Raise a Toast for the Return of the Grayslake Craft Beer Festival

Over 150 varieties of craft beer, food, music and more. Find information about the 2021 Grayslake Craft Beer Festival plus a link to purchase tickets here

craft beer festival grayslakeCraft beer lovers are in for a really fun afternoon with the return of the Grayslake Craft Beer Festival for 2021.  The event is taking place on September 18, 2021 with regular admission running from 1:00pm – 5:00pm, and a special VIP session from 12:00pm – 1:00pm.  The festival grounds are located at 61 S. Whitney Street in Downtown Grayslake.  Once again, Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is a proud sponsor of this annual Grayslake Chamber event.

Whether you are a long-time lover of craft beer, or if you are curious to try something new, there will be plenty of choices on hand.  With over 150 varieties to sample from over 65 breweries, covering a wide range of brewing styles and flavors, you might just find your new favorite beer!

Craft Beer for a Good Cause

While you are enjoying that fantastic beer, local food and musical entertainment, you can feel good knowing that you are also contributing to a good cause.  In fact, all of the net proceeds from this event will go to the Grayslake Scholarship Fund, NFP.  Each year, the fund has awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships to deserving students!

Ticket Information

VIP Tickets                           $75

Regular admission           $40 in advance

$45 if purchased at the door

Designated driver            $15

**Remember – if you purchased tickets for the 2020 event, they are still good to use this year on 9/18/21!

Purchase advance tickets here: https://events.beerfests.com/e/grayslakebeerfest/tickets

For additional important information, please visit: https://www.grayslakebeerfest.com/

 

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is your Source for Legal Assistance in the Grayslake Area

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd proudly supports our community and has been an established source of legal guidance in Grayslake and the surrounding areas for over 100 years.   If you are a business owner, we can help with a wide range of services such as partnerships, succession planning, financing, litigation and more.  Individuals benefit from our expertise in estate planning and will preparation, real estate and zoning assistance, landlord-tenant disputes, personal lawsuits and so many other legal services.  Learn more about our professional areas of practice HERE and see why we remain one of the area’s most trusted legal sources.

3 Important Factors to Consider When Choosing an Attorney

Working with a qualified attorney can make all the difference in your legal success so it’s good to be prepared ahead of time. The following factors can help you determine which attorney is right for you.

choosing attorneyMost people will require legal representation at some point in their lives, and when that time comes you want to be assured that you have the best attorney by your side.  Seemingly straightforward cases may not actually turn out that way once you get to court, and more complex cases that involve a longer process may be difficult to navigate alone.  Working with a qualified attorney can make all the difference in your legal success so it’s good to be prepared ahead of time.  The following factors can help you determine which attorney is right for you.

Experience of the Attorney

When choosing an attorney, consider the amount of experience they have, as well as the specific types of law they practice.  Whether you need representation in court, or assistance in appealing property taxes, make sure your attorney has the knowledge to take on the task successfully.  One thing to remember is that experience can be much more impactful than just education when it comes to handling a case.  For example, an experienced attorney has usually learned how to effectively deal with judges, juries, other attorneys, insurance adjusters and more. This refined knowledge can make a difference in the successful outcome of your case.

Size of the Firm

There are thousands of law firms out there, ranging in size from extremely large corporate firms to individual attorney practices.  You ultimately have to work with a firm you feel comfortable with.  But you should note that “larger” is not always better when it comes to a law firm.  For example, large firms may have the manpower and resources to take on more high-profile cases, but you may end up losing the personal, prompt attention you want as an individual or small business.  At Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd., we have been on the same street corner for over 100 years and we proudly combine large firm experience with the atmosphere of a smaller practice.  We consistently provide high-caliber legal services, while treating our clients with honesty and respect.

Comfort Level

You should always feel comfortable in the presence of your attorney.  It is imperative that you are able to ask any questions you may have, and that you have trust in the answers you receive.  Establishing this comfortable relationship and open communication will allow you to share all of the important information that your attorney needs in order to properly represent you and prepare for your case.  Trust, communication and mutual respect are all very important factors so consider them very carefully in your final decision.

At Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, we have worked hard to earn the trust and respect of our community.  We specialize in several different areas of law, including litigation, real estate, estate planning and business law, which allows us the opportunity to serve a wide range of client needs.

Contact us at 847-223-1500 for more information.

 

Reference additional information here

Awesome Family Fun Awaits at Grayslake Summer Days 2021

The Grayslake Summer Days Festival is back for 2021. Find important event details, a band and entertainment schedule and more here!

Grayslake Summer Days 2021Have a blast this summer and join in the Grayslake 125+1 Celebration at the Grayslake Summer Days festival!  Brought to you by the Grayslake Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Grayslake, and sponsored in part by Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd, this year’s event promises to be great fun for the whole family.

The event will take place on Friday, August 20 from 5:00pm – midnight and Saturday, August 21 from noon – midnight.  The Summer Days festival is located at the Whitney Street Festival Site in Downtown Grayslake and it is FREE to attend, so it’s the perfect way to spend quality time with friends and family.

There will be lots of fun activities to choose from, such as listening to great music, trying your luck at the carnival games, enjoying delicious food or visiting the many business booths throughout the festival.

Grayslake Summer Days 2021 Schedule

Friday, August 20

5:00                        Carnival games / food booths

5:00                        Business booth area open

6:00                        Blooze Bros band

8:00                        Total Recall band

10:00                     Seventh Heaven

 

Saturday, August 21

Afternoon

12:00                     Carnival games / food booths

12:00                     Business booth area opens

1:00                        Touch-a-Truck

Activities by Lake County Farm Heritage Equipment

1:00                        Exchange Pet and Bike parade

Line up on Slusser Street

2:30                        Pie eating contest

3:30                        Slam Funk – Grayslake North students

 

Evening

5:00                        Svelte Bobby and the Soul Fixers

6:00                       Summer Days Parade

Celebrating Grayslake 125+1

8:00                        American English

10:00                     Modern Day Romeos

 

Visit www.grayslakechamber.com for more information!

 

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is your Source for Legal Assistance in the Grayslake Area

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd proudly supports our community and has been an established source of legal guidance in Grayslake and the surrounding areas for over 100 years.   If you are a business owner, we can help with a wide range of services such as partnerships, succession planning, financing, litigation and more.  Individuals benefit from our expertise in estate planning and will preparation, real estate and zoning assistance, landlord-tenant disputes, personal lawsuits and so many other legal services.  Learn more about our professional areas of practice HERE and see why we remain one of the area’s most trusted legal sources.

5 Crucial Ways a Mechanic’s Lien Helps Contractors Get Paid

Filing a mechanic’s lien is a great way to recover debt, and will usually get a quick response – BUT ONLY if it is executed properly! From residential claims to large commercial projects, our experienced team knows how to properly perfect and enforce a mechanic’s lien to achieve a successful settlement.

contractors mechanic's lienConstruction season is in full swing in Illinois.  The housing market is booming and new construction projects and subdivisions are being completed in record numbers.  At the same time, homeowners have been doing a lot of home improvements, such as finishing basements and building decks, in order to get more enjoyment out of being at home.

These projects often require a lot of up-front capital on the part of contractors and suppliers, so they want to ensure that they get paid in full for the work they complete or the materials they supply.  The most effective way to collect money that is owed is by enforcing a Mechanic’s Lien.

Explanation of a Mechanic’s Lien

A mechanics lien is a legal document that is filed by a contractor or subcontractor and secured against a property (like a mortgage) for a specific amount of money, in order to secure payment.  In Illinois, original contractors (such as architects, engineers, laborers or construction managers) and subcontractors (typically hired and paid by the general contractor or other contractor) who provide labor or supplies for the improvement of real property are entitled to file a mechanics lien.

A Mechanic’s Lien Helps Contractors and Suppliers Get Paid

A mechanic’s lien is very valuable in ensuring that contractors and suppliers get the money that is owed to them.  Here are some important ways they help to accomplish that:

  1. It provides security interest in the property.  The mechanic’s lien is recorded and will appear on a title search of the property, which means the property cannot be sold or refinanced without the lien being paid off.
  2. A construction project may be obligated to remain free of liens in order to meet the terms of the contract, which should ensure prompt payment if a mechanic’s lien was filed.
  3. Because it is secured to the property, it gives your debt legal priority over other debt which can help in a bankruptcy situation
  4. It puts pressure on the property owner or lender to ensure payment of your debt, in order to avoid additional expense or project delays
  5. Mechanic’s liens are difficult to challenge and hard to remove without being paid (as long as they are filed properly and there are no technical mistakes)

Perfecting and enforcing a mechanic’s lien is not a simple process.  Some of the many steps involved include sending all of the correct preliminary documents, such as the preliminary notice and notice of intent, making sure the lien contains the proper information, perfecting the wording, filing during the appropriate time period and serving the document properly.  A mistake during any of these crucial steps can invalidate your lien.

Experience and understanding of Illinois mechanic’s lien law is imperative to perfect and enforce mechanic’s lien rights.  The experienced attorneys at Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd have represented general contractors, material suppliers, developers, laborers and subcontractor clients to perfect and enforce liens of all sizes.  From smaller residential claims to commercial claims in excess of $1 million, our team will help ensure a successful settlement.  Contact us with all of your questions at 847-223-1500.

Additional information can be referenced here

51ST Annual Grayslake Chamber Golf Outing

Grayslake area golf enthusiasts – this event is for you! The Grayslake Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 51st annual Golf Outing, and Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is a proud sponsor. Get the details and a link to register here.

golf outing 2021Grayslake area golf enthusiasts – this event is for you!  The Grayslake Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 51st annual Golf Outing, and Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is a proud sponsor.  Skill level doesn’t matter – whether you shoot like a pro or your game needs some help, all are welcome to come out and enjoy this fun full-day event.  It’s time to start gathering your group and planning for a great time in the outdoors at a beautiful club!

Event Details:

The Grayslake Chamber Golf Outing is once again being held at Stonewall Orchard Golf Club, a magnificent 18-hole course designed by renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills.  You’ll enjoy rolling hills, wetlands and wildlife, thousands of mature pine and oak trees, and a variety of challenging holes throughout your game.  A summary of the day is as follows:

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

12:00 PM – 7:00 PM CST

Schedule:

Noon: Registration and Lunch

1PM – Shotgun Start

5:30PM – Mixer

6:30PM – Dinner

Fees to Participate:

Golf package: $150 per Golfer

Mixer and Dinner Only: $35

Location:

Stonewall Orchard Golf Club

25675 W Illinois Highway 60

Grayslake, IL  60030

Attire for Golfers:

Collared shirts, Bermuda-length shorts, no jeans or metal spikes

For additional information, and to register, click here: http://grayslakechamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/chamber-golf-outing-902?calendarMonth=2021-07-01

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is your Source for Legal Assistance in the Grayslake Area

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd proudly supports our community and has been an established source of legal guidance in Grayslake and the surrounding areas for over 100 years.   If you are a business owner, we can help with a wide range of services such as partnerships, succession planning, financing, litigation and more.  Individuals benefit from our expertise in estate planning and will preparation, real estate and zoning assistance, landlord-tenant disputes, personal lawsuits and so many other legal services.  Learn more about our professional areas of practice HERE and see why we remain one of the area’s most trusted legal sources.

4 Ways to Successfully Appeal Your Property Taxes

Property values seem to be rapidly increasing, and that usually means a higher tax bill. But don’t lose hope – there are ways to appeal to get your property taxes lowered. Here is what you need to know to successfully appeal your bill and pay less moving forward.

tax appealProperty values seem to be rapidly increasing during this housing boom we are experiencing.  And while that’s great when trying to sell your house, it’s not so great when it comes to paying your property taxes.  But don’t lose hope – there are ways to appeal to get your property taxes lowered.  Here is what you need to know to successfully appeal your bill and pay less moving forward.

Understand Your Property Value

Your property tax bill is based on the assessed value of your house.  However, the assessed value is not the same as the market value.  The market value is what your home might sell for, based on factors like size and positive/negative attributes, location, supply and demand and what other homes around it are selling for.  The assessed value is determined by looking at the sales prices of similar nearby properties to arrive at an initial value for your home.  Then they deduct any tax exemptions that you qualify for.  Finally, that number is multiplied by a set percentage rate (also known as an assessment rate or assessment ratio) to calculate the final assessed value of the property.  If your home’s value looks low on your assessment, it is because that assessed value is only a fraction of the full market value.

Correct Any Incorrect Property Information

Your assessed value is based on the property information that the assessor’s office has on file.  They use things like total square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, finished living space and more to determine the value of your property.  Our attorneys can request a copy of the internal notes and data the assessor is using, to confirm that the information is accurate, and that they have compared your home to other homes of similar size, age, etc. when determining your home’s value.  The most accurate assessments take all of this information into account, and a successful appeal is often won due to misinformation or improper home comparisons.

Act Fast

When it comes to appealing your property taxes, timing is everything.  There are certain appeal deadline dates that must be met, according to the township your property is located in.  If you miss the deadline, there is nothing you can do until next year.  That being said, here is a list of dates to follow, as listed on the Lake County Tax Assessor website.  Not all dates have been designated yet, but visit their site regularly HERE for updated information.   As of July 7, 2021, the deadlines are as follows:

lake county tax appeal

Work With the Right Attorney

There are many details to consider during the tax appeal process and even if you present a good case, the assessor does not have to agree with you.  In fact, they will often do their best to defend their original estimate.  However, a qualified attorney can make a significant difference in a successful appeal.

The attorneys at Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd in Grayslake are experienced in reducing real estate tax liability and we have an extremely high success rate when it comes to saving our clients money.  We will provide a free initial evaluation to determine if an appeal is warranted – and will not charge any fee unless we successfully reduce your taxesContact us at 847-223-1500 to learn more or to schedule your consultation.

5K Family Fun Run in Downtown Grayslake

The Grayslake 5K Family Fun Run is back for 2021 and it’s sure to be a fun, family-friendly activity for those of all ages and abilities! Get the details and a link to register here!

Grayslake 5K family fun runGrayslake area families – are you looking for a fun and healthy activity that the whole family can enjoy together?  Put on those running (or walking) shoes, because the Grayslake Chamber of Commerce is again hosting the annual 5K Family Fun Run – and Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is a proud sponsor!  This is an excellent way for community members of all ages and abilities to get outside and enjoy the sights of historic downtown Grayslake.  Runners, walkers, wheelchair athletes and strollers are all encouraged to take part in this great event.  Casually complete the course, or get competitive – it’s up to you!

Fun Run Details

  • The 5K Family Fun Run will take place on Saturday, July 10, 2021
  • The race starts at 8:00am and the event ends at 9:30am CST
  • Race location is Center Street & Seymour Avenue in Grayslake
  • The cost to register is $25 per person before July 1, 2021 or $30 per person after July 1, 2021
  • Kids Fun Run is available to kids age 5-8 for a $5.00 registration fee

Don’t miss your chance to register!  The event is coming quickly so be sure to register now.  REGISTER HERE: https://raceroster.com/events/2021/30612/grayslake-5k

For more information about the Grayslake Chamber of Commerce and to see other upcoming events, visit them online here: http://grayslakechamber.com/

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is your Source for Legal Assistance in the Grayslake Area

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd proudly supports our community and has been an established source of legal guidance in Grayslake and the surrounding areas for over 100 years.   If you are a business owner, we can help with a wide range of services such as partnerships, succession planning, financing, litigation and more.  Individuals benefit from our expertise in estate planning and will preparation, real estate and zoning assistance, landlord-tenant disputes, personal lawsuits and so many other legal services.  Learn more about our professional areas of practice HERE and see why we remain one of the area’s most trusted legal sources.

Seller Disclosure Requirements: Home Sellers Can’t Afford to Get This Wrong

Selling a home in IL is an exciting process, but you need to be fully prepared! Home sellers must be aware of and comply with their legal disclosure obligations in order to avoid legal issues down the line.

 

seller disclosureIf there was ever a great time to sell a house it’s now!  The market is hot, hot, hot, with newly-listed properties often fielding multiple offers, many even above the listing price. But for all the advantages of selling, home sellers must also be aware of their legal disclosure obligations in order to avoid legal issues down the line.

Federal Disclosure Requirements

If you are selling a home that was built prior to 1978, you must comply with the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.  This law requires the seller to provide the buyer with a disclosure statement regarding any lead-based paint in the house, as well as a specific Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pamphlet.  Additionally, buyers must be given the opportunity to test for lead, warnings must be written into the sales contract and signed statements must be obtained from all parties (and kept for three years) that verify legal compliance of all requirements.

Illinois Disclosure Requirements

The Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Act was enacted in 1994 to protect home buyers from hidden or unanticipated home defects for up to one year after purchasing a home.  The seller must complete this form accurately to the best of their ability and fully disclose any known issues with the following:

  • Flooding or leaking in the basement or crawlspace
  • Defects in the foundation, roof, ceiling, chimney, walls or floors
  • Defects in the electrical, plumbing, well or HVAC systems
  • Defects in the septic or disposal system
  • Safety of the drinking water
  • Whether the property is located in a flood plane
  • Presence of unsafe conditions concerning asbestos, lead paint, lead pipes or lead in the soil
  • Presence of underground fuel tanks
  • Known infestations of termites or wood-boring insects
  • Boundary line disputes
  • Whether the property is in violation of any laws
  • Whether the property has ever been used a methamphetamine lab
  • Whether the seller has occupied the property for the past 12 months

It is important for the seller to be honest when completing the disclosures.  In fact, if the buyer’s inspection reveals issues that were not initially disclosed, the buyer can legally terminate the sales contract.  Additionally, if the sale goes through but the buyer discovers issues after closing, the seller can be held liable for the cost to repair those issues for up to a year after the sale.

The experienced attorneys at Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd have assisted with thousands of real estate transactions throughout the years.  We know what to watch out for and how to keep you legally protected.  Whether you are selling your house on your own or with the help of a real estate agent, the disclosure requirements remain the same.  Working with one of our qualified attorneys will help ensure that you are in compliance with all applicable laws and avoid legal issues throughout the selling process.  If you’ve decided to sell, contact our office at 847-223-1500 and we’ll help you prepare the right way, right from the start.

Grayslake Arts Festival & Wine Tasting 2021

The Grayslake Arts Festival and Wine Tasting event is back for 2021, and Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is a proud sponsor. Find the details of the event along with a link for advance tickets here!

Who’s Ready for Some Amazing Art and Great Wine?

Grayslake Arts Festival and Wine Tasting 2021

 

Just in time to kick off a summer of fun, the Grayslake Arts Festival and Wine Tasting event is BACK!  Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is a proud sponsor of this well-loved local event that’s hosted by the Grayslake Area Chamber of Commerce and showcases the incredible works of many talented artists.  While you are perusing the beautiful pieces, visitors who are 21 and older can try out a variety of wines that will be available for tasting.  This is a wonderful event where you can find and purchase a unique work of art and also discover a new favorite wine!

The Grayslake Arts Festival and Wine Tasting will take place on Saturday, June 19, 2021 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM CST in historic Downtown Grayslake, with the wine tasting hours at 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM.  Food will be available for purchase and entertainment will be provided by Slam Funk and Dance Connections.  Admission to the arts festival is FREE.  Tickets for the wine tasting are $12 in advance or $15 on the day of the event, and include a glass plus 4 tastings.

Visit the official chamber website for more information and to purchase advanced wine tasting tickets: http://grayslakechamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/arts-festival-and-wine-tasting-893?calendarMonth=2021-06-01

 

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is your Source for Legal Assistance in the Grayslake Area

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd proudly supports our community and has been an established source of legal guidance in Grayslake and the surrounding areas for over 100 years.   If you are a business owner, we can help with a wide range of services such as partnerships, succession planning, financing, litigation and more.  Individuals benefit from our expertise in estate planning and will preparation, real estate and zoning assistance, landlord-tenant disputes, personal lawsuits and so many other legal services.  Learn more about our professional areas of practice HERE and see why we remain one of the area’s most trusted legal sources.

Explore Some Fascinating Grayslake History with Us!

As Grayslake celebrates 125 (+1) years, we invite you to explore a little about the history of our firm, as well as some interesting facts about Grayslake throughout the years.

Grayslake historyChurchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd is a proud member and supporter of the Grayslake community.  In fact, our commitment to providing the expertise of a large firm in a small-town environment is rooted in our long and successful history in the village.  As Grayslake celebrates 125 (+1) years, we invite you to explore a little about the history of our firm, as well as some interesting facts about the village throughout the years.

Village of Grayslake

Early settlers arrived to the area in the mid-1830s, including William M. Gray.  Gray, along with other early families, established land around an unspoiled lake, which came to be named Grays Lake.   Eventually, the area began to expand, and in 1895 the local citizens petitioned to incorporate as a village.  On May 9, 1895, the Village of Grayslake was officially established.  Grayslake cherishes its history, and in fact, many of the original businesses and structures that were established in the early years are still standing today.

Churchill, Quinn, Richtman &Hamilton, Ltd

Our history in Grayslake goes back almost as far as the village itself.  And our high caliber of legal services was established right from the start.  Back in 1903, R.W. Churchill founded the firm with the commitment to become an integral part of the community’s fabric, while providing honest, high-quality service to our clients.  Families and legacies were important to R.W., and the firm has retained those values as new generations continue to join the practice.

As we have been located on the same street corner for over 100 years, we have seen great changes and growth in our community.  Through it all, we have been dedicated to supporting local events and organizations throughout Grayslake and Lake County.  We are also proud to share some of the memorable historical moments that defined our village and contributed to its overall sense of community.  Please enjoy this video series presented by the Village of Grayslake Heritage Center & Museum that highlights some fun facts about the village through the years.

Check back often to enjoy additional videos as they are added!

 

5 Financing Strategies to Launch or Expand Your Business

Small businesses have a range of options when it comes to financing. The best choice for your business depends on your specific needs, so it’s important to do as much research as you can. Find some great ideas here.

financingWhether you are trying to get a new business up and running, or you’ve been established for years, there comes a time when you will probably need additional capital to achieve your business goals.  However, finding the right financing for your business takes some research.  The type of financing you need is based on a number of factors.  You need to examine how much money you need, what you need to finance, how long you need to repay it and what your credit looks like.  Based on your answers, these are a few of the more common financing options to look into.

Traditional Bank Loan

Banks are usually a good place to start when looking for financing for your business.  Bank loans usually offer attractive rates and repayment terms, and you can get one lump sum upon closing to use for your business.  However, while the loan programs may be the most attractive, they are often reserved for established businesses with strong credit.  New businesses may find it more difficult to qualify for a bank loan, but it’s still worth it to try, if simply to gain valuable insight into the process.

SBA Loan

Businesses that cannot meet the qualifications of a traditional bank loan should consider an SBA loan.  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps small businesses get loans by providing traditional lenders with a federal guarantee on your loan.  The SBA doesn’t actually provide the money, but they reduce the risk to the lender and make it easier for them to access capital.  In turn, this helps the small business get the money they need, typically with rates and fees that are comparable to non-guaranteed loans.

Venture Capital from Investors

Venture capital is private funding, and offers another alternative to typical bank or SBA loans.  Unlike bank financing, in which you repay a loan, venture capital firms usually invest in startups in exchange for equity, or partial ownership, in the company.  If a VC firm sees excellent potential for fast growth with your company, they might offer not only financing, but also valuable mentoring and professional development opportunities.  This could be worth the trade-off of giving up some equity, depending on your goals for your business.

Small Business Grants

The best kind of financing is free financing.  Some small businesses are eligible for grant money that doesn’t need to be paid back if they meet certain criteria, such as minority-, women- or veteran-owned businesses, or certain businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.  They are typically offered through private companies, non-profits or government organizations and they usually require perseverance to find and apply for one.  But doing the work can certainly pay off in the end.

Friends and Family

If borrowing money from friends or family is an option, it is something to consider, as you probably would be able to get better terms than from a traditional loan. Close relatives, like parents or grandparents, may even be willing to loan you money interest-free for a time.  But you need to keep in mind what could happen if things don’t go as planned and you have trouble paying them back.  It might not be worth the risk of damaging a personal relationship, so this option is a harder choice than you might think.  If anything, it is wise to put the terms in writing, just to make all parties more comfortable with the arrangements.

Whichever financing option you decide is right for your business, working with a qualified attorney can give you a strong advantage.  The application process is not always easy, and properly preparing beforehand can increase your chances of receiving the money you need.  At Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd our attorneys have decades of experience in business law and can explain the legal implications of the various financing options, as well as represent your business throughout the process.  Our goal is to help ensure you receive the best financing terms according to the specific needs of your business and that your business is legally protected.  Additionally, we can also be a reliable advisor and offer valuable legal guidance to support you in achieving your business goals for the lifetime of your business.  Contact us at 847-223-1500 for more information.

DIY Legal Forms Vs an Actual Lawyer: Is it Worth the Risk?

An internet-based world makes it easy to cut out personal interactions, but some DIY tasks are not always a good idea. In fact, typical “fill-in-the-blank” legal forms may appear to be easy, but they can often cause more trouble in the long run.

DIY legal formsOur world today has become increasingly dependent on a virtual environment.  Video conferencing, digital banking and online shopping allow us to take care of our daily personal and business needs without leaving the comfort of home.  In fact, many people are so comfortable with virtual transactions, that they consider it for their legal needs as well.  However, while an internet-based world makes it easy to cut out personal interactions, some DIY tasks are not always a good idea. In fact, typical “fill-in-the-blank” legal forms may appear to be easy, but they can often cause more trouble in the long run.

Problems With DIY Legal Forms

Pre-printed legal forms definitely have an appeal.  They appear to be a quick and easy way to take care of legal matters, with the fill-in-the-blank style seemingly leaving little room for error.  However, there are a number of issues with these types of forms that can lead to problems down the line.

  • Document may be out of date – a quick online search can bring up results that are decades old, which means the law may have changed several times since it was published
  • Instructions may not be clear – you might think you understand it, but if you don’t, there is nobody to ask for clarification
  • It is easy to fill out a form incorrectly – online websites will not review your form for accuracy, which means errors are likely
  • Mistakes go unnoticed until it is too late – you prepare legal forms in order to protect yourself and your loved ones, but even one simple mistake can make them invalid when you need them most
  • One size fits all format – this usually allows little to no room for customization, even though each person has their own specific individual needs

Documents That Should be Prepared by an Actual Experienced Attorney

While it is possible to find just about any legal forms online, we have established that a lot can go wrong if you do decide to use them.  Some people may feel confident in their ability, and of course everyone has the legal right to represent themselves in most scenarios.  However, any important, legally binding documents should be prepared by an actual competent lawyer.  Avoid using generic legal forms for the following:

Call Us for Qualified Legal Assistance

When a legal document is prepared or filed incorrectly, the consequences can be troubling.  For example, a landlord may not be able to legally evict a tenant if the terms were not thoroughly detailed in the lease agreement.  Or in the case of a will, your heirs may be subjected to undue expense and emotional hardships if it is contested due to a legal error.  Yes, it costs more to have an actual attorney prepare your legal documents, but you are paying for important experience and valuable professional advice.  And that is ultimately the best way to get the legal protection you need.  The attorneys at Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd have decades of experience in multiple areas of law and we have been valued members of the Grayslake community for over 100 years.  We take pride in the personalized service we provide to our clients, which is far beyond what you get from any online service or prefilled form options.  Contact us today at 847-223-1500 for the trusted, qualified legal assistance you deserve.

 

Additional information can be referenced here

5 Important Probate Questions Answered

At some point in your life you will probably be faced with the issue of probate – and you will likely have a lot of questions. Luckily, we are here to help. Here are answers to some of the more common questions people have when it comes to probate.

probate questionsProbate is one of those topics that most people like to avoid.  First, it usually means that someone has passed.  And also, many people don’t even know what it means.  However, at some point in your life you will probably be faced with this issue – and you will likely have a lot of questions.  Luckily, we are here to help.  Here are answers to some of the more common questions people have when it comes to probate.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process of administering a person’s estate after they pass away.  This would include things like carrying out the instructions in the will, distributing assets, paying taxes, and more.

Is probate a complicated process?

The process of legally closing out an estate can be complex, often involving many steps to complete it correctly.  The executor of the estate, who is ideally named by the decedent in a will before they have passed, is in charge of carrying out the process.  Some of the major duties of the executor include:

  • Files the appropriate documents with the court and is granted authority to settle the estate
  • Sends notice to any interested parties, such as relatives or others named in the will, and creditors
  • Takes an inventory of all of the estate’s assets
  • Distributes the assets
  • Pays any debts or taxes
  • Files appropriate paperwork to close the estate

What can make the process easier?

The probate process can be made much easier for your loved ones if you plan ahead.  In that respect, one of the most important things you can do while you are living is to prepare a will.  This important document will detail your specific wishes regarding the settlement and distribution of your estate and will allow you to name a responsible executor that you trust to carry out those wishes appropriately.  On the other hand, if you pass away without a will the state will decide how things get distributed.  Additional ways to make probate easier would be to designate a beneficiary on your accounts, or create a trust that will directly pass certain assets or property to a specific beneficiary without probate.

Does every estate need to go through probate?

In Illinois, not every estate is required to go through the probate court.  For a smaller estate worth less than $100,000 and with no real estate involved, a small estate affidavit could be used to claim the estate.  Additionally, there are certain assets that do not need to be considered part of the total value of the estate, and do not need to go through probate.  These would include:

  • Property or assets that are owned jointly with a spouse, such as a joint checking account or a home with both spouses on the deed
  • Assets that are included in a revocable trust
  • Accounts with a specific beneficiary listed
  • Property or accounts that include a “transfer on death” beneficiary

Who can I go to for help with the probate process?

While it is possible to go through the process without an attorney, it is highly recommended to work with a qualified lawyer with experience in probate law. The probate process can be very complex and you will probably have MANY questions along the way.  Even a seemingly simple estate can get complicated quickly, if documents have not been filed properly or the will gets unexpectedly contested.  The experienced attorneys at Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd can help you get your estate in order by preparing important documents now, to make things easier for your heirs after you pass. Additionally, we can be a trusted expert to answer all of your important questions if you are in charge of settling a loved one’s estate.

We handle probate estates of all sizes and complexities, and represent trustees, beneficiaries, personal representatives, heirs, creditors and more.  Contact our Grayslake office at 847-223-1500 to learn more about how we can make this complicated process so much easier, and give you peace of mind during a very difficult time.

5 Things You Must Do Before Hiring Your Next Employee

The minute you hire anyone to work for you, you subject your business to the potential risk of an employment-related lawsuit. Before you hire your first, your tenth or your one hundredth employee, following these guidelines will help to keep your business protected from legal action.

employeeWhen you work for yourself, your business is in your complete control.  When it is time to expand, that usually means hiring another employee to help you achieve your goals.  However, the minute you hire anyone to work for you, you subject your business to the potential risk of an employment-related lawsuit.  But don’t let that stop you from growing and expanding – just make sure you are fully prepared with your hiring and employment practices.  Before you hire your first, your tenth or your one hundredth employee, following these guidelines will help to keep your business protected from legal action.

Create an employee handbook

There’s no legal requirement that says you must have an employee handbook.  However, it is actually a very important document that every employee should receive on their first day.  Every company is different, so an employee handbook can convey your specific business policies, company culture and employee expectations.  This can go a long way in avoiding any confusion or potential conflicts down the line.

Establish a diversity management plan

Every business should strive to establish diversity in their workplace.  When hiring new employees, business owners should always adhere to federal Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines and establish hiring procedures that are free from biases based on an applicant’s age, race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.  Additionally, to promote a greater sense of diversity, you can try targeting your applicant search by sourcing specific schools or cultural organizations or by asking for referrals from current employees.  It’s important to have a plan in place for expanding your diverse workforce, as well as strategies to encourage a cohesive working environment.

Develop a comprehensive employment contract

Also known as an employment agreement, an employment contract lays out the full agreement between your company and the employee.  Important items to be listed in the contract would include the employee’s legal name and address, job title and description, the agreed-upon salary and benefits, and the hours they are expected to work.  Additionally, the contract can include a non-disclosure agreement to protect company information, a non-compete agreement that prevents the employee from going to work for a competitor, as well as reasons for termination.

Obtain proper insurance

Having the right insurance policies in place is a smart way to protect your business from a lawsuit.  If you have any employees, it is wise to have a worker’s compensation policy to cover an employee’s costs (such as medical bills and lost wages) if they are injured on the job. General liability insurance is also a must, as it will protect your business in the event that one of your employees causes injury or property damage to a third party.  If you have any employees that drive to conduct company business, you’ll also want to confirm that you have the correct auto policy in place with adequate coverage.  Your attorney or insurance agent can suggest the right policies for you, based on your specific working environment.

Establish a partnership with an experienced business attorney

One of the most valuable partners you can have for your small business is an experienced business attorney.  The information listed above is just a small sample of the many documents and policies you should understand and implement from the time you hire your first employee – and a good business attorney can help you establish the best policies and procedures to help you avoid potential lawsuits.

The legal team at Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd has decades of experience helping our business clients establish a solid structure and navigate the legal challenges they face when it comes to their employees.  From advising on and preparing important documents, to keeping them informed of new employment laws, to representing them in and out of the courtroom, we work to put our clients in the best position to attain a successful outcome in the event of legal action against the business.  Contact our office at 847-223-1500 to learn more about how we can help protect your small business.

Estate Planning Strategies Young Families Never Knew They Needed

The best way to plan for the future security of your family is to start as early as possible. When it comes to estate planning, here are some things that a growing family needs to think about.

estate planningYoung, growing families often focus on living in the moment.  Maybe it’s settling into a new marriage, happily anticipating a new baby on the way or watching their young children discovering the world around them.  Estate planning is usually one of the last things on their minds, but that’s a big mistake!  The best way to plan for the future security of your family is to start as early as possible.  When it comes to estate planning, here are some things that a growing family needs to think about.

Estate Planning is not Just for the Wealthy

One reason young families put off estate planning is that they don’t understand what it actually entails.  They believe that they must wait until they have accumulated enough “stuff” to warrant putting a plan together. But estate planning is much more than that, and it does not matter how many assets you have.  When kids are involved, a good estate plan is necessary to provide direction and protection for now and for the future.

Make Sure the Kids are Protected in Case of your Passing

Your kids are the most important thing in your world, and you are dedicated to making sure they are always taken care of.  But what would happen if something happened to you?  Thorough estate planning strategies can ensure you have established a plan to:

  • Appoint a guardian for your children, who has the legal authority to care for them
  • Develop detailed instructions for the guardian regarding care, values, medical histories and more
  • Establish a trustee to manage and distribute your assets to your children when they reach a specified age (or on a certain timeline, such as a portion at age 18, 21, 25, etc.)
  • Specify certain funds to be used for your child’s education, wedding or home purchase
  • Have comfort knowing that you – NOT the court system – have made the final decisions regarding the care of your children

We Will be Your Estate Planning Advisers for Life

Young families may have different needs than older families when to comes to estate planning. So as your family grows, you can benefit from adjusting or adding to your plan. We have decades of experience in all areas of estate planning and can also help you to:

  • Designate a power of attorney for healthcare, who can legally make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to, in case you were to become disabled
  • Establish trusts to protect and preserve your growing assets for current and future generations
  • Understand the best financial strategies for charitable gift giving
  • Avoid complex probate issues for your heirs, no matter the size of your final estate

At Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd, we understand that talking about some of these issues may not be easy.  But it really is necessary for the peace of mind that your family will be taken care of according to your specific wishes.  Our experienced team can help you work through the entire process and develop the right plan for your growing family.  Contact us at 837-223-1500 to learn more and to get started.

4 Pressing Legal Issues Facing the Small Business Owner Right Now

Small business owners are responsible for the success of the company and are continually faced with changing legal requirements that they must understand and adhere to. Here are some of the top legal issues that they are dealing with in these changing times.

business ownerA small business owner gets pulled in many different directions.  They are responsible for the success of the company and are continually faced with changing legal requirements that they must understand and adhere to.  Here are some of the top legal issues that small business owners are dealing with in these changing times.

COVID-19 Regulations

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly created a whole new world of legal issues for business owners.  Employee safety in the workplace has become the focus, with emphasis on procedures for employees who test positive for the virus or who exhibit symptoms, as well as those who have had close contact with someone who has.  Adhering to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is mandatory for employees needing time off for a COVID-19 related reason. And for the small business owner that is in need of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, there are strict rules that must be followed in order to take full advantage of the assistance.  When it comes to the overwhelming number of ever-changing laws and regulations surrounding COVID-19, an experienced business attorney can ensure that business owners stay current while providing the safest environment possible for their employees.

Business Policies

Whether dealing with other businesses or directly with the public, small businesses are rethinking their operations policies due to the changing environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  In order to be more accommodating to clients, a small business owner may opt to alter policies.  For example, they might extend the time frame for returns or be more lenient with their collections procedures.  Another difficult situation concerns the handling of signed contracts.  In some cases, a client may have signed a contract for goods or services, but due to current conditions may not be able to fully utilize them (such as a booked venue or catering services, for example).  Trying to enforce the terms of a signed contract can lead to a lawsuit, even though the contract is legally binding. It is always a smart idea to discuss your current policies and contracts with your business attorney. We can help you determine how to best avoid the potential for lawsuits, when you might want to have flexibility in cancellation policies, and when to maintain current policies and practices.

Privacy Issues

With so many employees working from home on an extended basis, a number of privacy concerns have surfaced.  For example, there are strict state and federal laws and regulations concerning consumer data, and businesses are expected to keep this information private.  For this reason, it is very important to have revised, thorough guidelines in place for employees that are handling sensitive, private consumer information when off-site.  Additionally, the increased use of video conference calls presents a new set of privacy issues.  Employees may have privacy concerns when it comes to exposing personal information, unauthorized recordings of the meetings, or even the risk of hackers gaining access to proprietary company information.  A thorough review of procedures and cyber security management are essential in these times.

Diversity and Inclusion

Now more than ever, the small business owner needs to clearly and unequivocally state that they will not tolerate any kind of discrimination in their workplace.  Improving diversity in the workplace is essential, with increasing focus on inclusive recruitment in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and culture.  However, despite good hiring intentions, business owners need to keep in mind that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender and other traits protected by law.  This can be a tricky legal catch-22 when attempting to maintain a diverse workforce, but at the same time not considering these traits when hiring.  It is legal to devise a strategic plan for a diverse, inclusive workplace, but a small business owner needs to rely on the good advice of their business attorney to make sure they are following every aspect of the law.

 

With the growing legal responsibilities being placed on small business owners due to constantly changing work environments, it is clear that working with an experienced business attorney is vital to the success of any organization. Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd has been providing expert legal guidance to our business clients for decades. We understand the complex nature of the legal issues that many small businesses face and we are dedicated to helping our clients navigate these challenges.  Contact our office at 847-223-1500 for more information or to speak with our team.

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