Antonia L. Mills | Attorney at Law

What areas of law do you practice and how long have you been practicing?

While I provide services for regular residential purchases and sales of property, I’ve built my practice around meeting the needs of real estate investors. I can assist with title searches for acquisition of judicial sales, building code violation cases, entity creation, land trusts and condo deconversions. I really try to be a one stop legal shop for those who like to fix and flip properties.

How do you use land trusts in your practice?

I use land trusts in multiple areas of my practice. My clients typically use land trusts as a way to avoid probate. In Illinois, real estate cannot be transferred in a will. Often clients don’t have enough assets to set up a living trust or full estate plan, and setting up a land trust is an easy, cost effective option. I also use land trusts to protect the privacy of my real estate investors. They usually have the knowledge to set up an LLC or corporation to protect their personal liability, but don’t think to add that additional layer of privacy. I will usually set up their land trusts with the LLC or corporation as the beneficiary. That way the number of assets they have isn’t public record.

How do you think land trusts benefit your clients?

In the current state of this world, there seems to be no privacy. You can Google an individual and find out all of this information about their personal life. A land trust has the benefit of privacy. If a person has numerous assets or a high value property, one cannot search and find their properties. It provides real estate anonymity and protects against liability.

What’s the biggest misconception you think people have regarding land trusts?

I do my best to explain the land trusts to my clients, but there are a couple of misconceptions:

  • That they are expensive. The start-up fee is the most expensive, but when you think of it in terms of the overall cost of a real estate transaction, it is actually really nominal. There is an annual cost but that is often less than what people spend in fancy coffee over the course of a year. It is much more expensive to have legal costs from a lawsuit or for family members to fight over the asset in probate. When you think of it in these terms, the cost is really affordable and accessible to anyone.
  • That you don’t actually own the property. While the individual’s name is not on title, a designated beneficiary is the one who controls the property. The trustee holds the property in name only. All of the control and rights over the property are in the hands of the beneficiary.

How have land trusts helped your business and practice?

It has allowed me to offer an additional service to my clients that I feel is incredibly beneficial. It is an affordable option that helps my clients protect their privacy and allows for them to transfer the real estate to their family members with ease.

What do you do for fun besides practice law?

Well, I’m also the co-founder of a software startup company called AIRE Sync which is currently in development. The objective is to help automate many of the administrative tasks a real estate attorney does each day. The hope is to free up their time so they can focus on legal tasks or have more flexibility and freedom in their personal lives. When I’m not working, I love to play golf, go to live music concerts, and explore Chicago restaurants.

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Antonia L. Mills | Attorney at Law
(847) 361-0079

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