Updated Fee Schedule for the Lake County Recorder of Deeds

            Over the summer of 2017, Public Act 100-0271 was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly in an attempt to encourage local governments to adopt “predictable fee” structures for the recording of documents. This “predicable fee” intent was implemented by Lake County pursuant to County Resolution 17-0800 and County Resolution 17-801. This resolution justified and authorized the raising of taxes collected from recording documents more than two times their current amount to “capture the cost” of running the Lake County Geographic Information System (GIS) and the Recorder Automation Fund. All fees charged now include a Fifteen ($15.00) Dollar charge for the Automation Fund, a Ten ($10.00) Dollar charge for Rental Housing Support Program and a Twenty-Three ($23.00) Dollar charge for the GIS. The changes to the fee structure that will most immediately affect our office, or other Real Estate Law offices, are as follows.

            The Lake County Recorder of Deeds has now streamlined the fee schedule to only six (6) flat fee amounts, such that recording fees will no longer vary based upon the number of pages a particular document contains. Most real estate documents are going to be governed by the “standard document” classification and fee schedule. Standard documents are 8½” x 11” sheets that must be separate, and may have up to five (5) Property Index Number (PIN) or other related document number references. 55 ILCS 5/3-5018 and 55 ILCS 5/3-5018.1 lays out other various stylistic requirements pertaining to margins, ink type, signatures, dates, staples, notations, page numbers, etc. and must be followed for the document to be accepted and subsequently recorded. These stylistic requirements have not changed since before the fee schedule was updated. The flat fee for standard documents is now Sixty ($60.00) Dollars, and no longer includes any charges for additional pages.

            If the document to be recorded is a public utility easement or other document to be recorded by a government agency, then the Ten ($10.00) Dollar RHSP charge does not apply. This means that RHSP exempt standard documents are Fifty ($50.00) Dollars, and FHSP exempt non-standard documents are Sixty-Two ($62.00) Dollars.

            If the document to be recorded is a non-standard document, then the stylistic requirements are dictated by 55 ILCS 5/3-5018.1, and the fee is Seventy-Two ($72.00) Dollars.

            For information on UCC terminations, or filings, and/or State/Federal lien releases, please visit https://www.lakecountyil.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3205.

Cook County Deed Filing Instructions

            Filing a deed in Cook County can be divided into three separate phases: (1) Materials Organization; (2) Visit to the Department of Finance; and (3) Visit to the Recorder of Deeds.

Materials Organization

            In order to file a deed in Cook County, the necessary documents are as follows: (1) Tax Declaration (MyDec); (2) Tax Stamps (or “Zero Stamps” if an exempt transfer); (3) A Grantor/Grantee Affidavit (exempt transfers); (4) The Deed to be Filed (which must contain PIN number, complete legal description, commonly known address, grantee’s name, return address (or “mail to” address), and preparer’s name and address); and (5) A Full Payment Certificate (“FPC”).  Documents numbered (3) through (5) must be properly executed and (3) and (4) notarized according to Illinois Notarial Record Requirements (5 ILCS 312/3-102).

            The requirement for an FPC is not expressly stated on the Recorder of Deeds’ website, and worse yet, most individuals working the phones at the Recorder’s Office, and even those at the Water Department or Department of Finance, do not know about the FPC processes.

            To obtain an FPC, a Full Payment Certificate Application must be completed and submitted, for which a $50 filing fee is assessed unless the application is properly marked for exemption.  The FPC application may be found at https://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/fin/Utility/fillable_FPC_app_7-9-15.pdf.  The completed Full Payment Certificate Application must be scanned, along with the executed and notarized Deed and Grantor/Grantee Affidavit and emailed to fpc@cityofchicago.org or mailed to the following address:

City of Chicago Department of Finance
333 South State Street, Suite 330
Chicago, Illinois  60604

            The Tax Declaration may be prepared by using MyDec, or a handwritten or typed form is acceptable.  If using MyDec, make sure that the Declaration is finalized by clicking “Accept Declaration” on the top right of the page, and then printing the accepted and completed version of the ENTIRE declaration.  Finally, visit the Cook County Recorder website to determine the proper amount of the filing fee.  It is important to note that each additional page after two pages has a two ($2) dollar fee, and that fee is in addition to the prescribed fees for each document.  For example, when filing an exempt transfer, the Grantor/Grantee Affidavit has a prescribed fee of two ($2) dollars, but also is considered an additional page to the deed, which increases the fee an additional two ($2) dollars.  Thus, the fee for filing the Grantor/Grantee Affidavit is four ($4) dollars.  The Cook County Recorder of Deeds website fee schedule can be found at http://cookrecorder.com/recording-fees/

              It is also advisable to bring a small amount of extra cash or a check when traveling to the Recorder of Deeds as added insurance in case an error was made in the fee calculation.  If more than one deed is being filed, all total fees can be combined into a single check to be given to the cashier.  Checks must contain the contact information for the issuing party, including the name, address and phone number.

Visit to the Department of Finance

              Before taking the documents to be filed, you will need to stop at the Department of Finance to collect the tax stamps.  Make sure you have an FPC and an accepted, completed MyDec (entire declaration) paper clipped together for each filing.  You will wait in line for a specific cashier who is designated to issue stamps; there will be others in the same line who are only there to pay tickets and bills, and they will pass you up, often causing confusion, jealousy and frustration.  Once you are given the stamps, make sure you separate out each stamp and receipt for each deed.  Keep the printed MyDecs.

               Once you have the stamps, which come as a sticker with a barcode on them, you will stick them on to the signed, notarized deed.  Make sure you don’t stick them on the top of the first page, as this is for Recorder of Deeds use only, and could result in a penalty.  If it is your first time filing a deed, or if you are new to the process, it is most likely best to wait for the supervision of a document reviewer from the Recorder of Deeds to ensure you are abiding by all document requirements.

Visit to Recorder of Deeds

               Upon completion of your visit to the Department of Finance, with all your documents, stamps, receipts, and MyDecs, you will proceed directly across the hall to the Recorder of Deeds.  You will first go to the document reviewers’ counter, where you will present your documents.  It is required that you stick the stamps on the deed yourself; no personnel can do this step for you.  Again, if it is your first time, or you are unfamiliar with the process, it is good practice to do this under the supervision of the document reviewer to ensure it is placed correctly and no data obscured.  You will only need to submit the deed (with the stamp affixed to it and all aforementioned requirements fulfilled) and the Grantor/Grantee Affidavit.  This will suffice for them to enter the data and send you across the room to another teller, who will then give you a “transfer tax paid” sticker to also stick on your deed.  It is often difficult (especially under the condition that you have a lengthy and wordy deed that leaves little to no room due to multiple signature blocks, exemptions, preparers’ information and legal descriptions) to find room for two, or in some cases three, stickers to be visible and no information obscured. For this reason, it is advisable to ask the second teller to assist you.

              Next, and finally, it is time to take your completed documents over to the cashier. This is where they take each deed for official recording, receive payment, and input the payment-issuing parties’ information (name, address and phone number) into the system.  Once all proper procedures are followed, the cashier will officially record the transfer of property and stamp the deed on the top of the first page (or elsewhere in certain circumstances).  Once the payment is made, all the original, filed documents will be returned. 


Illinois Deposit of Wills

Conventionally, it has been common practice for attorneys to store the original copies of estate planning documents.  The Illinois Deposit of Wills was created in 2010 in an effort to address the issue of original will and trust storage after attorneys can no longer store the them.

Original wills, codicils, trusts and trust amendments are accepted for deposit in the repository at the Secretary of State’s Index Department in its Springfield office however, before tendering the original documents for deposit, the attorney must certify that he or she performed a ‘good-faith search for the testator’ to no avail.  The fee for deposit is fifteen ($15) dollars and the one-time maximum deposit is limited to fifty documents.  If more than five documents are presented for deposit, an appointment with personnel is required.  The repository wants no responsibility for transporting the original documents, thus maintains that an attorney, or attorney’s agent, must make the deposit in person at the Springfield office.  Upon acceptance, the original documents are immediately “sealed in an envelope that must contain substantial identifying information including the testator’s birth date, alternative names, descriptions of the estate planning documents enclosed, and other information as set forth in the Illinois Secretary of State Act, 15 ILCS 305/5.15.” ISBA July 2012; Vol. 100, No. 7, pp. 346. Once deposited, the original documents are held for 100 years in a vault in the basement at the Index Department and entered into a searchable database.

To retrieve a document, the retrieving party needs to present a death certificate, a letter stating the party for whom he or she is searching, and pay the retrieval fee of ten ($10) dollars.


The Address for the Index Department is 111 East Monroe Street, Springfield, Illinois  62701

The Index Department’s phone number is 217.782.7017

More than five documents requires an appointment with personnel at 217.782.0705



As of July 1, 2017, there have been several statutory changes to the Limited Liability Act, 805 ILCS 180, et seqwhich could affect your current LLC, or your venture to start one up in the future. The law aims to conform Illinois Law more closely with a law drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have already adapted the law as the Conference wrote it, and Illinois has made changes modeled after it. 

Default Member Management
Under the revised law, an LLC is now assumed to be member-managed by default. Unless there is explicit language in the operating agreement stating that the LLC is to be manager-managed, this default member-managed status will be the standard. Also, similar to Delaware, when filing Articles of Organization for an Illinois LLC, you will no longer be required to specify whether it will be member-managed or manager-managed, but instead will only be required to provide information regarding each manager and each member having such management authority. 

Oral Operating Agreements
It is now permitted to make oral and implied operating agreements, and such agreements are also expressly exempted from the statute of frauds.

Note: Because the rule on oral operating agreements is rather new, it is advisable to consider continuing to draft operating agreements in written documents to be executed by members and managers; it will soon become clear how the oral operating agreements will play out. If you have an existing operating agreement, revisions may be warranted. Schedule a consultation with our office today to ensure your LLC's operating agreement is still up-to-date. 

Designating Specific Authority of Members and Managers
By filing a "Statement of Authority," Illinois LLCs can now establish or limit the authority of a member or manager to enter into other transactions on behalf of the LLC, including real estate transactions. A Statement of Denial may be filed with the Illinois Secretary of State if the member or manager opts to deny the powers granted to him or her in the Statement of Authority.

Waiver of Fiduciary Duties
Fiduciary duties may now be eliminated or restricted through the operating agreement, with the exception of the duty of care. The relevant language in the document must be clear and unambiguous. Although the duty of care cannot be completely eliminated, the operating agreement can now alter the duty of care so long as it does not authorize intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of law.

Limitation of Member’s or Manager’s Liability
Under the new, revised law, a member or manager may now eliminate or restrict their liability to the LLC and other members, unless the liability relates to a breach of certain fiduciary duties not entitled to the member or manager, or an intentional infliction of harm on the LLC or another member or an intentional crime.

Elimination of Assumed Agency Status
A member of an LLC is no longer considered an agent of the LLC solely as a result of being a member.

Access to Books and Records
LLCs may now impose reasonable restrictions and conditions on access to books and records of the LLC. The new law also clarifies the rights of members, disassociated members and transferees. 

Authorized Signatories for State Filings
Any document filed with the Secretary of State may now be signed by any person who is authorized by the LLC, both digitally and in paper form. The name and title of the person signing are required to be printed or typed where indicated on whichever form is applicable to the purpose intended by the LLC. 

Administrative Dissolution
When an LLC is dissolved administratively, for three years after the dissolution no other entity may take on its name. If the LLC becomes reinstated within the three year period, it will resume the usage of its previous name. 

The Act now permits a GP, LP, Business Trust or Corporation to be converted into an LLC, and vice versa, rather than only a GP and LP. Previous to the revised and updated law, only an entity other than a partnership could convert to an Illinois LLC through a complex process including a merger. Now, the entity may simply file "Articles of Conversion" with the Illinois Secretary of State, and the process is complete. 

Through the filing of "Articles of Domestication" with the Secretary of State, a foreign LLC will be permitted to become an Illinois LLC. 

Please let us know how we can help. Schedule a consultation today!

Incorporation by Reference

In re ESTATE OF OLIVE CLINE MESKIMEN, 39 Ill. 2d 415 (1968).

In order for a document to be incorporated by reference in a will, three things are necessary: (1) the will itself must refer to such paper to be incorporated as being in existence at the time of the execution of the will and in such a way as to reasonably identify such paper in the will and in such a way as to show the testator's intention to incorporate the instrument in the will and make it a part thereof; (2) such document must in fact be in existence at the time of the execution of the will; (3) such instrument must correspond to the description in the will and must be shown to be the instrument therein referred to. All three requisites must coexist in order to incorporate an extrinsic document into a will.


Power of Attorney for Health Care (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick Effective January 1, 2015, the Power of Attorney Act relating to health care powers of attorney will change and a new form will be prescribed that includes a different notice and some different contents and directives.

Please note: if you currently have a valid power of attorney for health care, the savings clause of the new law provides that existing powers of attorney for health care will remain valid.

I am happy to help with any questions.

Assessment Lien and Foreclosure (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick In the case of 1010 Lake Shore Association v Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, the Court held that a bank shall pay outstanding assessments due on a condo, including assessments incurred prior to bank's purchase of condo, and any late fees. A lien created under Section 9(g)(1) of Condominium Property Act for unpaid assessments by a previous owner is fully extinguished after judicial foreclosure and sale when the buyer (in this case the bank) pays assessments.

Residential Real Property Disclosure Report (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick The Illinois Court of Appeals in Messerly v Boehmke ruled on a case that involved an incomplete residential real property disclosure report and the purchasers suing the sellers regarding information that was not included on the report because it was left blank. The Court said that the purchasers of residential real estate did not waive their right to recovery against the sellers because they relied on an incomplete residential real property disclosure report.

The lesson: sellers should, in good faith, complete the entire residential real property disclosure report for consideration by the purchasers to give full disclosure of the premises and forestall an action regarding information not contained on the report.

Quit Claim Deeds and Continuation of Title Insurance

By Matthew A. Quick Title insurance coverage is dictated by the terms of the policy issued by the title insurance company. In most, if not all, policies for title insurance there is a provision for "Continuation of Coverage" or "Continuation of Insurance." Typically, this provision provides that the insurance will continue only so long as the insured holds an interest in the land or has liability by reason of warranties given in any transfer of the title.

It is common for real estate to be conveyed with quit claim deeds and/or no title insurance. Perhaps the informality is due to estate planning or the relationship between the grantor and grantee, nonetheless the conveyance is without warranties, thus, could discontinue title insurance coverage.

To address this issue there usually exists a policy modification endorsement that can be purchased from the title insurance company when any deed modifies the current vesting. However, this endorsement does not cover a quit claim deed to a completely unrelated third-party. It will typically cover a spouse that is added or removed from title, or if property is moved into trust.

In addition, consider using warranty deeds to effectuate property transfers rather than quit claim deeds. If a warranty deed is the proper convincing method, it may be useful in continuing the insurance coverage. That is to say, if a title problem arises, the grantees may be able to look back to the grantor for title coverage.

The lesson: Before transferring real estate, talk with an attorney to avoid unintended consequences.

Trusts and Doctrine of Election (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick The court in the case of In re Estate of Boyar stated that the doctrine of election applies to testamentary trusts and because the petitioner accepted property under the trust, thus ratifying it, the petitioner is barred from maintaining action to contest last amendment to the trust. The court opined that the rules of will construction apply to testamentary trusts that differ from wills in form but not in purpose or substance. The doctrine of election applies regardless of value of property taken under trust. By taking and retaining property, despite repeated requests for its return, the beneficiary makes a binding election which cannot be negated by later attempting to return the property.

Trusts and Equitable Deviation (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick In the case of Church of the Little Flower v US Bank the Court was asked to reform a trust based upon the doctrine of equitable deviation. The Court held that this doctrine did not apply and the trust could not be reformed. The Court stated that the doctrine of equitable deviation should not apply for the sole reason of further rewarding the beneficiaries, but only in situations where the trust is so inefficient that its continuation would necessarily interfere with the trust's purpose.

The lesson: before executing a trust, ensure the provisions of the trust will properly distribute funds to the beneficiaries.

Correcting a Recorded Deed (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick Typically, in order to correct a deed that has been recorded, the original, recorded deed must be used. The information on the deed that requires correction must not be erased or scribbled out and corrected, but crossed out and corrected. The corrected deed must state that the deed is being re-recorded to correct [whatever the error or deficiency]. In addition, a new filing fee will be collected, therefore, there must be enough space on the first page of the deed for a new stamp. If there is not enough room on the first page of the deed for a new stamp then a cover page must be added.

Explore the accuracy of this process with the recorder's office before altering any deed.

Donation of Home and Tax Deduction

By Matthew A. Quick In the case of Rolfs v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the Court stated that the donation of a house to a fire department for the purpose of burning the building for fire department training did not result in the ability of the taxpayers to realize a deduction of the entire value of the building. In fact, the Court stated that the taxpayers received a benefit from the free demolition of the home.

Contracts and "Cooling-Off Periods" (Michigan)

By Matthew A. Quick As a general rule, consumers do not have a right to cancel a contract for the sale of goods or services, but certain instances exist when consumers have a right to a "cooling-off period" where, by law, a specific time is allowed to cancel a contract after signing it.

The first thing anyone should do when determining his or her rights under a contract is READ YOUR CONTRACT. Contract provisions have the ultimate effect on the rights of the parties. If the contract provisions do not provide the relief sought, the following laws may: Michigan's Gift Promotion Act (MCL 445.931), Michigan's Home Solicitation Sales Act (MCL 445.111, et seq.), Michigan's Home Improvement Finance Act (MCL 445.1101, et seq.). The Federal Trade Commission has a similar rule for sales made at someone's home (16 CFR 429, et seq.), as does the Federal Truth in Lending Act for home equity loans.

These acts require the sellers to provide written notice in the contract of the rights afforded by the acts. If the required notice is not provided by the sellers in the contract, the length of time the consumer has to cancel the contract may be extended.

The lesson: If you engage in a business that sells goods, services or does home improvement (plumbing, electrician, construction, etc.), be sure you have the language required by law in your contracts. Failure to do so could mean the consumer has a broader timeframe in which to cancel the contract.

Plat Act Affidavit (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick As a general rule, a plat act affidavit, as prescribed by Illinois law (765 ILCS 205, et seq., referred to as the "Plat Act"), only must be executed and filed with the recorder of deeds if the property being transferred is not in a subdivision, meaning the property being transferred has a metes and bounds legal description.

Probate Actions and the Limitation Period (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick In the case of Bjork v O'Meara the court held that the limitation period for will contests as provided for in the Probate Act (6 months from notice/publication), applies to an action for tortious interference with testamentary expectancy.

The lesson: when someone has a problem with an estate, don't delay! Be sure to talk with an attorney as soon as possible.

Self-Settled Trusts and Fraudulent Transfers (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick The case of Rush University Medical Center v Sessions opined that a decedent's transfer of assets to his self-settled spendthrift trust may be set aside and a creditor may reach trust assets under the Fraudulent Transfer Act, 740 ILCS 160/1, et seq., which requires a creditor to satisfy conditions of intent, thus, the common law rule that self-settled trusts are per se fraudulent requires the additional intent element to satisfy an action under the Fraudulent Transfer Act. In addition to an action under the Fraudulent Transfer Act, a creditor may maintain an action under common law that seeks to set aside self-settled trusts in all instances with respect to existing or future creditors.

Medicaid Liens and Estate Recovery

By Matthew A. Quick There are two main ways a state can, and in some circumstances must, reclaim expenses paid on behalf of a Medicaid recipient. The first is a Medicaid Lien, which gives states the ability to recover the expenses of long-term care of a Medicaid recipient by placing a lien on the home of the Medicaid recipient. The second is Estate Recovery, which is the process employed by states to recover the expenses of long-term care paid on behalf of a Medicaid recipient where the state acts as a creditor against the Medicaid recipients estate, post-death.


Medicaid Liens typically apply only to the homes of permanently institutionalized individuals. A permanently institutionalized individual is one who cannot reasonably be expected to return home. A Medicaid Lien has priority over other people who claim an interest to a Medicaid recipient's home and its priority over other liens is determined by state law.

There are restrictions on the placement of Medicaid Liens. These restrictions are intended to protect homes when they are needed by Medicaid recipients or certain close family members. The restrictions follow: The Medicaid recipient must be deemed permanently institutionalized; and No lien may be placed if any of the following relatives of the Medicaid recipient live in the home: 1. A spouse; 2. A child under 21, or a blind or permanently disabled child of any age; and 3. A sibling with an equity interest in the home who has lawfully resided in the home for at least one year before the Medicaid recipient’s admission to a medical institution.

A Medicaid Lien does not interfere with the Medicaid recipient’s use of the home. However, if a Medicaid recipient attempts to transfer the home that has a Medicaid Lien, states can require the Medicaid recipient's equity in the home be used to pay the expense of the state's Medicaid expenditures.


Estate Recovery occurs after a Medicaid recipient's death, during the settlement of the deceased Medicaid recipient's estate. Estate Recovery can apply to personal property or real estate, but most commonly it involves the Medicaid recipient's home.

There are restrictions on Estate Recovery, which are again intended to protect homes when they are needed by certain close family members. The restrictions follow: 1. When there exists a surviving child who is under age 21, or a blind or disabled child, no matter where he or she lives (Estate Recovery may take place when the child no longer meets these criteria); 2. When a sibling with an equity interest lives in the home who has lawfully resided in the home for at least one year before the Medicaid recipient’s admission to a medical institution and continuously since; 3. When an adult child lives in the home who has lawfully resided in the home for at least two years before the Medicaid recipient’s admission to a medical institution and continuously since and can establish that he or she provided care that may have delayed the recipient’s admission to the nursing home or other medical institution; and 4. During the lifetime of the surviving spouse, no matter where he or she lives.

In these restricted instances, the survivor can typically inherit the home and other assets to use as they wish. However, the state may place a lien or file a claim against the survivor for payment of the Medicaid expenditures upon the death of the survivor.

Medical Records and Deceased Family Members (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick A new law, which took effect November 23, 2011, and is codified at 735 ILCS 5/8-2001.5, creates a procedure and a form to allow certain family members access to the medical records of a family member who has passed without being forced to initiate a court proceeding. The new law allows a surviving spouse to make a request for the records or, if there is no surviving spouse, then an adult child, a parent, or an adult sibling may make the request.