Liability Company or LLC is a business structure that is both easy and affordable to form in Illinois. There are specific steps and details that you must know when starting one: Decide on a name There are some naming requirements when choosing a name but the biggest factor is that the name must be recognizably different from the names of other business entities already on file with the state. If I form your LLC, an online search will determine if you can use the name that you are thinking of. Assign an agent Registered agents accept legal documents on behalf of the LLC and make sure its members are notified. An agent may be an individual who resides in Illinois, or a domestic or foreign corporation authorized to do business in Illinois. Get an EIN number If there are two or more members in your LLC, you will need to obtain an EIN from the IRS. Register with the Illinois Department of Revenue Create an Operating Agreement This is not a requirement but I would strongly argue for drafting one, especially if there is more than one member in the LLC. Annual Reports Each year you must report to the Secretary of State. The report is due each year prior to the first day of the LLC’s anniversary month (the month in which it was organized). If you would like legal advice on starting a Limited Liability Company in Illinois, please contact us. Also, if you have a trust, putting the LLC ownership interests in the name of the trust might be the best course of action...
Can your life insurance company take advantage of you?

Can your life insurance company take advantage of you?

Recently, I watched a 60-minute news story about how some of the largest life insurance companies don’t pay benefits even when they know the policyholder has died. Insurance companies claim that it is up to policyholders’ beneficiaries to contact the insurance company and to file a claim in order to collect whatever death benefit may be due them. But if beneficiaries are unaware of the policy, they don’t know to file a claim. Do you want to know another scary fact? The news reported that on some whole life insurance policies, even when the insurance company knew the client was dead, they still deducted the monthly premiums from the client’s account. So, what is the point of paying years of insurance premiums when your family may not collect the death benefit? This is just another example of why it pays to be organized with your estate planning. After I draft my clients’ estate plans, I encourage everyone to make a list of all accounts that are in their name and keep a copy with their estate planning documents. That way if something happens, the executor or trustee knows where to look and what companies to contact. For one reason or another, many people are afraid to tell their friends and family members exactly what their estate planning documents say. You really do not have to tell everyone everything. At a bare minimum, you should tell the person whom you have listed as trustee or executor of your estate where are your estate planning documents located and how they can access them. There is no point for you to spend...
FREE Financial & Estate Planning Retirement Workshop

FREE Financial & Estate Planning Retirement Workshop

I have partnered with Scott Sirens from Sierens Financial Group and we will be hosting two financial and estate planning retirement workshops on Monday, April 24th and Wednesday, April 26th.  The workshop will be a comprehensive two-hour presentation covering everything from financial planning in retirement through common estate planning techniques.  Please come out to this free event for an informative time. Reservations are required and please call us to reserve a spot at (847) 714-2866 or Sierens Financial at (847) 235-6989. Details are below but you may always contact us with any questions. Monday, April 24th 1pm-3pm Bartlett Community Center – Program Room #3 700 S. Bartlett Road Bartlett, IL  60103 Wednesday, April 26th 10am-12pm Park Place Family Recreation Center – West Meeting Room 550 S. Park Blvd. Streamwood, IL ...
Upcoming Retirement Workshops

Upcoming Retirement Workshops

Calling all retirees!!  I have partnered with Scott Sirens from Sierens Financial Group and will be speaking at two retirement workshops on Monday March 27th and Wednesday March 29th.  The workshop will be a comprehensive two hour presentation covering everything from financial planning in retirement through common estate planning techniques.  Please come out to this free event for an informative time.  Details are below but you may always contact us with any questions. Monday March 27, 2017 1pm-3pm Geneva History Museum 113 S. Third St Geneva, IL  60134 Wednesday March 29, 2017 10am-12pm(noon) Hickory Knolls Discovery Center 3795 Campton Hills Rd St. Charles, IL ...
What is an intentionally defective grantor trust?

What is an intentionally defective grantor trust?

An intentionally defective grantor trust (IDGT) is a very interesting estate planning tool. It can be used to freeze certain assets for estate tax purposes, but not for income tax purposes. It is best used, for example, for a business that you own that is expected to greatly increase in value over the upcoming years and is a business that you plan to transfer to your heirs upon your death. The intentionally defective trust is created as a grantor trust that ensures that the individual continues to pay income taxes. There are many benefits of an intentionally defective grantor trust. Below are some highlighted key points to keep in mind: There is no tax on sale of stock to the trust The trust income is taxed to the grantor Transfer freezes asset value for estate tax purposes at time of transfer No tax to beneficiaries when grantor dies Transfer can be by gift or sale using lifetime exemption Sale is done with a note due in typically 10-15 years with interest just below 1% interest only loan with a balloon payment (income from interest is taxable) Sale does not realize any gain for the grantor To retain control of assets, your attorney must separate voting and non-voting stock Client retains 100% voting stock (1% of overall) and transfers the rest to the trust Children are the beneficiaries and become owners upon death There is no tax upon the transfer to children Grantor is not entitled to any trust distributions but does enjoy the interest from the “loan” for the “sale” of the stock to the trust Powers retained by...
If you are Divorced, update your Estate Plan today!

If you are Divorced, update your Estate Plan today!

In the aftermath of a divorce, updating your estate plan may not be at the forefront of your mind. You may still be distraught and emotionally and/or physically exhausted. However, many clients don’t realize what could result if they don’t update their current estate plan in the face of a divorce. In the event of a post-divorce unanticipated death, your assets could end up being distributed to your ex-spouse. Exactly what you don’t want to have happen. The first and most important step one should take to avoid this outcome is to revoke one’s current will or trust and write a new one that excludes your ex-spouse. Because most of us, when we are happy and in love leave everything to our spouses upon our deaths, in the event of a divorce, you will most likely want the result to be different. Once your divorce has been finalized, or even if you are in the process of a divorce, you need to update your estate plan as soon as possible to make the desired changes in light of the resulting divorce. You should also think about who you now want making your decisions for you in the event your physician deems you to be disabled or incapacitated for some reason. Your ex-spouse may no longer be the person who you want making your decisions for you, but is probably still listed as your decision maker for healthcare and/or financial decisions. Some people may still trust the ex-spouse to be making those decisions for them, however, that is the exception, not the rule. In my experience, most clients want the...
Estate planning billing, at Lauren Jackson Law

Estate planning billing, at Lauren Jackson Law

When clients come to me for Estate Planning, one of their biggest concerns is what is it going to cost? Most attorneys will be very vague about their billing processes and one of the more popular complaints from clients is when they get their bill and they are shocked by the total amount due. Here, we are committed to providing our clients with excellent service and benefits. One of our benefits that distinguish us from other law firms in the area, is our base rate billing. After we meet and have our initial consultation, I will tell you the total cost of what your estate plan will cost to be completed.  My clients love that there will be no surprises when the monthly bill comes. For the last two years since I have started this policy, my clients have loved this practice. When it comes to billing, nobody likes surprises. What goes into the price quote? Two meetings One initial consultation One meeting for explanation of all documents and document signing A third party witness and notary will be provided All telephone calls All email communications Any research needed All original signed copies of documents Plus all documents will be emailed to you in electronic PDF form Along with time involved and materials, you have to think about the real value value that you are getting from a properly executed Illinois estate plan. There is no point to pay money and draft an estate plan if it is not properly executed with the right witnesses, notarized signatures, and all necessary forms. I have seen and fixed many errors over...
Top Five Provisions to check before signing a Real Estate Contract!!!

Top Five Provisions to check before signing a Real Estate Contract!!!

When the time comes for you to sell your home it may seem like a very daunting process. If you are using a realtor, he or she should have the contract properly filled out before you sign anything (if you are not using a realtor, I can make sure the contract is filled out correctly for you). However, the contract is a 13 page document that you have never seen before and with which you are not familiar. What should you check before signing it? Below are the top five provisions you should review before signing your real estate contract: FIVE PROVISIONS TO CHECK BEFORE SIGNING A CONTRACT Purchase price Personal property to be transferred Real estate tax proration Plat of survey inspections Closing cost credits, if any If you review those five specific provisions and all five of them seem correct, you are safe to go ahead and sign the contract. If the seller accepts it by signing it, forward the fully signed contract to your real estate attorney as quickly as possible. There is a short time period during which your attorney can propose changes to any of the provisions that may be incorrect in the contract. This is called the attorney review period. Don’t worry if you feel this is too daunting a process to handle yourself, let us become the law firm that you know, like, and trust by handling it for you. Your time is just as important as mine, that is why all meetings are by appointment only at either one of my convenient office locations: 200 West Main Street, St. Charles, Illinois...
What does a Donald Trump presidency mean for Estate Planning?

What does a Donald Trump presidency mean for Estate Planning?

Following the election of Republican candidate Donald Trump as well as the GOP’s retainment of a Congressional majority, significant tax reform has a distinctly higher probability of occurring now than it had under previous administrations. This is largely due to Donald Trump’s tax plan being substantially in agreement with the Tax Reform Tax Force Blueprint proposed by Republicans; both intend to have the alternate minimum tax eliminated, repeal the current estate tax, reduce & simplify income tax brackets, and lower taxes on businesses. Alternatively, Republicans could propose a budget reconciliation bill as a more stable solution, but since it necessitates an approved budget that is unlikely due to its inefficiency. Trump’s administration is also anticipated to affect a small number of regulatory initiatives, the two most prominent being the regulations regarding consistent basis reporting and the proposed regulations under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code. The first of these regulations was announced by the IRS on March 4, 2016; this regulation would be administered in order to guarantee “a recipient’s basis in certain property acquired from a decedent be consistent with the value of the property as finally determined for Federal estate tax purposes.” The second was published by the Treasury Department on August 4, 2016, which proposed intricate regulations on valuation discounts for family-owned businesses under 2704; these regulations were deemed by the vast majority to be beyond the Treasury’s authoritative reach, as well as potential threat to family-owned businesses. These proposed regulations are intertwined with the federal estate tax; in the event that the estate tax is repealed, these regulations will no longer be applicable. With...
Do I need an attorney to purchase a new construction home?

Do I need an attorney to purchase a new construction home?

A lot of people are attracted to the comfort of buying a brand new home. The homebuilder makes it so easy now. You get to pick the land and customize the house just the way you want it. They may even make the sale offer extra enticing with additional “discounts” if you use their lender and title insurance company. When you have all the necessary components in front of you, some buyers may feel wrapped in a fake blanket of security. So, the question is, do you need an attorney when buying new construction? The simplest answer depends on how much you trust the title insurance company and lender. When purchasing a new construction home without an attorney, on closing day, you will go to the title office, sit down, and a title agent will place a large stack of papers in front of you. The title agent may tell you where to sign your name on each legal document, but she is not required to and will most likely not explain the documents. Once you sign all the documents, she will send them to your lender for approval. No one there will double-check the transfer documents i.e. deed and HUD form, to make sure they are correct. On more than one occasion, I have found a dollar error made by either the title insurance company or lender in favor of my client. If I weren’t there, the client would have been out that money. In those instances, the error that I found and corrected amounted to more than my attorney fee . So, how much do you really...