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January, 2016 Archives

Archives for January 2016

Is Property Tax Relief on the Horizon?

Property taxes in Illinois are the second highest in the nation. It's a growing problem. However, Governor Rauner's administration and the General Assembly are going to attempt to tackle it in the coming year. To reduce property tax rates for homeowners, the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force is recommending a number of changes. There are approximately 7,000 taxing bodies throughout the state. There are also several hundred mandates … [Read more...]

Reducing Large Truck Liability Exposures

Business operations that rely on large trucks need a continuous action plan to reduce liability exposures. The 10,000 pound and over gross vehicle rating weight (GVWR) that defines these big trucks is also a key factor in instability and safety issues. The problems increase during severe weather and can cause serious accidents. When a heavy truck collides with a smaller vehicle, injuries, fatalities, and severe property damage are a … [Read more...]

The Limited Power of Non-Compete Clauses

A number of recent cases in Illinois have brought into question the limits of non-compete clauses in employment contracts. Some of these seem to severely limit the application of these clauses. Others have favored the employer's rights, but one thing is clear: businesses that ignore the impact of these developments put their interests at risk. The debate over non-compete clauses reached its peak in 2013. In the Fifield case the Illinois First District appeals court upheld a decision that … [Read more...]

New Chicago Regulations Change Winter Business Liabilities

During the winter months, Chicago pedestrians face a variety of challenges that serve to make their trip more dangerous. One of these hazards is the accumulation of snow and ice on the sidewalks. A change to the Municipal Code (4-4-310 & 10-8-180) went into effect in November 2015, making the removal of snow and ice from adjacent sidewalks the responsibility of business owners. Unsafe sidewalks pose challenges to all walkers. Those who are very young, elderly, or disabled face increased … [Read more...]

Should Your Company Implement a BYOD Policy?

Companies that establish a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program allow employees to bring their own digital devices to perform job-related tasks. The federal government joined the trend and issued a BYOD tool-kit to aid voluntary implementation in certain government agencies. BYOD can be a smart move for all concerned. Still, the reality of employees using their personal digital devices for work-related tasks is a new idea for most businesses. It will take … [Read more...]

Death and Debts

Dying with debt isn't something anyone wants. However, it's becoming a very common experience. The good news is that when we die our debts don't follow us. With more than 1 in 5 Americans now reporting they owe debts they won't be able to pay off in this lifetime, that can provide a little bit of solace to a solemn experience. However, while your debts won't follow you into the grave, they may follow your heirs. For this reason, it is important to take steps now with your … [Read more...]

Maintaining Your Corporate Status

From protecting personal assets to limiting business liability and risk, maintaining corporate status in Illinois is a key component of running a successful business. Once the corporate veil is pierced, unhappy clients or other businesses can reach past the protection that corporate status gives and attack personal resources. There are many well-documented cases where not incorporating a business puts a business owner's family home, personal savings, and even retirement resources at risk. … [Read more...]

The Impact of Divorce on Your Retirement Plans

Getting a divorce after age 50 can have a big impact on retirement. It can reduce income and force full-time or part-time employment in retirement years. According to statistics, one in every four divorces during the last few years was among the baby boomer generation. Whether these figures are the result of failed marriages or longer life spans isn't certain, but divorce among this age group will certainly affect retirement lifestyles. (Article continues below infographic.) A … [Read more...]

Will New Real Estate Lien Law Prevent Messy Title Issues?

An amendment to the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act should decrease the real estate transaction problems caused by contractor’s liens. Public Act 99–0178 changes the Lien Act as of January 1, 2016. The new provision allows a property owner or “…other person having an interest…” to substitute a surety bond for lien rights. A bond can free the property from a contractor’s attachment while allowing him to retain his right to recover payment. The property can be sold while payment disputes are resolved … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolution #1: Get Estate Documents in Order

The New Year is the perfect time to plan for the future. While your energy is high and your spirits are up, be sure to fit estate planning into your schedule this month. Getting it out of the way now means you won't have to worry about it for the rest of the year. The following are key documents you should prepare, review, then place in secure storage. Living Will. This written statement details your desires should you become incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions for yourself. … [Read more...]

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