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You may be ready to move somewhere new right now, but you have a fair amount of work ahead of you if you intend to sell your home. Of course, you will probably have to do a lot of cleaning and a fair amount of repair work to make your lived-in home look appealing to buyers. You may even have to stage the home with temporary furnishings so it seems welcoming to a wide variety of potential buyers. You will probably want an agent to help you secure buyers and arrange showings.

And after you have got through all these steps, once you get into the actual transaction of selling you home, you have more paperwork to do. One of the most important tasks you have is to make legally required disclosures of issues with the property.

Federal and state disclosures

Disclosure requirements are designed to protect homebuyers from dishonest sellers who would try to sell them hazardous properties. The requirements come from both federal and Illinois law. For instance, the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 is a federal law that requires sellers to inform buyers of any lead-based paint or chipped paint in any home built before 1978.

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Many people are aware that estate planning may include completing a will or trust, but sometimes overlook the usefulness of a power of attorney.

A power of attorney for finances and a power of attorney for healthcare allow a person to designate someone to act on their behalf. The person who creates a power of attorney is called the principal and the person he or she appoints to act is called an agent.

Finances

A power of attorney for finances allows the agent to make financial decisions for the principal, which may include managing the principal's money. It can also include acting on behalf of the principal for insurance and tax matters, claims and other transactions.

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Everyone should have an estate plan, no matter how healthy, young, or old they are. Planning what will happen to assets after death can help people ensure that their property is distributed according to their wishes. There are many options in the state of Illinois to legally bind what happens to property after death.

Types of trusts

There are two types of trusts in Illinois: revocable and irrevocable. A revocable living trust is a trust account that is set up by a person while he or she is still alive that can be changed or completely revoked (cancelled) at any time. An irrevocable living trust cannot be modified or revoked after its creation.

Creating a trust

Creating a trust is done by drafting a trust document that states the property to be put into the trust, who the trustee is (the person put in charge of day to day management of property in a trust – can be an individual or a bank, or both) and who the beneficiaries are. The trust document also spells out how to distribute the property that has been placed in the trust.

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Estate planning is typically focused on passing assets after you die. But planning may include both wills and trusts to help preserve your income when you are still alive. There are some general features you should know about trusts.

General description

A trust is a legal agreement with at least three people who can serve different roles. More than one person can serve in these roles at the same time.

A trust agreement contains terms governing the trust. A trust cannot fully operate until it is funded through the transfer of property.

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We are in a historic time of uncertainty and death. Every day, we are faced with news reports of the national crises and accompanying death toll that seems to never stop increasing. Naturally, as a result, many of us are now looking to create or update our estate plans to ensure that, if the unthinkable happens, our families are protected. This may be one of the only bright sides of 2020, though, we must be mindful of the estate planning process to ensure that we do not cause more harm than good.

Tip 1: retitle trust assets immediately

Estate plans often include revocable living trusts. These are used because they avoid probate and some taxes, which ensures that one's beneficiaries have less burdens after one's death and the estate value is maximized. However, this also means that title to one's assets must be put into the name of trust. If one forgets to do this, and they subsequently die or become incapacitated, all the assets not in the trust (i.e., all the assets not retitled into the trust's name) will likely need to go through probate. This, of course, defeated the entire point of the estate plan.

Tip 2: pay attention to who is named as an owner on bank accounts

Another common error is bank accounts. If one plans to split their assets equally among their children, be sure that none of those children are named on joint bank accounts. This is what is called joint with right of survivorship. Essentially, when one passes away, regardless of what one's will states, the surviving owner on a joint account owns all the assets in that account. If one's will states otherwise, this will definitely cause familial strife and, of course, probate litigation, which again, will likely nullify one's estate plan wishes.

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