Legal FAQ | Legal Questions | Illinois State Bar Association

Legal FAQs


Legal advice is most helpful before you make the commitment to buy a home. As a buyer, you’ll want an attorney lined up before you make an offer and, certainly, before you sign an offer to purchase. If you are a seller, you’ll want to consult an attorney early in the process and before signing a listing agreement with a real estate agent.


You should have proof of identity, residency, insurance coverages, charge cards, checkbooks and other financial-related information, as well as proof of employment, other identification such as a voter’s ID card or Social Security card, and legal documents. For a complete list and further information, access the Illinois State Bar Association’s Disaster Legal Services Manual at

Your Rights

Among records which should be changed to reflect the new gender are Social Security and the Illinois Secretary of State. If a person is enrolled in Medicare or SSI and Medicaid, they may receive service denials if their claim is not consistent with the gender data on record. Also, a person must provide the Illinois Secretary of State with acceptable documentation about the change in gender and get a new driver’s license. Acceptable documentation includes a report or statement from a medical doctor or psychiatrist, or a certified copy of one’s amended birth certificate.

Your Rights

One new law requires boaters to display a bright orange flag from the highest point of a boat’s helm when towing a person such as a water skier. Another new law allows authorities to seize and impound watercraft used repeatedly by a boater who’s been under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And, starting in 2016, boating safety courses will be mandatory for younger motorboat operators. A valid boating safety certificate will be required for those born after January 1, 1998, before they can operate a motorboat with a 10 horsepower or above engine.


Illinois law prohibits the use of hand-held cellphones, texting or using other electronic communications while operating a motor vehicle. However, hands-free devices or Blue Tooth technology is allowed for persons age 19 and older. There are a few exceptions. Illinois drivers can use a hand-held cellphone to report an emergency situation, while parked on the shoulder of a roadway, or when stopped due to normal traffic being obstructed if the vehicle is in neutral or park.

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