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Stephen Sotelo

Stephen Sotelo

(Naperville, IL Real Estate Transactions Lawyer)
  • Real Estate Law, Probate
  • Illinois
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ASocial Media

A native of Illinois, Mr. Sotelo is the proud son of a working class family. Mr. Sotelo graduated third in his law school class, summa cum laude, at Northern Illinois University College of Law. Practicing law since 2012, Stephen prides himself in providing legal services in the areas of real estate, probate, and civil matters. A s a former real estate agent, he provides a unique perspective to the legal side of real estate transactions.

Northern Illinois University
Honors: Summa Cum Laude
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Illinois Rising Stars
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Illinois Rising Stars
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Professional Associations
Illinois State Bar Association
Civil Practice and Procedure Section Council
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Illinois State Bar Association
Administrative Law Section Council
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Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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    It is crucial to have an attorney who is sensitive to the financial tolls of civil litigation. With this in mind, we provide legal solutions that are no more complicated than necessary.
Practice Areas
Real Estate Law
Residential Real Estate
Probate Administration, Probate Litigation
  • English: Spoken, Written
Legal Answers
Q. Was joint tenancy owner of home (in Illinois) with my mother who died 4 years ago. How do I clear deed for future?
A: In cases where the most recent deed in the chain of title reflects title held by co-owners "as joint tenants" and one of the co-owners passes away, the next step would be to

(1) complete a Surviving Tenant Affidavit a/k/a Deceased Joint Tenant Affidavit (example form:,

(2) attach a copy of the death certificate with the decedent's social security number redacted (using whiteout, for example), and

(3) record both with the county recorded of deeds office where the Illinois real estate is located.

For the affidavit, you will need to include the full legal description of the property at issue, the PIN or PINS, and the property's commonly known as address. ... Read More
Q. How would you include the %'s in an Illinois Executors Deed when you have 1 executor but multiple heirs/grantees (6)?
A: An Executor's Deed or Administrator's Deed is generally utilized when the Representative is "selling" real estate to a third party.

On the other hand, when a representative is merely releasing the estate's interest in the property and confirming title in the heirs (if no will) or legatees (if will admitted to probate), then the appropriate instrument to be recorded with the county land records office is a "Notice of Probate and Release of Estate's Interest".

See the following example forms, which contain a column to state each heir/legatee's respective "share":

-Cook County:

-DuPage County:

-Will County:
... Read More
Q. Grandma (decedent) quit claimed house to aunt (now deceased) no known will, not in probate. I am last living relative.
A: An attorney or title company will need to perform a title search/examination to confirm ownership of the property, but assuming your aunt was indeed the sole owner as a result of the quitclaim deed, then title to the property would now be with her lawful heirs (subject to timely creditor claims and subject to divestment if a will is located).

If your aunt had no surviving spouse or descendants, then next in line to be her heirs are her surviving parents, brother, sister, or descendant of a brother or sister of the decedent (i.e., nieces, nephews, etc.), to the extent there are any. On the facts you proposed, it sounds like you may be the sole heir and may make claim to the house. To do so, you would need to petition the probate court in the county where your aunt resided at the time of her death, presumably the same county where the property is located, for letters of office and to declare heirship. You would need a lawyer for this.

Before you go through the time and expense of probate, however, you may want to first try to determine if there is any equity in the property (approximate fair market less liabilities), lienholders, or other creditors. You say someone recently paid the taxes - perhaps a mortgage company? If there is no equity in the house, or worse, negative equity, then pursuing the property might not be in your interests.
... Read More
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Fifth Avenue Station
200 E. 5th Avenue
Suite 124
Naperville, IL 60563
Telephone: (630) 445-1573
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM (Today)
Thursday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 4 PM
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