The Oak Park village board is considering the enactment of a $100 fee for exempt transfers of real estate. I bring this matter to the attention of our community.
Senior citizens make up the largest percentage of our local population who are undertaking estate planning or if they have waited too long to execute a living trust, they are now the subject matter of guidance proceedings in court. Both normally require filing of an exempt deed. It is difficult to motivate senior citizens to follow through with their estate planning needs, and, in the event this additional fee must now be collected by local law firms, the added cost might dissuade many from taking constructive steps in arranging their financial affairs. My legal practice specializes in estate planning and taxation, and I am fearful of the added financial burden the board will be imposing upon this group of individuals.
The proposed ordinance states that an average of two exempt deed transactions per work day is a burdensome work load for clerks and staff attorneys. The clerk normally asks for an explanation from the attorney, walks to the other room to make photocopies and then stamps the deed as being exempt. I imagine one of the staff attorneys reviews all of our declaration forms at the end of the month.
I encourage the board to seek other avenues for raising revenue for our community. This proposed source for generating additional revenue has a detrimental effect on our senior citizens.