• Fri, March 15, 2019 1:28 PM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    Good news!

    As you know, the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association has been monitoring the case in Cook County between the Illinois Land Title Association (ILTA) and the Recorder of Deeds. (The original complaint can be read here.)

    The litigation ensued because of the Recorder's refusal to accept any documents titled "Affidavit of Heirship" or "Affidavit of Survivorship", unless also accompanied by a court order. It is worth noting that this policy was instituted by Karen A. Yarborough, though it was continued by Edward M. Moody when Ms. Yarborough became the County Clerk.

    It is our firm belief that the Recorder has an obligation to record presented documents and that the role of the recorder is not to analyze a document's content.

    I am happy to report that the judge in the matter, Hon. Michael T. Mullen, granted ILTA's motion for summary judgment earlier today. (You can click here to read the order.)

    A big thank you to ILTA for filing this suit and pursuing it to a successful resolution.

    John G. O'Brien
    Chairman & President

  • Thu, January 03, 2019 11:45 AM | Anonymous

    The Cook County Treasurer’s Office is sending nearly 30,000 homeowners refunds totaling $8.3 million without requiring an application, another example of using technology to make things easier for taxpayers, Treasurer Maria Pappas said today.

    “We’ve taken steps in the past to make the refund application process easier,” Pappas said. “Now we’re trying to eliminate the application altogether.”

    Overpayments occur for a variety of reasons, including the simple mistake of paying more than is owed on the tax bill. More often, overpayments result from a reduction in property taxes after the bill was paid. Here are details about the 29,752 refunds:

    • The 8,947 homeowners who paid their taxes through a bank/mortgage escrow account are receiving refund checks
    • The 20,805 homeowners who paid by check or online are automatically receiving refunds to their bank or credit card accounts

    To see if you are entitled to a refund, visit cookcountytreasurer.com and take these steps:

    • Select the purple box “Your Property Overview”
    • Enter your address or Property Index Number (PIN)

    The refunds are due to tax overpayments made since 2013. Using bank, credit card and property records, the Office has electronically determined who made the overpayment in these cases, making refund applications unnecessary.

  • Tue, January 01, 2019 9:23 PM | Anonymous

    It’s finally here! Fourteen months after the drafting process began, the Multi-Board 7.0 has been released. Get access to the Contract, as well as its accompanying forms in the members only section of our website.

    Please also join us at one of our upcoming meetings in January, where members of the 7.0 drafting committee will be on hand to discuss the form.

    • January 9, 8:00am (Elk Grove)
    • January 15, 9:30am (Oak Lawn)
    • January 15, 1:00pm (Libertyville)

  • Sun, November 18, 2018 4:45 PM | Anonymous

    Next week, the Illinois House will vote to override Governor Rauner’s veto of SB 65, which amends the Title Insurance Act. The legislation provides that all title insurance policies issued in conjunction with a residential real estate closing be issued by the same policy-issuing entity, unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

    Championed largely by PNTN, this is an effort to dissuade the usage of two title companies in a single transaction, which can lead to additional costs for a Buyer (who may not receive a discount from a simultaneously-issued policy) and ambiguities on coverage when claims arise.

    The list of Illinois legislators to contact to vote in favor of SB 65 is available here. Find your House Representative by address location here.

  • Tue, November 13, 2018 4:59 PM | Anonymous

    As many of you know from our recent meetings and newsletters, the Illinois Land Title Association (ILTA) has been working to reverse the Cook County Recorder of Deeds refusal to record deeds from the heirs of deceased title holders, and the Recorder’s unauthorized and untenable requirement that a probate court order is required to transfer property of a deceased title holder in Cook County.

    Unfortunately, on November 5, 2018, the Recorder’s Office made a final decision not to accept Heirship Deeds or Affidavits of Heirship unless they are accompanied by a Certified Order Declaring Heirship:

    Greatest of mornings to you, I do hope you’re enjoying your Monday thus far. Many apologies for any confusion which may be swirling around out there, as this most recent time, some of the confusion came from our office–so I apologize for that information. Nonetheless, I am very pleased and excited to report that the Honorable Karen A. Yarbrough herself has reaffirmed the office’s previous position of NOT ACCEPTING Heirship Deeds or Affidavits of Heirship UNLESS they are accompanied by a Certified Order Declaring Heirship. Accordingly, the same legal requirements as previously discussed and established are “still in play” and are office will continue. to assist with educating any and all on that expedited and inexpensive process whenever sought. Thanks for the correspondence, and please enjoy the rest of your day and week!


    Mario A. Reed, Esq.
    Director of Public Information I Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office
    118 N. Clark Street, Room 120, Chicago, Illinois 60602

    As a result of this decision, ILTA filed suit today in the Circuit Court of Cook County to compel the Recorder of Deeds  to record these heirship documents as required by Illinois law (Case No. 2018-CH-14151).

    The Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association will keep you updated as the case progresses.

  • Fri, November 02, 2018 5:05 PM | Anonymous

    Earlier today, the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) issued a “cease and desist” order to both Professional National Title Network (PNTN) and WFG. As part of the order, IDFPR has levied a fine of $14,056,000 upon each.

    The order arises from PNTN’s “Examining Attorney Program,” which the Department alleges was “created and maintained . . . for individuals and small firms to do the ‘usual duties of registered title agents,’ as independent contractors with PNTN.”

    According to the order, the participants in the PNTN program conducted closings for 14,056 real estate closings under the program. PNTN and WFG were each fine $1,000 per transaction.

    Rather than registering attorney title agents, PNTN acted as the agent and then paid attorneys to examine title on those transactions, paying the lawyers amounts commensurate with what they would have been paid if they had been properly-registered agents.

    The Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association will keep you updated as the story develops. In the interim, attorney-title agents are reminded that it is incumbent upon them to understand the programs in which they participate.

  • Mon, October 29, 2018 4:43 PM | Anonymous

    SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFPR”) Division of Real Estate (“DRE”) recently published an Association Complaint Procedure and an Association Complaint Form.

    The Form serves as examples of how a condominium or common interest community association may choose to comply with the soon-to-be effective requirement that they have such a policy for resolving disputes. The documents are a time-saving resource for condominium and common interest community boards which will assist them in providing unit owners with a clear and understandable process for bringing disputes to the attention of their boards.

    The sample Association Complaint Procedure and sample Complaint Form may be found on and downloaded from the Ombudsperson’s website at www.IDFPR.com/CCICO under the “Publications” tab.

    “The sample complaint resolution policy and complaint forms are intended to assist associations in complying with the Act’s requirements,” said IDFPR Secretary Bryan A. Schneider. “The Department wants to empower associations so they can function responsively and serve the interests of their owners, who now will have a clear roadmap for seeking to resolve disputes with their associations.

    The Condominium and Common Interest Community Ombudsperson is not responsible for enforcing any laws or regulations, including the regulation or registration of condominium and common interest community associations. The sample Procedure and Complaint Form represent one approach an association may take. Neither IDFPR nor the Ombudsperson will review Complaint Policies or Complaint Forms adopted by associations and neither IDFPR nor the Ombudsperson has the authority to compel associations to adopt a written policy for resolving complaints required by the Act.

    Illinois’ Condominium and Common Interest Community Ombudsperson Act (765 ILCS 615/1) requires that the majority of Illinois condominium and common interest community associations adopt a written policy for resolving complaints made by unit owners no later than January 1, 2019.

  • Fri, June 29, 2018 4:44 PM | Anonymous

    Update on the DS-1

    Judge Grants Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund’s Preliminary Injunction, Delays Implementation of the New DS-1

    As an update to yesterday’s message, Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (read the complaint).

    An emergency hearing occurred today on ATG’s motion for a preliminary injunction, to delay the July 1 implementation of the proposed new DS-1 form. The hearing was heard before Hon. Thomas R. Allen.

    We are happy to report that Judge Allen granted ATG’s motion. As such, practitioners should continue to use the old DS-1 form until further notice.

    Chief among IRELA’s concerns are whether IDFPR has the authority to compel lawyers to disclose their attorney fees at the onset of the transaction, and to generally cast in a negative light lawyers who function as both attorneys and title agents.

    IRELA will continue to keep you updated as this case progresses.

    ATG is taking a stand for lawyers by filing this lawsuit, and their efforts should be applauded.

  • Thu, June 28, 2018 4:47 PM | Anonymous

    Update on the DS-1

    Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Files Suit, Seeks TRO & Writ of Prohibition

    As a quick update to the current status of the DS-1, four (4) members of Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association’s board met on Tuesday with John Lartz and Bryan Tiller of the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. Peter Birnbaum from Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund was instrumental in making this happen.

    First and foremost, it is worth noting that the fourth version of the form is markedly better than the original. And IRELA has worked diligently to convey our concerns. But problems remain.

    Chief among IRELA’s current concerns are whether IDFPR has the authority to compel lawyers to disclose their attorney fees at the onset of the transaction, and to cast attorneys in a negative light through their selected language (whether intended or not).

    While both Mr. Lartz and Mr. Tiller were very cordial at Tuesday’s meeting and appeared to listen, there was no definitive decision from them as to whether any additional changes would be made to the current iteration of the form. There was also no indication as to whether there would be any further delays to implementation — irrespective of whether there were more changes (as of now, July 1 is still the date they have set).

    Mindful that we are now just a few days away from July 1, ATG has taken the initiative to file a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County (Case No. 2018-CH-08133). The suit seeks an injunction, as well as a writ of prohibition. (You can read the complaint online by clicking here.) 

    In the interim, the hearing on a temporary restraining order is scheduled for Friday, June 29 at 2:00pm.

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