Can You Transfer Ownership of a House in a Will?

Can You Transfer Ownership of a House in a Will?

One major goal of creating a will is to transfer property to individuals who survive a deceased person, typically family members or close friends. The property falls into two principal categories: real and personal. Real property consists of buildings and land, and personal property includes tangible objects such as jewelry and vehicles as well as intangible items such as cash, stocks, and bonds. Ownership of real property, for example, a house, can be transferred through a will as a bequest or gift.

Transferring Ownership of a House through a Will

Title to a house transferred in a will can only pass to a recipient after the probate process has been finalized. The will’s executor, the person assigned to carry out the terms of the will, initiates the process by filing the will with the local county probate court. The probate judge then authorizes the executor to follow the instructions spelled out in the will. The executor first creates a record of all the estate’s liabilities and assets, then takes care of the estate’s debts, and finally allocates property to the beneficiaries consistent with the terms of the will. If the house has a mortgage, the beneficiary acquires the property along with the mortgage.

Transferring the Title to the Beneficiary’s Name

After the house is obtained, the beneficiary is required to have the title transferred to his or her name. The transfer process varies from state to state, but most often involves applying for a transfer of title with the office of the local county recorder, which usually necessitates paying fees, supplying a certified copy of the previous owner’s death certificate, and sometimes the title to the house.

Since probate can be extremely time-consuming and complex, you may choose to transfer your house in a way that avoids having to go to probate court. Also, depending on the number of your assets, your estate could be required to pay estate taxes.

Bell & Shah Law Is Here to Help

No matter which method you choose to transfer ownership of your house, it’s important to consider the various conditions and possible complications before beginning the estate planning process. The knowledgeable attorneys at Bell & Shah Law, LLC can assist you in creating a plan that will best suit your needs and those of your family. Call us today for a free consultation.

You Need Professional Help with Business License Issues

You Need Professional Help with Business License Issues

The US is home to countless county, city, township, and special-district governmental bodies, each with its own business license regulations.  Depending on the type of venture, where it will be located, and various other factors, almost all businesses require a license to operate legally. Dealing with the complexities and nuances of business license compliance involves meeting deadlines and spending a great deal of time studying application requirements and communicating with an array of local, state, and federal agencies. As a result, acquiring a business license can be a daunting task, especially for first-time applicants, and delaying the process can be costly.

You Have to Earn and Keep Business Licenses

Below are the key steps in acquiring and maintaining a business license.

  1. Establish what type of business license you require.
  2. Assemble the proper documents to carry out the application process.
  3. Submit the completed documents to the appropriate government agency.
  4. Obtain your business license.
  5. Stay abreast of your specific license-renewal requirements.

These actions may look clear and straightforward on the surface, but business licensure procedures are actually quite complex and variable based on a number of factors. At times it’s even hard to know which government agencies oversee your specific license requirements. You might need to obtain state business licensing, and in some states, you may also have to abide by city, township, or special-district regulations.

Where to Apply for a Business License May be Hard to Determine

Consequently, where you need to apply for a business license may not be clear-cut. For instance, you will have to establish whether your business location lies in an incorporated or an unincorporated area within your municipality.  If you do the bulk of your business in Chicago, Illinois, but your location technically lies outside of the Chicago city limits, you might fall under DuPage County’s jurisdiction and will need to file for licensing there.

All such issues can be handled promptly and professionally with the help of a knowledgeable business attorney. At Bell & Shah Law, LLC our experienced and compassionate legal team can help to ensure that you obtain your business license quickly and easily. Contact us today.

What Goes Into a Remote Closing and Could It Help You?

What Goes Into a Remote Closing and Could It Help You?

When unable to attend an in-person for the purpose of buying a home, you can carry out the entire process from any location on the planet. Thanks to recent technological advances used to conduct virtual meetings, such as Zoom and Skype, and DocuSign for securely transferring critical documents, doing a remote closing is easier than ever.

You Can Do All In-Person Procedures Remotely

Traditional closings call for many moving pieces, including:

  • Notarized copies of all documents from the builders or title company’s office
  • Purchasing information about the home
  • Appraisals and home inspection documentation

After completing the closing, the courthouse must receive copies of all contractual data. Handling these activities remotely requires some extra time and energy. However, it’s extremely helpful for those whose schedules don’t permit in-person transactions. Many buyers today already carry out remote closings.

You Can Also Do Remote Notarizations, Document Signings, and Payments

Most documents for real estate deals require notarization. However, you can handle notarizations without having to hold in-person meetings. For instance, in a virtual meeting via Zoom, individuals can show ID to a notary, who can then scan and fax the documents with the appropriate signature. You can also handle virtual conferences in conjunction with services like DocuSign. They offer options like eSignature, which is a system for signing documents electronically on various devices.

Where a traditional closing may require a cashier’s check or certified funds, virtual closings often use wire transfers. The technological advances of recent decades now allow almost all such business transactions to be accomplished virtually. However, it’s important to consult the professionals involved in a given case to fully understand how to complete a virtual closing.

For More Help with Remote Closings, Contact Bell & Shah Law Today

For top-notch help in carrying out a remote closing, contact Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today. We will have you discuss your situation with one of our knowledgeable real estate lawyers, who can assist you with completing all stages of the process.

Terms You Need to Know Before Having a Trust Written Up

Terms You Need to Know Before Having a Trust Written Up

Trusts are excellent estate planning instruments when their circumstances are set up properly. However, most people have scant knowledge of trusts and believe their estate has no need for one. In most cases, creating a trust may be well worth considering under the right circumstances, including:

  • If your personal net worth totals at least $100,000
  • You have considerable real estate assets
  • You have highly specific ideas about when and in what ways you want your estate to be allocated when you pass

When reading over a trust document, it can seem like it’s in a foreign language. This is often due to the profusion of obscure words and complex concepts. If you want to decide whether a trust is right for your situation and lack knowledge of the common legal verbiage involved, the following is a brief introduction to some key terms used to write trusts.

Grantor

This is the person or group that assigns the property in a trust to the beneficiaries. The grantor is also commonly called the “trustor” or the “settler”.

Trustee

The trustee is the individual, corporation, or combination of the two that manages a trust’s property. They must do this in line with the trust’s provisions. Trusts can simultaneously have several trustees. Plus, they often contain specific conditions for choosing successors to step in when an initial trustee quits, is eliminated or passes away.

Beneficiary

The beneficiary is the person or group that gains benefit from the trust. In cases with several beneficiaries, it is not required that they all have identical interests in the trust. In fact, a beneficiary does not even need to have been born yet at the time of the trust’s creation.

Corpus

The trust’s corpus, or principal, is the property that goes into the trust either at the time the text is generated or at some point after. The income produced within the trust that is not allocated may become part of the corpus, according to the stipulations of the trust. The corpus can include capital, stocks, real estate, or other property.

Situs

A trust’s situs establishes the precise laws that the trust must follow. Typically, the situs relates to the physical location of the grantor or the greater part of the corpus. The situs is a key factor to consider because it decides the laws, regulations, and taxes applicable to the trust.

If you wish to consult with a knowledgeable attorney about whether a trust is right for you, get in touch with Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today. We would love to talk about your situation and help make the process easier. Our highly experienced team can help you produce a trust that is set up properly plus meets all of your individual needs.

Important Notes When Creating a Severance Package

Important Notes When Creating a Severance Package

On the topic of worker benefits, employers are understandably more interested in discussing the advantages of working for their company rather than the benefits provided when employment ends. However, a well-designed severance package can produce long-term gains for businesses in terms of retaining employees, boosting worker morale, and enhancing the company brand even through difficult economic times.  The following are some actions that will help ensure you a successful severance package to fulfill your needs and provide equitable treatment for your workers.

1. Plan as Far in Advance as You Can

Avoid waiting until layoffs are about to happen.  Proactive planning will give you more time to make sure your severance policies line up with overall company goals; enlist legal guidance; and convey your policy so that workers know what to anticipate if layoffs occur.

2. Assess the Benefits of Your Present Severance Package

Consider what your current package offers.  According to a recent survey, only about half of employers have formal severance policies. In general, companies stress employee morale and invest a great deal of time and energy in ensuring that worker spirits remain high. To aid in this effort, starting or enhancing a severance package will convey an upbeat message to the workforce and thus improve morale.

3. Identify Your Company’s Goals in Having a Severance Policy

What factors are important to your company regarding a severance package?  Do they involve employee welfare; worker retention for possible rehire; having an appealing package to attract top-notch talent; or limiting your liability?  Severance packages come in many forms, and your company’s policy should be in line with your expected returns.

4. Construct an Official Severance Package Document

Generate a formal severance policy agreement that aligns with your company’s goals.  Severance packages can vary for individual employees based on seniority, job description, or management rank, but it’s essential to plainly convey the specific requirements for each type of package and guarantee they can be easily understood.

5. Be Consistent in Applying Your Policy’s Conditions

After the policy is created, avoid deviating from its conditions.  Workers talk to others who are either leaving the company or staying on, and opinions about unfairness can detract from the policy’s positive impact, possibly even leading to litigation.

6. Clearly Convey Your Severance Package to Employees

Avoid keeping your severance package hidden away in a file cabinet or in an obscure company computer folder; instead, publicize and promote it. Include it in materials for new hires and make it accessible on your intranet system.  You may even advertise your severance policy as a benefit or a form of compensation that reflects the company’s appreciation for service and its readiness to support workers transitioning to other jobs.

If you’re interested in developing a new severance package or in enhancing your current version, get in touch with us at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today for a free consultation. Our knowledgeable business attorneys can assist you in creating a severance package that addresses the needs of both you and your workers.

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