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Libertyville judicial foreclosure attorneyMost people are familiar with at least the basic idea of foreclosure. They know that if a homeowner falls behind far enough on his or her mortgage payments, the proverbial “bank” will eventually take the home. Far fewer people, however, understand the reality that foreclosure is a fairly involved process and that, according to Illinois law, the process must be handled through the court system. As such, all foreclosures in the state of Illinois are considered judicial foreclosures.

Non-Judicial Foreclosures in Other States

Illinois is one of 16 states in which the law requires court participation in the foreclosure process. Five others generally use judicial foreclosures as a matter of custom or convenience. In the remaining 29 states, non-judicial foreclosure is the method of choice, either as an available option or because judicial foreclosure is prohibited by law.

When judicial foreclosure is not required, the mortgage agreement may include a clause that gives the lender the “power of sale.” A power of sale clause grants the lender the ability to foreclose on the property on its own. If the borrower fails to keep up with the payments prescribed in the mortgage contract, the lender has the right to sell the property to recover the balance of the loan. Power of sale clauses are not enforceable in Illinois.

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Libertyville short sale attorneysOver the last several years, the nation’s economy has shown steady signs of improvement, but there is still a long way to go in many areas. When people go through tough financial times, some may find it necessary to sell what they own for far less than those assets are worth. In some cases, even applies to residential real estate in some cases. When a property is sold for a price that is less than the amount remaining on the mortgage, the transaction is known as a short sale.

Four Requirements for a Short Sale

A short sale is often a complex undertaking for several reasons. First, selling a house is almost always complicated. Next, since the sale price in a short sale is less than what the owner owes on his or her mortgage, the remaining amount of the loan must be taken into account. Finally, a short sale can only work if each party involved is on the same page regarding the transaction. The most difficult part of the process is often convincing the lender to allow the sale.

Obtaining a lender’s permission to allow a short sale usually requires four particular items, including:

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Gurnee real estate lawyer fraudPurchasing a new home is an exciting endeavor that represents the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of both the buyer and seller. However, in any major transaction, there are dangers present. Sometimes, the seller of a home is not entirely forthcoming regarding the defects present in the home. At other times, the buyer of a home might wrongfully claim that the house sold to them was defective. The risk of fraud or meritless claims is often a significant reason why some families avoid entering the home buying or selling process at all. Thankfully, Illinois state laws and court rulings provide clear guidelines on how to resolve these situations.

The Illinois Real Estate Disclosure Act

Under the Illinois Real Estate Disclosure Act (765 ILCS 77), the seller of residential property has to fill out the Residential Real Property Disclosure form and provide it to any potential buyer. On this form, the seller is required to list any material defects with the property. This is to encourage honesty during price negotiations and ensures that the house is sold at an appropriate price. If the seller knowingly fails to list any defect with the house, this is considered fraud. Section 55 of the statute specifies that if fraud occurs, the seller “shall be liable in the amount of actual damages and court costs, and the court may award reasonable attorney fees incurred by the prevailing party.”

Court Rulings

As with most statutes, court rulings have provided additional clarifications on these matters. To protect sellers from meritless claims, the courts have set a very high standard for proving fraud. In a 2014 ruling, an appellate court found that the plaintiff has to bring “clear and convincing” evidence to prove fraud. The court also noted that the statute does not specify that the attorney fees may be awarded only to the plaintiff. However, if the claim made by the plaintiff is determined to be meritless, then the defendant can be awarded attorney fees as compensation.

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Wells Fargo Reaches $13.8 Million Settlement After Loan Modification Errors

After a software error that occurred in Wells Fargo's system sometime between April 2010 and October 2015, a settlement has finally been reached between the company and some 6,000 mortgage holders who were impacted by the error. The software error caused customers to be incorrectly denied modifications on their loans and repayment plans when they actually should have qualified. In several cases, foreclosure proceedings began after the denials.

The Beginning Issue

Wells Fargo originally stated that less than 1,000 customers were affected by the software error, however a group of the affected borrowers filed suit against the company in June of 2017 for soliciting Chapter 13 debtors for what Wells Fargo called pre-approved “trial” modifications to their existing mortgage loans. The company also used the terms “no-application modifications.”

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Waukegan will preparation lawyerA will is often a difficult subject to discuss. In addition to the strong emotions involved when talking about death, discussions surrounding who will inherit what items or assets can cause division among family members. You want your family to be secure and happy, especially while you are still with them. However, you will not always be with them, so it is essential to set clear guidelines for how your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries, who will be the guardian of your minor children, and how your last wishes should be carried out.

Requirements for an Illinois Will

Under Illinois law, any emancipated minor or adult who is at least 18 years old can make a last will and testament. A person must be of sound mind and memory to do so. For the will to be valid, three requirements must be met: 

  1. The will must be in written form, and it may be handwritten, typed, or printed out. Illinois state law does not allow for oral wills.
  2. The will must be signed by the individual making the will, who is known as the testator. If the testator cannot sign the will themselves, then another individual who is not a witness can sign it on their behalf, but that person must be in the testator’s presence while doing so.
  3. The will must be signed by two or more witnesses who were present at the execution of the will and saw the testator sign it. In Illinois, anyone may be a witness, but it is usually advised that the witnesses be disinterested parties. That is, a witness should be someone who does not benefit directly from the will themselves. This helps to create impartiality if the validity of the will is ever challenged.

What Happens if There Is No Valid Will?

If a person dies without a will, the courts will decide how to divide up their estate among their heirs. Typically, the assets will be divided between the deceased person’s spouse and children, and if they are not married and have no children, it will go to other relatives, such as parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins. If the deceased person has any minor children, a guardian will be appointed for them by the court. In order to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that you are able to name a guardian for your children, it is imperative to have a valid will in place.

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