Winter 2010 Newsletterpub

					                                                                                            Serving Northern Illinois & Southern Wisconsin
                                                                                             Freeport · Orangeville · Stockton · Elizabeth
                                                                                             235-1212 · 789-3390 · 947-2979 · 235-1212
                                                                                           Toll Free 1-800-373-4109 www.plager-law.com


L AW U PDATE -W INTER 2010


   Personal Notes
   We are pleased to announce that
   Crystal Southerland has joined
   Plager, Krug & Bauer, Ltd. as a
   Legal Assistant and Tax Paralegal.
   She is married to Thomas
   Southerland and has two sons,
   Kobe and Jacob. Crystal resides in
   Forreston.

   We are pleased to announce that
   Bethanie Litow has joined Plager,                                                             CHARLES RUDOLPH
   Krug & Bauer, Ltd. as an office
   assistant. Bethanie resides outside
   of Pearl City with her mother, Helen
   Litow, and is currently a senior at
                                                    PLAGER, KRUG & BAUER, LTD. WELCOMES
   Pearl City High School.                                    CHARLES RUDOLPH
                                                   Originally from Pearl City, Illinois, Charles Rudolph has returned to Northwest Illinois to
   Attorney Nicole Bauer and her              join attorneys Robert B. Plager, Lyle A. Krug, Nicole M. Bauer, and Jennifer L. Birkholz. As a
   husband Brian Greene are the               native of the area, Mr. Rudolph has an understanding and appreciation for the needs of indi-
   proud parents of a baby girl, Made-        viduals, businesses, and organizations in Freeport and the surrounding communities.
   lyn Nicole Greene, born on October
   26, 2009. Madelyn joins big sisters
                                                   Mr. Rudolph received his law degree from Northern Illinois University’s College of Law,
   Natalie and Jen and brother Tom.           where he graduated magna cum laude and served as a member of the Board of Editors of
                                              NIU’s Law Review. After attending Highland Community College, he received his Bachelor of
   Steven Conway, son of Legal Assis-         Arts Degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
   tant Mari Conway and her husband
   Pete Conway, has returned from
   his tour of duty in Iraq in the Army           In joining the team at Plager, Krug & Bauer, Ltd., Mr. Rudolph will engage in the general
   infantry. He is currently receiving        practice of law with a focus on agricultural, business and commercial transactions, estate
   additional training at Fort Riley in       planning, tax law, and related litigation.
   Kansas.
                                                   To schedule an appointment with Charles Rudolph, please call Plager, Krug & Bauer, Ltd.
                                              at (815) 235-1212.

LAW UPDATE is published semiannually by the law offices of Plager, Krug & Bauer, Ltd., Lincoln-Douglas Center, 10 N. Galena Avenue, Suite 300, P.O. Box 839, Freeport, Illinois,
61032 to provide news about legal developments for their clients and friends. For a free subscription or change of address, contact the Freeport office at 815-235-1212 or toll
free at 1-800-373-4109.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided in Law Update is not a complete analysis of each topic and does not constitute legal advice regarding an individual’s situation. Readers of
Law Update should consult with their attorneys in order to make an informed decision regarding any topic addressed in Law Update.
Law Update- Winter 2 010                                                                           Page 2


                             The Federal Estate Tax’s Wild Ride
       The jokes about how Grandma needs to sleep with            Estate Tax to its pre-2001 level. Because Congress has
   one eye open to protect herself against heirs hoping to        not acted to fix this situation, the Estate tax will be re-
   avoid the estate tax this year may be cliché already, but      duced from 35% with $3.5 million dollars in assets ex-
   they are grounded in reality. The Federal Estate Tax will      empt as it was in 2009 to zero in 2010, and then increase
   change dramatically.                                           to 55% with a $1 million exemption in 2011.

        In 2001, when Congress passed the Economic                     To learn about how the changes in the Federal estate
   Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the          tax will impact your estate planning, and other issues, you
   estate tax was scheduled to be phased out and com-             are invited to attend one of the “Estate Planning in Uncer-
   pletely eliminated by 2010. Due to the peculiarities of        tain Times” seminars hosted by Plager, Krug & Bauer, Ltd.
   Congress’s budgeting rules, the changes made in the            See the back of this newsletter for more information.
   bill had to expire 10 years after passage, restoring the




               Ban on Texting While Driving Takes Effect
        Illinois roads should be a little safer with changes to       The ban on texting while driving was not the only
   the Illinois Vehicle Code that went into effect on January                            change; any use of cell phones
   1, 2010. The change that has received the most atten-                                 in school and construction
   tion is the ban on texting while driving. The ban goes                                zones is also prohibited, except
   beyond prohibiting cell phone text messages. The stat-                                when the phone is in voice-
   ute prohibits the use of any electronic communication                                 activated mode. Violations of
   device to compose, send, or read electronic messages,                                 either of these new laws results
   so emailing, tweeting, posting to Facebook, and other                                 in a minimum fine of $75.
   online activities are prohibited as well. The law does
   not affect the use of GPS navigation systems or devices
   integrated into the vehicle.




              New Law Shines a Light on Property Assessments
        On January 1, 2010, the Homestead Assessment              of the new assessment; the percentage change; where
   Transparency Act took effect, mandating greater trans-         practical, the reason for the change; and notice of any
   parency in the property tax assessment process. The            possible homestead exemptions. Accompanying the no-
   new act requires that each county’s chief assessment           tice must be instructions on how to challenge the assess-
   officer disclose a “plain English” explanation of the as-      ment and the deadline by which any appeal must be filed.
   sessment factors used by local taxing bodies and post          The act also requires that each county’s Board of Review
   these factors on the county’s website. If an assessment        provide property owners with a detailed description of the
   is changed, the act requires that the notice include the       procedures and rules used in appeal hearings.
   amount of the previous year’s assessment; the amount




    Secretary of State Launches Emergency Contact Database
       There is a new way to ensure that your loved ones          driver’s license database and is accessible to law enforce-
  are contacted in case of an emergency with the launch           ment personnel to be used in emergencies when you are
  of the Emergency Contacts Database by the Illinois Sec-         incapable          of    communication.             Visit
  retary of State. By visiting the website launched in Au-        http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/e
  gust 2009, Illinois residents may submit contact infor-         cd/home.html for more information or to sign up.
  mation for two people they wish to be contacted in case
  of emergency. The information is added to the state’s
Law Update-Winter 2010                                                                            Page 3


   What to ask a wind farm developer to make sure you make the right
   decision about allowing wind turbine construction on your property
      Wind farms already provide            of your land. If you do not ask a devel-     6.) Is compensation based on a per-
 enough electricity to power 3.5 million    oper the right questions, you may centage of revenue? If so, how will the
 homes, and with the threat of global       make a decision you regret. Below is developer provide information to ensure
 warming growing more dire and new          a list of questions to help you obtain you are being paid fairly?
 policies designed to spur the develop-     the information you need to make a
 ment of clean energy sources taking        wise decision.                               7.) Can the developer sell or trans-
 effect, the boom in wind turbine con-                                               fer its rights to your property without
 struction is bound to continue. Last            1.) What is the developer’s size your consent?
 year, these wind farms caused 34           and net worth? Do they have a good
                                            reputation in the industry?                  8.) How can the agreement be ter-
 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide                                                minated? Is it voluntary or involuntary?
 from being released into the atmos-             2.) How many other wind farms Who will be responsible for decommis-
 phere, the equivalent of taking 5.8        has the developer previously built? sioning and clean-up costs?
 million cars off the road. Furthermore,    Are they comparable to what is pro-
 the feared harm of decreased prop-         posed now?                                   9.) Will the wind farm impact aerial
 erty values near wind farms has not                                                 spraying?     If so will you and your
 appeared to materialize. In fact, a             3.) What land rights are you sign- neighbors be compensated for being
 study of property values in the Men-       ing over to the developer? Are there made subject to these restrictions? Can
 dota area, where a wind farm has           any activities you would have to stop? the wind farm be designed in a way to
 been operational since 2003, has           Is there anything you would be re- minimize the impact on aerial spraying?
 shown no noticeable effect on prop-        quired to do?
                                                                                          For further information about wind
 erty values.
                                                 4.) How firm are the developer’s farms and leases to make an informed
     However, the benefits of wind          plans? Are they committed to building decision on signing a lease or easement
 farms may come at a cost to the land       in the near future, or are they just for the construction of a wind turbine on
 owners on whose property the wind          locking up land for possible construc- your land, please contact Jennifer
 turbines are built. Having a wind tur-     tion sometime in the future?             Birkholz, Nicole Bauer, or any other at-
 bine built on your land is a major deci-                                            torney in the firm.
                                                 5.) How will you be compensated?
 sion, with long-term effects for the use


               Ten Last Chance Tax Deductions and Credits for 2009
      Over the past decade, the bulk of         3) Property Taxes: Whether itemiz-        8) Improvements to Leased Res-
 the changes Congress has made to           ing or taking the standard deduction,     taurant and Retail Property: Businesses
 the tax code have been temporary,          taxpayers may deduct up $500 in a         leasing retail or restaurant space may
 either because the change was only         single return, or $1000 in a joint re-    deduct qualified improvements to the
 intended to be a temporary benefit, or     turn, for property taxes.                 property over 15 years. 
 because Congress’s budget proce-
 dures required it. For a number of             4) Charitable Contributions from           9) Enhanced Deductions for Chari-
 these changes, we have reached their       IRA’s: Donations to charity of up to      table Donations of Food inventory: Busi-
 expiration date, and the 2009 tax year     $100,000 are excluded from income if      nesses may claim an enhanced deduc-
 is the last year they can be claimed.      the donation is made  by the trustee of   tion for donations of food from inventory
 As you do your 2009 taxes, keep            an IRA directly to the charity.           if the donations are to be used solely for
 these expiring provisions in mind:                                                   the care of infants, the poor, or the ill.
                                                5) No Minimum Distribution from
       1) Unemployment Benefits: The        IRA’s is required.                            10) Accelerated Cost Recovery of
 first $2,400 of unemployment com-                                                    Farm Equipment: Farmers may write off
                                                6) Classroom supplies for K-12        the cost of new equipment put to use
 pensation received is excluded from        Teachers: Teachers of grades K-12
 income.                                                                              before January 1, 2010 over five years.
                                            may deduct up to $250 for books and
      2) Sales and Excise Taxes on new      supplies bought out-of-pocket for            For further information about tax
 cars: Taxpayers may deduct the sales       classroom use.                            deductions and credits, please contact
 or excise taxes paid when purchasing                                                 Charles Rudolph, Lyle Krug, Nicole
                                                 7) Additional Depreciation for
 a new vehicle. This deduction is avail-                                              Bauer, or any other attorney in the firm.
                                            Businesses: Businesses may claim an
 able for taxpayers taking the standard     additional 50% depreciation on qualify-
 deduction and also for those itemizing     ing machinery and equipment placed
 their deductions.                          in service before January 1, 2010.
                                     Estate Planning in Uncertain Times
                                    What Should You Know About Estate Planning in 2010?
* Why must Illinois Estate Tax be considered in my plan? * Federal Estate Tax— Now? 2011? * Do I need a Power of Attorney for Property and
Power of Attorney for Health Care? * What is a living trust and should I have one? * How will I pay for nursing home care? * Will changes in the
Medicaid laws impact me? * How can I avoid probate? * How can I preserve assets for my family? * How can I control my property now, during
disability, and on my death? *
Experienced attorneys from Plager, Krug & Bauer, Ltd. will discuss these questions and more, as well as review current trends and developments
                  in estate planning. Please join us for this timely and informative FREE seminar at one of the following locations.

February 18, 2010, 1:00 p.m.                                          February 25, 2010, 12:00 p.m.
Co-sponsored with COUNTRY INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SER-                Co-sponsored with COUNTRY INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SER-
VICES, BOB DITTMAR AND ADAM MEADOR,                                   VICES, JOE MILLER, at Galena Convention Center
at Jo Daviess County Farm Bureau                                      900 Galena Square Drive, Galena
212 N. Main St., Elizabeth
March 2, 2010, 6:30 p.m.                                              March 3, 2010, 10:00 a.m.
Co-sponsored with UNION SAVINGS BANK                                  Co-sponsored with COMMUNITY BANK
223 W. Stephenson St., Freeport                                       401 S. Church St., Orangeville


March 4, 2010, 6:30 p.m.                                              March 8, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Co-sponsored with KENT BANK-FREEPORT                                  Co-sponsored with LENA STATE BANK
996 West Fairview Rd., Freeport                                       915 S. Logan, Lena

March 11, 2010, 1:00 p.m.                                             March 18, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Co-sponsored with FORRESTON STATE BANK                                Co-sponsored with COUNTRY INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SER-
202 Main St., Forreston                                               VICES, RICK WILSON, at Stephenson County Farm Bureau
                                                                      210 W. Spring St., Freeport
March 23, 2010, 1:00 p.m.                                             March 25, 2010, 1:00 p.m.
Co-sponsored with STATE BANK OF DAVIS                                 Co-sponsored with COUNTRY INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SER-
100 Rt. 75, Davis                                                     VICES, BILL BRIGGS, at Country Inn & Suites,
                                                                      200 Dillon Ave., Stockton

March 25, 2010 6:30 p.m.                                              April 14, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
Co-sponsored with FIRST STATE BANK SHANNON-POLO-LAKE                  Co-sponsored with STATE BANK at Country Inn & Suites,
CARROLL at 1 S. Linn St., Shannon                                     1710 S. Dirck Dr., Freeport

                       Reservations Requested (No Charge) 815-235-1212 or 1-800-373-4109




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