The Evans Williams Law Group's Response to COVID-19

Updated June 16, 2020, Monday, 1:30 PM CST

The Evans Williams Law Group is dedicated to keeping the community safe in accordance with the state and federal recommendations of social distancing during this time of emergency. As such, we have made the following list that we hope will address any questions or concerns you may have:

1. We are open. Our office is open. However, we ask that you do not stop by the office unless you need to drop off documents that you do not have capability to fax or email. In this case, please use our mail drop box on our door instead of coming into the office for face to face contact. We will also be getting mail through the post office if you need to send anything to us.

2. Employees will be available by telephone and email. Most TEWLG employees will be working remotely, but you can call the office and speak to our paralegal, Kristal. She will get any messages you have to the desired attorney or assistant who will return your call within 24 hours.

3. We will continue to schedule consultations for all new matters and clients. Our preference is to schedule consultations via phone. We can also provide a video call if you prefer. Lastly, if you require an in person consultation, we  can accommodate on a case by case basis.  In person consultations will be limited to two people to comply with social distancing guidelines. All parties will have to wear gloves and mask. 

4. If you would like to retain services for a new matter, we will send an engagement agreement to you via Docusign so that you can sign from the convenience of your phone or computer.

5. Appointments to execute estate planning documents (or deeds) shall be held on a case by case basis. Clients will be limited to two people to comply with social distancing guidelines. All parties will have to wear gloves and mask

6. We are providing notary services on a case by case basis. Clients will be limited to two people to comply with social distancing guidelines. All parties will have to wear gloves and mask

7. Cook, Will, Lake, Kendall, and Kane County Cases. Most cases are now being heard via Zoom. This is an evolving process. All cases can be filed. You do not need to attend court unless specifically instructed to do so. We will continue to inform you as soon as we have updated information for you. 

8. We are still working on your case. We will keep in contact with you as needed; we are still communicating with opposing counsel, and we will continue to draft documents and send them to you for review via mail or email as needed.

9. We will continue to have real estate closings at this time. We will update you if this changes in the next few weeks.

During this time of uncertainty, we ask you to think about your own preparedness for the unexpected. Now may be a good time to consider implementing an estate plan if you haven’t already.

Also, interest rates are at an all-time low. Keep this in mind if you are considering purchasing property.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office. Remember, be cautious, but don't act out of fear. Stay safe, everyone!

COVID-19 Forms of Relief for Citizens and Small Businesses

State and Federal Assistance and Forms of Relief for Those Affected by the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

The Evans Williams Law Group would like to do all we can to help serve our community in this time of need. We’ve put together a list of assistance and relief offered federally, by the state of Illinois, and from other businesses. While not an exhaustive list, we hope this resource is helpful for those in need.

 

Illinois Assistance

Emergency Childcare for Essential Workers

The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development is able to offer several resources for essential workers in need of childcare:

A helpline that connects essential worker families to emergency childcare. Call toll-free (888) 228-1146, Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 3 PM to reach a live person. You can leave a message 24 hours a day.

Search for providers online using the COVID-19 Emergency Provider Search tool.

Cook County residents can access a temporary text messaging service that will answer questions regarding the Child Care Assistance Program. Text (312) 736-7390, Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. Priority will be given to essential workers, healthcare workers, and first responders.

To find out how to become an emergency childcare support provider or a volunteer to support emergency childcare, please visit the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development website. The site will also provide the latest updates on additional assistance, as well as other information and resources.

For links to important COVID-19 resources for providers, updates for Head Start/Early Head Start programs, resources for families with young children, and canceled early childhood events, visit COVID-19 for Early Childhood.

 

Assistance for Small Businesses

The Business Invest - Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program is an impact investment loan program under which the State Treasurer has made up to $250 million in deposits available to financial institutions throughout the state, at near-zero rates, to assist Illinois small business and non-profits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible Illinois businesses or non-profits must (1) have been shut down or limited due to COVID-19; (2) have less than $1 million in liquid assets or $8 million average annual receipts (per SBA standards); and (3) be headquartered in the State of Illinois or agree to use the funds in Illinois. Visit the Illinois State Treasurer’s website for details.

 

U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) – Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period. Read a fact sheet provided by Illinois.gov for details.

 

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund - The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are establishing the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000. Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term. Click here to learn more.

 

Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund - The City of Chicago recognizes that COVID-19 has put a difficult burden on our business and non-profit community. As a response to this challenge, the City of Chicago has established the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund (the Resiliency Fund), which will provide small businesses and non-profits with emergency cash flow during this health crisis. Funds will be provided to eligible businesses as low-interest loans. For more information and to apply, visit www.chicagoresiliencyfund.com. See the press release here.

 

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program - To support small businesses in downstate and rural counties across Illinois, DCEO is repurposing $20 million in CDBG funds to stand up the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program.  This Fund will offer small businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital.  These grants will be offered on a rolling basis. Communities can learn more about the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and eligibility requirements here.

 

For the latest updates on small business assistance, visit the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s website.

Not sure if your business needs to close? See the Stay at Home Order & Essential Business Guidance Essential Business Flowchart.

 

Illinois Tax Deadline Extension

The filing deadline for Illinois income tax returns has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

See the Illinois Income Tax Filing and Payment Extension informational bulletin for details.

Visit Illinois.gov’s Taxpayer Resources website for the most up-to-date information on taxpayer relief and assistance.

 

For the latest updates and news, prevention, FAQs, and volunteer opportunities, visit the State of Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response page.

 

 

Federal Assistance

Assistance for Citizens

Economic impact payments (aka, CARES act or coronavirus stimulus checks)

Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child.

Visit the IRS’s website for more information.

 

The deadline to file and pay federal taxes has been extended to July 15th, 2020. Visit IRS.gov for more details.

 

Small Business Assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration has various forms of assistance available for small businesses. Visit these pages for details, including information about their Paycheck Protection Program, Express Bridge Loans, and Debt Relief, as well as access to capital, exporting assistance, and government contracting:

 

Many other forms of federal relief are in the works. See this document on the proposed COVID-19 RELIEF for Small Businesses Act of 2020 for details.

 

 

Assistance from Other Businesses

Facebook has a grant program in the works. Visit their page for more details.

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund - Thanks to a $2.5 million investment from Verizon, LISC is offering grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps until they can resume normal operations or until other more permanent financing becomes available. Visit their website for more details.

The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council has additional resources on opportunities for businesses during the pandemic.

 

 

 

All information is subject to change. Please do your research to make sure you are accessing the most up-to-date information. We will not be updating this page.

COVID-19 Update: Stay-at-Home Procedures

April 9, 2020, Thursday, 10:53 PM CDT

In accordance with the Illinois mandate to stay at home, The Evans Williams Law Group has made a few changes to our operating procedures. Here are the updates to the list items we posted last week:

1. Our entire staff is working remotely. Our office will not be open during the required Illinois stay-at-home period. However, our staff are all working regular hours from home. If you need to drop off documents that you do not have capability to fax or email, please use our mail drop box on our door. Since we are a service that is deemed essential by Illinois during this time, we will be stopping by the office periodically to check for documents. We will also be getting mail through the post office if you need to send anything to us.

2. Employees will be available by telephone and email. TEWLG employees will be working remotely, but you can still call our regular office number and dial the extension of the employee you wish to reach. If you do not choose an extension, you will have the option to leave a voicemail message. Our paralegal, Kristal, will send any messages you leave to the desired attorney or assistant who will return your call within 24 hours.

3. No change. - We will continue to schedule consultations for all new matters and clients. However, for the next two weeks, all consultations will be over the phone.

4. No change. - If you would like to retain services for a new matter, we will send an engagement agreement to you via Docusign so that you can sign from the convenience of your phone or computer.

5. Appointments for execution of estate planning documents may be limited. If at any time we do not deem meeting to execute documents to be safe for our team or our clients, we will postpone the execution to a later date.

6. We will not be providing notary services until after April 30th. If you need a notary during this time, we ask that you contact a third party notary. However, if you have an urgent need for a notary, please call our office. We will be able to make exceptions in emergency situations.

7. Cook County cases scheduled through April 17th will be postponed. If you have a hearing scheduled between now and May 17th, it will be rescheduled for a new date. You do not need to attend court if your hearing was scheduled during that time period. Our office will inform you of the new date once obtained. All civil matters not deemed an emergency by party agreement are postponed to a future date. We will continue to inform you as soon as we have updated information for you. For the latest courthouse updates, please click here: http://www.cookcountycourt.org/home/informationregardingcoronavirus.aspx

8. Will, Lake, Kendall, and DuPage County Courthouses are delaying non-emergency matters through April 17th. Some family law matters may be heard telephonically or by video conference. We will notify you upon notice of changes to your case. All cases can still be filed. For more information, we have attached the following links to courthouse websites:

9. No change. - We are still working on your case. We will keep in contact with you as needed; we are still communicating with opposing counsel, and we will continue to draft documents and send them to you for review via mail or email as needed.

10. No change. - We will continue to have real estate closings at this time. We will update you if this changes in the next few weeks.

As a reminder, interest rates are at an all-time low. Keep this in mind if you are considering purchasing property. We also ask you to think about your own preparedness for the unexpected. Now may be a good time to consider implementing an estate plan if you haven’t already.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office. Remember, be cautious, but don't act out of fear. Stay safe, everyone!

REAL ESTATE

Many people wonder why they need a real estate attorney in Illinois. Let me briefly describe what we do in real estate transactions so that you can understand why you need a real estate attorney.

For the real estate purchaser, we review the Real Estate Sales Contract, the Title Report and other documents submitted by the seller used to the transfer of the property. We modify the terms of the contract to your benefit if possible and maintain deadlines. We review the closing statement, lender documents, and other related financial documents. We stay involved with the lender if you have one, determine compliance with all agreements between the parties, and ensure that all financial aspects of the purchase are reconciled at the time of closing. Finally, we attend the closing and review all of the documents with the purchaser.

For the real estate seller, we review the Seller’s Residential Disclosure Statement, the Lead Paint Disclosure Report, and the Real Estate Contract. Then we modify the terms of the contract if possible and maintain deadlines. We also prepare the seller’s closing documents, order the title insurance commitment, assist the seller in clearing the title, order the survey and mortgage payoff letter from the lender, and prepare the closing statement. Finally, we schedule and attend the closing, and review the documents with the seller, if the seller chooses to attend. We can save the seller a trip and attend the closing without the seller.

As you can tell, you need a real estate attorney in Illinois because there are many contract terms, deadlines, documents, and negotiations that should be addressed by a real estate professional, during your real estate transaction. Please call The Evans Williams Law Group to discuss how we can help you with your real estate needs.

GUARDIANSHIP

Guardianship of an adult is when the judge chooses a person, at least 18 years or older, to take care of another with an impairing disability. Guardianship is needed when a person is unable to make and communicate personal care decisions or manage their own finances due to a mental, physical, or developmental disability.

There are basically 2 types of guardianship of adults:

1. Guardianship of the Person, which is naming a person to have control over the health and welfare of the disabled person.

2. Guardianship of the Estate, which is naming a person to have control over the finances of the disable person.

To become a guardian, a person must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. resident, have sound mind, not be legally disabled, and not have a felony conviction that involved harm or threat to a child.

The steps to obtain Guardianship include:

1. Filing the Petition in the court, including a physician's report describing the person's physical and mental capacity, to determine the kind of guardianship needed.

2. The alleged disabled person must be served with summons and a copy of the petition.

3. Usually the court will appoint an attorney to serve as the guardian ad litem, also known as the GAL, to act as the "eyes and ears" of the court, and advocate for the best interest of the alleged disabled person.

4. At the hearing, the GAL reports to the court, the condition of the alleged disabled person and may recommend the type of guardianship needed.

5. The court reviews all the information presented, and either enters a limited or plenary guardianship order or finds that no guardianship is warranted. If guardianship is granted, then the letters of office are issued. The letters of office is a document which gives the appointed guardian the authority to speak to third parties on behalf of the disabled person.

6. Finally, Guardians are then responsible for the disabled person and must periodically report to the court about their care and welfare.

Guardianship can be costly and complicated. If you need an attorney to handle your guardianship matter, please call The Evans Williams Law Group and schedule a consultation.

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