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October, 2014 Archives

Archives for 2014

Buying property: Why pre-approval is a good idea

A mortgage pre-approval differs from a mortgage pre-qualification because during the pre-approval process, the lender checks a buyer’s credit and verifies their documentation to approve them for a specific loan amount. Although obtaining pre-approval for a loan may not be a priority for some buyers in Illinois, there are several reasons why going through this process is a good idea. Why is it important? The preapproval process takes the risk out of property buyers finding the home that … [Read more...]

Stretching your IRA

A father named his son the beneficiary on his IRA, which was worth roughly $100,000. According to the Huffington Post, the son, who was 53 at the time of his father’s death, chose to receive the minimum distributions out of the Roth every year instead of taking the lump sum. As a result, the policy continued to grow over the years. As an added bonus, the distributions were not subject to taxes because the account was a Roth IRA. The people who set up the IRA may not be able to control how … [Read more...]

Prepaid funerals and burial: Make sure your heirs know about it

More than 40 years ago, a woman purchased a policy from a funeral home that intended to cover the expenses of her burial. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, the woman died in 2008. Unaware of the prepaid policy, her children paid the same funeral home more than $8,000 for the costs associated with the service. Upon finding the policy later, the children asked the funeral director to refund the costs, which he initially denied. While the woman’s children initially … [Read more...]

Do non-profit companies pay taxes?

Illinois companies designated as non-profit organizations, or charitable organizations, have successfully applied for and obtained the federal  501(c)(3) status. This means that these companies are not legally obligated to pay certain federal, state or local taxes. For this reason, they are often referred to as tax-exempt organizations. However, this delineation does not exempt these companies from all tax requirements. Understanding what taxes must be paid, how and when is important for … [Read more...]

How much money should property buyers set aside for a down payment?

When buyers in Illinois purchase a new home, they are typically required to provide their lender with a down payment. This, in addition to the purchaser’s credit score, annual income, total debt and credit history influence how much funding they qualify for. Typically, home buyers should plan on saving approximately five to 20 percent of the sale price of their home in cash to qualify for a conventional loan, but this specific amount varies depending on the purchaser’s individual … [Read more...]

Children and inheritance: Avoiding unnecessary battles

When their parents died, four children inherited the couple’s home. However, More magazine reports that outside of the property itself, there were few details given about how the siblings would divide the remaining assets and items. As a result, the children, all grown adults, wound up arguing about everything from wedding china to how, or whether or not, to sell the house. One of the children, a 42-year-old woman, said they were forced to make very tense decisions that pitted them against … [Read more...]

What is a testamentary trust?

Many people want to ensure that after their death, children or survivors will not suffer financially. However, according to a LexisNexis report, more than half of American adults do not have a will in place, which can lead to a lengthy and complicated probate process. There are a number of ways to set up financial plans to prevent family members from a messy court battle. When doing their estate planning, people in Illinois should consider a testamentary trust as a reliable option. … [Read more...]

The family business and your estate plan

In 1998, a Philadelphia couple took a trip to Long Island and decided to buy a winery. According to The Wall Street Journal, they dove head-first into wine-making and were largely successful. Their children were not involved in the business, which did not pose a problem until the end of June, when both parents died within a week of each other. The couple had not put together a plan of succession for the family-run business, and the children say they have not decided whether or not to sell the … [Read more...]

The advantages and disadvantages of using trade secrets

Most Chicago businesses have some sort of special ideas or plans that they believe to be unique to them and integral to their success. Whether a marketing plan or a completely new product concept, these trade secrets are generally considered highly confidential by business owners and entrepreneurs. However, there may be both pros and cons to this approach. The value of social impact and change While protecting intellectual property can be highly essential for some entities, a Forbes … [Read more...]

Finding the right location for your business

When starting an all-new company or looking to relocate an existing company in Chicago, finding the right location can directly impact the ultimate success—or not—of the business. Many things can contribute to what makes a business location the right one and those can vary depending upon the nature of the business. However, the following considerations can apply to most companies when seeking that perfect location. Traffic and accessibility Getting customers in the door is a must for … [Read more...]

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