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.

Understanding Bylaws before Buying a New House

Understanding Bylaws before Buying a New House

Purchasing a home in a development with a homeowners association (HOA) can look like a wonderful idea until you violate one of the HOA’s bylaws, which are designed to maintain an orderly community and prevent members from actions that might bring down property values. However, these rules also control members’ decisions in modifying their property and other areas and are at times seen as encroaching on individual freedom. Bylaw violations can result in hefty fines for those who fail to follow the rules.

Fines are regulated by state laws and are intended to be reasonable, with their purpose being to generate compliance, not income for the association. Whatever their function may be, it’s important to understand an HOA’s bylaws, and the following are some steps to take before joining one of these communities.

Study the Contract

If you own a vehicle that bears your company’s name, and your HOA’s bylaws forbid that, you’ll have to either buy another vehicle or live somewhere else. Don’t be concerned that the documents are legal contracts. Appropriately written HOA texts should contain wording that any layperson can understand.

The covenants that delineate what can and can’t be done with the property are filed with the local county, so potential buyers can study them before deciding if they want to live there. However, HOA bylaws, which may also contain limitations, are not submitted to the government, so they need to be acquired from the homeowners association.

Learn about HOA Fees and How the Money is Used

HOA fees typically levied as yearly dues, cover the cost of insurance, landscape maintenance, and other communal operating costs. Check to see if the dues are capped and how frequently they can be increased. It’s also a good idea to learn about the association’s financial reserves, checking if the reserves are fully funded and if they contain enough money to cover emergencies.

Look into Insurance Coverage

HOA insurance should cover disasters such as fires and tornadoes, but make sure to learn how much and what type of insurance your HOA has. For example, the outside of your property should be covered by the HOA. Insurance can also protect an association against lawsuits.

Complaint Resolution

An HOA’s bylaws establish the number of seats on the board of directors, and this number may be influenced by the developers. The fewer board members, the better the chances are that developers will have disputes ruled in their favor.

The contract should detail how to file complaints, which is best done in writing, along with documentation, such as bills for work that the HOA should cover.

If you’re planning to buy a home in a community with an HOA, give us a call anytime at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC. We’ll be glad to assist you with any questions you may have about the ins and outs of HOA bylaws.

Times When You Should Create an Irrevocable Trust

Times When You Should Create an Irrevocable Trust

Whether revocable or irrevocable, all trusts involve the following participants: (1) the creator, who composes the trust’s wording and transmits property or funds to the trust; (2) the trustee, who adheres to the trust’s directives, invests funds from the trust, use property from the trust to meet the beneficiary’s needs, and pays the trust’s administrative costs; and (3) the beneficiary, who reaps the benefits of the trust’s assets and/or profits.

Revocable Trusts

If you function as all of these participants, you have a revocable trust, which can be changed or rescinded whenever you like. However, revocable trusts offer only partial protection from creditors and only nominal savings on estate taxes. In addition, they are not eligible to receive benefits from government-run programs.

Irrevocable Trusts

By contrast, when you create an irrevocable trust you are composing a text that cannot be easily altered, and the property transferred to the trust is not in your control. So why would an individual choose to give up authority over his or her assets and depend on another person to administer their money? The times when creating an irrevocable trust should be contemplated are when you wish to (1) reduce your estate taxes; (2) become qualified for government-run programs,  or (3) safeguard your money against creditors.

The Advantages of Creating an Irrevocable Trust

Reducing Taxes

With an “irrevocable life insurance trust,” individuals who contribute money each year to the trust can use this money to buy life insurance that might circumvent having to pay estate taxes when they pass away. Another variety is a “grantor retained annuity trust,” which gives the creator a set income for a number of years and can permit a portion of the principal to go to a family member’s estate tax-free. In estate tax-savings trusts, only rarely can the trustee and beneficiary be the same person, and in such instances, a neutral third party must serve as a co-trustee who can overrule your instructions.

Becoming Eligible for Government-Run Programs

Disabled beneficiaries who are on Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have strict limits with respect to income and assets, and if they possess or bring in too much money they can lose these government benefits. Irrevocable trusts can protect income and assets so that these limits are not surpassed. Trustees of so-called “Medicaid trusts” cannot be their creators. As is the case with estate-tax savings trusts, beneficiaries lack significant control of the trusts, so the government benefits continue to come in because the trust funds are not included as the beneficiary’s own assets and income.

Protection against Creditors

Creditors are unable to claim assets from an irrevocable trust. The reason for this is that you lack control of the assets and cannot rescind the trust, so you can’t be regarded as the assets’ owner.

If you’re thinking about creating an irrevocable trust, contact Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today to discuss your case. Our experienced team of business attorneys can help you to formulate an irrevocable trust that is ideal for your situation.

What to Know about a Closing Settlement Statement in Illinois

What to Know about a Closing Settlement Statement in Illinois

A closing settlement statement often completes a real estate transaction. You can also call them a settlement sheet or a HUD-1 statement. These documents present a comprehensive itemized listing of the funds and credits exchanged in the transaction, along with the parties by whom and to whom the money and credits are to be paid. Closing agents prepare and write up closing statements or settlement sheets. They are professional individuals that operate mainly on the part of buyers by communicating the selling interest from buyers to sellers, guaranteeing the systematic transmission of legal titles from the sellers to the buyers in conducting the closing procedures. The sheets delineate the final terms and costs of mortgages. Closing settlement statements are very important when it comes to closing on some types of purchases. It is vital that you study them carefully before signing.

What to Include in an Illinois Closing Settlement Statement

An Illinois closing settlement statement covers real estate transactions where the transaction is all cash or owner financing. After completing the closing statement, closing agents will review, verify, and sign the documents. The buyer and selling also sign, recognizing acceptance of all financial aspects of the transaction. Some of the expenses recorded on the closing statement include the following:

  • Agents’ commissions
  • Mortgage insurance costs
  • Deposits of property taxes
  • Expenses related to the loan origination process
  • Appraisal and mortgage broker fees, and
  • Inspection costs.

Fees for obtaining the borrower’s credit report, for title searches, and for the services of attorneys, notaries, and closing agents may also be on the sheet.

For transactions employing closing settlement statements, buyers and sellers typically meet with a professional such as an attorney, a real estate agent, or a closing agent to look over the statements and make sure that all the details are accurate and acceptable. Even after completely preparing the statement, last-minute changes require both the buyer and seller need to review for correctness.

Trust Bell & Shah Law to Help

Contact Bell & Shah Law, LLC today for help with your Illinois closing settlement statement. Our experienced real estate attorneys look forward to hearing from you.

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