Benefits of Using Trusts in Estate Planning

We have already talked about using wills in estate planning. This post will focus on trusts. A trust is a legal entity created to hold property for a beneficiary. A valid trust consists of a trustor, trustee, and a beneficiary. For instance, a grandfather (trustor) may place the title to a lakehouse in a trust with instructions that a bank (trustee) shall transfer the title to a grandson (beneficiary) when the grandson turns 25 years old. Depending on the goals you...

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How Important Are Wills in Estate Planning?

Estate planning refers to the process which details how a person’s assets should be distributed after death. An estate planner utilizes wills and various types of trusts in order to distribute a person’s assets in the way that the person wishes. Using a will or a trust to distribute an asset is a strategic choice. This entry focuses on using a will. Any asset that is not transferred through a trust, or subject to joint-ownership, is transferred through the State probate process. Read More


The Chicago Transit Authority and Recent Jury Decisions

On the morning of March 24th, 2014, a train from the CTA blue line derailed onto the platform and up an escalator at the O’Hare International Airport. As a result of the crash, 32 people traveling that morning were injured. The train operator at the time of the accident, admitted to dozing off moments before the crash. This would be the second time the operator would claim to have fallen asleep while operating a train, as she would be...

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Negligent Spoliation of Evidence: How to Prevail Over Missing Evidence

In everyday life, people are prompted to interact with things for an infinite number of reasons. For example, a factory employee interacts with a certain machine in order to perform his duties. An avid reader interacts with chairs at the coffee shop to sit down and enjoy a book with a cappuccino. A mother interacts with a shopping cart at the grocery store to secure her infant in the child seat. While these interactions may seem insignificant, the potential for serious injury still exists. Sticking with the three examples...

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Personal Injury and the Illinois Statute of Limitations

Under Illinois law, there are certain timing restrictions and deadlines that you need to be aware of and familiar with if you are planning to make a claim. These restrictions are referred to as statute of limitations. These laws and limitations were put in place for a few reasons; that evidence is still apparent and could easily be collected, and also to limit the “threat” of a lingering lawsuit to hold over someone. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim, according...

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Workers Compensation and the First Aggressor Defense

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act allows an employee to receive compensation for sustaining any “accidental injuries arising out of and in the course of the employment.” 820 ILCS § 305/1(d). Accidental injuries can occur in a variety of ways: a construction worker can fall off of a roof while replacing shingles; a nurse can slip on the hospital floor while attending to patients; a factory worker can tear a muscle while lifting heavy objects. Some may be surprised to hear that Illinois courts...

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Illinois Supreme Court Ruling Clears Up Negligence Claim Against Union Pacific

The Illinois Supreme Court recently overturned an Appellate decision stating that an employee may not collect damages from his employer when a third party is completely at fault. On August 9th, 2008, Christopher Wardwell, an employee of Union Pacific Railroad, was riding in the passenger seat of a car driven by a woman who was hired by Union Pacific. The two were headed to a work site when they were rear-ended near St. Louis by a driver who was later found to be intoxicated. Chris Wardwell suffered...

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Understanding the “As Is” Clause in a Contract to Purchase Property

Most people, at one point in their lives, have signed a contract to purchase either real property or personal property from an individual or a retailer. Some contracts, such as for the sale of a used car, contain an “as is” clause. But what does an “as is” clause actually mean? An “as is” clause is typically misunderstood to mean that a buyer is purchasing an item as it exists, despite any imperfections. However, an “as is” clause actually operates for the buyer to disclaim any potential implied...

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Implied Warranty of Inhabitability

Your home is your sanctuary. Unfortunately many prospective sanctuaries are riddled with conditions or post-closing problems that ultimately lead to litigation. Below is a list and an explanation of possible causes of action related to a home purchase when the property condition post-closing becomes at issue.

Breach of the Implied Warranty of Inhabitability

Under the Implied Warranty of Inhabitability, a seller, builder or a landlord can be held liable for latent defects that render a house unfit. A latent defect is one that can be reasonably viewed with the common eye. Potential...

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IRS Ruling Creates Difficulties for Restaurants Using Automatic Gratuities

The IRS has created a rule that will affect restaurants that charge automatic gratuities to their customers. IRS Revenue Ruling 2012-18 has classified all automatic gratuities placed on the customer’s tab as restaurant income and will therefore be considered wages, not tips. Four factors determine whether a payment is considered a service charge or a tip: 1) the payment is made free from compulsion, 2) the customer has the unrestricted right to determine the amount, 3) the payment is not the subject of negotiation or dictated by employer policy; and 4) the customer has the right to...

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