Monday, April 23, 2012

Not gone - just not posting here!

At Reda | Ciprian | Magnone, LLC, we are pleased to present a redesign of our firm's website.  That redesign incorporates the ability to blog there on legal topics.  As such, if you want to read about our firm and the thoughts of our attorney's on various topics of Illinois law, please come over and check us out at

Thursday, October 20, 2011

An interesting story on electronic assets and estate planning

The article comes from the BBC in England, but reinforces the points I have made on this blog about the need to consider digital assets in an estate plan.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Are attorneys 24/7?

As some of my readers may know, my office was the victim of the extreme flooding that has happened in the northwest suburbs over the past few weeks.  Our office itself was unharmed (we're on the 4th floor!), but the basement of the building we are located in was flooded and is without power for at least the next week.

What to do?  Well, we went into emergency action mode.  We got everything up and running.  Faxes are forwarded to Mr. Reda's house.  Our computer server was hosted remotely so we can all access the office from home.  We all communicate via email and text.  Last, but probably most important, our phones were forwarded to the home of our paralegal.  She has been dutifully answering the phones without the benefit of our voicemail system. 

She remarked that she took one call over the weekend from a caller looking for an attorney.  She explained to them that the office was closed - after all, it was the weekend.  The caller, irritated, said "I thought attorneys were 24/7".  How far we have come from the days when attorneys got off work at noon on a Friday or took a week to respond to a letter.

These days, everything is immediate.  Fax, email, phone.  Its all fast.  And it takes away from an attorney's real ability to help a client... by THINKING.  A monkey can whip up a form.  Heck, Legalzoom can give you a form.  Is it the form you need?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

As for attorneys, we have lives outside of work.  Yes, we strive to make our client's problems our own and to help our clients.  We respond to calls quickly (usually within one business day).  But no, we are not 24/7.  For that, go to Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hooray! Private residential loans are now allowed again!

Last year, the Illinois Residential Mortgage License Act of 1987 was amended to, among other things, remove the exemption from mortgage licensing from private persons or entities who originate less than three residential mortgage loans in any given year.  The law effectively made it illegal for a dad to give a 5% home mortgage loan to his son.  The law also made it illegal to sell a property by way of articles of agreement for deed.

Good news!  The State of Illinois has once again amended the Illinois Residential Mortgage License Act of 1987 and  as of July 14, 2011, the exemption allowing limited private residential loans has been re-added as follows:

205 ILCS 635/1-4(d)(1.8) Any person or entity that does not originate mortgage loans in the ordinary course of business, but makes or acquires residential mortgage loans with his or her own funds for his or her or its own investment without intent to make, acquire, or resell more than 3 residential mortgage loans in any one calendar year.

This should help out with private transactions on hard to move properties and opens up one additional area of possibility - the articles of agreement for deed aka installment land contract - for sellers looking to move a parcel of real property.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What's the rush when it comes to probate?

My partner, Ed Reda, provides some thoughts on probate and post-death activity:

We often get calls from people whose loved one has just passed away.  And by “just passed away” I mean only hours earlier.  Frequently they are very concerned about what steps must be taken - immediately - now that their loved one has died.  My standard answer is that the only thing that needs to be done immediately is to call the undertaker.

This perception that something needs to be done almost immediately is a vestige of the old Illinois Inheritance Tax, which was repealed in 1981.  In the days of the Illinois Inheritance Tax, all assets of a decedent were automatically frozen until a written release could be obtained from the Illinois Attorney General.  It wasn’t an onerous or time consuming task to obtain the release, but, people did not want their loved one’s assets tied up - for even a few days.  So, some attorneys would counsel their clients to get to the bank right away and close all of grandma’s bank accounts before her obituary appeared in the paper or the news of her death had become public.

The Illinois Probate Code does require that all original copies of a decedent's will be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court within thirty days after the date of death.  This requirement does not mean a probate estate must be filed, but only that the will itself be brought to the court and turned over to its repository of Last Wills for safekeeping.

The son of one of my oldest clients reminded me of the day his father died.  Notwithstanding the fact that I never counseled people to rush to the bank, his mother insisted that they go to the bank and close her husband’s bank accounts, even though her husband had died just minutes earlier.  Upon entering the bank that morning, the son told me that the bank guard greeted his mother with “Good morning Mrs. Clay.  How’s Mr. Clay today?”  Her answer was a classic – “Not good.  He’s not feeling well at all today.”

So, when someone close to you dies, take your time to plan their funeral and mourn your loss.  There seldom is anything of a legal nature that can’t wait until after the funeral.