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.

Can Property Lines Change Over Time?

Can Property Lines Change Over Time?

Property law can be extremely confusing and often hinges on minor details. When it comes to arguments over property, the cases literally can depend on a matter of inches.

There are many times when property lines are contested, and it’s important to be aware of what could happen. Did you know that property lines can change over time?

This could end up influencing property cases that go to court. This article will discuss when these lines can change and how they may affect you as a property owner.

What Is a Property Dispute?

A property dispute is a situation that includes two property owners battling in court over who has rights to a certain portion of land. These cases can include large parcels of land or smaller pieces, sometimes measured in feet or inches.

At certain times when a property is damaged or a portion of a building is erected over a property line, these cases are taken to court if owners can’t resolve them. The judge will make a decision, and in many cases, the losing party must pay for damage or ends up losing a small portion of their property.

Can Property Lines Change?

Property lines can change over time without a sale taking place. When this takes place, it’s usually the result of the situation described above.

When someone’s property is damaged because of a neighbor, the case goes to court. If the party who received the damage is victorious, the property line may be altered in favor of the plaintiff to compensate for any damage done to their land initially.

However, the precise boundary lines must be highlighted before any changes are made. This process includes the items below.

Outlining the Property

First, a surveyor must be scheduled to outline the property and give a precise report of where the boundary lines are. The survey’s report will include the following elements:

  • A physical drawing or map of the property
  • A detailed description of all of the surrounding properties
  • Improvements that have been made to the property over time

When the surveyor performs the assessment and creates the report, they use the current deed as a guideline. This describes the original boundaries with location information regarding the land in question.

After completing the report, the land is marked with small flags, so both owners are aware of the boundaries. The surveyor takes the report to the court, and if it’s warranted, the judge may change the property line in favor of one party or the other.

If you have questionable property lines, the best course of action is to keep projects and new structures a few feet away. This can avoid any issues and save you a lot of headaches in the future.

Contact the professionals at Bell & Shah Law, we can help you navigate the process of your home’s property line and what the steps are to take in the future.

Can You Remove Someone from a Deed Without Their Knowledge?

Can You Remove Someone from a Deed Without Their Knowledge?

When two individuals are both present on the same deed, they have equal rights to the property in question. Decisions must be made jointly, and no one person has a majority say in any matter regarding the deed.

Many people question whether one party has the power to remove the other from a deed. In this article, we’ll discuss whether this is possible and what type of ramifications take place as a result.

If you own property jointly with someone, you might want to read this article. It’s important to protect yourself from potentially damaging situations when you’re invested in property with anybody.

Illegal Removal

Anyone can be removed from a deed without consent from the other party. However, in most cases, this is done illegally.

When these situations take place, the most common occurrence is a forgery of an individual’s signature. However, when this happens, it’s easily identified by the court, and the situation will be reversed.

It’s important to note that certain LEGAL situations may include the removal of a party from a deed. However, this must be done through a court order.

Legal Removal

The following situations are examples of when a person can be legally removed from a deed without their consent.

  • If the property is foreclosed on
  • If partition takes place
  • If the government seizes all or part of the property for non-payment of taxes
  • Criminal forfeiture through things like drug cases and other charges
  • Eminent domain

If you believe that you are potentially part of any of these situations, you must contract the services of an attorney immediately. This is especially true if you’re the party being removed from the deed.

It’s possible that with the right counsel and the situation surrounding the matter, the decision for removal may be reversed. Alternatively, if you’re the party left on the deed, you need to know how to move forward to keep your claim on the property.

It may be a situation that requires simple action on your part, and an attorney can help you navigate the situation until you come to a resolution.

If you receive a notice for any of the situations mentioned above, your first course of action should be to contact your lawyer, then the county. Obtaining the information surrounding the situation could be the only way to preserve the property.

The last thing you want to do is lose your rights to a house or piece of land, especially through no fault of your own.

Long Term Leases and Property Transfers

Long Term Leases and Property Transfers

In real estate, long-term property lease situations (30–99 years, with options for lease extensions) are typically referred to as ground leases. Ground leases and subsequent property transfers can be especially tricky for several reasons.

The specifics of a ground lease are as follows: A landowner leases a piece of property (with no improvements or excavations made to the land) to a tenant. The tenant is allowed to construct a building of any form on the land during the lease agreement.

Improvements and Depreciation

Normally, during fresh construction on untouched land certain excavation changes must be made to prepare the land for subsequent building. The problem is that when excavation takes place the improvements will cause an increase in the property value.

What happens in these situations?

During the specific terms of the ground lease, any improvements made to the land will be owned outright by the tenant. The improvements will be depreciated from the rent. The improvements will transfer to the property owner at the end of the rental term.

In rare situations, the landowner will require the tenant to remove the improvements made to the land that satisfy the construction requirements.

During ground lease situations, the landlords and tenants can potentially reap the benefits in the occurrence of the former situation. Depending on how much value was accrued during the lease term, both parties stand to profit a substantial amount from these improvements.

No Longer Tax-Free

In the past, these transactions weren’t grounds for taxation. This was recognized as a type of tax-free loophole that existed between property owners and renters. However, this changed in most states around 2014, depending on the specific geographic location.

If you’re a current landowner who takes place in the beneficial interest of a land transfer that takes place after a lease of 30 years or more (specifically targeting ground leases), you’ll have to pay taxes at a rate of 50 cents for every $500 of property value added to the land during the leasing term.

In many locations, not only are you required to pay a tax on the added value but an additional transfer tax for the mere creation of a ground lease. Additionally, the situation becomes more complicated when a mortgage is involved on the part of the tenant to finance the construction of the building.

If you’re a landowner or tenant involved in a ground lease, it’s important to be aware of the laws regarding these taxes in your location. Each state is unique in the figures and specifics surrounding these situations, and being aware is critical for compliance.

Turn to the experienced lawyers here at Bell Shah Law when you have any type of real estate attorney questions. We will put our years of experience to work for you and ensure you and your real estate are properly represented.

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