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St. Charles divorce taxes attorney tax reform maintenance mortgage interestLast December, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which represented the largest reform of the U.S. Tax Code in the past 30 years. This law made a wide variety of changes which will affect nearly everyone who pays taxes in the United States, and couples who are planning to get end their marriage should be sure to understand how this law will impact their divorce. Here are three areas of the tax law which will affect divorce cases:

  1. Spousal maintenance - For divorce agreements executed after December 31, 2018, maintenance (alimony) will no longer be tax deductible for the payor, and maintenance payments will no longer be includable as part of the recipient’s gross income. Divorcing spouses should be sure to understand how this change will affect their maintenance payments, and couples with a prenuptial agreement may need to update their agreement to reflect this change to the law.
  2. Mortgage interest - For new home loans taken out after December 14, 2017, the interest is only deductible for the first $750,000 of the mortgage for a first and second home. Taxpayers with existing mortgages can continue to deduct interest on a total of $1 million for a first and second mortgage. However, interest on home equity indebtedness (that is, mortgage debt that is not used to acquire, build, or improve a primary residence) is no longer deductible, even for currently existing home equity. Couples should be sure to understand how these changes will affect the tax implications of dividing real estate property during divorce.
  3. 529 plans - When parents use a Section 529 plan to save for their children’s educational expenses, they are able to withdraw funds from these plans to pay for college expenses without being subject to taxes. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, parents are now allowed to make tax-free distributions of up to $10,000 per beneficiary per year to pay tuition for elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school. Following divorce, parents may be able to use these funds to help pay for their children’s K-12 education.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

The full effects of the tax reform law are still being determined, and couples who are planning to divorce should be sure they understand how their finances will be affected by these changes. At Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel P.C., we can work with you to address every legal and financial issue in your divorce, and we will advocate for your interests throughout the divorce process, ensuring that you will have the financial resources you need as you embark on the next phase of your life. Contact our Elgin divorce lawyers at 847-695-2400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Elgin business law attorney LLC tax reformThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump last December, made a wide variety of sweeping changes to the United States Tax Code. In addition to reducing the corporate tax rate, the tax reform law implemented some changes which can benefit small business owners, and people should be aware of how they can take advantage of these changes and minimize their tax burden by establishing themselves as a LLC.

Pass-Through Entities and LLCs

One significant change that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made was in how pass-through entities are treated. With pass-through businesses, such as sole proprietorships or LLCs, profits are taxed at the owner’s individual tax rate rather than the corporate tax rate. Under the tax reform law, owners of pass-through entities can now deduct 20% of their qualified business income. 

The pass-through deduction is a “below the line” deduction which is taken from a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI). This means that it will apply to a person’s taxable income after other deductions have been made, such as retirement plan contributions, health insurance premiums, alimony, and interest on student loans.

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Geneva spousal maintenance attorneyWhen a couple decides to get divorced, they will be required to significantly reconfigure their lives, separating a shared home and finances into two different households. This can result in a great deal of financial upheaval, and when one spouse earns less than their former partner, they may struggle to make ends meet. In these cases, the lower-earning spouse may be eligible to receive financial support (known as spousal maintenance, spousal support, or alimony) from the higher-earning spouse. However, spouses should be aware of some recent changes to Illinois law related to temporary maintenance awarded during divorce and the total duration of maintenance payments.

Temporary Maintenance As a Credit to the Total Duration of Maintenance

Some changes to Illinois divorce law went into effect on January 1, 2018, and the percentages used to determine the duration that spousal maintenance will be paid are now based on the specific number of years of marriage, for marriages between five and 20 years. However, this duration may be affected by temporary maintenance awarded during divorce.

After a spouse has filed a petition for divorce, but before the entry of the final divorce decree, a spouse may petition the court for temporary relief, asking for decisions to be made about how certain matters will be handled while the divorce is pending. Temporary maintenance is one common type of temporary relief, and a spouse can ask to receive support from their partner based on financial affidavits submitted by both parties.

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South Elgin car accident lawyerA car accident is a frightening experience, whether it is a minor rear-end collision or a major fender bender. In the immediate aftermath of a crash, people are often shaken up and unsure of how to handle the situation. By following these steps, you can not only ensure that you address the legal issues surrounding your accident, but you will be prepared to seek compensation for the injuries you have suffered:

  1. Provide assistance - Drivers should always stop their car and, if possible, pull over to the side of the road after an accident, after which they can assess the damage and exchange information with the other driver(s). In Illinois, drivers involved in an accident are required to provide reasonable assistance to anyone who has been injured, including giving medical aid, calling 911, or transporting them to a medical facility.
  1. Contact the police - Even if police officers do not come to the scene of the accident, it is important to report the accident to your local police department. This provides a record of the accident, which can be used to demonstrate fault when making an insurance claim or pursuing a lawsuit.
  1. Obtain evidence - Gather as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident, including taking photos of vehicle damage, skid marks, road conditions, or any other factors which may have contributed to the collision. Speak to witnesses and write down their contact information. Check to see if any nearby businesses may have security camera footage of the crash.
  1. Seek medical attention - Even if you do not believe you have suffered serious injuries, you, your passengers, and anyone else involved in the accident should see a doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms of car accident injuries, such as head injuries or neck injuries, may not be immediately apparent, and a thorough examination will help you demonstrate the damages which resulted from the crash.
  1. Contact an attorney - An experienced personal injury lawyer can work with you to file a claim with insurance companies, negotiate a settlement that will meet your needs, and advocate for you to receive the compensation that will help you recover from your damages.

Contact a Kane County Car Accident Attorney

At Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel P.C., our skilled attorneys can work with you to protect your rights following a car accident and help you follow the steps that will ensure that you are able to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact an Elgin personal injury lawyer today at 847-695-2400 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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St. Charles divorce lawyer spousal supportIllinois has a penchant for using a language of its own in matters of child support and spousal support. Just as child custody has been recast as the “allocation of parental responsibility,” permanent maintenance in matters of spousal support (alimony) is now termed “maintenance for an indefinite term.” Importantly, however, with this semantic change comes a new approach to long-term spousal maintenance in Illinois.

Beginning in 2018, Illinois Spousal Support is Less Likely to Be Permanent

“Maintenance for an indefinite term” is less likely to be permanent in nature than “permanent maintenance.” Linguistically, this makes sense, as permanence is synonymous with the word “forever,” while indefiniteness merely speaks to an end point that has yet to be determined. In terms of numbers – which are far more useful than words when it comes to forecasting spousal maintenance in Illinois – the duration of the marriage is a helpful starting point. 

The length of the marriage is often the initial term of years established in a decree of “maintenance for an indefinite term.” While this term, if derived from a marriage of 20 years or more, may in effect amount to permanent maintenance (in the sense that it will go on for the lifetime of each former spouse), the same cannot be said of a relatively brief marriage. For marriages of less than 20 years, maintenance will last for a certain percentage of the length of the marriage. 

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Kane County alimony lawyerCalculating spousal maintenance (alimony) in Illinois can be somewhat complex. The amount of maintenance payments will be based on the incomes of both spouses, and the duration that these payments will last is based on the length of the marriage. To get an idea of how maintenance is calculated, it is best to consider an example. The below figures, importantly, are reflective of a spousal maintenance calculation for couples whose total income is less than $500,000.

Step 1: Calculate 30% of the Payor’s Income

In this example, the payor’s income is $200,000 per year, the payee’s income is $40,000 per year, and the couple was married for seven years and seven months prior to divorcing. Thus, the total income is $240,000, falling under the $500,000 cap (above which maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis). The first thing to do is to calculate 30% of the payor’s income; 30% of $200,000 equals $60,000. 

Step 2: Subtract 20% of the Payee’s Income from the 30% of the Payor’s Income

Next, calculate 20% of the payee’s income and subtract this figure from the 30% of the payor’s income. 20% of $40,000 is $8,000, and subtracting this amount from $60,000 equals $52,000. Here, we pause to make sure that adding this $52,000 to the payee’s income of $40,000 (making a total of $92,000) does not exceed 40% of the spouses’ combined income. 40% of $240,000 equals $96,000, so a maintenance award of $52,000 per year is appropriate.

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Elgin spousal maintenance lawyerWhen a couple decides to end their marriage and get divorced, one spouse is often at a financial disadvantage. Whether this is because they have chosen to be a homemaker rather than pursue a career, or simply because they earn a smaller income, they may struggle to make ends meet. In these cases, the law provides them with the ability to receive payments from their former partner which will allow them to maintain a similar standard of living to what they enjoyed while they were married.

In Illinois, the guidelines for determining maintenance (which is also known as spousal support or alimony) are a factor of the parties’ joint income. In matters of maintenance, there is a payor (the person paying out the maintenance) and a payee (the person receiving the maintenance). There is also an important line of demarcation: $500,000. Maintenance award formulas differ, depending on whether the parties’ income is below this figure or not.

A Forty Percent Cap May Complicate Maintenance Calculations

Starting on January 1, 2018, a maintenance award where the parties’ joint income is less than $500,000 annually should equal 30% of the payor’s gross income minus 20% of the payee’s gross income, with the caveat that the award, after being added to the payee’s gross income, cannot be greater than 40% of the parties’ combined gross income. To make this formula more tangible, let us consider an example: 

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Kane County wrongful death lawyerIt is hard to lose a loved one, even if they die from natural causes after having lived a long and meaningful life. When someone’s time is cut short, however, the pain, loss, and grieving is magnified – especially when death has been caused by another’s negligence or intentionally bad conduct. Besides the immense grief and realization that nothing can bring a loved one back, many individuals and families must deal with the stark reality of the loss of support, both financial and emotional, provided by the work, income, and participation in family responsibilities of the lost loved one. When grief is coupled with tenuous financial straits, survivors of the wrongful death of a family member can seek compensation from the person or entity responsible. 

Defining Wrongful Death in Illinois

In general, a wrongful death occurs whenever an individual is killed because of someone’s intentionally wrongful or negligent conduct. More specifically, in the precise legal language of Illinois state law, “whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages,” the individual or entity (e.g. business or other institution) that caused the death may be held liable in a wrongful death suit in civil court.

Eligible Survivors of a Wrongful Death Victim

Only certain close relatives are eligible to seek compensation under the state’s wrongful death statute. These relatives include:

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Elgin car accident property damage attorneyThe legal term “damages” refers to harms and losses that a person suffers because of someone else’s actions or negligence. These adverse effects can occur in a variety of situations, and depending on the nature of the damages suffered, an appropriate “measure” of these damages is ascertained and applied, and the party who has suffered losses can seek compensation for their damages from the person who was responsible. 

Following an automobile accident, damages typically include the losses a person experiences due to personal injuries (including medical bills, lost income, reduced earning capacity, ongoing rehabilitation, and pain and suffering), as well as vehicle damage caused by the negligent or intentionally wrongful conduct of a driver. However, in some cases, additional damages may apply. 

When Damages Suffered Go Beyond Personal Injuries and Vehicle Damage 

It is expected that property damage and personal injuries will be suffered in a high-speed collision between vehicles. However, what is under-discussed and seldom forecasted are the potential damages to valuable property or goods being stowed in a vehicle. 

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Elgin estate planning and asset protection lawyerThe start of a new year is an appropriate time to devote focus to ensuring that your finances are in order for both the short and long term. This due diligence requires that you give adequate consideration to every resource capable of aiding you and your family in the protection of your assets. Besides savings accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, and investments in the stock market, estate planning is a tremendous resource in matters of asset protection. Devoting time now to careful estate planning focused on finances related to your business, health, and family can make all the difference in the future, allowing your intentions with regard to your assets to be followed correctly.

How Assets May Be at Risk

Three primary risks faced by assets are:

  • Government taxation
  • Commingling of business and personal assets
  • Capacity-related issues

As you may be aware from following recent political and legislative news, estate taxes are a subject of ongoing debate. Until recently, the federal exemption limit for estate taxes was roughly $5.6 million. This limit has been doubled under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, thereby prompting appropriate adjustments in individual estate planning. Importantly, however, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act concerns the federal exemption. Sound planning also requires that one account for the Illinois state level estate tax exemption, which is currently limited to approximately $4.0 million.

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Elgin divorce lawyer parental rightsWhile Illinois is a “no fault” state in matters of divorce, the casting of blame and claiming of negative attributes is arguably still relevant in one matter that is directly related to divorce: the allocation of parental responsibility. Decisions about where children will live and who will be responsible for making decisions regarding how they are raised can be among the most contentious issues that parents must address during divorce. When working to resolve these issues, it is essential to have an attorney on your side who can protect your rights and advocate for your family’s best interests.

Allocating Parental Responsibility and Parenting Time in Illinois

Illinois law no longer uses the term “child custody” when referring to the legal or physical custody of children following divorce. This term has been replaced with “allocation of parental responsibilities.” The law identifies four areas of decision-making responsibility that can be divided or shared between parents: education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities.

In addition to identifying areas of decision-making responsibility, Illinois law also refers to the time children spend with both parents as “parenting time,” rather than designating a custodial parent and granting visitation to the other parent. With this change, the law recognizes the importance of both parents’ roles in their children’s lives. 

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Kane County breach of contract attorneyThe new year is a time of busy planning for individuals and businesses all over the Chicago area, from downtown to South Elgin. Part of that planning, of ensuring that you and your business are able to meet your goals and obligations, is being able to count on the faithful execution of agreements entered into. 

When you are in the business of supplying or receiving any type of goods or services, you know that the promises you make to vendors, customers, or businesses anywhere in the chain of retail or commerce are often contingent on the meeting of contractual obligations – the keeping of legally binding promises – by third parties. When you or your business suffers due to the breach of a contract by another party, legal recourse is available to you. 

Money is the Measure of Legal Damages

Monetary damages and legal damages are synonymous. These are the most common type of remedy when there is a transaction-based breach of contract by a manufacturer, distributor, lender, partner, employer, employee, or other party of a transaction. 

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Elgin severe personal injury attorneyIllinois law allows personal injury victims to seek compensation from the individuals or institutions responsible for harms and losses suffered. Sometimes, the computation of this compensation, termed “damages” by the law, is relatively straightforward. When an arm is broken in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, there are the costs of having the car repaired and the bone re-aligned and set in a cast, as well as pain and suffering, and any lost income due to missed work during any necessary rehabilitation. 

Such consequential damages are designed to make things right – to allow an injury victim to be in (theoretically) as good of a position as they would have been had the negligence and subsequent accident never occurred. However, other personal injury scenarios – especially more severe injuries with long-term consequences – are not so easily translated into a clear and fair award of legal damages.  

When Money Alone Cannot Restore a Victim to a Pre-Accident Position

Sometimes, tragically, the consequences of an accident are so dire that no award of financial damages can truly restore a personal injury accident victim to the position in life he or she occupied prior to the harm they suffered due to someone else’s negligence. Severe injuries, such as those involving permanent paralysis or brain damage, must be viewed with a long lens to truly grasp the long-term consequences. 

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Elgin workers' comp lawyer seasonal employeesIt can be tough being a seasonal employee in the retail industry. Low wages, expedited training, long hours, holiday shifts, and sometimes less-than-friendly relations with tenured employees are all part of the reality of the seasonal employee. Whether they are saving extra holiday shopping money for a special someone or simply working hard to pay rent and utilities, these employees are a valuable part of the U.S. economy. 

When a seasonal employee is injured on the job, the damage resonates beyond even a given workplace. Importantly, seasonal employees need to know that they are eligible for compensation for work-related injuries just the same as year-round workers. 

Workers’ Compensation Protects Injured Workers in Illinois 

The retail industry can be quite lucrative for retailers, especially during the busy holiday shopping season. However, the increase in traffic and activity during this time is no excuse for a business to in any way relax or take shortcuts in its duty to maintain a retail environment that is safe for both customers and employees. This is true for both seasonal and non-seasonal employees. 

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Kane County slip and fall injury lawyerWith snow falling in the Chicago area and temperatures fluctuating in the precarious area just above and below freezing, ice will be forming on streets and sidewalks throughout the region. This slick, slippery substance poses a real danger to pedestrians, whether they are enjoying holiday shopping and activities or are simply trying to get to and from work. 

A slip-and-fall on ice can occur when you least expect it, sending you off balance and unprotected to the cold, hard ground below – sometimes while holding groceries or shopping bags and thus unable to stabilize yourself. First, there is the shock and surprise. Then, pain begins to set in. And in the worst cases, there is the realization that you have broken a bone, suffered nerve damage, or injured your spine. 

It is one thing if ice has been allowed to form on your own front walk, but when ice is allowed to form on a business’s entryway area, that is a different matter altogether. If you have suffered a slip-and-fall injury on an ill-maintained business entry, exit, or sidewalk area, the property owner or manager may be held liable for the damages you have suffered.

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Elgin special needs trust lawyerThe holiday season is a time to think of giving – of summoning the charitable impulses and good intentions that bring out the very best version of oneself. It is a time to be grateful for life’s blessings and to reach out and help those who are less fortunate. In doing so, estate planning is a powerful resource in helping others, whether they be family, friends, charities, or individuals in need in a local, regional, national, or global community. 

Estate planning is synonymous with wills and trusts. With regard to the latter, it is possible to create a special needs trust to benefit a disabled individual in your life.

A Trust is a Powerful and Flexible Asset Management Tool 

A trust is a legal agreement that designates both an individual to assume the role of “trustee” and one or more individuals as “beneficiaries.” A trustee will manage your property on behalf of designated beneficiaries at the time of your death or, if you become incapacitated, while you are still living but are no longer able to manage your property on your own. 

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Elgin personal injury attorney interpersonal conflictsThe 2017 holiday season may feature some contentious arguments, whether they occur over a family dinner table or during gatherings at neighborhood bars and restaurants. The reason: the nation’s intense political polarization. While most family and friends will be striving to avoid the subject of politics while enjoying the holidays, or even explicitly agreeing to refrain from discussing the subject, it may nonetheless creep into conversation – especially as wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages flow. 

The same is true at bars and pubs when old friends who are in town to visit their respective families meet to reconnect. When a good time devolves into hostile grievance-making – so much so that words beget actions and a personal injury is suffered – legal recourse may be required to obtain compensation for damages. If you have suffered personal injuries in a dispute that turned from verbal to physical, or if you were caught in the fray as a bystander, it is essential to secure the services of an experienced attorney who can advocate for your legal rights.

Battery Is an Intentional Harmful or Offensive Contact 

If you have been struck with a punch in or around a bar or, heaven forbid, in the home of a family member or friend, you have been the victim of battery. Battery is both a crime and what the civil side of the law terms a “tort.” As such, battery is both prosecutable in a criminal court and subject to litigation for compensatory damages in civil court. 

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Elgin divorce attorney division of marital propertyDivorce can often come as a terrible shock, especially if you believe that the breakdown of your relationship was not your fault. In many cases, divorcing spouses may believe that they are entitled to a greater share of property if their former partner had caused the marriage to fail. However, couples in Illinois should be aware of how the law deals with the division of marital property during the dissolution of a marriage. 

In Illinois, affairs, adultery, lies, physical or emotional abuse, and being a bad parent – which are all types of marital misconduct – are not considered during the division of marital assets and debts. As unfair as this stipulation may seem (especially if you are the victim of this type of misconduct), it is the law in Illinois. Importantly, however, you are entitled to a fair and equitable division of marital property. 

Marital Property is Subject to a Fair and Equitable Division During Divorce in Illinois

So, you may understandably inquire with no small degree of urgency, what is considered in an Illinois divorce if marital misconduct is not? The answer: a multi-factor criteria, applied proportionately on a case-by-case basis. 

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Elgin estate planning lawyer trust administrationFor most people in the United States, it takes hard work and smart planning to save money and build assets throughout their lives. The effort and thoughtfulness does not stop there, however, if you intend to ensure that your family, loved ones, or valued charitable organizations will see the maximum benefit of your work and planning for the longest possible duration. Estate planning is a necessity for protecting your assets and realizing your intentions with regard to the distribution of your assets, whether during your lifetime or after your death. 

Just as you trust an accountant to assist with the finances of your business, a tax professional to assist with personal or business taxes, and investment experts to grow your assets at the pace and risk level which is right for you and your family, you can rely on an estate planning attorney to create a legally binding will or trust and follow the proper procedures for administering your estate.

Details are Many in Matters of Trust Administration

Much of the process of estate planning is concerned with transferring your assets to your heirs smoothly, without conflict, and with the minimum taxation allowed by law. It is a simple idea – you want your family, loved ones, and favorite charities to benefit as much as possible. While your intentions may be straightforward, however, the legal requirements for creating and administering a trust to transfer your assets to your heirs can be quite complex. 

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St. Charles truck accident attorneyThe presence of large trucks on Illinois roads and highways may be a source of anxiety for some drivers, especially in November as thousands travel to and from Chicago to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Whether you are taking I-55 down to St. Louis, driving west on I-80 to the Quad Cities, going about your daily commute, or dealing with increased holiday-related traffic, you may breathe a little less easy when driving alongside a semi, trailer, or other large, sight-limiting truck. When your worst fears about truck-packed lanes are realized, resulting in a truck accident in which you suffer personal injuries, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to assert your legal rights.

Truck Accident-Related Personal Injuries May Be the Result of Negligence

Accidents involving a large truck on the complex network of highways and streets in the Chicago area often involve a variable not present in ordinary car-to-car collisions: the existence of an employer/employee or employer/independent contractor relationship. In simple terms, the driver of a truck may be on the job, transporting goods or en route to receive them for his or her employer. The reason why this added dimension may be of relevance to an accident in which personal injuries result is that it bears on whether the driver, employer, or both parties are liable for financial damages arising from the injuries, property damage, pain and suffering, and any lost income due to missed work you have suffered as a result of the accident. 

Negligence, the breach of a duty owed that causes damages, is a common cause of truck-related and other accidents. In truck accidents, the relevant question is who is liable for the negligence which caused the accident. In the case of truck accidents, this is often dependent on whether the driver is an employee working with assent, for the benefit, and under the control of an employer, or if they are an independent contractor. 

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