When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?

When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?

Individuals who already have an estate plan are off to a good start. If you don’t, it might be time to have one drawn up so you have a plan. Even if you have already worked with an attorney to create an estate plan, some life events necessitate making changes to it. It’s recommended to update it every three to five years or when one of the situations below occurs.


After marriage, you’ll want to add your spouse as a beneficiary. However, you may also want to add them to other roles. Some of these include designating them as the trustee of any trusts you create, a healthcare agent to make your healthcare decisions, a financial agent if you are unable to do that on your own, and an executor. Updating the plan will prevent problems (and even lawsuits) in the future.

Birth or Adoption

Having or adopting a child is a major change in life. Naming them in your estate ensures your legacy is upheld. There are many things to address with a child. You may wish to select a guardian in case both parents die. You should also think about when to pass assets to your child. Think about whether assets should go to a spouse or you want to make assets go to a child. Take time to consider all these things and speak with an attorney for anything you might have missed.


A divorce can be stressful and complicated. One of the things you want to do following a divorce is to update your estate plan. If you made changes when getting married, undoing those is likely to be needed. Those who have divorced and remarried should make it a priority to update the plan.


Retirement is a major life change. While you might plan for it for decades, some don’t consider updating their estate plan when it occurs. Finances often change drastically at this time and you want to be sure your plan matches up with your new reality. Most who retire have kids who are older now so you may want to change some provisions and offer an inheritance to grandchildren.

Reach out to the experienced law office of Bell & Shah to learn more about estate plans and having one drawn up. If you haven’t updated yours in several years, now is likely a good time to do that as well. Make sure everything is in place for the future no matter what happens!

How Can an Attorney Help with Independent Contractor Agreements?

How Can an Attorney Help with Independent Contractor Agreements?

A lot of businesses today make use of independent contractors for various types of projects instead of bringing on employees to work full-time or part-time. This is beneficial for companies because it means they don’t have to bring aboard a new employee for a project that might be short-term. It allows for more flexibility and freedom, which is why a lot of businesses use this option.

However, even though they are not employees, there still needs to be an independent contractor agreement written up. Without one of these agreements, it could mean a lot of problems down the line.

Get an Attorney to Draft or Look Over the Agreement

Independent contractor agreements are legal documents that help to define the relationship between the contractor and the person/company that hires them. The agreement will also include the terms and the expectations for the project, and it ensures that the contractor’s status is legally protected. The agreement is a contract between the contractor and the client.

As such, it needs to be carefully created and detailed. While it is possible to find some standard template contracts, these are not typically recommended. There is a good chance that they won’t contain everything that’s needed and making changes to them could cause a host of other problems. Your needs and requirements are unique whether you are a contractor, or you are hiring one. You need to be sure the contract accommodates both of you.

The best course of action is to work with an attorney. They can create the contract and make sure everything is written correctly and will be binding in case any issues arise.

An Attorney Can Provide Representation If Needed

One of the other ways that an attorney can help when it comes to matters of independent contractor agreements is through representation. Hopefully, you have a quality agreement in the first place and there’s no reason that you would have to go through litigation because of disagreements or confusion over the contract. However, if you do end up in court, it’s always a good idea to have an attorney who can represent you.

Find a Great Attorney Today

You will find that whether you are an independent contractor or you are operating a business that hires them, having an attorney from Bell & Shah can ensure that everyone’s rights are protected and that they are being treated fairly. it’s important that you consult with a knowledgeable Illinois licensing attorney at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC to help address your concerns.

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

You don’t like thinking about your death any more than other people do. However, just because it is an unpleasant subject doesn’t mean it’s something you can avoid. Sometimes, people ignore putting together a will because they think that their children or spouse will automatically inherit property and money.

Sometimes, that might be true. However, when you don’t have a will, it doesn’t mean that your assets will go where you want them to go. One of the things you will certainly end up leaving behind is a lot of stress if you don’t have a will.

What Does the Will Do?

The will is a legal document that has clear instructions on what is supposed to happen to your estate. It includes all of the details on how it needs to be handled if you die or become incapacitated. The will contains your last wishes for what you want to happen with your belongings.

You want to be the one who has control over what happens with your belongings. You don’t want the courts to be in charge.

What If You Don’t Have a Will?

In the state of Illinois, if you die without a will, it is known as dying intestate. The intestacy laws will determine who receives the deceased’s assets if there is not a will in place. In Illinois, this means that they will go to your closest relatives. Types of assets that are included in these laws include property, retirement savings you own, and bank accounts. The laws are specific about what happens to your property when you die without a will.

If this happens, it’s important to know that those who survive you will not have any say. Even if you told someone that you wanted to give them some of your property when you passed away, it won’t happen if it’s not in the will. This can often cause fights between family members and friends.

Create an Estate Plan

The best thing you can do to avoid this type of problem is to get in touch with an attorney and create an estate plan. It’s better to do this sooner rather than later even if you are young and healthy. You never know what tomorrow could bring, so it’s a good idea to make sure you are as prepared as possible. It’s time to get your will and the rest of your estate plan in order. Contact the experienced attorneys at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today to discuss your situation more fully.

What Should You Do If Your Professional License Is at Stake?

What Should You Do If Your Professional License Is at Stake?

Do you hold a professional license? Have you been arrested for a crime? Depending on the circumstances of the crime, there is a chance your professional license could be at risk. Losing that license would mean the loss of a career you’ve spent time, effort, and money building. What should you do if you fear that your license could be at stake? Below are a few tips to help you.

Try Not to Panic

Of course, trying not to panic when you’re worried about what could happen to your license is easier said than done. Still, it’s something that you must try to do. Realize that you aren’t alone. A lot of other people have gone through similar problems in the past, including many who are in your field.

See if you can talk with anyone else who has gone through something similar. They might even provide you with a referral to an attorney who can help. Learn how others have dealt with the problem and realize that you can get through it, too.

Get Legal Representation

One of the next things you will want to do is make sure that you have a good attorney working on your side. Take the time to learn more about attorneys and the areas of law where they specialize. You will want to get a better understanding of their experience in the field and their reputation.

Do you need to have an attorney when you are facing an investigation that could strip you of your professional license? While you might not be required to have one, it would be a massive mistake to forego working with an attorney.

Cooperate But Remain Wary

When you are being investigated and there is a chance you could lose your license, be careful of who you trust. The people investigating you and/or the prosecutor are not your friends, and they don’t have your best interests in mind. Instead, they are looking for you to lower your guard and say things that could jeopardize your license.

You want to be cooperative, and you don’t want to lie. However, you don’t want to do or say anything that could end up causing more problems for you down the line.

Always defer to your attornies at Bell & Shah in these cases. Listen to what they have to say and follow their recommendations.

Top Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Attorney

Top Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Attorney

Are you going to be buying or selling a property? You might want to consider hiring a real estate attorney to help with the transaction. Although it’s not a requirement in Illinois to have a real estate attorney at closing, you will find that they can provide some benefits.

Below, we’ll be looking at some of the reasons you might want to work with one of these attorneys, as well as how they can help you.

Why Work with an Attorney?

Real estate transactions, even relatively simple ones, tend to have a lot of moving parts, as well as deadlines. This can be overwhelming when you are doing it on your own, so working with an attorney simply makes sense. While real estate agents could help with some of these things, you have to remember that the agent isn’t an attorney. They can’t provide you with legal advice or represent you in court if needed.

An attorney helps to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you get a fair deal. If there are issues found during the inspection, they can represent you and help with negotiations. The attorney can help to reduce the risk of legal issues arising after the deal closes, they can help to make sure the title is clear and more.

When You Should Choose a Real Estate Attorney

Do you always need to have a real estate attorney? As mentioned, there isn’t a requirement, but there are certain situations where it simply makes sense that you would have an attorney helping you through the process.

For example, if this is the first time you’ve bought a home, having an attorney can help to make the process a little easier for you.

When you are buying and selling commercial property, it’s often a good idea to work with a real estate attorney. These tend to be large transactions. You need to have an expert in the field who can help to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes you’ll regret later.

Another time that it’s a good idea to consider working with an attorney is if you own property want to use as a rental. The attorney can ensure you are doing everything in accordance with the law.

Take the time to contact the attornies at Bell & Shah, who knows and specializes in this field of Real Estate law. Having some legal help on your side is always a good idea.

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