Hidden costs in taking a guilty plea

photo by Victor1558, by CC license on Flickr

photo by Victor1558, Flickr CC license

Pleading guilty in a criminal case can sometimes seem like the only option. A criminal defendant might feel like it’s just not worth fighting it, even if he or she is innocent. But often, this decision is made without understanding how a guilty plea affects one’s life 3, 5, or 10 years down the road. It can be a lot more severe than having to check the criminal history box on a job application and explain the situation at an interview. Continue reading

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Avoiding probate with your real estate

photo by Richard West, licensed by Creative Commons

photo by Richard West, licensed by Creative Commons

One of the common mantras in estate planning that appears over and over is to avoid probate as much as possible. In 2012 Illinois made this a little easier by enacting Transfer-On-Death (TOD) instruments under 755 ILCS 27/1 et seq. Continue reading