Call Us at 312-321-6910 for a Free Consultation

Follow Us

Recent blog posts

How Does a Land Trust Work?

Posted on in Estate Planning

Chatham, IL estate planning lawyerLands trusts are living trusts that give the beneficiary full or partial legal ownership over a property. The person who establishes the trust is the grantor and the owner of the property. A trustee manages the trust itself. 

This estate planning strategy allows individuals and business owners to protect their property. The entire estate planning process can be difficult, so it is always smart to consult an experienced attorney. They can ensure that your land trust is legally binding and can guide you into making the best informed decision for your unique circumstance. 

What Are the Advantages of a Land Trust in Illinois?

Land trusts are usually established by real estate investors and estate planning property owners because of their advantages. Here are a few of those benefits


Hyde Park, IL estate planning attorneyAs a new parent, you are likely feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the responsibility that you now have for safeguarding the interests of the little person who has been entrusted to your care. This is normal, and although this feeling can be uncomfortable at times, you can use it to your family’s advantage. Allow it to inspire you to make healthy choices, to shore up your finances, and to either craft an estate plan for the first time or to update any documents that you may have executed in the past.

Naming a Guardian 

In the tragic event that you do not live long enough to watch your child reach the age of majority, it is going to be vitally important that you have selected someone you trust to assume responsibility for their care. If you do not choose someone proactively – ideally, someone who shares your parenting philosophies and is stable and loving – the state will determine who will raise your child. This is an outcome that you can avoid by naming a guardian for your child in your will.

Providing for Your Child’s Care

If you pass away early in life, you will want to make sure that your “affairs are in order” in ways that provide for your child’s care as they grow. There are a host of estate planning tools, from trusts to beneficiary designations, that you can use to better ensure that your child is financially provided for, even if you are no longer around to provide that support directly. By working with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you to identify which estate planning resources you need to achieve your goals – and who can help you execute them in ways that are enforceable per state law – you can better ensure your child’s well-being if anything should happen to you while they are still a minor and are unable to support themselves.


Roseland Real Estate AttorneyIn recent months, much has been written about the state of commercial office space in the U.S., especially in large urban centers like Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Chicago. Due to social and economic shifts that were accelerated dramatically by the Covid-19 pandemic, fewer businesses are operating in traditional office spaces. And while the prevalence of remote and hybrid work environments is being questioned by some, these arrangements are incredibly popular overall. As a result, commercial real estate investments in traditional office spaces are not what they once were.

Is This Shift a Ticking Time Bomb?

There is an increasing concern that empty office space – especially in large urban centers – is not just a problem for individual developers and investors who hoped to see a significant return on their initial and ongoing attention paid to any particular property. There is a sense that the shifting reality of urban office space could lead to a phenomenon that has been dubbed a “doom loop.” And it is also being widely predicted that the effects of this concern could be felt in earnest as early as 2025 when the nation’s commercial investors and real estate developers hit a debt wall.

Essentially, there is $1.5 trillion on commercial real estate loans in the U.S. that will come due before the end of 2025. As the nature of the nation’s office-based economy has shifted so rapidly since the start of 2020, the value of the commercial properties tied to these loans are increasingly not worth what they were when the loans were secured and it does not look like their value will broadly increase as rapidly as it decreased.


Oak Lawn Residential Real Estate LawyerIf you are a first-time home buyer, there are a variety of issues that must be addressed as you search for your “perfect home.” One of the best ways you can protect yourself from any potential legal and/or financial issues that could arise is to have a skilled Illinois real estate attorney representing you throughout the process. The entire process – from submitting a bid to purchase the home through closing on the property and getting the keys – can feel overwhelming, but having your own attorney can ensure a smooth and successful transaction. The following are some of the key reasons why first-time home buyers can benefit from having an attorney.

Negotiations and Counteroffers

When it comes to negotiating the terms of the purchase agreement, a real estate attorney can provide valuable advice and assistance. They can help the buyer draft counteroffers, negotiate repairs, or negotiate favorable terms, such as contingencies or financing arrangements, to protect the buyer's interests.

Contract Review

One of the primary roles of a real estate attorney is to review and analyze the purchase agreement and other legal documents related to the transaction. They can identify any potential issues, unfair terms, or legal loopholes that may be present in the contract, protecting the buyer's interests and ensuring they fully understand the terms before signing.


Oak Lawn Estate Planning LawyerOne of the most beneficial tools a person can use in their estate plan is a trust. Trusts provide many advantages, including the ability to avoid probating the assets that are contained in the trust. However, there are situations where after the trust is created, the individual passes before they had the opportunity to transfer certain assets into the trust that should have been included. This can happen for various reasons, such as acquiring new assets after the creation of the trust or unintentionally omitting certain assets from the trust. In these situations, a pour-over will can ensure that any overlooked assets will still be managed and distributed according to the terms of the trust.

Advantages of a Pour-Over Will

One of the key advantages of a pour-over will is its ability to simplify the probate process. When a person passes away, their estate typically goes through probate, which involves validating the will and distributing assets. However, if a person's assets are primarily held in a trust and they have a pour-over will, the pour-over will directs any remaining assets to the trust, bypassing probate for those assets. This can save time and money, and reduce the complexity of the probate process.

Pour-over wills also offer flexibility in estate planning. They allow individuals to make changes to their asset distribution without the need to amend the trust itself. This can be particularly useful when circumstances change, such as acquiring new assets, selling existing assets, or changing beneficiaries. By updating the pour-over will, individuals can ensure that their estate plan remains current and aligned with their wishes.


Calumet City Estate Planning LawyerWhether a person has a physical or mental disability, the need for financial support is often consistent. The cost of medical care, home healthcare, specialized equipment, housing, and everyday needs can quickly add up. If you have a family member with a disability, you may worry about his or her ability to cover these costs after you have passed away. A special needs trust is a trust used exactly for this purpose.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust is a fiduciary relationship involving a grantor, trustee, and beneficiary. The grantor, or person who creates the trust, adds funds to the trust and assigns a trustee to oversee the distribution of the funds. The funds are distributed to the disabled person who can use them to cover living expenses, medical needs, and any other costs that he or she encounters.

What makes a special needs trust different from other types of trusts is that trust assets are not counted against the disabled person when it comes to public assistance. Many disabled people receive Social Security or Medicaid to help them cover expenses. These programs are based on income. If your assets and income exceed a certain limit, you are ineligible for benefits. A special needs trust provides financial support to a disabled person without threatening their eligibility for public assistance. Because the trust assets are held by the trust and not the disabled person, the trust assets are not counted as income.


Englewood Residential Real Estate LawyerInflation, unemployment, illness, and countless other factors can make it difficult for homeowners to make ends meet. Consequently, some owners end up selling their homes for less than the amount that is still due on their mortgage. This is referred to as a "short sale."

For homebuyers, a short sale can present a valuable opportunity. However, buying property through a short sale is not without risk.

Possible Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Home Through a Short Sale

The main reason that someone would consider buying a short-sale home is that it will likely be available for much less than the home's appraised value. This means that the buyer could get a great deal. Many investors purchase a home or parcel of land and "flip it" for profit. If done carefully, buying a short-sale home can be a lucrative investment.


chicago estate planning lawyerAging parents often leave conversations about inheritance untouched. These conversations are difficult and can leave both parents and children feeling sad or confused. However, these conversations are also very important because they touch on serious topics that have the potential to significantly impact the lives of everyone involved. By avoiding conversations about estate planning and end-of-life wishes, parents may inadvertently set their children up for more pain and suffering in the future as they struggle to understand a parent’s wishes regarding their estate. 

For many, a parent’s home is the only inheritance that will be handed down upon the parent’s death. The lack of more complex or valuable property may lead some people to believe that creating an estate plan just for a home is not worth the time or effort it would take. But putting a home through the probate process can be very complex and can significantly diminish the overall value that inheritors stand to inherit from the home. If you are interested in helping your parents keep their home out of the probate process after they pass away, read on. 

Does Real Estate Have to Go Through Probate? 

With the appropriate legal instruments in place, your parent’s home does not have to go through the probate process. There are many advantages to avoiding probate, including: 


hyde park estate planning lawyerMajor changes in relationships often bring changes to other, equally important parts of life. Marriage, divorce, and death are some of the most significant life events and all three have the potential to change the way we organize our property and financial planning. While marriage and death are often planned for, divorce often is not. Furthermore, the highly emotional and bureaucratic nature of divorce makes it easy to forget to handle other practical financial concerns, especially if you are exhausted after dealing with ongoing legal issues. However, taking care of your estate plan, including the way you manage your real estate, is essential. Failing to do so can mean accidentally leaving your assets in the wrong hands, benefitting someone to whom you are no longer married. 

Property After Divorce

Illinois law requires marital property to be divided fairly. Couples often come up with creative solutions for dividing their property, compensating each other with cash, retirement plans, or real estate in exchange for assets they want. Of course, when divorce divides the ownership of an asset, the beneficiaries of any estate plan that manages that asset usually need to change as well. 

However, any personal property that was owned by you before getting married or which is protected by a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, is not subject to division in the divorce. Personal property is often overlooked in estate planning restructuring because marital property is top of mind, but if your ex-spouse is the beneficiary of any personal property, you need to make sure you change that right away. There have been many tragic cases in which beneficiaries were not changed and former spouses inherited property that should have gone to children or to a new partner. 


Roseland Trusts and Wills LawyerIf you own real estate, there are a variety of concerns that you may need to address when creating an estate plan. You may be looking to ensure that ownership of real estate property can be transferred to others with minimal complications or expenses, or you may wish to protect your privacy and maintain anonymity. Land trusts can be an effective tool for doing so. These trusts can help you protect your property and keep it out of probate. They can also help you manage your assets, minimize taxes, and prepare for the future. By understanding how land trusts work, you can determine the best ways to use them as part of a comprehensive estate plan.

What Is a Land Trust? 

A land trust is a legal document that holds title to real estate for the benefit of another person or entity. The trust is managed by a trustee, who will hold the legal title to the property on behalf of the beneficiary or beneficiaries (the people who will ultimately receive the property). When you create a land trust, you will transfer ownership of your property from yourself to the trustee, who will then hold it on your behalf according to the terms and conditions set forth in the trust agreement. 

When Should I Use a Land Trust? 

A land trust can be extremely useful if you have invested in multiple properties and want them all included in one estate plan. You can also use a land trust if you want to transfer ownership of your property without going through probate, which can be lengthy and expensive. You will also be able to maintain anonymity, since the trust will be listed as the owner of the property in any public records, and you may also be able to purchase or sell real estate without publicly disclosing the purchase price. Additionally, setting up a land trust can help protect your assets from creditors or lawsuits should something happen to you or any other beneficiaries listed in the document. Finally, using a land trust can help minimize taxes, since only certain types of income will be taxable under this structure. 


Hyde Park estate planning lawyerIf you are like most people, decisions regarding end-of-life decisions and estate planning are not something you want to think about. However, making these decisions now can save your loved stress and expense in the future. Estate planning also provides something no amount of money can provide: peace of mind knowing your final wishes will be carried out according to your specifications.

Strategic estate planning can also reduce the legal complications associated with your passing. One way to simplify the estate planning process is to use a transfer on death (TOD) instrument.

Advantages of Using an Illinois Transfer on Death Deed for Property

A TOD deed or beneficiary deed is a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your property to another person upon your death. The process is similar to naming a beneficiary on a life insurance policy. TOD deeds are revocable. You can name one or more beneficiaries, and you can change the beneficiary at any time before your death.

Back to Top