Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 4:02 pm
Estate 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.
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 to speak with a member of our legal team.
Posted on Friday, February 21st, 2014 at 4:03 pm
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.
Posted on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 at 11:32 pm
Elder 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.
Posted on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 at 11:13 pm
If 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.
Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 6:10 pm
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.
Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 5:47 pm
Chicago 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.
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.
What Attorneys Concentrating In Elder Law In Chicago Want You To Know About Planning For Your Parents’ Future
Posted on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 at 5:32 pm
If your parents or grandparents are aging, there are a lot of things that need to be done in order to prepare your family for its changing dynamics. When you're considering your options for the future, it's best if all family members are on the same page. To help make this process an easier one, attorneys who concentrate in elder law in Chicago have a few tips about things that you should consider when starting this sensitive conversation.
What Attorneys Concentrating In Elder Law In Chicago Want You To Know: Start The Conversation Early
If you're noticing that your parents or grandparents are having a hard time getting around or become easily confused, you need to have a serious conversation about the future as soon as possible. However, attorneys who concentrate in elder law in Chicago recommend starting a conversation well before it's needed. When you can discuss the future with your parents when they're still able to make all decisions for themselves, they can play an active role in deciding where they're going to live and how they want things to be handled in case they're not able to make decisions for themselves.
What Attorneys Concentrating In Elder Law In Chicago Want You To Know: Legal Counsel Isn't Always Necessary
Many families worry that they need the help of an attorney who concentrates in elder law in Chicago before they start a conversation with their parents or grandparents about the future. If your older relatives still have their mental faculties, this isn't necessary. However, if they aren't fully competent, it may be important to contact an attorney who concentrates in elder law in Chicago for assistance. He or she will be able to help you determine if you need to apply for a guardianship so you can make healthcare and other decisions for your parents.
What Attorneys Concentrating In Elder Law In Chicago Want You To Know: About Driving
Driving is a privilege, but many older drivers have been behind the wheel for decades, which can make it seem like a right instead of a privilege. This makes it difficult for seniors to accept when it's time to hang up the car keys. Laws can vary when it comes to seniors and driving, but in Illinois, drivers must apply for renewal every two years between ages 81-86 and every year when they reach age 87 and older. Drivers age 75 and older also need to take a road test in order to renew their driver's license. What happens, however, if your parent has recently had a number of accidents or you feel as if he or she shouldn't be driving anymore, even though they are legally able to? An attorney concentrating in elder law in Chicago can provide you with legal advice on how to approach this situation.
Aging is inevitable and if families don't have a plan for their aging parents or grandparents, it could cause a lot of stress and havoc. If you have questions regarding elder law in Chicago, please visit Peck Bloom, LLC. To learn more about the firm's services, please visit http://www.peckbloom.com/about-us.html.
Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 at 3:28 pm
If you're like most people, you probably do a lot of research before making any major purchases or hiring a contractor to do work in your home. After all, when you're spending a lot of money or putting your trust in a service provider or contractor, you want to make sure that you're making the right decision. The same is true if you need to hire a Chicago litigation attorney. Your entire case rests on your attorney's skill and experience, which is why it's important to do a lot of research to make sure you're hiring the right person. If you need to hire a Chicago litigation attorney, here are a few questions to ask so you can be sure that you're making the right decision.
Questions To Ask A Chicago Litigation Attorney: What Percentage Of Cases Do You Settle?
Sometimes your goal is to settle your case without actually going to trial. Settling beforehand can save you a lot of time and hassle and it can still provide you with a positive outcome. If you're hoping to settle with the other party, talk to your Chicago litigation attorney about how many cases they settle versus how many they take to court. Let them know your ultimate goal so that your attorneys can proceed with the case just as you'd prefer.
Questions To Ask A Chicago Litigation Attorney: What's The Payment Structure?
Your attorneys will need to be paid, but how this happens depends on the firm and the type of case. Some attorneys will take a case on a contingency basis, which means that they won't be paid unless your side wins or settles. Others will ask for a retainer and then will use this to pay for expenses related to your case. Pursuing a legal case does cost money — there are expenses for experts, testing and a number of other things — so it's important to know how the expenses and payments will be handled
Questions To Ask A Chicago Litigation Attorney: What's The Attorney's Track Record?
Ask how many cases the attorney has won, whether in court or through settlement. Obviously, if you're going through the hassle of filing a suit against someone else or if you've had someone file a suit against you, you want to win! While a Chicago litigation attorney can't guarantee a win, he or she should have a good track record to showcase his or her skills.
Questions To Ask A Chicago Litigation Attorney: Who Will You Call With Questions?
Your Chicago litigation attorney won't be the only one working on your case. He or she will likely have a team to help so it's important to know who you can contact with any questions or concerns regarding your case. In many cases, you'll be able to speak with a paralegal or legal secretary, but what happens if you have a question only your attorney can answer? It's important to understand who will answer it for you.
Finding the right Chicago litigation attorney is important to your case — its success or failure depends on it. Use these questions as a starting off point so that you can find the perfect attorney for your case.