Please note: “This is not legal advice and does not establish a lawyer-client relationship. Your situation and circumstance may involve different strategies and advice. These are general statements and are not intended to be relied upon by you without further consultation”

By planning for the contingency of disability or death, you help your family and beneficiaries cope with a very trying time. Such planning makes it easier for those you love to deal with the situation. Whether you are older or younger, if you name people to take charge of things on your behalf if something happens, you give yourself peace of mind.
For people with minor children, you can nominate in the Will who can be guardian of your children if the unthinkable happens. You can avoid most family disputes over who is to act as guardian and avoid a guardian you would not pick. A Will can also set up a trust fund for the children. With a Will, you can determine who and how your worldly possessions and financial assets are to be distributed upon your death. Otherwise state law determines this in a manner you may not want.
Probate is a court process to distribute your property at death to the people or heirs you leave behind. In the process someone is named Executor (or Administrator if no Will) to take charge of your property, pay your final bills and expenses, and then distribute the balance to your beneficiaries. Not everyone’s property needs to go through a probate process. . Probate is determined by how you hold ownership of property at your death. It is not determined by whether or not you have a Will despite what many people believe.
A Will is a document allowing people to determine who is to inherit their property upon death. It must meet certain requirements under state law to be valid. A Living Will is a document allowing you to say that if you are determined to be in a “terminal” condition that you don’t want any medical care that simply delays your death and does not cure you. A doctor must say in writing that you have a terminal condition and record it in your medical records. Many people also now sign an advance medical directive naming a specific person to make medical decisions for them if they are unable to communicate with the doctor.
The HUD-1 Settlement Statement, sometimes called a RESPA for short, is the official closing statement of a residential real estate transaction, especially if a mortgage is being obtained by the buyer. It details all of the closing costs between the buyer and the seller, as well as between the buyer and their lender.
In IL, a closing will typically take place at a title company and their role is to act as the representative of the buyer’s lender. The buyer will review and sign all of the lender’s documents for the mortgage loan, and those required by the title company (see above). The seller will sign their documents to transfer title to the buyer, or their attorney will bring their pre-signed documents to closing. Once the title company gathered all the signed lender documents, all the signed seller documents, has received mortgage money from mortgage lender and money needed from buyer, they pay all the charges listed on the HUD-1 and complete the closing. Most buyers walk out after closing with the keys to their new home. The deed and mortgage are then recorded. In other areas of the country, they may close through an escrow company, who takes in the documents from all the same parties, but buyer and seller do not typically meet at the table to close. They each independently submit their signed documents, and the title company completes the close of escrow upon recording of the deed.
It is the document that transfers title from the titleholder of record to another party, often the buyer.
A Deed, to be a transfer for value, has to show at least a nominal amount on its face. $10 has become the customary amount shown. It does affect the purchase price in any way. Some states require that the actual purchase price be used, but in IL we only use the nominal consideration.
A notary public is a public official commissioned by the State to administer oaths and affirmations, witness signatures, and perform other duties that are permitted under state regulations. Notaries are most commonly requested to act as the official, unbiased witness to the identity and signature of the person who comes before the notary for a specific purpose. Certain documents must be signed in the presence of a Notary because of their purpose and use. The information contained within those documents must be relied upon and may have monetary or significant value, i.e. Deed, Power of Attorney.
It is not required by law to have an attorney, but it is the custom in the Chicagoland area that a seller and buyer will each be represented as an attorney. Whether you are the buyer or the seller, the attorney’s role is to represent you and protect your interests in the transaction.
A short sale is the sale of a property where the proceeds from the sale will not be enough money to pay off the seller’s mortgage(s). In such a situation, the mortgage lender must approve the contract between the buyer and seller, as well as all of the closing figures. The lender may agree to waive any deficiency or the lender may require that the seller sign a personal note for the unpaid balance.