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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_312464573.jpgFEMA announced that it will provide funeral assistance for families of those who have passed away due to COVID-19. FEMA’s COVID-19 funeral relief program may provide financial assistance for funeral expenses that may not be covered by insurance or other sources for individuals who dies of COVID-19. Relief of up to $9,000 for funeral and burial expenses for a deceased individual is available. If a family requires assistance for multiple funerals, the maximum award is $35,000.

To receive funeral assistance, the deceased must have a death certificate dated after January 20, 2020, and the death must be caused by COVID-19. This program excludes individuals who had burial/funeral insurance or received aid from any other source that covered the full cost of their funeral expenses at the time of their death.

 If a household qualifies to receive aid for a funeral, eligible expenses may include (but are not limited to): 


kane county business lawyerNot every business can afford to have an attorney on staff. However, every business will need to address legal issues at some point. Seeking the services of a lawyer whenever the need arises can be very inefficient, and this will likely result in additional expenses. Fortunately, there is another option. By working with a law firm that provides general counsel services, a business can get legal help when necessary from an attorney who is familiar with its operations, needs, and goals.

Benefits of a General Counsel Lawyer

Small and mid-size businesses can find cost-effective ways to address their legal needs by establishing a relationship with an outside general counsel attorney. A lawyer who serves in this capacity will work to fully understand the ins and outs of the company’s processes, its relationships with other entities, and its plans for future growth. In addition to resolving issues that currently need to be addressed and stepping in to handle any concerns that may arise in the future, a general counsel attorney can also take a proactive approach, helping identify potential issues and ensuring that a business takes the correct steps to avoid problems that may result in financial losses.

A general counsel lawyer can assist with multiple types of legal issues, including:


Posted on in Family Law

illinois lawyerWith the beginning of the new year, the state of Illinois passed several new laws that will impact the lives of the state’s residents. Here are a few new laws of interest in 2022: 

Minimum Wage Increase (Public Act 101-0001)

Illinois is one of the states set to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 which means that in 2022, the state minimum wage will increase to $12 an hour. The increase in minimum wage applies to all standard workers and any workers under the age of 18 who work more than 650 hours per calendar year. For workers under 18 who work less than 650 hours per calendar year, the minimum wage will increase to $9.25 an hour. Tipped employees may be paid 60% of the minimum wage. However, if these workers do not earn the minimum wage after receiving tips, the employers must make up the difference. 

Amendments to Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act

This Act, which was initially implemented in 2018, requires any employers of 25 or more employees to contribute to Roth IRAs for its employees through payroll deductions. This does not apply to employers who already offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan. An amendment to this Act which took effect January 1, 2022, will now qualify an “employer” as one who has more than 5 employees employed during every quarter of the previous calendar year, has been in business for at least 2 years, and has not offered a qualified retirement plan in the preceding 2 years. Employers with fewer than 25 and more than 15 employees will be required to enroll in the program by September 1, 2022, and employers with at least 5 employees but no more than 15 employees will need to enroll by September 1, 2023. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1707038608_20220103-161811_1.jpgGetting a divorce can sometimes involve financial struggles. During the divorce process, you will not only need to cover divorce costs, but you may need to find new living arrangements and determine how you will cover rent or mortgage payments, utilities, food, transportation, and other costs. If you are a stay-at-home parent, you may be worried about how you will be able to pay all of these expenses, whether you will need to find employment, and whether you will be able to continue staying home to care for your children. In this situation, it is important to understand whether you may be able to receive spousal support from your ex-spouse.

Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance

Payments made by one spouse to the other are generally known as spousal support or alimony, but the state of Illinois uses the term “maintenance” when addressing this issue. Maintenance is meant to address the disparity between spouses’ incomes. Both you and your spouse will want to try to maintain your standard of living after you split up, and if you earn a much smaller income or do not work outside the home, you will likely need financial support from your ex-spouse. Maintenance may be in addition to any child support that is ordered to address your children’s ongoing needs.

Maintenance may be awarded regardless of the reason for your divorce. “Marital misconduct” is not a factor that will be considered, so issues such as infidelity or a desire to end the marriage will not affect your ability to receive spousal support. Factors that are to be considered by Illinois courts when determining whether spousal maintenance is appropriate include:


Posted on in Divorce

kane county divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce can be an extremely stressful time. More and more couples are searching for a non-adversarial way to get a divorce. One effective way to do this is through the process of collaborative divorce.  

What is Collaborative Divorce? 

A Collaborative Divorce is a process in which the parties involved and their attorneys are not required to appear in court. During a Collaborative Divorce, both spouses work with a collaborative team. Collaborative Divorce teams require an attorney for each spouse and generally include a divorce coach, who is a collaboratively trained mental health professional. Teams can also include a child coach and a neutral financial specialist. The couples who choose to divorce this way will avoid litigation.

What Steps do Couples Need to Take in a Collaborative Divorce? 

The first step in getting a Collaborative Divorce is finding attorneys trained and qualified to facilitate this process for each spouse. Each spouse has their own attorney.


elgin divorce lawyerAnyone can be injured at work. While accidents and injuries may be more likely in some professions, they can also occur at an office or another location that is relatively safe, or a person may experience health issues related to the work they perform. Fortunately, anyone who suffers work-related injuries will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are some cases where employers or their insurance companies may deny these benefits. In these situations, workers will need to determine their options for appealing a denial and receiving the benefits they need and deserve.

Filing a Claim With the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission

The first thing that a person will need to understand is the reason their workers’ comp claim was denied. In some cases, a denial may occur because a person did not notify their employer within 45 days after their injury occurred. An employer may also deny a claim because they believe that an injury was not work-related or that it was not serious enough to require a person to miss work. An employer is required to provide an employee with a written explanation that states the reason workers’ comp benefits are being denied.

An employee may file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) to dispute the denial of benefits or ask for additional benefits to be paid. Generally, claims must be filed within three years after the injury occurred. If the employer paid any medical benefits or temporary disability benefits, a claim must be filed within two years after the employer's last payment of benefits.


elgin estate planning lawyerA divorce can dramatically change the lives of both parties involved. After your divorce, it is important to ensure your financial assets are protected in response to your change in living circumstances. Here are four helpful tips on how to reevaluate your estate planning strategy after a divorce. 

1. Update power of attorney and living will.

If a situation arises when you are unable to make medical decisions, your power of attorney names the person who will make those decisions for you. Most spouses appoint each other as agents. After a divorce, it is time to execute a new power of attorney naming a new agent to make your medical decisions. This can be done by consulting our estate planning attorneys. 

2. Create a new estate plan. 

Especially if you have children, updating your will and/or living trusts is one of the most important steps to take after a divorce. If your will or trust is not up to date following your divorce, your ex-spouse may be eligible to inherit your assets after your death. You may also want to update your will to reflect your wishes on who should be in charge of any finances set aside for your children if they are still minors. 


elgin business lawyerContractual agreements are essential for many businesses, and a company may enter into multiple types of contracts with vendors, suppliers, partners, clients, or other parties. While contracts can provide important protections, ensuring that both parties meet their obligations, they can also cause significant problems if they contain mistakes or omissions. By working with an attorney to draft, negotiate, and review contracts, a business can ensure its rights and interests are protected in these types of agreements.

Avoiding Contract Mistakes

While a business may become involved in multiple types of agreements, a verbal agreement or a basic written agreement will not provide it with the protections of a legal contract. To protect its rights and interests, a business will need to make sure a contract is tailored to the unique circumstances of the company and the agreement being addressed. Some of the most common mistakes made in business contracts involve issues such as:

  • Recitals - A contract will usually begin with a preamble that identifies the parties, as well as recitals that provide background information about the purpose of the contract. Failure to include this information may make it difficult to enforce a contract if disputes should arise. 


elgin business lawyerStarting or expanding a business can be a great opportunity. However, business owners and entrepreneurs will need to consider a variety of legal and financial issues when doing so. Liability is one area of concern for many business owners, but fortunately, if a business is structured correctly, an owner or partner can ensure that they will not be held personally liable for business debts. During the business formation process, which may take place when a business is initially founded or when an existing business is restructured, an owner will want to select a business entity that will provide them with the protection they need.

Choosing the Right Business Structure

In many cases, a business owner will first form their business as a sole proprietorship, or if there are multiple owners, a business will be formed as a general partnership. In these cases, there will be no separation between assets owned by the business and the personal assets of the owner or partners. While this may allow for more flexibility when starting a business and provide an owner with more control over business operations, it will not provide any protection against liability. This means that an owner or partner may be held personally responsible for business debts or lawsuits against the business.

In some cases where a business has multiple owners, it may be beneficial to create a limited partnership. In these cases, one partner will be a general partner with unlimited liability, and other partners will be limited partners who are protected from liability. A business may also be a limited liability partnership (LLP) in which all partners are limited partners. This will provide them with protection against being held liable for business debts, and one partner will not be liable for another partner’s negligence, misconduct, or malpractice.


elgin estate planning lawyerA person’s last will and testament describes their final wishes and instructions regarding asset distribution to their heirs. In some cases, family members, other beneficiaries, or others who were close to a person may be unhappy about the decisions made in the person’s will, or they may believe that a will is fraudulent. During the probate process that takes place following a person’s death, a person’s heirs or potential beneficiaries may take legal action to challenge the person’s will. However, a will can only be contested in certain cases, and those who are involved in these types of cases will want to understand how these issues will affect them.

Grounds for Contesting a Will

While one or more of a person’s heirs may be unhappy about the choices made by their loved one, claims of “unfairness” or similar issues will usually not be a valid reason to challenge the person’s will. In most cases, wills can only be contested based on one of the following issues:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity - This refers to a person’s inability to understand what they were signing when creating or updating their will. A beneficiary may claim that a person was not of sound mind, did not have the capacity to understand the decisions they were making, or was not aware of the extent of the assets they owned. While proving that a person did not have the capacity to properly execute a will can be difficult, a beneficiary may be able to do so based on medical evidence. For example, a person may provide evidence showing that the deceased person signed a new will or an update to their previous will after they had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.


truck accident lawyerCommercial trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, and when they are involved in collisions, victims are likely to suffer serious injuries. While there are many reasons that truck accidents occur, driver fatigue is a common factor in these cases. Drivers and passengers who are injured in collisions with semi-trailer trucks can work with an attorney to determine whether the truck driver and the trucking company that employed them can be held liable for the damages they have suffered.

Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue

Drowsy driving is an all-too-common issue for people in the United States, and it is responsible for tens of thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths each year. Due to the long hours that they spend behind the wheel, truck drivers are especially susceptible to driver fatigue. Even if a driver follows the regulations that limit the amount of time they can drive without taking rests, they may still become drowsy, affecting their ability to control their vehicle and avoid collisions.

Some common reasons for truck driver fatigue include:


elgin divorce lawyerDuring the divorce process, not everyone is honest, and spouses sometimes attempt to gain a financial advantage by hiding money or property from their former partners. Sometimes this is out of malice because one party blames the other for the divorce and believes they deserve a smaller share of marital property. Other times, a divorcing spouse hides assets because they are worried that they will have to give up important items or simply because they are dishonest and selfish. However, spouses are required to divide all of their marital property fairly and equitably, and if a person believes that their spouse is attempting to conceal money or assets, they will want to uncover the property that was hidden. Divorcing spouses who have concerns about hidden assets should work with their attorney to bring this issue to the attention of the court and ensure that their spouse will be held accountable for these wrongful actions.

Places to Look for Hidden Assets

Some spouses use fairly obvious methods to hide assets, such as keeping cash or valuables in hidden locations in their home, in a safety deposit box, or with a friend or family member. They may also convert cash into other types of assets, such as by purchasing artwork or collectibles and then claiming that these items are worth less than what was actually paid. 

Other methods of hiding assets can be more sneaky, and they can sometimes be difficult to uncover without the assistance of a financial expert. A person may transfer money to a friend or family member, claiming that they are paying back debts or making payments for services performed, but they will plan to have the other person transfer the funds back to them after the divorce is over. They may also attempt to convert assets into less traceable forms, such as cryptocurrency or savings bonds.


elgin real estate lawyerHomeownership is an important goal for many people, and if you are considering buying a home, you will be looking to make one of the most significant and important investments of your lifetime. However, there are many complex financial factors involved in a home purchase, as well as a variety of legal issues that may arise during a transaction. If you are a first-time homebuyer, you will want to consider the following tips:

  • Build and maintain a good credit score - Your credit score will affect your ability to obtain a mortgage as well as the interest rate on your loan. You can increase your credit score by paying bills on time and avoiding large credit card balances. You will also want to avoid doing anything that may decrease your credit score during the process of buying a home, such as closing credit card accounts, making major purchases, or taking out new loans or lines of credit.

  • Get preapproval for a loan - By working with a lender to determine the amount of a loan that you will qualify for, you can understand what you will be able to afford, ensuring that you will be able to make an appropriate offer on a home. Preapproval will also show a seller that you have the financial means to buy a home, making it more likely that they will accept your offer.


elginAs part of the estate planning process, a family may be looking to make sure they can help their loved ones provide for their needs. This is especially true for family members who have disabilities or other special needs, since they will often need assistance to make sure they will be able to cover their ongoing expenses. However, people with disabilities may also rely on government aid or public benefits, and in many cases, they will only qualify for these types of benefits if they have limited assets or income. This means that a gift of money or assets from a family member could make them ineligible for certain types of benefits. To avoid this issue, a family may be able to set up a special needs trust.

Resources That Affect SSI and Medicaid

Typically, people with qualifying disabilities can receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through Social Security, as well as healthcare benefits through Medicaid. To qualify for these programs, a person must own no more than $2,000 in resources, including cash, funds in bank accounts, investments, or retirement savings. 

Rather than gifting money or assets directly to a person with special needs, it can be better to create a trust. With a special needs trust, assets will not be owned by the person, but by the trust itself, and a trustee will manage these assets and distribute them to the beneficiary. Ensuring that assets in the trust are used for the proper purposes will help the beneficiary meet certain needs without jeopardizing their eligibility for government aid.


elgin injury lawyerWhen you visit someone else’s property, including a commercial establishment such as a bar or nightclub, the property owner has a legal duty to protect your safety. If you are injured in one of these locations, you may be able to hold the property owner liable through a premises liability lawsuit. Inadequate or negligent security is one common reason that injuries may occur at a bar or nightclub. By showing that the owner of an establishment did not take the proper measures to ensure that patrons were safe from harm, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and damages.

Injuries Caused by Negligent Security

In many cases, injuries at bars or nightclubs are intentionally inflicted by someone else rather than being accidental. When disagreements or arguments arise between patrons, bar fights may break out, and one person could seriously injure another, or an innocent bystander may be caught in the middle. To prevent these types of injuries, an establishment should have the proper security staff who are trained in how to prevent or break up fights, remove people who are aggressive towards others, and ensure that bystanders are not injured because of overcrowding or the presence of objects that could be used as weapons.

The patrons of a bar or restaurant may also be exposed to the risk of injury while outside of an establishment. Assaults or robberies may occur if the proper security is not provided. Inadequate security may include a lack of security cameras to monitor a building’s exterior or security guards to patrol the area, as well as insufficient lighting in parking areas.


elgin divorce lawyerIf you own a business, it is probably one of your most valuable assets. After putting years of time and effort into building your business, you will want to make sure you can continue to own and operate it, no matter what happens. Unfortunately, a business can sometimes be a tricky issue to address when couples get divorced. If your marriage has broken down, or if you want to address what will happen if you choose to get a divorce in the future, you will need to be sure to understand how the ownership of your business will be handled.

Business Assets as Marital or Separate Property

The first issue that business owners will need to address is whether their business is part of the marital estate. Typically, if a business was founded or acquired after a couple’s marriage, it will be considered marital property, even if only one spouse was involved in starting and managing the business. In these cases, the business will be part of the property division process, and both spouses will have an equal ownership claim.

If a spouse had owned a business before the couple got married, it will usually be considered separate property. Since the business is not part of the marital estate, it will not need to be divided during divorce. However, if the business increased in value during the marriage, that increase may be considered marital property, especially if the non-owner spouse made contributions to the business. In these cases, the business owner spouse may need to reimburse the other spouse for the contributions that increased the value of their separate property.


illinois injury lawyerWhen a person is injured because of someone else’s actions or negligence, they can be affected in multiple ways. Some of the damages that a person may experience can be easy to understand and place a monetary value on. For example, a car accident may result in medical bills and the need for vehicle repairs, and a person’s injuries may cause them to be unable to earn income while they are recovering. By detailing their expenses and the economic impact of their injury, a victim can pursue compensation for these financial losses. However, an injury may also result in emotional trauma, and a victim may also receive compensation for pain and suffering. During a personal injury case, it is important to work with an attorney to ensure that a victim will be fully compensated for all the damages they have suffered.

Personal Injury Cases and Emotional Distress

The forms of compensation that may be available to personal injury victims are usually grouped into the categories of economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include quantifiable financial losses resulting from an injury. Non-economic damages usually include pain and suffering, and it can sometimes be more difficult to determine the monetary value of these types of damages.

Emotional trauma is usually included in the consideration of the pain and suffering an injury victim has experienced. The effects of emotional distress may include:


Elgin family law attorneyFor any parent, one of their primary concerns is ensuring that they can provide for their child’s needs. All parents are required to support their children financially, and when parents are not married or living together, child support orders will need to be established. In these situations, which may involve parents who are getting divorced or unmarried parents who are separated, parents will want to understand how child support obligations will be determined.

Illinois’ Child Support Laws

For many years, child support payments in Illinois were calculated by taking a straight percentage of the paying parent’s income. While this was a straightforward method, it did not address the income earned by the recipient of child support, which could sometimes put the paying parent at a financial disadvantage. To address this, Illinois revamped its method for calculating child support in 2017, and the state now uses an income-sharing process that bases child support on both parents’ incomes.

Under the income-sharing approach, an appropriate amount of child support is determined based on the monthly amount that a married couple who earns the same combined income level as a child’s parents would spend to provide for their child’s needs. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services maintains a table listing child support obligations for one to six children at different combined income ranges. This table is used to establish an appropriate amount that the parents will be required to pay for the number of children they share.


Elgin business lawyer for COVID-19 vaccine policiesOver the past year, many businesses have made accommodations in their workplaces to ensure that employees are safe from becoming infected with COVID-19. Due to the increased availability of vaccines, many people who have been working from home are beginning to return to work in person, and employers are taking steps to ensure that their workplaces are safe for employees. However, many employers are uncertain about their requirements related to COVID-19 vaccines for employees, so they should be sure to understand how the authorities in Illinois are addressing these issues.

Can Employers Require Employees to Be Vaccinated?

Currently, the State of Illinois is leaving decisions about COVID-19 vaccinations for employees up to the discretion of employers. An employer may require employees to be vaccinated, or they may allow employees to choose whether or not to receive the vaccine. However, if an employer requires employees to be vaccinated, they must compensate employees for the time spent obtaining the vaccine. Typically, an employer will provide paid leave while employees receive their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If an employer does not require employees to become vaccinated, and employees voluntarily choose to receive the vaccine, the employer should allow employees to use sick time or other paid time off to obtain the first and second doses of the vaccine. Employees should also be allowed to use sick leave to help children or other family members obtain vaccinations. Additionally, employers are permitted to ask for proof of vaccination from employees to verify that they have been vaccinated.


Kane County identity theft protection attorneyIn a recent blog, we looked at the issue of tax-related identity theft, which can occur when a person steals someone else’s information and files a fraudulent tax return in their name. Another form of identity theft that is sometimes related to these illegal practices involves a person applying for unemployment benefits in someone else’s name. Unfortunately, this practice has become more widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic as scammers attempt to take advantage of expanded unemployment programs. Individuals and families who are building a wealth protection strategy will want to address any forms of identity theft quickly and take the proper measures to ensure that they will not be victimized by this type of fraud.

Reporting Unemployment-Related Identity Theft

In many cases, people become aware that they have been the victim of identity theft when they receive notice of unemployment benefits being paid in their name, even though they never applied for these benefits. In other cases, a person may receive a 1099-G tax form stating that they received unemployment benefits and are required to pay taxes on the amount that was paid out.

After learning of a false unemployment claim, Illinois residents should immediately contact the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) in writing to report the identity theft. A victim of identity theft will not be required to repay IDES for any fraudulent benefits that were paid out, and they will be able to receive unemployment benefits in the future if necessary. The IDES has noted that due to widespread unemployment fraud, notices may be sent out stating that a person must pay back an overpayment of benefits. Those who have reported identity theft can ignore these notices, although they may want to contact the IDES to verify their requirements.

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