How Do Businesses Change Hands After the Death of a Loved One?

How Do Businesses Change Hands After the Death of a Loved One?

Although nobody likes to think about their mortality, it’s important that they do. They have to think about those who are left behind, and this is particularly true when they are the owner of a business.

You Need a Succession Plan

How does it change hands after you pass away? Does it just fade away and no longer exist? Typically, it will end up going to your estate. However, it can depend on how your succession plan was created—or if you had a plan in place. In cases of a family business, it will likely go to whoever you named in your estate. The family member you name should be someone you feel is qualified enough to run the business.

Who this person is might change over time, which means you may need to update the plan when it’s called for. If you haven’t properly prepared a succession plan or updated it, the business may not go to the person you want it to.

What Happens to the business

When a business goes to the estate after you die, your executor will divide the assets according to your wishes. If the estate plan doesn’t address the business, though, it is going to end up creating some confusion, and you can be sure a lot of questions will arise.When a business goes to the estate after you die, your executor will divide the assets according to your wishes. If the estate plan doesn’t address the business, though, it is going to end up creating some confusion, and you can be sure a lot of questions will arise.

One of the options is to set up a trust, which can be overseen by a board of trustees. They can take care of the business until the children are old enough. Of course, you may want your kids to benefit from the business, but you may not feel as though they should operate the company, even if they are 18 or over.

If you have children who are under 18, they may be able to inherit and own the business. However, because of their age, they will not be able to handle certain business activities, such as signing contracts. When creating a succession plan, if you have minor children, you will also have to plan for the day-to-day operations of the company.

Talk with the attornies at Bell & Shah. We Can help get your estate plan in order, and to ensure you are setting your business up for success after you have passed away. Whether you are going to give the business to your children, a spouse, or someone else, take care of the legalities before it’s too late.

Outlining the Specifics of Power of Attorney

Outlining the Specifics of Power of Attorney

You have likely heard the term power of attorney, but you may not know exactly what it means, how it is used, or any of the specifics. Essentially, it is a type of legal authorization that allows a person to have the power to act for another person. The person who is given the power of attorney is typically called the agent, while the person they can make decisions for is called the principal.

A power of attorney is often used when the principal has a temporary or permanent illness or disability, or when the principal is not available to sign certain documents.

Common Types of Power of Attorney

The types of power of attorney include general, limited powers, and durable. A general power of attorney allows the agent to act for the principal in any matter that is allowed by the laws of the state. For example, they could manage assets, handle bank accounts, sign checks, or file taxes for the principal.

A limited power of attorney on the other hand narrows what the agent can do. For example, it might state that the agent only has the power to manage certain types of accounts or to make certain types of decisions. The limited aspect could also refer to the power only being in effect for a set amount of time. For example, you might leave the country for six months or a year and allow someone else power of attorney during your time away.

When you are setting up a power of attorney, you will want to determine the scope of power that you want to provide to another person. Naturally, this will vary from case to case. You should talk with your attorney about your options.

A durable power of attorney handles some of the legal, property, and financial matters when someone is mentally incapacitated. The agent with a durable power of attorney can pay medical bills on behalf of the principal, but they can’t make major medical decisions.

However, if a principal wants an agent to have this power, they can choose to sign a healthcare power of attorney, where they can become a healthcare proxy. Financial power of attorney is another type of durable power of attorney. This can allow the agent to manage the business and financial affairs of the principal.

The best way to set up any sort of power of attorney in Chicago or elsewhere is to get in touch with Bell & Shah,  who specializes in Wills & Trust Law.

DIY Estate Planning vs. the Real Deal

DIY Estate Planning vs. the Real Deal

Everyone likes to save money. There’s nothing wrong with that in a lot of cases. However, there are some areas where you have to be extremely careful about cutting corners. Estate planning is one of those areas. Let’s look at some of the potential problems that can happen with DIY estate planning.

DIY Estate Planning Problems

Could you try to create your own will and estate plan? Although it might be technically possible, it is rarely a good idea to attempt this. You aren’t a legal expert, and you don’t know all of the ins and outs of the law in Illinois. Trying to write legal documents can end up creating a lot of problems for those you leave behind after you pass away.

Your loved ones will have to try to prove to the court that the will was executed properly and legally. This can be very difficult to do, especially in cases where the regulations were not followed.

Since you aren’t an expert in estate planning, you probably don’t know what to expect when it comes to tax planning either. You might save a bit of money on the cost of an attorney and then your family could lose a substantial amount because you didn’t properly consider how taxes will work with your estate. Ultimately, the DIY estate planning could end up costing you more than working with experienced attorneys.

Benefits of Choosing Estate Planning Attorneys

When you choose to hire an actual estate planning attorney, you can rest easy. They know and understand the law and how it will apply to your estate and what you want to do. They can help you to set up your will, trusts, and more, so that you are in control over what happens with your estate in the event of your death.

The attorney also ensures that everything is legal and binding, which helps to reduce potential issues from cropping up after you have passed away. Your loved ones will already be dealing with grief from your death. You don’t always want them to have to try to untangle a DIY estate plan that is just going to cause them more headaches in the midst of their healing.

Your best option is to speak to the attornies at Bell & Shah as soon as possible. We can help you with a set up your plan, sooner rather than later.

What Happens When a Family Member Contests a Will?

What Happens When a Family Member Contests a Will?

When a loved one passes away, the situation is already difficult enough. Any extra stress can make a difficult position even harder.

This is especially true when it comes to the will. When family members contest the will, it can put serious strains on relationships.

There are a few reasons why family members can and will contest this process. This article will cover why it can happen and what the outcomes could potentially be.

Who Can Contest the Will?

There are only certain parties that can contest a will. Many people think that any family member can contest the will, but this isn’t true. They must have legal grounds to take this action with the courts.

The following individuals can contest the will:

  • Family members already named in the will
  • Previous beneficiaries who were included at a point in time but were written out
  • Anyone not named in the will but who would otherwise be eligible based on intestacy laws

What happens when a will is contested?

For the will to be contested, there must be proper legal grounds for the process to move forward. The following section explains the situation.

What Must Happen for the Will to Be Contested?

The following must happen for the will to be contested.

Incomplete Will

If the individual believes the will is faulty or incomplete, the case may move forward. However, certain requirements must be met in this situation.

When the will wasn’t signed without the right witnesses, the case may move forward if there are missing signatures. Additionally, it may also be contested if important information is missing from the will.

Mentally Incapable

If the court finds that the person who wrote the will was not mentally capable, it may be contested. The person who wrote the will must be able to understand their assets and relationships with the people written into the will.


Finally, if the individual who wrote the will was illegally influenced into signing it, this is grounds for the will to be contested. If the deceased was forced or threatened to write the will – or lied to in any way, the contest may move forward.

It’s important to avoid a will becoming contested at all costs. In certain situations, the will is ruled invalid and thrown out. Nobody wins when this happens, and the result is usually bad blood between family members. This can end up causing scars that never heal and in the end, is a situation that benefits nobody.

We would love to help; our attorneys have years of experience drawing up Will’s & Trust plans for clients of all ages and situations. Give us a call to get started today.

The Property Transfer Process After a Will

The Property Transfer Process After a Will

After someone passes away, the property transfer may seem like a complicated process. However, assuming a will is involved, the situation ends up going much smoother.

The individual the deceased leaves the property to in the will is known as the beneficiary. Before the beneficiary can legally receive the property and become the legal owner, the property must first go through probate court.

What Is Probate Court?

Probate court is a process in which any unpaid debts of the deceased are paid off, accounts are closed, and any remaining assets are distributed according to the wishes outlined in the will. Assuming there are no objections during probate court, the results are typically the same.

Cash assets and real estate will be used to pay off any remaining debt the deceased left behind. After any remaining debts are satisfied, additional cash and real estate will then be transferred to the beneficiary named in the will.

If all debts aren’t satisfied by any remaining cash, the property must be used to close out any open accounts. In the end, the executor of the will ends up making these important decisions.

In simpler terms, the executor is the person in charge of the execution of the will and dividing the assets left to any beneficiaries. If the decision is made that the property must be used to satisfy debts, normally, the executor will be in charge of selling the home and using the proceeds to handle accounts owed.

What Happens if the Property Is Sold?

There are certain cases where the funds secured by the sale of the property will be greater than the debts owed by the deceased. When this happens, the beneficiaries will instead receive the remaining funds left over from the property sale instead of the property itself.

Does the Deed Have to Change Names?

Regardless of the situation, the property cannot remain in the name of the deceased. If the beneficiary ends up with the property, they must file for a new deed and present a copy of the will and death certificate.

In cases where no will exists, the state’s succession law will take effect, and an entirely new set of steps are required to settle the matter.

The smoothest transition possible is having a clear beneficiary named in the will. This is why it’s important for anyone that owns property or assets to put a will together, regardless of health, age, or life expectancy. Contact the experienced attorneys at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today to discuss your situation more fully.

Most Important Reasons to Put Together a Will

Most Important Reasons to Put Together a Will

Why do so many people put off getting a will together? The reasons can vary. Some people feel that thinking about their death is morbid and uncomfortable, and they don’t want to do it. Others may feel that since they are young and in good health, they don’t need to think about their will just yet. However, this is a dangerous mistake to make. Everyone should have a will in place. Below are some of the most important reasons you should make getting a will a priority in your life.

You Have More Control

First, you will have more control when you put together a will. You get to determine who will receive the possessions you have after you pass away. If you don’t have a will, you have virtually no control. The court will be the one that decides what happens with your assets, and they might end up going to people you feel should not get them.

Stay Out of a Long Probate Process

All estates will have to go through the probate process whether they have a will or not. However, when you have a will, there is an advantage because it will speed up the process substantially. It lets the court know how you want the estate to be divided, so you can be sure your final wishes are met.

Ensure Your Minor Children Have the Right Guardian

If you have young children, what will happen to them if you pass away? Typically, if their other parent is alive, they will go to that parent. However, if both parents die, who will take care of the children? If you don’t have a will that specifies what you want to happen, the court will choose from family members or use a state-appointed guardian.

You should be the one who determines who will be the guardian of your children if you have an untimely death. Having a will can help to ensure this.

Now that you understand some of the best reasons to get a will together, it’s time to get started. The first step is to find an attorney in Chicago who excels at estate planning and wills. Talk with the attorneys at Bell & Shah about the options available to you and get started with your plan as soon as possible. It will give you the peace of mind you need.

Call Now