Attorneys At Law

Attorneys practicing in and around the Chicagoland area. Experienced in the practice areas of Real Estate Law, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Litigation, Social Security Disability, Business Law, & Estate Law.

Attorneys At Law - Attorneys practicing in and around the Chicagoland area. Experienced in the practice areas of Real Estate Law, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Litigation, Social Security Disability, Business Law, & Estate Law.

Cook County Assessor Faces Controversy Over Widespread Inequities

Cook County Property Tax Assessments

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios is facing continued pressure over widespread inequities in the Cook County property tax system.

Homeowners in Chicago have complained for years about the complicated and arcane tax assessments for homeowners in Cook County.

The controversy gained a huge amount of publicity from the Chicago Tribune investigative series The Tax Divide published this summer. Their investigation uncovered evidence that the Cook County property tax system helped wealthy homeowners at others’ expense.

The Tribune alleged that the Cook County Assessors Office routinely overvalued homes in poor neighborhoods while undervaluing homes in wealthier ones. This has led to inequities in property tax bills, giving wealthy homeowners lower tax assessments while unfairly placing a great burden on fixed and low-income residents.

Contesting your property tax assessment is not a simple process and can be even more difficult for homeowners with fixed incomes. For many of those most likely to receive overvalued assessment, hiring an attorney to help contest their property value is not an option.

Related: Battling the Cook County Assessor’s Office

Property tax bills Kane & DuPage CountyIt doesn’t help Berrios’ case that tax appeal lawyers are major contributors to his campaign. They have contributed over 2 million dollars to his campaign but he has declared there is no conflict of interest.

These stories have galvanized property owners in Chicago to place pressure on government agencies to investigate. The Cook County inspector general has opened an investigation.  State and local lawmakers have proposed new legislation to limit the assessor’s ability to raise campaign contributions from tax attorneys.  A new bill has been introduced in the General Assembly that would require greater transparency in the assessment process.

Joseph Berrios has recently been called before the Cook County Board for questioning and his office was accused by some of being guilty of institutional racism.

Formal mayor candidate Jesus Chuy Garcia stated: “My concern is whether the poor people in Cook County are getting the shaft.” “That is what I want to avoid, and I want to know when it will cease because it shouldn’t be tolerated.”

Berrios repeated his previous assertions that the assessments are fair and accurate. He did not, however, offer any detailed evidence.

Cook County SealAfter the meeting, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that a group called Civic Consulting Alliance would perform a review of the property tax assessment system.

The controversy has reached a point where it seems there will be either change to the system or political repercussions.

Even though Joseph Berrios faced tough questioning from the Cook County board, he remains highly influential as the Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. Many of the people he faced in the meeting rely on him and the party for political support.

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what happens next.


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides real estate law services including loan modificationsbuying and selling legal assistanceshort sales and deeds in lieumortgage foreclosure defense, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPageCookKane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


Related Stories:

The Tax Divide – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Assessor Faces Questions About Property Tax Inequity – ProPublica

A Troubling Assessment of Joseph Berrios – Better Government Association

Cook County leaders pile on Assessor Joe Berrios – Daily Herald

Outsider to Review Cook County Assessment Process – Chicago Tonight

Joe Berrios Will Continue To Accept Campaign Cash From Tax Lawyers – CBS Chicago

Sen. Biss to introduce overhaul to property tax assessments – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios Grilled on Property Tax System – Chicago Tonight


 

The Hottest Suburban Real Estate Markets in First Half of 2017

Homewood IL real estate

The Chicago suburban real estate market may still be slow overall but four suburban towns had the fastest-moving real estate markets in the first half of the year.

Using home sales data from the Chicago Association of Realtors through June of this year, Crain’s Chicago Business has just named the four hottest suburban markets in the first half of 2017.

Fastest-moving Chicago area suburban real estate markets – First half of 2017

  • Beach Park
  • Flossmoor
  • Homewood
  • Winthrop Harbor

Their survey covered all towns in Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will counties. Crain’s used three major indicators to determine these real estate leaders: the number of sales, the median home sale price and the time a listed home spends on the market.

Cities with less than 25 home sales in both the first half of 2017 and the first half of 2016 were not included.

Related: 3 Real Estate Myths – Prequalification, Down Payments & Closings

 

Beach Park ILSuburban Northeast Lake County

The median price of a home in Winthrop Harbor rose by more than 17 percent in the first half of the year, to $158,250. In Beach Park, it’s up 14.5 percent, to $170,000. In Lake County overall, prices were up by 9.1%, so these towns are ahead of increases from neighboring communities.

Sales volume in Winthrop Harbor and Beach Park are also outpacing the rest of the county. In Lake County overall, the sales volume increase n the first half of 2017 was up 4.2%, whereas in Winthrop Harbor sales were up 20%, and in Beach Park, they were up 32%.

In Beach Park, the average market time for sale on the market in the first half of the year was 70 days, down from 156 last year. In Winthrop Harbor, it was down to 120 from 166 last year.

 

Flossmoor IL train stationSouth Suburban Cook County

The median price of a home in Flossmoor is $205,000, up 18.3% from 2016. In Homewood, the median home price rose to $148,000, which was up more than 24%. In south Cook County overall, prices are up 11.2 percent for the year.

For south Cook County, the overall sales volume increase compared to 2016 is up is 3.2%. In Flossmore the number of sales is up 25% compared to the first six months of 2016, and in Homewood, sales are up 13%.

In south Cook County, the average home time on the market dropped from 112 days last year to 103 this year. The time a house spends on the market in Flossmoor dropped from 162 days to 133. In Homewood, it declined only from 107 to 103 days.

The southern Cook County towns are finally experiencing a delayed recovery from the post real estate crash in the housing market. This area had not recovered as quickly as other areas have.

Related: Real Estate Tax Exemptions Cook County Chicago

 

Home for saleChicago Suburban Area Overall

In the nine-county suburban area, growth in sales was slim and the growth in prices was the smallest seen since March 2016.

Some suburban Chicago towns saw their sales volume rise sharply in the first half of the year, but at the same time saw prices decline. These included Winnetka, Glencoe, Elmhurst, and Lisle.

“The inventory problem remains an important issue,” says Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

Related: Low Inventory for Midpriced Suburban Chicago Homes Driving Up Prices

“Hopefully, now that the state has a budget, a recovering state economy will encourage more investment in housing – both new construction and investment by first-time buyers.”

Many homeowners, prospective buyers and people in the real estate and construction industries will be hoping for the same thing.

We hope to see a strong second half of 2016.


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides real estate law services including loan modificationsbuying and selling legal assistanceshort sales and deeds in lieumortgage foreclosure defense, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPageCookKane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples

In this post, we discuss five steps that same-sex couples should take to make sure they have the proper estate plan in place to avoid legal issues.

Same sex marriage estate planning

Estate planning is important for all adults, whether single or married. If something should happen to you without an estate plan in place, the courts and the state will decide what happens to all of your assets.

If you are a part of a same-sex couple, then you are likely to face special situations that require extra planning.

This is especially true for unmarried couples because they are at risk for leaving the couple’s surviving member without any assets.

Below are five steps that same-sex couples should take to make sure they have the proper estate plan in place.

Confirm your marital status

Same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in 2015 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Because of the pre-existing patchwork of state laws that were in place before that time, some issues regarding the marital status of couples that were married before 2015 could exist.

A common issue is with same-sex couples who married in states that recognized same-sex marriages but then moved to states that didn’t recognize those marriages.

In some cases, those couples later broke up while living in states that didn’t recognize their marriages. Because of this, some former couples have mistakenly believed that they did not need to legally dissolve their marriages. In other states, there were couples who had their registered domestic partnerships or civil unions automatically converted into legal marriages.

These two factors have resulted in several instances nationwide of couples who have found out they are married and didn’t know it.

Same-sex couples may need more than a will

You are probably aware that you should have a will in order to make it clear where assets should go when one member of the couple dies. This is especially important if there has been a previous marriage or children involved.

Besides having a will, a Power of Attorney is also a good item to take care of ahead of time. A power of attorney gives a spouse the power to act on your behalf in when you are unable to give consent to certain medical of financial decisions.

Setting up a trust might also be right for some couples who have concerns about legal battles over your assets when you die. It is not uncommon for same-sex couples to be estranged from their families, which can lead to their estates being contested in court if the correct steps have not been taken. Because trusts do not go through probate, they are less likely to be contested.

Related: Can I Keep My Heirs from Having to Go Through Probate?

estate planning

Plan for your medical needs

Same-sex spouses are more likely to be challenged when they make medical decisions for partners who are incapacitated. Because of this, they should make sure to document their medical wishes ahead of time.

Your options include designating a health care surrogate, which is essentially a power of attorney to make medical or spiritual decisions for you if you are incapacitated. They can also authorize who your medical information can be shared with.

Another option is a living will, which gives instructions on issues such as life support and medical treatment.

Plan for your children

In Illinois when a parents die, their assets pass to their children if there is no will in place. With same-sex couples, it is more common for only one parent to be biologically related to the children. You may need to make adoption part of your estate planning if you haven’t already.

Don’t count on DIY estate planning

There is do-it-yourself estate planning documents and services online, but they typically don’t account for the needs of same-sex couples. Because same-sex couples estates are more likely to be contested in court, you may not want to count on these services.

Talking with an estate planning attorney who understands the unique needs of LGBTQ couples can save your spouse from difficult legal, financial and emotional difficulties


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides estate planning services including power of attorney, probate lawwills, trust administration, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


 

Millennial Estate Planning – What You Should Know

estate planning for millennials

In this post, we discuss the hows and whys of the most critical items Millennials should consider in regards to your estate planning.

Estate planning is important for everyone. Though some may think that an estate is something that only older or wealthy people have, the fact is, everything that you own is part of your estate.

If you don’t have a will and plan what happens to your estate if something should happen to you, the government and the court system will make those decisions.

Establishing an estate plan allows you to decide what happens to all of your assets and possessions, even your pets.

For obvious reasons most people, millennials or otherwise, would rather make these decisions themselves.

 

Millenials should plan for unexpected

estate planningAs a young adult, it’s easy to think that you still have decades of time ahead of you for estate planning.

The thing about the unexpected is that it only happens when it is unexpected. Unfortunately, even young people can be involved in accidents or become incapacitated. We probably all know someone who has passed away at a young age.

Incapacitation

No one expects to be incapacitated, but unfortunately, it does happen. If it does, there are several documents you will need.

The first is a durable power of attorney (POA) that identifies who will make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

The second is a health care advance directive (including a living will) that will outline your instructions for medical care if you become unable to communicate or manage these yourself.

Death documents

These documents will include a last will and testament and the establishment of a trust (either revocable or testamentary).

Beneficiary designations

For younger people, your life insurance policy and 401k programs may account for the bulk of your assets, so it is important to keep your beneficiary designations up to date.

We advise parents of children to have a durable power of attorney and health care advance directive for all their children once they reach the age of 18. Generally, the parents will be designated initially, but you have the right to designate whomever you wish.

 

Default estate laws in Illinois

State of IllinoisAll states have default laws specifying where assets will go by default when there is now will or estate plan.

If you are married, your estate will go to your spouse. In Illinois, if unmarried Millenials die without a will and have no children, the property ascends the family tree to their surviving parents and siblings. If you have two brothers and two sisters, they would each receive 1/6 of your estate and each parent would receive 1/6 of the estate.

If you are an unmarried Millennial without a spouse or children and want to select which of your siblings receive your estate or designate a significant other as a beneficiary instead of your parents, you must specify that choice in the appropriate legal documents.

The selection of an executor of your will or a personal representative is a decision you should make when your will is drafted. Most people would prefer to make these decisions themselves rather than the default laws of the state making the decisions for them.

 

Millennial Assets

Oftentimes, younger millennial individuals are surprised about the number of assets they actually have. It’s very common to be focused on things such as student loan debt and income rather than the asset side of your balance sheet.

Your assets may include:

  • 401K and retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policy
  • Family and collector memorabilia
  • Real estate and property
  • Vehicles, boats, jewelry, electronics, home furnishings
  • Digital assets, social media accounts, websites, photos
  • Pets

Millennials may be the first generation who all have to deal with the issue of what happens to their social media accounts when they pass away. Should they be maintained? Should they go offline? That decision should be up to you, but since this is still a relatively new area, there may be default rules you are not aware of.

 

How Millennials should plan their estate

Property Tax Assessment - CalculatorEstate planning doesn’t have to be a painful process. The important thing is to begin working on a plan. Millennials, like all adults creating an estate plan, can view it as a series of multiyear plans. Every few years or after major life changes, it can be reevaluated and updated.

We hope it’s something you will put some consideration into.


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides estate planning services including power of attorney, probate lawwills, trust administration, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


Image credit: Pixabay


 

Due Date for 2016 Cook County Property Tax Bills Second Installment is August 1st, 2017

 

Cook County SealCook County 2016 property tax bills for the second installment were sent out to homeowners by June 30, 2017.

The due date for the second installment of your 2016 tax year property taxes is Tuesday, August 1st, 2017.

Cook County homeowners can pay their property tax bill online, allowing you to conveniently pay your tax bill from your mobile phone, tablet or computer without visiting the treasurer’s office.

Pay Your Taxes Online – Cook County Treasurer

If you wish to pay in person, you can pay by visiting any Chase Bank location or at these 139 local community banks.

To make an online payment on your Cook County tax bill, please visit the Cook County Treasurer’s Office Payments page.


Below is a list of other Cook County property tax related pages online available to the public.

You can find information regarding your payment status, money owed by your taxing district, pension and healthcare amounts owed, information on previous years taxes and more.

Cook County Taxes – Related Links:

Cook County Treasurer’s Office

Cook County, Illinois Property Tax Portal

Check Your Payment Status or Make an Online Payment

Understanding Your Tax Bill

Information about Prior Year Property Taxes

View Your Taxing Districts’ Financial Statements and Disclosures


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides real estate law services including loan modificationsbuying and selling legal assistanceshort sales and deeds in lieumortgage foreclosure defense, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPageCookKane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.