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Archive for December, 2018

5 Steps for Making a Living Will in Illinois

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Feeding tubes? CPR? Before you are on your deathbed, you are likely to have strong preferences about how your end-of-life care should be handled. In the event you become incapacitated and no longer have the capability to express wishes for your medical care, a living will becomes vital.

A living will is a legal document that clearly spells out how your physician should conduct your end-of-life medical care. Also known as an advance directive or directive to physicians, a living will is invaluable in giving the incapacitated individual control over his or her final days of healthcare.

The Importance of Having a Living WillLast-Will-and-Testament-Form-with-Gavel

Without a living will, doctors and family members of the person in a terminal condition have no way of knowing his or her preferences surrounding end-of-life medical care. Given the short-lived but powerful directives of the living will, developing a living will while you are in good health is critical.

Each state in the US has differing laws surrounding the terms of a living will. In Illinois, the definition of a living will is provided in the Illinois Living Will Act. The Act stipulates that the living will may indicate whether or not the incapacitated person wishes to have his or her death delayed by medical procedures.

Any individual over the age of 18 and who takes up residence in Illinois may execute a living will. When a living will is signed into effect in another state, Illinois law recognizes the living will.

5 Steps to Create a Living Will

1. Discuss Your Wishes with Your Physician

The first step in creating a living will is to discuss with your physician whether or not he or she will comply with your medical instructions in the event you become incapacitated.

2. Record Your Decisions

Write down your decisions regarding whether or not to receive death-delaying medical procedures. A lawyer may be hired to prepare the living will. Alternately, you may elect to utilize living will software that complies with Illinois’ laws.

Aside from being cost-effective, using a software to create a legally binding living will allows you to update it at any time. Ensure the living will is official. Medical professionals and hospitals are more likely to enforce an official living will rather than an unofficial document.

3. Have Witnesses Sign the Will

Witnesses give legal credibility to the living will. You will first need to sign the living will in front of two witnesses who are at least 18 years of age. Once you provide your signature, the two witnesses must sign the living will. Carefully choose your witnesses. Anyone responsible for your healthcare is not permitted to sign as a witness. In addition, any person who stands to inherit property is not a credible witness in the eyes of the law and cannot legally serve as a witness.

Once signed, the living will takes effect. Alternately, you may elect to have the living will enforced when you are deemed unable to relay decisions about death-delaying treatment. For as long as possible, physicians will rely on your ability to communicate, as opposed to the living will, even if the living will takes effect immediately.

4. Distributed the Signed or Notarized Living Will

Distribute the signed or notarized living will to your medical team, estate planning lawyer, and/or family. Healthcare professionals and institutions you may wish to send the living will to include your doctor and the hospital or healthcare facility.

The hospital will store the living will in your medical file. Your lawyer should also receive a copy. Family members should be notified, as well any other trusted individuals who will carry out your last medical requests. Noting who receives a copy of your living will is important in the event you decide to update or cancel the document.

5. Assign an Agent or Healthcare Professional to the Will

Assign an agent or healthcare proxy to carry out your end-of-life medical requests. This individual works in conjunction with a durable power of attorney (DPOA). Living wills can be combined with a DPOA document in a few states.

Your agent can be someone you trust, like a spouse, family member or close friend. An ideal choice is someone who will not give way under pressure if arguments arise about your care. Under Illinois law, your agent cannot be your attending physician or healthcare provider. When you are no longer able to communicate decisions about your end-of-life care, your agent steps in, putting in motion the wishes outlined in your living will.

How to Cancel a Living Will

Canceling your living will is relatively simple. Write out a note that specifies the cancelation. This signed document must then be sent to anyone who received a copy of the original living will. You may also verbally cancel an existing living will by telling a witness aged 18 or over about your wish to cancel it.

Subsequently, the witness should provide a written document confirming the cancelation. Most importantly, your doctor should receive notice about the cancelation. The physician will add the cancelation note into your medical file, and attending medical professionals will accordingly disregard the canceled living will.

When to Create a Living Will

The best time to create a living will is now. When you are able to communicate your decisions about end-of-life care, take steps to write it down with the help of Oak Lawn’s most respected will and trust attorneys, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. No matter how overwhelming the thought of creating a living will can be, the established attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. will simplify the process.

Skilled lawyers from the Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. team stay updated on the changing laws in Illinois. With unmatched expertise, the attorneys take the time to fully understand your unique situation and help develop the most optimal legal documents to carry out your stated wishes. The legal team at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. sees to it that your living will is created in accordance with Illinois law. Appropriate legal documentation is necessary for proper execution.

Contact Us

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Residents of the Oak Lawn, Illinois, and surrounding communities know they can rely on the knowledgeable will and trust attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. To schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us directly at (708) 425-9530 or fill out a form and we will get back to you shortly!

3 Ways to Invest in Real Estate

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For many investors, real estate investing is an unchartered territory. Because of its volatile nature, investing in real estate might be an unfamiliar investment opportunity, but it does not mean that it is avoided.

However, real estate can prove to be a lucrative and reliable way to generate substantial returns when approached correctly. It has the potential to create a consistent income stream while supplementing your portfolio with added benefits such as tax advantages, portfolio diversification, and appreciation potential.

Before jumping to the multiple ways through which you can invest into the real estate, let’s have a look at the basics of investing in it.

Defining Real Estate Investing

Real estate means sale, purchase, ownership or lease of land and any other structures on it for the purpose of earning a profit. Real estate is divided into three categories such as residential, commercial, and industrial.

Residential Real Estate

Signing-Real-Estate-Document-with-Keys-to-Property

Before investing in real estate, it’s crucial to become familiar with all types of properties.

Residential real estate means a place that people used as a living space and not as a working space. This includes single family homes, multi-family homes, condominiums, and townhouses.

Commercial Real Estate

A commercial estate is the type of property which is used for the purpose of business. Commercial real estate can be classified as an office, retail, or land. The common examples of commercial real estate properties include business offices, farmland, and large apartment buildings.

Industrial Real Estate

The industrial real estate property serves an industrial business purpose. A case in point is storage warehouses, factories as well as power plants.

There are multiple ways to invest in real estate with any amount of money, time commitment, and investment horizon. Let’s have a look at the fundamental ways to invest in real estate with options ranging from intense, high efforts to hands off low effort.  

1. House Flipping

House flipping is one of the most active, and hand on way to invest in real estate. In a house flip, an investor purchases a home and make potential changes which appreciate the value of the home in the market.

Then, the investor sale that house with the intention of earning a profit. However, house flipping is generally short-term investment mode in the real estate. As the longer an investor owns the home without leasing it to tenants, the higher their expenses add up. Though, an investor can renovate or repair the home to increase its sale price or sell when the market is offering a higher price for the asset.

2. Rental Properties

Rental properties also require hands-on management; however, unlike house flips, they have a long-term investment horizon. Any type of property (residential, commercial, or industrial) can serve the purpose of a rental property.

Moreover, property owners earn regular income in the form of rental payments from tenants. This provides a steady and reliable income stream for investors. Also, this investment mode requires a lot of work or a delegation of responsibilities to ensure that operations are running smooth.

3. REITs

A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a company which makes debt or equity investments in commercial real estate. In REITs, investors generally buy shares of the company and ear profit from its debt and equity investments in the form of dividends. Just like a mutual fund, REITs were created as a way to give ordinary investors public access to real estate investment.

Putting it All TogetherReal-Estate-Attorneys-Oak-Lawn-IL

Summarizing the above discussion, real estate has a proven track record of strong performance. Also, when managed wisely real estate can become a valuable source of cash flow in your investment portfolio.

Like any other investment, real estate investment also requires you to understand as well as weigh the risk and potential rewards before investing into it. Hence, depending upon the way you choose to invest in real estate, you are needing varying amounts of time, beginning capital, patience, and knowledge.

Author Bio:

John M. Crane, P.C located in New York has the necessary experience and expertise to represent clients in real estate transactions, business transactions, civil litigation, foreclosure defense and probate cases.

Most Common Causes of Bankruptcy

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Keeping up with bills can be difficult, especially if you’re months behind. While deadline extensions are limited, there is another option that’s available: filing for bankruptcy. But before making any quick decisions, it’s important to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to make sure that it’s the right move for you.

When it comes to filing bankruptcy, Chapters 7 and 13 are among the most common.

Most Common Causes of Bankruptcy

1. Medical Debt

Due to the increase in medical care costs, it’s becoming increasingly harder for patients to keep up with their bills. In fact, much of this care has left Americans with additional costs they didn’t anticipate. According to a Harvard study, 62 percent of all bankruptcies have been spurred by medical debt.

2. Loss of IncomeMan-Pulling-Debt-Boulder-Rock

The second biggest cause of bankruptcy includes either a loss or significant decrease in income. As many as 22 percent of all cases are due to unemployment. Without the necessary funds, people will use their credit cards – often with high interest rates – to provide temporary relief. But long term, they are digging themselves into a deeper hole.

Aside from unemployment, decreased hours can still lead to other financial problems, like legal fees, divorce, student loans, mortgage, and any other large expenses. A bankruptcy attorney can also help to provide guidance out of debt.

3. Credit Card Debt, Mortgage, and Other Debts

Another common reason that Americans file for bankruptcy includes credit card debt, mortgage, and other major expenses. While it can create major financial problems, much of this is caused  by uncontrollable spending. It’s often the case that many credit unions and banks are too eager to lend out the money with the expectation that they would be paid back with high interest rates.

But credit card and mortgage debt is also a problem that can be relieved with the help of a bankruptcy attorney. However, it’s not common that many Americans seek the help of an attorney.

4. Legal Fees

Believe it or not, legal feels accounts for about 8 percent of bankruptcy cases. These fees can include anything from child support payments to alimony. The hard part is that these fees cannot be “written off” with bankruptcy, however, others can, which allows the filer to focus on paying these fees.

5. Natural Disasters

If you have ever experienced a tornado, fire, flood, or any other kind of disaster, you’ll know well that they are expensive. Especially if your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover the expense or you don’t have insurance, you’ll find yourself quickly buried in restoration bills.

On the other side, almost all homeowner’s insurance policies cover disaster cases. Just be ready to pay the deductible, which may also be significant, depending on your policy.

Least Common Causes of Bankruptcy

You may be surprised that these reasons even constitute for bankruptcy. But while they are rare, they still happen and it’s important to be aware of them.

1. Foreclosure

Many Americans love their home so much that they file for bankruptcy to prevent foreclosure. In the process, they can also alleviate some of their other debts so they can catch up on their mortgage payments. So in many cases filing for bankruptcy to alleviate multiple accounts of debt can be the best option.

2. No Structured Financial Plan

While the number of Americans that file for this reason is low, it includes those that have set no budget or boundaries for themselves. In these cases, uncontrollable spending will quickly send people into financial distress.

3. Utility Bills

You might be surprised but utility bills account for 1 percent of all bankruptcy cases, including electricity, gas, trash, and water. For bills so inexpensive, some people do not consider these a priority, thus, letting them pile up while they pay the minimum charge to keep everything running. For some, filing for bankruptcy can provide them with a “fresh start” to catch up on their living expenses.

4. Student Loans

With college tuition already sky high, it may seem shocking that only 1 percent of Americans file for bankruptcy. But the reason for this is because student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy (or else everyone would be doing it). On the other hand, few people do in order to eliminate or restructure other debts so they can catch up on their student loan payments.

5. Car Repossession

The last reason for bankruptcy includes the reason to avoid car repossession. With as many as 3 missed payments, the creditor can easily take the car away. But as soon as you file for bankruptcy, they must return your car as well as any other property that was taken.

Life After Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy can feel like a failure at first, but afterwards, it can be such a relief to get rid of all that debt. Simply working with a bankruptcy attorney cannot only lead you to a “fresh start” long term, but also provide immediate relief like prevent foreclosure and repossession.

After all, you need a place to stay and means of transportation to work and pay for these expenses. So if you are worried that you might lose these things in the near future, filing for bankruptcy can stop this process, even allowing you to keep more than you think.

Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney

Financial turmoil is depressing and can easily lead to other problems like divorce due to arguments caused by financial distress. If you are contemplating declaring bankruptcy, be sure to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to make sure that this is the right step for you.

If you live near the southwest Chicago, IL area, contact the attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our attorneys are not only experienced but stay updated on all current laws. They have also worked in a number of diverse cases, you can feel comfortable as they guide you to make the best financial decision.lawyers-in-oak-lawn-il

When working with our bankruptcy attorneys, they will answer all of your questions, provide legal advice that is tailored to your unique situation, help filling out all documents, and provide deadline reminders.

Schedule a Consultation

To speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd., contact us directly at (708) 425-9530 or fill out a contact form. We will be in touch with you shortly!

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