The Steps of Probate

The Steps of Probate

Below, we will be looking at the basics of the steps of probate. To understand the ins and outs of probate further, get in touch with an attorney at Bell & Shah Law.

Step 1: Determine if There Is a Will

When someone dies, the first step is to see whether a will exists and whether it is valid or not. This will determine whether there is an executor or an administrator. If there is a will, then it may name someone as the executor. If there is not a will, there will be an administrator. The administrator is appointed by the court.

Step 2: Gather Information and Begin Duties

The representative of the estate (executor or administrator) will then take possession of the property and ensure it is safe until it is all distributed. Those who take this role have a lot of responsibilities. The person who is named as the executor might be a family member or friend. However, it could also be an attorney.

The representative will ensure that all debts are paid and will locate the Will if one exists. They will collect assets and death benefits, get certified copies of the death certificate, check out safety deposit boxes, manage digital assets, notify the Franchise Tax Board, and notify the Social Security Administration if the decedent was receiving monthly social security benefits.

Step 3. Finding Beneficiaries and Heirs

In addition to the above duties, the representative will also need to find the heirs and beneficiaries. They may be named in the will. If there is not a will or if there are other issues, the representative will have to look for other ways of finding the rightful heirs and beneficiaries. This could be living trust, joint tenancy agreements, etc.

Step 4: Inventorying Property

The representative also has to identify all of the decedent’s property and items mentioned in the will. They will need to take a full inventory, as well, and make sure that everything is there and in order.

Step 5: Transferring the Property to the Right People

Once they know the beneficiaries and the property, they need to make sure that everyone gets what they are supposed to receive. They also need to determine the best way to transfer it to those people.

Talk with an Attorney

If you are looking to put together a will and you want to name an executor, or if you need to know more about what could happen during probate and how to avoid it, talk with an attorney at Bell & Shah Law today!

Using an Attorney to Set Up Your Small Business

Using an Attorney to Set Up Your Small Business

When you are starting up a small business, you have a lot on your plate. You want things to be as smooth and simple as possible, but we all know that things don’t always work out this way. Issues often arise, and you need to make sure you are handling them the right way. If those problems stem from your product or your messaging, you can probably handle them… but they might involve matters best left to an attorney.

There are countless benefits of using an attorney to help set up your small business. Let’s look at some of the best reasons to work with these lawyers below.

Help Choosing the Right Business Structure

This is one of the most important early steps when you are setting up your business. if you don’t structure properly from the start, it could cause problems for you later. For example, you might be exposed to more liability if you aren’t an LLC. You might not fully understand the tax implications of the different structure options. An attorney can help you with this.

Contract Creation and Review

Even small businesses will be dealing with all manner of contracts and agreements. It might be rental agreements, employee contracts, freelancer contracts, etc. Regardless, you will find that having an attorney go over these agreements and contracts before you sign them or give them to people to sign is essential. It can help to keep you from making a costly mistake.

Reduce the Risk of Lawsuits

Working with an attorney will ensure that your business is legal and that you are following the state and federal employment laws. This will reduce the chance of you making mistakes that could land you in hot legal water.

Protection of Intellectual Property

You need to be sure all of your intellectual property is protected. This includes things like original works, logos, inventions, product designs, etc. Your attorney can ensure you have all of the proper paperwork filed for copyright, trademark, patent, etc. It’s best to do this as soon as possible.

Get in Touch with an Attorney

As you can see, there are some great advantages to using an attorney when you are setting up your small business. Keep in mind that you don’t need to hire a full-time attorney for your business at this stage. Instead, you can simply employ the services of the attorneys at Bell & Shah, when you need them. Contact Bell & Shah today to see how we can help your business with.

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.

Squatter’s Law and Vacant Properties

Squatter’s Law and Vacant Properties

Those who own property in Illinois should make sure they understand the ins and outs of squatter’s rights and how it might affect the property owner’s vacant property. A squatter is someone who lives on someone else’s property without the permission of that owner. Those who are squatting have right in Illinois. If they can meet certain requirements under the Illinois Adverse Possession law, the squatters could have rights to your property. If the courts agree that they have a claim, they will get full legal rights to your property.

What Requirements Does a Squatter Need to Meet?

Getting squatters right in Illinois is not easy. However, with some vacant properties where the landlords are essentially absent, it is possible.

The squatters are required to have resided on the property for at least 20 years. Any less time than this, and they cannot claim the property. Additionally, the squatter needs to physically occupy the property just as the owner would.

They need to treat the property like they are the owner. An example of this would be making improvements on the property. They couldn’t merely hide a tent someone on a large property and claim to have lived there for 20 years without doing anything to benefit the property.

The squatter’s occupation of the property also needs to be obvious. They can’t try to hide that they are living on the property. It needs to be obvious to everyone, even the legal owner of the property, that someone is living there.

Also, the occupation needs to be hostile. However, in legal terms, this doesn’t mean violence or anger. Instead, “hostile” can mean one of three things:

  • The person squatting doesn’t necessarily know that the property they are living on belongs to someone else. This is called simple occupation.
  • The squatter knows that they are trespassing. This is known as awareness of trespassing.
  • Finally, there is the good-faith mistake, which might refer to someone who receives an invalid deed and believes they truly own the property when they actually don’t.

What Can You Do About Squatters?

As a landlord in Illinois, if you have a vacant property, you will want to make sure it is properly secured. You might also want to install security precautions, add no trespassing signs, and make sure you inspect the property regularly. If there is a squatter found on the property, you will want to speak with the attornies at Bell & Shah right away.

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