Bobby Brown applies for guardianship over his daughter Bobbi Kristina

Posted on Thursday, May 21st, 2015    

Bobby Brown, the father of Whitney Houston’s only heir Bobbi Kristina Brown, has reportedly filed for guardianship over his daughter, who remains unresponsive in a hospital after being found unconscious in a bathtub earlier this year, the International Business Times reported on May 8.

Although the article reports the Houston family believes Brown is seeking Bobbi’s inheritance, estate law states that her will would still be valid; her will mandates that Bobbi Kristina’s inheritance will be handed over to her grandmother, Cissy Houston, and her aunt Pat and uncle Gary Houston, in the event of her death.

The Houstons have also expressed their plan to contest Brown’s move.

A will can make sure that your family’s future is taken care of. However, issues of guardianship and conservatorship can complicate things. At Peck Ritchey, LLC, we can assist you throughout all of your probate or estate planning needs. Call our offices in Chicago at (855) 328-5787 today to learn more.

A large number of Americans have no will

Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2015    

An article published in The New York Post on April 26 revealed that a staggering number of Americans either don’t have a will or lack an updated one.

According to the analysis, approximately half of married couples in the U.S. have no written will, as well as 80% of people aged between 35 and 44. The report also said 41% of Americans aged 55 to 64 don’t have a will. Some experts believe many Americans see the process of creating a will as inconvenient and costly, while others do not think it is a priority when they feel healthy.

By failing to create a will, you may be risking the financial security of your children and other family members. By planning your estate early on, you can be sure that your family’s future is safeguarded in the way you intended. To seek legal help in planning your estate, speak with our team of probate attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC, by calling (855) 328-5787 today.

Tom Benson’s daughter wants probate battle back in county court

Posted on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015    

U.S. District Judge David Ezra set a court date of May 21 to hear whether the fight over Tom Benson’s estate will remain in federal court or will be shifted back to a San Antonio probate court, the Times-Picayune reported on April 14.

The order was in light of a petition filed by Renee Benson, the daughter of the multi-billionaire sports teams owner, to move the case back to Bexar county probate court. Tom Benson’s lawyers initially moved the case out of the probate court and wanted it to stay in federal court.

Earlier this year, Tom Benson announced he was changing successors to his sports empire from his daughter and her two children, to his wife of 10 years, Gayle Benson. Renee Benson responded by filing petitions declaring her father incapable of running the family’s fortune.

Being embroiled in a probate dispute like this could threaten your financial future. As such, enlisting the help of a seasoned probate attorney is necessary to ensure that your rights will be taken care of at this crucial time. If you are facing probate issues in Chicago, seek the guidance of our team at Peck Ritchey, LLC, by calling (855) 328-5787 today.

Chicago Trust and Estate Litigation Law Firm Changes Name to Peck Ritchey, LLC

Posted on Monday, April 20th, 2015    

The boutique Chicago trust and estate litigation firm led by Managing Partner Kerry R. Peck is proud to announce its new name change to Peck Ritchey, LLC, adding named partner Timothy J. Ritchey.

Peck Ritchey, LLC provides representation in areas of law including probate litigation, guardianship litigation, trust litigation, administration of estates and trusts, elder law, estate planning, asset protection, corporate law, tax law, and special needs planning.

“I look forward to the new opportunities that my partnership at the firm brings,” said Timothy Ritchey. “All of us at Peck Ritchey, LLC, are passionate in our commitment to our clients and look forward to providing the highest level of service to individuals and businesses in the community.”

Timothy Ritchey concentrates his practice in the areas of estate and guardianship administration, probate and trust litigation, estate planning, fiduciary litigation and elder law. Tim was named as one of the 40 attorneys in Illinois under 40 to watch by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin in 2014 and has been named a Rising Star in Illinois in Estate and Trust Litigation by Super Lawyers for the last three years. He also received the Young Alumni Award in 2014 from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Tim has been appointed to serve as a Special Assistant Attorney General in actions relating to Illinois health care and disability law, and 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.

“We are excited to welcome Tim Ritchey as a name partner,” said Managing Partner Kerry R. Peck. “Peck Ritchey, LLC is dedicated to provide the highest caliber of estate, trust, and guardianship litigation services to our clients.”

Robin Williams’ children and wife have two months to settle dispute

Posted on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015    

The court gave late comedian Robin Williams’ wife and three adult children up to two months to divide up his mementos to avoid an ugly court battle, The New York Daily News reported on March 30.

A San Francisco judge gave the two conflicting parties a timetable to continue negotiations over the late actor’s memorabilia, including a watch collection, Japanese anime figurines, and bikes, among many other treasured items. In December, Robin Williams’ widow Susan Schneider filed a claim alleging that Williams’ will was ‘ambiguous.’ Schneider argued that Williams wanted his heirs to share all the items at his Napa residence, but not the items tied to the house he shared with her in Tiburon.

If the parties fail to reach an agreement, arbitration will follow before a public court hearing.

Being involved in a will dispute can be difficult for you and for everyone involved. To learn more about how to protect your rights and welfare during this trying time, consult with a probate lawyer at Peck Ritchey, LLC, by calling our Chicago office at (855) 328-5787 today.

Tom Benson wants sports teams out of daughter’s trust

Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015    

Tom Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans, filed a lawsuit on March 11 in an effort to remove the two teams from the trusts assigned to his estranged daughter and her kids, according to a report by The New York Times.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, requests to allow Benson to remove the ownership in exchange for $556 million worth of secured promissory notes. The move was done to fulfill his wish of leaving the two teams to his third wife and not to his daughter Renee and grandchildren Rita and Ryan, which was the previous plan.

Last January, Benson expressed his intention to leave the two teams to his third wife. The announcement led his daughter and his grandchildren to file a claim that sought to declare that Benson is mentally incapable of running his own businesses, and Renee should therefore take charge of his financial affairs.

If you are facing any probate issue in Chicago, a lawyer at Peck Ritchey, LLC, might be able to help you protect you and your loved one’s future. Call us at (855) 328-5787 to learn more about how we may put our experience to work for you.

Ernie Banks’ former team settles the late player’s funeral debts

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2015    

The owner of a funeral home that recently filed a claim against the estate of Chicago Cubs icon Ernie Banks due to unpaid memorial expenses said everything was settled by the team and its owner, The Root reported on March 7.

The cost of Banks’ funeral reached $35,000, which the former baseball legend’s estate owed to Donnellan Funeral Home. Fortunately, the Chicago Cubs and the Ricketts family, the team’s owner, were quick to address the issue. Donnellan’s filing for a $35,000 claim coincided with an ongoing probate battle that involves Banks’ widow, Elizabeth Banks, and his longtime caregiver, Regina Rice.

Ernie Banks, named Mr. Cub and Mr. Sunshine, died at the age of 83. When his will was changed to give Rice full control over his estate, the legal battle was initiated. His estate was assessed by Rice’s camp to be worth $16,000, to which a judge demanded a full accounting.

Estate disputes like this may put you and your loved ones’ financial future at great risk. If you need an assertive, dedicated, and well-experienced probate attorney to advocate for your rights and interests, the legal team at Peck Ritchey, LLC, might be of help. Call our Chicago office at (855) 328-5787 to learn more about taking legal action.

Widow of Stevie Wonder’s longtime attorney sues for royalties

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2015    

The widow of Johanan Vigoda, Stevie Wonder’s long-time lawyer, has sued Wonder and five other defendants for breaching an agreement that entitles Vigoda’s widow and heirs to receive royalty fees from the musician, The Courthouse News Service reported on February 27.

In a suit filed by Susan Strack, she said that his late husband helped the singer-songwriter have the most profitable deals in the industry, which granted him a 6% share on royalty payments forever. She added that she continued receiving royalties for about 20 months after Vigoda passed away. However, in mid-2013, Strack said Wonder concluded the deal and instructed all music companies to halt paying Strack and Vigoda’s estate.

Strack is seeking to recover payments entitled to her, plus compensation for damages.

When facing estate issues like this, a probate lawyer can fight to protect your rights and interests. If you need legal representation in Chicago, speak with our legal team at Peck Ritchey, LLC, by calling our offices at (855) 328-5787 today.

Ron Webb Speaking at CBA Seminar on Changes in the LBGT Community

Posted on Monday, March 2nd, 2015    

Chicago, IL – Ron Webb, senior associate of the Chicago estate planning firm Peck Ritchey, LLC, will be on a panel discussing the recent modifications to Illinois law which impact the LGBT community in terms of real estate, public housing, marriage, adoption, employment, and estate planning at The Chicago Bar Association (CBA) on March 6, 2015.

The Continuing Legal Education seminar (2.75 Il MCLE Credit) will highlight changes to the law, the impact of these changes to the community, and how we can continue to make more change to benefit the LGBT community. Taking place Friday, March 6, 2015 at the CBA, 321 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL., the “Changes in the LBGT Community: Live, Life & Love – Part 1″ panel will run from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

“It’s important to fully understand the new benefits same-sex partners now have with regards to estate planning and other benefits under the law,” said Ron Webb ( “In this seminar I will be discussing the rights gained by marriage under various areas of Illinois law related to retirement benefits, asset protection, incapacity and probate.”

Ron is an active member of the Chicago Bar Association and has served as Chair of the Probate Practice Committee. He is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Estate Planning Council. Ronald frequently lectures to colleagues and professionals in the areas of estate and special needs planning. He is also regularly published in several journals including those published by the American Bar Association.

The Battle Over Control of Ernie Banks’ Estate

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2015    

Peck Ritchey, LLC Managing Partner Kerry R. Peck recently appeared on FOX 32 News regarding the hotly contested Ernie Banks will contest case.

The Chicago Cubs’ most valuable player’s family is feuding with his “trusted confidant,” a 56-year old lounge singer, Regina Rice, who inherits his entire estate. According to Court records, Ernie Banks signed estate planning documents in October 2014 and died in January 2015.

“As the case moves forward it will be interesting to see if Mr. Cub had the mental capacity to sign his will and trust, or if he was unduly influenced,” said Peck.

Ernie Banks’ children and his estranged fourth wife live in California. Probate court records from Jan. 28 indicate Bank’s estranged wife, Liz Banks, was originally awarded control over the estate, claiming Banks had died without a will.  Shortly thereafter, Rice filed a petition disclosing the existence of a will.

Will contests and estate battles don’t only happen to celebrities. Anyone who doesn’t do their due diligence in properly executing their estate planning documents (will, trust, powers of attorney, etc.) and informing their family could face a similar situation in probate court. To learn more about how to protect your assets and ensure your wishes are met contact one of Peck Ritchey, LLC’s estate planning attorneys at 312-201-0900.

Kerry Peck concentrates his practice in Trust and Estate Litigation, Estate Planning, Administration, Guardianship and Fiduciary Litigation, and Special Needs and Alzheimer’s Disease Planning. Peck is a past President of the 22,000-lawyer Chicago Bar Association. He was retained by the City of Chicago Department of Aging to rewrite the State of Illinois Elder Abuse and Neglect Act. He co-wrote the book  Alzheimer’s and the Law, published by the American Bar Association, and is a frequent speaker at continuing education seminars for attorneys and healthcare professionals across the country.

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