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Plainfield, IL real estate law attorney title contingency

Buying a house is a significant decision. As such, there are numerous tools that you and your attorney can use to protect yourself if something goes wrong during the buying process. To take the necessary precautions, you would include contingencies in your Agreement of Sale. A contingency is a condition that must be met before you can complete a purchase. There are many different types of contingencies that you and your attorney may choose to include in your agreement, one of which is a title contingency. 

What Is a Title?

A “title” in real estate refers to a property’s record of ownership. Not only does it contain details regarding past owners, but it will also include liens or judgments made against that property. In most cases, before you buy a new home, your attorney will examine the property’s title to make sure it can be properly transferred to you. 

Sometimes, a property’s title may be problematic. For example, if a previous owner struggled financially, a creditor may have claimed a piece of the property to gain what a previous owner owes them. If this issue surfaces when you are considering buying a house, a title contingency will allow you to back out of the sale if any problems regarding the property’s title cannot be solved. 

Common Home Title Issues

Problematic house titles are more common than you might imagine. Many title companies claim that more than a third of all real estate transactions have title issues that are extremely difficult to sort out. For example, “past deeds, wills, trusts, divorce decrees, bankruptcy filings, court judgments, and tax records that may be defective or outstanding” from at least the past 50 years could prevent a clean transfer of ownership. 

Be prepared to deal with any unrecorded title defects. Some examples include forgery, signing under aliases, duress, erroneous legal descriptions, right of access eradicated by foreclosure on a neighboring land, and more. You and your attorney can search for unrecorded title defects by examining public documents at a county recorder or clerk’s office. 

Contact a Will County Real Estate Lawyer

It is vital to take precautions when you are purchasing a new home. To do so, you and your attorney will decide on the appropriate contingencies for your Agreement of Purchase. At the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., we use our many years of experience in assisting clients safely and legally claim the deed for their new home to help them with their next major real estate purchase. To learn more and schedule your free consultation with a diligent Joliet, IL real estate attorney, call us today at 815-666-1285.




Plainfield, IL criminal defense attorney robbery

Theft crimes are taken seriously in Illinois, with penalties that can include hefty fines and jail time. Typically, robberies are charged as felonies in Illinois. However, when preparing a defense, attorneys and robbery defendants have a few standard tools at their disposal. Most of these strategies amount to convincing the jury that the prosecution’s evidence does not prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. With a well-structured defense and a capable, experienced criminal defense attorney, you have a strong chance of avoiding or limiting robbery charges. 

Defenses for Robbery Charges

Before you defend against robbery charges in court, you and your attorney are likely to choose between two routes: Either claiming innocence and arguing that the prosecution’s evidence does not prove guilt, or admitting guilt but arguing that the details of the crime remove accountability.

If you want to claim innocence in court, you will have to provide evidence that undermines the prosecution’s argument. For example, if you can produce an alibi with verification from several witnesses, it would be difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime if your evidence shows that you were not where they claim you were. Sometimes, even if you lack proof that strongly contradicts the prosecution’s claims, you can contest the validity of certain unreliable forms of evidence. Low-quality security cameras might lack the necessary details to prove that you were at the scene of the crime, and eyewitness testimony can be fickle. 

To fight charges without a strong argument against the prosecution’s evidence, you and your attorney can opt for an affirmative defense. You will admit guilt but will suggest that your actions were beyond your control. For example, if you were involuntarily intoxicated, you can argue that you cannot be charged because the circumstances of the crime were utterly devoid of conscious intent. Some states allow robbery defendants to use a voluntary intoxication defense, but in general, Illinois does not. 

Entrapment is a less common defense because it is difficult to prove. Even if another party coerced you into committing a robbery, if there was any indication of prior intent to commit the crime, an entrapment defense would not sustain a prosecutor’s attacks. Similarly, if a defendant committed a robbery because he or she was threatened, he or she can argue that the crime was committed under duress. Like an entrapment defense, it can be difficult for a defendant to prove that he or she experienced sufficient fear to justify his or her actions.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

With the right defense, you can be confident in a positive outcome when you bring your robbery case to court. If you or someone you know is facing any type of theft charges, speak with a trustworthy criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. To schedule a free consultation with a diligent Will County robbery defense lawyer, call the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., today at 815-666-1285 or 815-733-5350.




Plainfield, IL divorce attorney guardian ad litem

Illinois has comprehensive child representation laws to protect a child’s best interests when their parents are divorcing or separating. In some cases, spouses may contest child support, child custody, parenting time, education, parentage, and their child’s general welfare. Before making a decision, the court may appoint a professional to serve the child either as an attorney, a child representative, or a guardian ad litem (GAL). If he or she functions in the capacity of an attorney, he or she will provide the same independent legal counsel and representation for the child that would be given to an adult client. A child representative tries to ascertain the best interests of the minor and offer evidence-based legal arguments to the court, but it is important to understand that he or she cannot render opinions during the divorce proceedings.

What Is a Guardian Ad Litem?

A guardian ad litem is like an investigator for the court: He or she will interview both parents, examine the child’s home and school life, and provide a written report of his or her recommendations to the court and all other involved parties. The court can call the GAL as a witness for cross-examination purposes. You and your spouse will have to decide how to split the guardian ad litem office’s fees, as the court does not cover them. If a court is assigning a GAL to your divorce case, it is crucial to work with a family law attorney and discuss how you should work with the GAL to receive the parental rights and responsibilities you desire. 

Tips for Working With a Guardian Ad Litem

Think of a guardian ad litem primarily as an interviewer. He or she will want to get to know you and your spouse individually and determine which one of you is more fit to take primary custody responsibilities. Try to make an excellent first impression on a GAL without unnatural or forced behavior. Make sure your home is clean and in order prior to the visit. Remember to pay fees on time or discuss a payment plan with the court. Be positive, and do not disparage your spouse or force your child to say good things about you. Let your child know who the guardian ad litem is and why he or she is visiting, and most importantly, be honest and forthcoming with any requested information. It is crucial that you develop transparency between you and the GAL. 

Contact a Plainfield, IL Divorce Lawyer

Remember, Illinois’ child representation laws exist to defend your child’s best interests, so stay calm and be honest when meeting with a guardian ad litem or child representative. To gain more insight into what a guardian ad litem does and how he or she could affect your divorce case, speak with an experienced Will County family law attorney. Call the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., today at 815-666-1285 or 815-733-5350 to schedule a free consultation.




Plainfield, IL credit card fraud defense attorney

Over the last two decades, credit and debit cards have moved from being the exception to the norm. For that reason, credit card fraud laws carry stringent punishments. As an Illinois resident, it is important to understand the consequences of credit card fraud to avoid complex legal disputes. However, if you ever face charges for credit card fraud or other white-collar crimes, you must assemble a solid defense with an accomplished white-collar crime lawyer to defend these criminal charges and your rights in court. 

Illinois Credit Card Fraud Laws

Illinois has laws that punish the wrongful possession, sale, or use of a credit card. This law does not only pertain to stolen credit cards. You cannot use a false statement to apply for new credit or debit cards, use a credit card as security for a debt, use counterfeit or expired credit cards, or use credit cards with a willful intent to defraud. In all of these cases, the severity of the punishment is based on the cash value of whatever property was gained, even if there was only an attempt. 

All credit card fraud crimes that are not the use of a counterfeit card or using a credit card with the intent to defraud are classified as Class 4 felonies, the lowest level of felonies. A Class 4 felony can result in one to three years in prison, periodic imprisonment up to 18 months long, or probation for up to 30 months. The last option will only be exercised if the court hearing the fraud case believes that imprisonment is not necessary to protect the public. Class 4 felonies also can carry fines of up to $25,000, restitution, or both. 

Counterfeit credit card use or willful defrauding are Class A misdemeanors, which carry lighter consequences. If you are charged with a Class A misdemeanor, you could face normal or periodic imprisonment for up to one year, probation for up to two years, and fines with a maximum of $2,500 for each offense.

Contact a Plainfield, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Class A misdemeanors and Class 4 felonies both deserve the robust defense that a skilled Will County credit card fraud lawyer can help you develop. Although you should avoid using misplaced credit or debit cards and should always obey Illinois fraud laws, it is important to speak to the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. if you are facing such charges. If you have any questions on how to move forward with your case and how our white-collar crime attorneys can look after your rights and best interests, call our office today at 815-666-1285 to schedule a free consultation.




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Plainfield estate planning attorney wills and trusts

Planning what should happen with your estate after your death can be a difficult decision. This is not just because of the nature of the task, but because there can be a lot of different choices to be made. A key factor when making any decisions should be the Illinois estate tax. We will explain this below and discuss why it is important to take it into consideration when planning your estate. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you through the process and ensure that your loved ones are properly cared for in the future.

Illinois Estate Tax Law

The Illinois estate tax is a graduated tax rate that goes up to 16 percent and is only applied on estates that are worth more than $4 million. If your estate is worth less than $4 million, the tax rate will not be applied and you do not need to consider it. 

In some states, estate tax exemptions are portable, but not Illinois. Portability means that if one spouse dies but does not use any of his or her allotted estate tax exemption, that value can later be used by the other spouse. However, Illinois law is a bit simpler and only provides a $4 million exemption cap for each individual. 

Other states only tax a certain portion of an estate, but in Illinois, if your estate exceeds a value of $4 million, all of it is taxed. To get an idea of the amount you could be taxed, look at a chart of the tax rates. Each bracket will have a base amount that must be paid, and then there is a marginal rate that is applied to any money above the bottom limit of that bracket. 

If you have ever heard of inheritance and gift taxes, do not worry -- those will not play a role in your estate planning in Illinois, because Illinois does not have those taxes, only the estate tax. 

One last detail to consider is that if your estate’s value is very high, you could also be subject to a federal estate tax. As of 2018, the federal estate tax exemption was $11.18 million. 

Using Trusts to Lower Estate Tax

A common strategy that can help reduce estate taxes is to create legal trusts. There are a variety of trusts that you and your estate planning attorney can create, so that is why it is best to seek the advice of professional legal counsel since the types of trusts that could be applicable vary on a case-by-case basis. An example is an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, which is a designation for your life insurance benefits. If you have life insurance and you pass away, but you do not have this type of trust, the value of your life insurance benefits will be added to your estate and your beneficiaries could lose some of the money.

Contact a Will County Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate planning may seem daunting, but it does not have to be difficult. Prepare for the ongoing care of your loved ones by working with a respected Plainfield, IL estate planning attorney. At The Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., we have extensive legal experience and a history of caring for the best interests of our clients. Begin planning for the future of your estate by calling us today at 815-666-1285 to schedule your free consultation. 




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