Chicago credit agreement attorneyIn the state of Illinois, if any part of an agreement is deemed to be part of a credit agreement under the Illinois Credit Agreements Act, and if the agreement is not signed by both parties, then a debtor may be prevented from filing certain claims, defenses, and counterclaims against a lender. A credit agreement by definition is any agreement that a creditor creates to lend money, forbear payment, or extend credit to a debtor for commercial purposes. This Act says that unless both parties sign the written agreement, it is unenforceable. This is particularly harsh on debtors who attempt to sue their creditor for conduct made in retaliation to the agreement or for deceptive statements. It expressly prohibits debtors from claims and defenses of fraud, equitable estoppel, and partial performance based on the oral conduct or statements of the lender. Before entering into a credit agreement, it is important for debtors and lenders to consult a finance and lending attorney.

When Does the Act Apply?

The Illinois Credit Agreements Act applies to all commercial credit agreements or other non-credit agreements that are part of a commercial credit arrangement. The requirement of both parties signing the agreement or amendment applies to not only the initial credit agreement, but also any amendments and modifications of such agreement. Even if only a small part of the agreement would be considered a credit agreement, the Act still applies. This Act provides significant protection for commercial lenders, but it leaves debtors vulnerable in many situations.

What Are Oral Statements?

If there is an existing credit agreement between a debtor and a lender, and before the maturity date of that agreement occurs, the lender may agree over the phone to extend the agreement. The lender may even send an email summary of the oral promise. However, to be enforceable, the promise must be made in writing and signed by both the debtor and the lender. Without a signed document, the lender can change their mind and demand that the full amount be paid by the debtor when the original maturity date approaches.

Never Rely on Oral Statements

If a lender makes any promises through email, over the phone, etc., but fails to put them in writing, there is very little that a debtor can do to enforce such agreements under the Act. The debtor will likely not be able to claim fraud, breach of contract, promissory estoppel, or other claims/defenses. These will be barred because there is no written agreement that has been signed by both parties.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Finance and Lending Lawyer

It cannot be stressed enough that if you are a debtor or lender that is considering entering into a credit agreement or commercial loan, you need to seek the assistance of an experienced DuPage County business law attorney. Failure to do so could result in you being denied certain legal protections. Contact the attorneys at Momkus LLC by calling 630-434-0400 and schedule a consultation to discuss your business agreements and contracts and ensure that your rights are protected.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2036&ChapterID=57 http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2316&ChapterID=67

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Chicago business law attorney succession planWhen many of us think of business succession plans, we often associate them with retirement. However, succession planning also serves as an important part of a business earlier in the lifespan of the company. If nothing else, having a succession plan in place will reduce headaches, stress, and financial loss if something unexpectedly happens to you or a co-owner.

A succession plan makes it clear who will take over the company, therefore reducing any disputes between the parties involved. If a purchase takes place, the purchase terms and sale price are also outlined, relieving some of the difficulties for the owner and/or their family. A well-formulated succession plan will benefit everyone, including the departing owner, the business, and the successor.

Five Types of Succession Plans

Although there are a variety of succession plans available, the following are five of the most common types of succession plans for small businesses:

  1. Passing the Business to a Co-Owner – If your business was created with a single partner, you will likely consider them as a potential successor. Many partnerships create an agreement that states that in the event of one partner’s death or disability, the remaining partner will purchase the business interests from that partner’s next of kin. This type of agreement will ease the burden of a transition that is not expected for both the family members and the business. A buy-sell agreement will ensure that the family is given a fair price while allowing the remaining partner to maintain control of the business.
  2. Passing the Business to an Heir – This option is often used for business owners that have family members or children that work for the company. Of course, like many family decisions, passing your business on to family can stir up conflicts if it is done without proper planning. As a general rule, you want to be sure business ownership is transferred to someone that is already involved in the business. If you have multiple family members involved, you will need to give clear instructions for who will take over what parts of the business, as well as how certain business assets may be passed to other heirs.
  3. Sell Your Business to an Employee – If you do not have a family member or partner to pass your business to, another option is to sell it to a key employee instead. You will want to choose an employee that is respected by other staff and has the necessary experience and business savvy. This will ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible. You will also need to ensure that this person is on board with the transition and train them to ensure that they will be prepared when the time comes.
  4. Sell Your Business to an Outside Party – When there is no obvious successor to take over your business, you can look outside to the greater community. Is there a competitor or entrepreneur that might like to take over your business? Some types of businesses are easier to sell this way than others. To prepare for this transaction, you need to hire and train a general manager and make sure that all your finances are in order. Make your business as “turnkey” as possible, so that it will be more attractive to outside buyers.
  5. Sell Your Shares Back to the Company – This option may be available to you if your business has three or more owners. An entity purchase plan is a business arrangement in which the business purchases insurance on each of the co-owners. When one co-owner dies, the business will use the proceeds from the insurance policy to purchase that partner’s business interests from their estate. These interests would then be distributed among the surviving partners according to terms outlined in the succession plan.

Contact an Illinois Business Succession Lawyer

The dedicated DuPage County business law attorneys at Momkus LLC have decades of experience helping our clients plan various aspects of their businesses, including creating fair, workable succession plans. Contact us today by calling 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you ensure that your business is still viable years after you are no longer a part of it.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=080502060HArt%2E+9&ActID=2292&ChapterID=65&SeqStart=5700000&SeqEnd=6800000

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Lisle estate planning attorney pets wills trustsWhen people begin thinking of their estate plan, they often take into consideration their physical property, their financial accounts, and family members such as their spouse and children. But one thing that they often forget about is their beloved pets.

Failure to plan for the future care of your pets can leave them in a dire situation, especially if your family does not want to inherit your favorite furry friend. This could leave your pet alone and afraid in a shelter, or worse yet, euthanized. So, what are your options if you want to include Fluffy or Fido in your estate plan?

1. Leave Your Pet With a Family Member or Trusted Friend

This is likely the easiest option to ensure your pet’s well-being. It is simple to add a provision for your pet into your will. You can ensure that your pet will be well taken care of and even give your family or friends the necessary health information and care instructions. This will also give you peace of mind that your pet has a loving home if you die before they do.

2. Leave Your Pet to a Specific Individual or No-Kill Shelter Along with a Specified Amount of Money

What are you supposed to do if your family members or friends have concerns about taking care of your pet? Maybe they are worried about the financial commitment of taking care of an animal. If that is the case, you can offer a specific sum of money to be given to them that is meant to offset that cost. However, you cannot ensure that your pet’s care is exactly how the money will be used.

What if your family and friends cannot take your pet for other reasons? Sending your pet to a no-kill shelter can be a concern for the shelter, especially if your pet is older. However, if you include a donation to the shelter for their care, they will likely be able to provide a lifetime of care in exchange for the monetary donation.

3. Establish a Trust for Your Pet

When you think of pet trusts, you may picture someone leaving behind millions of dollars to their pet. However, you do not have to be wealthy to utilize a pet trust, and you can use one to set aside any amount of money that you feel would be needed to care for your pet. The benefit to this method is that the court can ensure that the trustee is using the money you have placed in the trust specifically for your pet’s care. After the death of your pet, the money remaining in the trust will be distributed to whoever you choose as the beneficiary.

Contact Us Today for Help

Whatever method you choose for the future care of your pet, be sure to share your plans with your estate planning attorney. While some attorneys may ask without prompting, if they do not, and you want to ensure the future well-being of Fluffy or Fido, be sure to bring it up yourself.

The skilled DuPage County estate planning attorneys at Momkus LLC can help you prepare for the future of your estate, and for the future of your pets as well. We have decades of experience helping our clients ensure that their final wishes are carried out in the manner of their choosing. Call us today at 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation.

Sources:

https://www.animallaw.info/statute/il-pet-trusts-chapter-760-trusts-and-fiduciaries

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Chicago business law attorney LLC business formationSmall business owners who are about to launch an online store, coffee shop, marketing firm, or other business operation often become so wrapped up in the process of getting the ball rolling with customers, employees, and products that they may overlook their choices when it comes to a corporate entity.

You may not think of your small business as a corporation, but forming an entity such as a limited liability company (LLC) offers liability protections to you as an individual in the event that your small business becomes responsible for another party’s damages. There are other advantages of forming an LLC, which an experienced Chicago business formation and growth attorney can help explain to you in full detail.

Forming a Limited Liability Company

LLCs have only been around since 1977, but they have become a popular business entity since then. A limited liability company acts as a barrier between you, the owner of your business, and the legal issues that may arise from your businesses dealings or conduct.

As an example, by forming an LLC, you yourself cannot be sued by a customer who walks into your brick and mortar building and gets injured in a slip and fall accident. Likewise, you cannot be held personally responsible for outstanding debts that your business incurs, and your home and other personal property remained protected from lenders or other parties.

All members of an LLC are sheltered under its umbrella of liability protection, and there is no limit to the number of members you can have in your LLC, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Members may include any person or entity with an ownership stake in the business, including:

  • Business partners
  • Other LLCs
  • Other corporations

Other Benefits of an LLC

  • Starting an LLC is quick and relatively simple.
  • Starting an LLC is inexpensive.
  • LLCs do not require members to hold meetings or have a board of directors, which are requirements for some other types of corporations.
  • Running an LLC is straightforward and offers flexibility. For example, non-members can manage the business.

Why Is an Attorney Necessary to Form an LLC?

Because forming an LLC seems fairly simple and straightforward, many business owners choose to forego legal guidance during this process. However, there can be downfalls to this decision, and an experienced attorney can help you in a variety of ways, including determining whether an LLC or another type of entity is best suited to your business’s needs; ensuring that all federal, state, and municipal documents are completed properly and filed accordingly; and verifying the accuracy of your business’s bookkeeping and record keeping. For help setting up an LLC today, and to ensure that you are making the right choices when establishing a business entity, contact the dedicated DuPage County business law attorneys of Momkus, LLC today at 630-434-0400.

Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77966

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/limited-liability-company-llc

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DuPage County living will estate planning attorneyYou have likely heard about advance directives such as health care proxies and living wills, but do you know the difference between them, and how each accomplishes your stated wishes? These two legal documents both seek to achieve the same thing, but in much different manners.

Living Will

A living will is a legal document that states a patient’s wishes regarding medical care in the event that they become incapacitated. Certain procedures may or may not be used if they suffer a stroke, for example, depending on what their living will states. Life sustaining procedures, such as the use of a ventilator to help a patient breathe, tube feeding to keep their body from starving, or the use of a defibrillator to restart their stopped heart are all examples of techniques and procedures that they may or may not want. Because the patient will be either unconscious or unable to make an informed decision because of a permanent or temporary mental condition, this legal document allows them to state the specific medical orders they want to be carried out.

Health Care Proxy

A health care proxy, also called a health care surrogate or a durable medical power of attorney, is a legal document that grants another party the authority to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated patient. These decisions should be based on what the health care proxy believes the patient would have wanted or what is in the patient’s best interests. The person with power of attorney, contrary to how it sounds, is usually not the patient’s attorney. They are typically a trusted spouse, child, grandchild, or other close family member or friend. A power of attorney or health care proxy allows for more specificity than a living will. That is, there is more leeway for decision making when it comes to health care proxies than for health care directives.

What Determines Incapacitation?

Health care professionals will determine the patient’s capacity for decision making. Obviously, if the patient is unconscious or in a coma, they have no ability to make a decision. In other cases, such as in the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury or stroke, which may result in a patient being conscious but unable to make decisions for themselves, this determination can be more complicated. Typically, a treating physician will have the final say as to whether the patient is legally incapacitated or not. However, another doctor or a psychiatric consultant may provide crucial aid in diagnosis and capacity assessment in some cases.

A Naperville Living Will Attorney Can Answer Your Questions Today

Is a living will or health care proxy the right option for your situation? A DuPage County estate planning attorney can help you decide which is right for you or your loved ones. Call the dedicated Lisle estate planning lawyers of Momkus LLC at 630-434-0400 today to talk over your options.

Sources:

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/real_property_trust_estate/resources/estate_planning/living_wills_health_care_proxies_advance_health_care_directives.html#healthcareproxy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181079/

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