A Will Attorney In Chicago Explains The Difference Between A Living Will And Medical Power Of Attorney

Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 3:41 pm    

Estate Planning LawyerIf you’ve entered into the estate planning process, you know there are a lot of things that you need to consider. You’ll need a will, but if you think that this is the only document you need to protect your loved ones, you’re incorrect. When you’re planning your estate, make sure to include a living will, as well as a medical power of attorney. However, do you understand the legal implications of each? Take a few minutes to review this explanation from a will attorney in Chicago.

Living Will

A living will is a legal document that spells out exactly what you want to happen in case you’re unable to make medical decisions for yourself. Your attorney should go through a number of ‘what if’ scenarios that could happen, such as:

  • Nutrition. Do you want nutrition or hydration provided if you’re unable to eat or drink on your own?
  • Breathing assistance. If you’re unable to breathe for yourself, do you want a machine to do the breathing for you?
  • Dialysis. If your kidneys shut down, do you want dialysis performed to remove waste?
  • Resuscitation. If your heart stops beating, do you want to have it restarted using CPR or a defibrillator?

Living wills are sometimes also called advanced healthcare directives. Your lawyer will try to cover every possible scenario, but this isn’t always possible.

Medical Power Of Attorney

A medical power of attorney differs greatly from a living will. With a medical power of attorney, patients are actually signing over the decision making capabilities to a friend or family member. It’s important to talk your wishes over with whomever you give medical power of attorney, however. Although you would hope that this person follows your wishes, that doesn’t have to happen. The person appointed power of attorney has full authority to make all medical decisions, regardless of what you want to happen.

What About A Do Not Resuscitate Order?

If you’re in the hospital, you may be asked to sign a paper stating your wishes if your heart stops. This is commonly called a do not resuscitate order, but it’s different than a living will. You do not need to have a document drawn up by an attorney in order to have a DNR order on your hospital paperwork.

With the differences between a living will and a medical power of attorney, it’s important that both documents are a part of your estate planning process. Having these documents prepared by a lawyer is one of the kindest things you can do for your family.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a will attorney in Chicago from Peck Bloom, LLC, can help you with every step of the estate planning process, please us at (312) 201-0900 or contact us today.

How A Chicago Will Attorney Can Help Alzheimer’s Sufferers And Their Families

Posted on Monday, April 21st, 2014 at 4:02 pm    

WillsLawyerIf you have a family member or close friend who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, you may think that it’s too late to go through the estate planning process or draft a will. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Before you start the planning process to draft legal documents, learn what a Chicago will attorney can — and cannot — do for your family.

An Attorney Can Draft A Will for Alzheimer’s Sufferers

If you’ve ever watched a television drama or movie, you know that someone needs to be ‘of sound mind’ to sign a legal document. However, this can be a little misleading, especially when dealing with Alzheimer’s patients. Many Alzheimer’s patients have periods of time when they’re lucid and during these times can be found competent to sign a will. He or she will need to meet the following requirements:

  • He or she knows who his or her spouse or children are.
  • He or she understands that he or she is signing a will.
  • He or she understands what type of property he or she owns.
  • He or she is able to determine where the property should go after his or her death.

What If There’s A Legal Guardianship In Place?

If someone has a legal guardianship in place, it is possible to still sign legal documents. However, the individual needs to meet all the above criteria. If it can’t be met, then their attorney and all the other parties will have to meet at another time.

Many Alzheimer’s patients suffer from Sundowner’s Syndrome. This happens in the later part of the day and can lead to extra confusion, memory loss, agitation, and even anger. For this reason, it’s a good idea to meet with an attorney early in the day instead of in the afternoon or early evening. Look for an attorney who has experience in dealing with Alzheimer’s patients because they will understand that you may need an early appointment.

What If The Person Is Physically Unable To Sign The Document?

In some cases, the person may be physically unable to sign the document. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the document isn’t legal. As long as the individual understands what is going on, they can simply make an X or even direct someone else to sign for them. The most important thing here is the intent — not the physical ability.

What If An Attorney Determines That The Individual Is Unfit To Sign?

Attorneys are concerned with following the law and if an attorney determines that your loved one isn’t fit to sign, you won’t be able to have a will created. This is why it’s so important to contact an attorney before symptoms become too severe.

If you have a parent or family member who’s showing early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, one of the best things you can do is to get them to visit with an attorney as quickly as possible. Coming up with a plan for your parent or loved one is one of the kindest things you can do for them.

To learn more about us or to find your own Chicago will attorney, please call us today at (312) 201-0990.

3 Unique Situations Your Estate Attorneys In Chicago Can Help With

Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 4:02 pm    

estate planningEstate planning isn’t a cut and dried, one size fits all process. If you have standard assets, such as retirement accounts and a house, alongside a typical marriage with adult, grown children, it can be easy to divide everything up evenly so that your assets are taken care of. However, if you have unique situations, such as you’re married to a non-citizen, you don’t have a child or spouse to leave your estate to, or you want to leave a disproportionate amount to one child, here’s how you can ensure your plan is complete.

Help With A Non-Citizen Spouse

If your spouse isn’t a United States citizen, you can typically proceed with the planning process in the same way. Citizen spouses are shielded from federal estate taxes when one of them dies, but the same isn’t true for non-citizens who stand to inherit a large sum of money. In 2014, non-citizen spouses can receive up to $5.34 million in inheritance funds without being subjected to federal estate taxes. Any amount over that is taxed.

However, if your estate is quite large and you are married to a non-citizen, there are a few things you can do to reduce this tax liability. The non-citizen can apply for citizenship, but the process must be completed before the spouse’s death. Or, the spouse can give cash gifts to the non-citizen each year to minimize tax liabilities. In 2014, this number is $145,000 a year.

Help If You Don’t Have A Child Or Spouse

Many single and unmarried people think they don’t need help from estate attorneys in Chicago, however this isn’t true at all. While single, childless people don’t need to protect anyone, they do need to appoint someone to make medical decisions if they’re unable to make decisions themselves. Without these documents, you’ll need to rely on your parents or siblings and you can lose precious time if they live out of town and can’t get to the hospital in time.

Help If You Need To Leave A Disproportionate Amount To One Child

Most estate attorneys in Chicago recommend leaving the same amount to each child, however, there are a few instances in which you may need to leave a disproportionate amount to one child. Perhaps this child requires special medical treatments or is unable to live on his or her own. Without a definitive plan, your assets will be divided equally, which won’t be what you want. If you do plan on leaving differing amounts to different children, it’s important that you let them know about this before your death. Otherwise, this could cause problems and fighting after you’re gone.

Everyone should have an estate plan in place, but if you have a unique situation, you definitely need one sooner than later.

To learn more about our experienced legal team, please contact us today.

5 estate-planning mistakes to avoid

Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 3:22 pm    

Legal matters surrounding your estate can be complicated. Being aware of five common mistakes that occur during the estate planning process can help you ensure that your estate is managed according to your wishes.

It is vital to carefully consider the person named durable power of attorney or medical power of attorney. If you choose someone who is untrustworthy or unqualified for the responsibility, your wishes might not be honored.

Additionally, it’s important to avoid naming your estate as the individual retirement account (IRA) beneficiary. If this mistake is made, your estate could be subject to numerous legal procedures. Only after the probate process, which could take years, will your heirs possibly receive funds from your estate.

When there is a shift in the family it is important to update IRA beneficiary information. For example, if you go through a divorce, it is critical that you un-name your ex-spouse as the IRA beneficiary and name someone else.

To help your family in the event that you become ill or incapacitated, it is crucial to sign a healthcare directive, also known as a “living will.” Your living will is meant to give your family insight into your preferences should you require emergency health procedures such as CPR or life support.

Lastly, be sure to add funds to the trust that you leave for your heirs. This is an all too common mistake that can leave many family members without the assets that you wanted them to have.

The legal matters around estate planning can seem confusing and overwhelming to people unfamiliar with the processes. If you live in the Chicago area, the attorneys of Peck Bloom, LLC, can answer your questions about estate planning. Call our offices today at (855) 328-5787 to speak with a member of our legal team.

Tough Questions Your Estate Attorneys In Chicago Will Ask

Posted on Friday, February 21st, 2014 at 4:03 pm    

litigation lawyers Chicago

Working with estate attorneys in Chicago can be uncomfortable — after all, there are some tough questions that need to be asked and answered. However, the entire experience can be made less stressful if you know what types of questions your attorney will ask. Before you make an appointment with estate attorneys in Chicago, make sure you know the answers to these questions.

Estate Attorneys In Chicago Ask: Who Will Care For Minor Children?

If you have minor children, this is an important question to answer — who will take care of them if both you and your spouse dies? However, having an answer to this question isn't enough. You should also make sure that the person you name guardian agrees with your decision. If they don't, your death could be even more stressful as the guardian struggles with their new role and your children struggle with the loss of their parents.

Estate Attorneys In Chicago Ask: Are There Any Other Descendants Or Companions?

If your estate attorneys in Chicago seem to ask the same question again and again, it's not because they don't remember your answers! Oftentimes when an attorney asks if there are any other descendants, the answer is initially no. A few days later, however, the attorney receives a call that tells them, yes, there's a secret descendant. If you have a child from a previous relationship, now is the time to have a conversation. It will likely be uncomfortable, but it can be stressful for your loved ones if this relationship comes to light at your funeral or immediately following your death.

If you have a relationship outside of your marriage, it's also important to disclose it to estate attorneys in Chicago. He or she will be able to advise you on how to approach this relationship in your will, if you want to at all. If you don't want to provide to your partner, you're not obligated to do so. However, letting your estate attorneys in Chicago know about the relationship can help them defend against a will contestation after you're gone.

Estate Attorneys In Chicago Ask: What About Pets?

Man's best friend needs a plan for when you're gone too. If you have pets and want to make sure they're taken care of after you're gone, have estate attorneys in Chicago put in a provision for them. You can decide who's going to care for these pets and even leave funds available for their care.

Estate Attorneys In Chicago Ask: What About Health Care?

Lastly, decide what you want to do in case that you're left in a vegetative state. Do you want life-sustaining measures taken or do you want ventilators and feeding tubes turned off? Don't rely on your family members to make these decisions for you, especially if you haven't made your wishes fully clear. When you spell them out in a health care directive, there will be no question as to what your wishes are.

If you're in the beginning stages of the estate planning process, these are just a few of the many hard questions estate attorneys in Chicago will ask. Before you meet with one, think about your wishes and how you want your affairs handled after you're gone.

To meet with professional and qualified estate attorneys in Chicago from Peck Bloom, please call us at (312) 201-0900.

Tips From An Attorney Concentrating In Elder Law In Chicago: How To Protect Elderly Relatives

Posted on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 at 11:32 pm    

Elder Law ChicagoElder abuse is a common and serious problem for the elderly. Many elderly people can't fully take care of themselves, so they rely on hired strangers and relatives to help them with bathing, eating, cleaning and ensuring they take any required medication on time. However, this can sometimes become stressful and overwhelming to caretakers. While being stressed and overwhelmed over caregiver responsibilities is no excuse for elder abuse, it often happens anyway.

Tips From An Attorney Concentrating In Elder Law In Chicago: What Is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse can come in many forms. It can be physical, mental, financial or even sexual. Being neglected or abandoned can even be a form of elder abuse. It can be a one-time occurrence or it can become ongoing.

Tips From An Attorney Concentrating In Elder Law In Chicago: What To Watch Out For

When talking to your elderly relative, look for signs that they may be frightened or abused. This can include cowering when touched, unexplained bruises, becoming upset whenever the caregiver comes around or any other reaction that seems uncommon or unexplained. You should also look out for bedsores, missing money or a change in the elder's financial situation, poor hygiene or depression.

If you suspect that your relative is being abused or neglected, attorneys who concentrate in elder law in Chicago recommend that you remove the caregiver as soon as possible.

Tips From An Attorney Concentrating In Elder Law In Chicago: How To Fire A Caregiver

If you've hired a caregiver, this part is easy — just let them go. However, the details can take a little bit of planning. If you suspect serious abuse, you'll need to have a backup plan in place. The best thing you can do is tell the caregiver that you no longer need their assistance, effective immediately. If you've hired through an agency or care organization, make sure that you tell the people in charge why you're firing your caregiver. If there have been previous complaints, the agency should take care to drop the caregiver from their roster of approved employees to protect itself from a pricy lawsuit.

If your caregiver is a family member, you're likely going to need help from an attorney who concentrates in elder law in Chicago. You may need to file for emergency guardianship over your elderly loved one so you can keep the abusive caretaker away. This can cause a lot of family stress and strife so it's important to know what's going to happen before you begin. When you speak in front of a judge, arm yourself with the facts of the case and do your best to keep emotion out of your testimony. When the judge sees that you're truly looking out for your loved one, your outcome can be more favorable.

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, an attorney who concentrates in elder law in Chicago can help you determine what the best course of action is.

To learn more about Peck Bloom or to contact us about issues related to elder law in Chicago, please visit our website or call (312) 201-0900.





How Litigation Attorneys In Chicago Can Help You Win Your Case

Posted on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 at 11:13 pm    

Elder Law ChicagoIf you're facing a lawsuit, either as a plaintiff or a defendant, you might not be sure whether you actually need litigation attorneys in Chicago to help. Many people read a few pages on the Internet and feel as if they're fully qualified to handle anything that's thrown their way in court. However, they soon find that they need the assistance of litigation attorneys in Chicago, leaving them scrambling to find one that can appear in court right away. Here are just a few of the many reasons that you should hire litigation attorneys in Chicago if you're facing a lawsuit.

Litigation Attorneys In Chicago Are Familiar With Paperwork And Deadlines

Sometimes you need to file a specific document within a very small time frame. If you forget to file this paperwork or file it late, you could have a problem with your case. Litigation attorneys in Chicago, on the other hand, are well-versed in deadlines and the types of legal documents that are required to handle your case. It is possible to do a simple Internet search and find legal forms; however, in many cases these forms are specific to a certain state. This means that a form that's valid in California might not be admissible in Illinois. When litigation attorneys in Chicago are in charge of your case, you won't have to worry about it being dismissed simply because you used the wrong state's form.  Additionally, they often have the assistance of a legal secretary or paralegal, which means you'll have more than one person looking out for your needs.

Paralegals And Litigation Attorneys In Chicago Are Quite Different

Some people hire a paralegal, after being assured that the paralegal can handle everything litigation attorneys in Chicago do. However, while many paralegals are competent enough to help with your case, a licensed attorney always supervises them. Paralegals go through a shorter technical training, while a lawyer completes seven years of schooling in order to know how to handle specific legal situations. Additionally, because paralegals haven't been admitted to the bar, they are unable to appear in court on your behalf. Both paralegals and litigation attorneys in Chicago can have a place in your case, but a paralegal isn't a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Litigation Attorneys In Chicago Can Have Relationships With Local Judges And Other Lawyers

While judges do have to be impartial when they're in charge of a case, it doesn't hurt when your litigation attorneys in Chicago have an existing relationship with them. Knowing a little about your judge can help your attorney know if they should request a different judge or it can help change your case's strategy. Additionally, when lawyers have a relationship with each other, they may be able to anticipate any moves by the opposing counsel, which can help your team come up with a strategy that works.

If you're interested in finding litigation attorneys in Chicago who will work diligently to protect your interests, please contact Peck Bloom at (312) 201-0900.


How Chicago Estate Planning Lawyers Help Families Young and Old

Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 6:10 pm    

Chicago Law Firm As one’s family changes over the years, there are many situations for which advanced estate planning can help during an emergency. Whether you are new parents looking for an Illinois will and guardianship attorney for your children or learned of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in the family, a Chicago estate planning lawyer can help you to plan appropriately for your specific needs.   

The Chicago estate planning lawyers at Peck Bloom, LLC help families plan for future health care decisions, end-of-life planning, general estate planning and administration, and guardianship. Many people are often unaware that an estate planning attorney can also assist with planning for a family member’s mental or physical disabilities.  When an individual becomes disabled, a Chicago estate planning firm can set up a special needs trust, guardianship, and a long-term care plan to protect their assets.

Each family has unique needs and situations. The Chicago estate planning lawyers at Peck Bloom, LLC understand the importance of having a well drafted estate plan for asset protection in Illinois. It’s the goal for the Chicago estate planning firm, Peck Bloom, to help their clients make informed choices about their family’s future. 

Kerry R. Peck and Kenneth M. Bloom Named Illinois Super Lawyers for 2014

Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 5:47 pm    

Chicago Litigation Attorney Kerry Peck Chicago Estate Planning Attorney Ken_BloomChicago litigation Lawyer Kerry R. Peck and Estate Planning Attorney Kenneth M. Bloom have been named to the Illinois Super Lawyers list as two of the top attorneys in Illinois for 2014. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. This is the eighth consecutive year Kerry and Ken have been recognized as Super Lawyers.

The Super Lawyers lists are published in Super Lawyers magazine, in Chicago Magazine.  Kerry is recognized in the category of Estate & Trust Litigation, and Ken is recognized in the practice area of Estate Planning & Probate.

Kerry Peck concentrates his practice on trust and estate litigation, estate planning and administration, probate, guardianship, and elder law. He is the past president of the 22,000-lawyer Chicago Bar Association and is co-author of Alzheimer’s and the Law which was published by the American Bar Association in August 2013.

Kenneth Bloom is a CPA and Chicago estate planning attorney. He practices in estate planning and administration, probate, asset protection, real estate, general corporate, and business transactional matters, including an emphasis on special needs trusts. Ken is rated among the top six-percent of Illinois estate planning attorneys, as selected by his peers and the American Research Corporation, and has received the highest rating of distinction by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.

Peck Bloom, LLC is a recognized leader in the Chicago legal community and its litigation lawyers in Chicago have been asked to rewrite the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act for the City of Chicago's Department on Aging. 

Peck Bloom Attorneys Named Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars

Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 5:27 pm    


Chicago litigation lawyers Timothy J. Ritchey and Brandon E. Peck have been named to the Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars list as two of the top attorneys for 2014 in Illinois Estate and Trust Litigation. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in the state receive this honor. This selection for this respected list is made by the research team at Super Lawyers.

The Rising Stars lists are published in Super Lawyers magazine and Chicago Magazine.

Chicago litigation lawyer Tim Ritchey concentrates his practice in the areas of estate and guardianship administration, probate and trust litigation, real estate litigation, fiduciary defense litigation and elder law and estate planning and administration. Tim is involved in many professional and charitable organizations, including the Young Professionals Board for the Center of Disability and Elder Law, ISBA, CBA, and DuPage County Bar Association.

Brandon Peck is a Chicago litigation attorney with Peck Bloom, LLC. He concentrates his practice on guardianship litigation and administration, trust litigation, probate Litigation, fiduciary defense litigation, elder law and estate administration, with an emphasis on contested trusts and estates. Brandon is a contributing author to the book Alzheimer’s and the Law. He currently serves as a director of the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, previously serving as co-chair of the YLS Estate Planning Committee. Brandon has been a member of the Junior Board for the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Chapter since its inception and currently serves on the Executive Committee as chair of Education and Advocacy.

Peck Bloom, LLC is a leading boutique law firm providing representation in all areas of elder law including probate litigation, guardianship litigation, trust litigation, administration of estates and trusts, elder law, asset protection, corporate law, tax law, special needs planning, and estate planning in Chicago.