Frequently asked legal questions

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From buying or selling a house, to setting up an estate plan, to figuring out what to do if you’re caught speeding…Attorney James Bernicky gets plenty of questions. In this Spring edition of Legally Speaking, Bernicky discusses some of the most common questions in bloom.

Top Real Estate Questions in Naperville

From listing a property to packing up for a move, there is a lot that homebuyers and home sellers have to think about, but Attorney James Bernicky from Bernicky Law Firm says you should leave the legal work to an attorney who will work for you.

When should I get an attorney to buy or sell my home?

If you are buying or selling a home or property, you should retain an attorney right away. An attorney’s job is to advocate for you at any part of the process.

Top Reasons to Retain an Attorney When SELLING a Home or Property

  • An attorney can help review your listing agreement with a realtor prior to signing.
  • An attorney can pull the property’s title report to make sure there are no issues, such as liens, foreclosure, or city violations. Some people aren’t aware – or don’t think—they have problems. It’s best to check to address any issues so the deal can close as smoothly as possible.
  • Sometimes, the property is still in someone else’s name, such as an ex-spouse, a trust, a business, etc. An attorney can help clear up many issues with clarifying the true owner of the property, which will speed up the process and avoid a delay in closing.

Top Reasons to Retain an Attorney When BUYING a Home or Property

  • An attorney helps you decide who—or what– will own the property. Will this property be owned by a trust, yourself, as a married couple to avoid probate, or an LLC as an investment property? Do you want to transfer the property to someone else after you die? An attorney can discuss your wishes and help you determine the proper way to “hold title” or decide who—or what—name should be listed on the title as the responsible party.
  • An attorney can save you time by running a title report on the property you are targeting so you know if there are issues BEFORE an offer is submitted.
  • They negotiate so you don’t have to! Do you want the furniture to stay in the new home? Are there any repairs that you want done?
  • The attorney negotiates on their client’s behalf for repairs or credits for repairs and can assist you in saving money on homeowner’s association costs and surveys.
  • The attorney also arranges the closing and is there with you at the closing to explain and answers questions.
  • Attorneys review and make modifications to the contract to ensure their client is well protected in the event the other side breaches the contract.

How to Start an Estate Plan

No one likes to think about their death but accepting that it’s a reality and planning for the future after you are gone is a wise investment.

Why Should I Have a Will or Estate Plan?

Answering that question brings up more questions that Attorney James Bernicky frequently discusses with his clients.

“Who will make health decisions for me if I am unconscious?” “Who would care for my kids or pets after I die?” “Who gets my money when I die?”

Bernicky says there is no “one size fits all” for estate planning, so talking with an attorney about what YOU want can crystalize the estate plan that best fits you.

It’s not an easy or fun discussion, but most people feel a sense of relief and accomplishment once their estate plan is complete; it’s off their plate, and they feel confident that they have a plan in place in the event something happens.

Are There Tax Benefits of Having an Estate Plan?

Having an estate plan in place can also result in tax benefits not only after you die, but also during your lifetime. Many estate plans set up periodic distributions to children, grandchildren, friends and family, or charities and churches.

Talking about different options with an estate planning attorney – and with a certified public accountant — can help you make sure what you have goes to the people or places that YOU want.

What Happens if I Don’t Have a Will or Estate Plan?

When a person without an estate plan dies, they are considered to have passed “intestate”, which means their family may need to go to court to settle the estate.

Even if you don’t consider yourself wealthy yet, most people don’t want their property, retirement, or life insurance to go to pay court costs; they want those to go to their family (or whoever they choose).

An attorney can also help during the Probate process, when court proceedings are conducted to determine an executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate.

What to do if you get a Traffic Ticket

I got a traffic ticket – Is there anything I can do?

Yes! For most offenses, it makes sense to speak with an attorney to review your options.

An attorney who deals in traffic law can advise you in the ways to limit the damage to your license, your insurance, and your finances.

What do I do if I get a ticket?

Tickets initially written to be felonies may be negotiated down to misdemeanors. Most people only get a small number of tickets in their life, so they don’t always know their rights and the different options that might be available to them.

From speeding, red lights, DUIs, to failure to have your license or insurance, an attorney familiar with the ins and outs of traffic court is pivotal to trying to ensure that you are not left walking or hitching a ride to work or school.

630 Naperville welcomed guest Attorney James Bernicky of Bernicky Law Firm. For more information on real estate, estate planning, traffic violations, and many other legal matters visit Bernicky Law Firm.