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.

Using Your Attorney to Assist During Licensing Applications

Using Your Attorney to Assist During Licensing Applications

Many industries exist that require owners and other professionals within those businesses to obtain certain licenses to operate within the statute of the law. Regardless of how minute certain procedures seem, one thing you do not want to be in violation of is any form of regulatory compliance.

Among these industries are physicians, contractors, pharmacists, and restaurants. One industry you may not have placed on this list was the real estate sector. In fact, realtors have one of the most heavily scrutinized and meticulous processes for individuals wishing to become licensed.

Using an Attorney for Licensing Applications

Many would-be entrants into the real estate industry employ the services of their attorneys during the licensing process. This may seem extreme, but consider the following pieces of information regarding the situation:

  • Licensing applications exist in industries where consumers need protection.
  • The critical segments of information and vital processes that applicants learn give them knowledge regarding fair and safe practices for doing business.
  • Boards that oversee these licensing applications want to be sure, without any doubt, that individuals who are approved understand these practices.
  • Because of the importance of compliance laws within certain industries, failure to operate without a license could damage the professional futures of individuals in violation.
  • Additionally, fines may be imposed and could lead to possible jail time in the most extreme situations.

Any other area that requires such a critical process warrants the use of an attorney. Why should the real estate license process be any different?

Attention to Detail

Using an attorney for the real estate licensing process doesn’t just protect you from potential mistakes on your end but any injustices during the review process. All applicants are entitled to a fair and unbiased review, and an attorney can ensure you get exactly that.

Using an attorney for becoming a licensed real estate agent will protect you in the following areas of importance:

  • Was everything filled out correctly according to state requirements?
  • Is all of your information accurate and up to date, satisfying all demands from the licensing board?
  • Do you need assistance understanding any language contained within the application?
  • If your application is rejected, do you need help understanding the grounds for denial?
  • In the event of rejection, do you feel like an appeal is warranted?
  • Do you have any type of dispute regarding the denial process?

An attorney can assist with advice regarding whether you have a case for an appeal or dispute. Additionally, ensuring everything is filled out properly and satisfies all requirements from the board will save you a lot of time and potential headaches in the long run. Looking to find out more about any business licenses you may need? Then reach out to us here at Bell Shah Law 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.

How an Attorney Can Keep Your Professional License Safe

How an Attorney Can Keep Your Professional License Safe

Regardless of the type of professional license you hold, you need to do everything you can to keep that license safe. If there are complaints made against you, there is a chance that it could put your license in jeopardy.  Some of the common types of professions that require licenses include accountants, doctors, nurses, realtors, cosmetologists, engineers, etc.

Without a license, you would not be able to practice in your field. Consider all of the work and time you had spent getting that license and building your reputation. You don’t want to put it in jeopardy.

A Better Outcome

Disciplinary actions taken against professionals that could cause issues with a license happens more often than you might realize. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your license will be removed. Often, there are ways that you can take responsibility for actions, or fight against false accusations, so you don’t lose your license. If you have already lost your license, an attorney might be able to help reinstate the license or if you are on probation, reduce the period.

Sometimes, they can help to prevent disciplinary action in one state affecting your license in another state where you work. Of course, this doesn’t work with all types of licenses.

Regardless, you don’t want to try to defend your professional license on your own. This area of the law is complex, and it’s hard to understand everything that you need to do to keep your license safe. Working with an attorney is always the best course of action. Just make sure to find legal help on time.

Don’t Wait to Get Legal Help

If you have a disciplinary proceeding or you have complaints against you, it’s important that you act quickly and get in touch with an attorney. The sooner you get legal help the better, as your attorney can start to build a defense. Often, they can take care of the issue before it gets out of hand.

Always make sure you have legal representation before talking with any investigators from the agency responsible for your licensing. Great attorneys understand how to respond to complaints and accusations.

Make sure you choose an attorney who has plenty of experience in this area of the law, particularly with the type of license you have. Ultimately, they can help to reduce the amount of stress you are feeling.

it’s important that you consult with a knowledgeable Illinois licensing attorney at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC to help address your concerns. Contact us today for top-quality individualized guidance on Illinois licensing laws.

Common Business Transactions Where an Attorney Can Help

Common Business Transactions Where an Attorney Can Help

It doesn’t matter if you own a large multinational business or a small, local business in Chicago. At some point, you are going to need to have the services of an attorney to help you to better protect your business interests. After all, the act of being in business carries with it a certain amount of risk. Having an attorney can help to mitigate the risk and improve your business growth.

Attorneys can help with some of the common types of business transactions that take place in your company. Below are some of the main areas where you could benefit from using a good attorney.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Many companies, particularly those that are looking to grow, will want to merge with or acquire other companies along the way. This can be a complex and difficult process. However, it doesn’t have to be when you work with an attorney that can help with all areas of sales and purchases. A good attorney can help to set up business entities, as well. Of course, there are other areas in business when working with an attorney that can help your company.

Employment Contracts

If you have a business, you likely have employees unless you are doing it all on your own. When you have employees, you need to be sure that you are bringing them onboard correctly, and that you have good, legally binding employment contracts. Attorneys can help to set these up for you.

Non-compete Agreements

You might also need non-compete agreements. These are used to ensure that your employee will not use the information they learned when they were employed with you to start a rival business and compete with you when their employment ends.


If you are a landlord or you lease buildings to other businesses, having an attorney that can handle the leases and contracts is important. Even if you are leasing a building for your company, it’s good to have an attorney look over the lease before you sign. It ensures you understand the lease and that you don’t get into a bad lease that could come back to haunt you later.

These are just some of the types of business activities and transactions when working with the attorneys at Bell & Shah, LLC, that will be beneficial. When you take the time to choose a highly qualified, reputable business attorney, you will find that they can handle these issues, as well as all of the other things you need. Contact us today to get started!

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