Civil Unions - Holding Title to Your Residential Property

Earlier this year Illinois adopted the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. The Act recognized unions between same sex couples and will have a dramatic impact on many relationships. The Act will also have dramatic impact on how Illinois residents can hold title real estate and other property.

The Civil Union Act provides that people who are in a civil union stand in the same legal shoes as spouses or family members. The Act has two purposes. One is to provide a means of certifying and giving legal recognition to a union and the other is to give partners to a civil union the same status as a spouse. Basically, partners in a civil union have the same rights as spouses in a marriage.

Practical Application with Real Estate holdings:
There is a law currently in the books which gives married couples the right to hold title as tenants by the entirety. Couples who hold title in this way cannot dispose of their interest unless both parties agree. We have recommended, particularly to all of our business clients, that couples hold title to their residential property as tenants by the entirety. When title is held in this manner, creditors cannot force the sale of a residential property if creditors only have a judgment against one of the spouses.

Bellas & Wachowski has evaluated the law relative to holding title as tenants by the entirety and have concluded that this law will also apply to individuals who stand in a civil union under the new Act. We believe that individuals who are in a civil union can and should accept title to property as tenants by the entirety or change title to their property to place it as tenants by the entirety once they have registered their union.

If you are in a civil union and would like to have more information about this change in the law or would like to discuss your individual situation, please contact William P. Boznos for more information.

BELLAS & WACHOWSKI
Attorneys at Law
15 North Northwest Highway
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068
(847) 823-9030 x212
www.bellas-wachowski.com