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 Ritchey at (312) 201-0900.
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 Ritchey, 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 Ritchey, 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.
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.
If you’ve every watched a legal drama on television or on the big screen, you probably think you understand what attorney-client privilege means. But do you? If you’re searching for a litigation attorney in Chicago, it’s vital that you understand what attorney-client privilege means for your case.
Do You Need To Hire Litigation Attorney In Chicago For Privilege To Count?
Some people think that they need to have actually hired a litigation attorney in Chicago for the privilege to count. However, this isn’t necessarily true. If you’re interviewing multiple attorneys to find the best one for your case, you’re likely going to have to talk about sensitive details of the case. After all, litigation attorneys in Chicago can’t give you a true idea of what you’re expecting if they don’t know all the important details. Potential clients can speak freely with a potential lawyer, as long as they’re considering hiring that attorney for their case.
This means that even if you don’t hire a specific litigation attorney in Chicago, they are bound to keep your case details confidential. It’s unethical for the lawyer to then work for the other side. If you interview five attorneys and then choose one for your case, the other four are prohibited from working with the other side.
Is It Just A Litigation Attorney In Chicago Who’s Bound By Privilege?
Privilege doesn’t just extend to the litigation attorney in Chicago. Legal secretaries and other employees of the law firm or people who have contracted to work with the lawyer are also bound by privilege. This helps ensure that everyone familiar with the case can speak freely and share ideas and strategies without worrying about compromising the case.
Limitations Of Privilege
While privilege is an important part of the lawyer-client relationship, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t limitations. If the case is discussed before people who are not the client or the attorney, this information isn’t considered privileged. Additionally, if the client is talking about committing a crime or committing fraud, the attorney is bound to report the action to the authorities. Clients can also waive privilege by talking about the case in public.
What Happens If A Litigation Attorney In Chicago Discloses Privileged Information?
A lawyer who discloses privileged information could find him or herself in a great deal of trouble by their state bar association. Lawyers can be reprimanded, suspended or even disbarred for revealing information that was privileged. This extends even after the case is over or if the client has transferred the case to another attorney. This means that an attorney cannot be forced to testify against a former client.
If you have questions regarding attorney-client privilege and the relationship between a client and a litigation attorney in Chicago, please contact us. We’re happy to take a look at your specific case and let you know whether a litigation attorney in Chicago can help.
Most people think that they’ll never have a need for Chicago litigation attorneys. After all, they think that Chicago litigation attorneys are exactly what they see in the movies and legal television dramas. However, there are plenty of reasons that you might need Chicago litigation attorneys. While most lawyers hope that mediation works and that a court appearance isn’t actually necessary, here are a few different reasons why you might need Chicago litigation attorneys.
Consider Chicago Litigation Attorneys For A Contract Dispute
If you’re heavily embroiled in a contract dispute, going at it alone just won’t cut it. You’ll need an experienced lawyer on your side. Whether your problem stems from an employment contract, disputes between business partners or contracts between two businesses. A good lawyer will be able to decipher just what’s inside the contract so you can settle the dispute as quickly as possible.
Find Chicago Litigation Attorneys To Dispute A Will
The time immediately following a loved one passing away is quite difficult, especially if your loved one left a will that you feel was drafted under duress. If your loved one left a disproportionate section of their estate to someone you don’t feel they know well, it might be a good idea to use Chicago litigation attorneys to contest it. An experienced litigation lawyer will be able to see if contesting the will can be successful. Although there’s no guarantee, a lawyer with experience can usually have a rough idea whether or not the contestation will be successful.
Chicago Litigation Attorneys Can Help With A Neighbor Dispute
What do you do if you can’t resolve neighbor disputes in a neighborly manner? Whether your dispute is over property lines, a fence that needs to be repaired, animal control issues (including dog bites) or an unsafe tree that needs to come down, Chicago litigation attorneys can help. Although suing a neighbor is likely the last thing you want to do, it’s sometimes necessary to avoid being harassed in your own home.
Consider Chicago Litigation Attorneys For Divorce And Custody Issues
If your marriage is breaking up and you don’t think that you and your former spouse will be able to resolve these problems amicably, you’re probably headed for court. Chicago litigation attorneys will be able to properly represent you in court so that your interests are protected. Look for lawyers who are experienced in family law so that you’re getting the very best representation possible.
These are just a few of the hundreds of situations that could call for Chicago litigation attorneys. If you’re not sure whether your case requires the assistance of Chicago litigation attorneys, contact the experienced lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC. They’ll be able to take a look at your case and work with you to decide whether it is something that you’d like to pursue in court.
A litigation attorney in Chicago who practices in the field of elder law has a unique set of circumstances to navigate. While knowledge about the laws relating to guardianship, trusts, estates and a host of other applicable fields is obviously paramount, elder law attorneys must also possess a full understanding of the physical and mental challenges that aging individuals face. In order to best serve the needs of their clients, the attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC exhibit all of the following qualities, which are necessary to ensure the best possible representation.
Knowledge In A Variety Of Fields
The breadth of responsibility for an elder care litigation attorney in Chicago is far-reaching and extremely varied. Just some of the areas in which representation by a litigator may be necessary include:
- Estate Matters
- Fiduciary Matters
- Disputed Accountings
- Recovery of Assets
- Heirship Disputes
Top lawyers in the field, like those at Peck Ritchey, strive to stay informed on changing regulations, trends, and applicable precedents that may affect their clients. When seeking an elder care litigation attorney in Chicago, it’s important to look for someone with extensive knowledge in all aspects of the law that may affect your case. Guardianship issues, for example, can involve asset dispersal or have fiduciary ramifications. A qualified attorney needs to have the necessary knowledge base to be able to make timely and astute recommendations.
A Wealth Of Experience
Of similar importance is ensuring that the law firm you choose to represent you in elder care matters has the necessary experience in the specific type of law your case will require. If a given case requires litigation, it’s of vital importance that the attorney have a track record of success in working with cases similar to yours. Some firms maintain a general focus, while others may specialize in a particular area of elder law. A well-qualified firm will employ lawyers with a wide range of skill sets and experience to ensure that they are equipped to handle cases of every type.
The Responsibilities Of A Litigation Attorney In Chicago
Working with Peck Ritchey litigators means having the peace of mind that your case is being handled with the upmost professionalism and skill. A litigation attorney in Chicago must be prepared to navigate each step of the process, which can involve a great deal of detail-oriented work even before the trial begins.
- Assessment — The initial case investigation to determine the details of your case and formulate a litigation plan moving forward. This first step may also encompass examining evidence, locating and taking statements from witnesses, and gathering any supporting documents.
- Pre-Trial — Other responsibilities leading up to trial include filing motions and pleas, retaining expert witnesses, and finalizing any case discovery matters. Each detail of this process should be thoroughly communicated to ensure that the client is well aware of the details of their case. This is also the final opportunity for the case to be settled outside of court.
- Trial — If the case is not settled by this point, which the vast majority are, then a qualified litigator must be prepared to present the case before a judge. This is the part of the process that most people think of when picturing the responsibilities of a litigator. The truth is, while the trial can often be the most stressful part of the process for the client, much of the work has already been done in advance by the litigation team.
- Settlement — A settlement can be reached at any time during the litigation process, and many cases are settled before ever reaching the trial stage. At this stage it is the responsibility of the attorney to handle negotiations, and draft a settlement decision with the client’s best interest in mind.
- Appeal — If the outcome of the case is not deemed to be favorable, it may be appealed. At this point, litigators will identify grounds for appeal and draft post-trial motions to begin the process, at all times keeping clients informed about the next step.
At Peck Ritchey, LLC we understand that the litigation process can be extremely intimidating for families and individuals who are involved in the litigation of contested wills, trusts, or guardianships. Our attorneys possess the knowledge, versatility and experience to help determine the best course of action for your case. To learn more about our services or to retain a litigation attorney in Chicago, contact us at 855-328-5787.
If you’ve ever watched a movie in which someone dies and their friends and family members gather around wearing black for a reading of the will, you might be surprised to find out that this actually doesn’t happen in real life — it’s just a Hollywood trick. While probate attorneys in Chicago do manage the filing of a will after someone dies, it’s done without ceremony. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need help from probate attorneys in Chicago. If you’re not sure whether probate attorneys in Chicago can help your family, ask yourself these questions.
Can Probate Attorneys In Chicago Help If Family Members Don’t Agree With The Will?
In many cases, a will is straightforward. However, in some instances, it can cause major strife among family members, especially if there are multiple assets that need to be divided. If one or more family members feel as if they’re being slighted, they could contest the will in court. If family members don’t agree, it could mean a lengthy court case that rips families apart and drains the assets from the estate.
Does The Estate Include Business Assets?
Another reason to hire probate attorneys in Chicago is if the estate includes a business. This is because handling business assets and transferring ownership could be a complicated process. Instead of leaving the company susceptible to errors, many families choose to turn to probate attorneys in Chicago for help when dealing with a business.
Has The Deceased Taken Steps To Avoid Probate?
In some states, probate is necessary. In Indiana, for instance, if the estate is worth more than $50,000 and assets aren’t owned jointly with another person, probate is required. However, in Illinois, it’s possible to create a living trust to avoid probate. Probate attorneys in Chicago who also handle wills can help create these documents. Ask your attorney about a transfer on death clause for your assets. This means that the assets in your estate — normally property, vehicles, bank accounts and retirement accounts — all automatically transfer to your beneficiary when you die instead of being locked up in probate.
What Else Do Probate Attorneys In Chicago Do?
However, probate attorneys in Chicago aren’t just helpful when someone has died. Many people hire these professionals to draft a will so that they can determine where their belongings end up and to minimize fighting among family members after they’ve died. They can also help create a living will, which is a very different type of document. While a regular will, or ‘last will and testament,’ determines which family members receive death benefits from a life insurance policy, the contents of a retirement account or even property, a living will helps family members know what medical decisions you want made in case you’re unable to make them yourself.
Probate attorneys in Chicago can help your family members through the rough time following your death. While no one really enjoys thinking about their death or what will happen to their assets when they die, coming up with a plan before it’s needed is one of the kindest things someone can do for their family. If you’re not sure how to proceed, talk to Peck Ritchey. Our probate attorneys in Chicago are experienced in helping clients plan for the future.
Most people will tell you that being a guardian means being responsible for another human being for as long as necessary in order to protect them. While a guardianship is certainly about protecting your ward, it’s also about a variety of other things, and there are various forms of guardianship in Chicago, each one different from the others. We have several attorneys who concentrate in this type of law who can walk you through the process of establishing a guardianship. In Chicago, your parents’ rights or independence could be adversely affected if you don’t understand that there are many different forms of guardianship and if you don’t choose the appropriate arrangement to protect them. If you would like to be appointed guardian of your parents, the time to tackle the issue is before they need someone rather than when it is too late.
A Guardianship In Chicago That Addresses Day-to-Day Issues
The correct title for a guardianship that covers all of the large and small decisions of daily living, including scheduling doctors’ appointments, providing education and comfort, and arranging for any kind of service for your loved one is a Guardianship of the Person. With this, you will be able to shop for groceries, choose a residence and take care of the daily needs of your ward. Being able to make health care and medical decisions for an individual is usually the most important aspect of this kind of guardianship. Chicago families should talk to us about establishing a guardianship of the person before dementia, illness or an accident impairs the ward’s judgment. If you wait too long, it could be too late to establish the guardianship without court intervention.
Guardianships Covering Money Issues
Guardianship of the Estate ensures that the individual appointed as the guardian can access and use the funds in an estate in the manner outlined in the will of the person who has passed away. When you are the guardian of an estate, you can make all financial decisions so long as they are in the best interests of the ward. Many people establish this kind of guardianship when their children are still minors.
Guardianship In Chicago Can Be Limited By The Court
A limited guardianship is exactly what it sounds like – it gives the guardian limited rights to make certain decisions for the ward or wards, but not all of them. For instance, you may be appointed guardian of the person but without the ability to access funds set aside in a trust. In many cases, a separate guardian in Chicago is appointed for monetary decisions and for day-to-day decisions. In this way, the ward is protected from unscrupulous guardians who could have too much power over the individual. If the specific powers of a guardian aren’t established in the paperwork, the court has the right to outline the specific details of the guardianship, curtailing some powers and upholding others.
Establishing A Testamentary Guardianship
A testamentary guardianship is usually established by parents or individuals who appoint people they approve of and have faith in as guardian of their minor children or ailing parents. In most cases, a will can designate a testamentary guardian or guardians, but these individuals aren’t official guardians until the court formally appoints them as such. If you’re considering appointing one or more guardians, Chicago attorneys can help you choose the right individuals for the job and walk you through the court process.
A Guardianship That Can Be Revoked
There is a form of guardianship in Chicago that isn’t permanent. This is called a temporary guardianship and it’s usually set up only in an emergency situation and usually doesn’t last longer than sixty days. In most cases, a temporary guardianship is set up to meet an immediate need until a long-term solution can be put into effect or until the ward is recovered and can once again take care of his or her self.
Let Peck Ritchey help you determine what your family’s needs are and assist you in choosing the best possible guardianship. Chicago residents who have had guardianships arranged by Peck Ritchey’s estate and probate lawyers can rest easy knowing their loved ones are fully protected by law.
Television and movies give Americans a somewhat misguided view of what a Chicago litigation attorney actually does. Before you find a lawyer to take a case, learn about the process your attorney will go through during your suit. Knowing what to expect from your attorney during each step of the process can help ensure that your experience is a positive one.
First, Know How To Hire A Chicago Litigation Attorney
Before you can even start a case, you need to make sure you have the right Chicago litigation attorney. You should make appointments with a number of lawyers in your area for a consultation. This first visit is usually free of charge, but some attorneys do charge a small fee for a consultation. During this visit, you’ll be asked to explain your case, as well as ask the attorney any questions about what you can expect during the trial. Beware of any attorneys who promise a specific outcome or judgment on your case. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll be able to accurately predict a judgment, but it’s not unheard of for an attorney to expect to win if your case is a strong one.
How Your Chicago Litigation Attorney Will Investigate
Once you’ve hired a Chicago litigation attorney, the next step he or she will take is to investigate. Your attorney will interview you extensively, as well as gather witness statements to learn about all the aspects of the suit. During this time, your lawyer will probably meet with the other party’s attorney to discuss a settlement amount. If both sides reach an agreement, the case will be considered closed and a trial will not take place.
How Your Chicago Litigation Attorney Will Approach Discovery
Discovery is the next step for a Chicago litigation attorney. In this stage, your attorney will be able to ask the opposing party’s legal team for any documents that are important to the case. However, there are certain documents that are protected from discovery and do not need to be turned over. These include privileged information and work product.
The Pre-Trial And Trial Periods
During the pre-trial period, your Chicago litigation attorney will find expert witnesses and work out a plan for the trial. However, if your case is civil one, a trial is unlikely to take place. Many times, the attorneys reach a settlement agreement well before the trial occurs. This does require both sides to agree on the outcome. Once this occurs, the case is considered closed.
Although a Chicago litigation attorney isn’t quite what the movies and television depict, they are still a very necessary part of the legal community. If you suspect that you have a case, it’s a great idea to meet with an experienced Chicago litigation attorney at Peck Ritchey. We will help you determine if you should pursue your lawsuit and move forward. Peck Ritchey does offer a free initial consultation, so be certain to contact us if you’re in need of our specialized services.
As we live longer, we are sometimes less able to make sound decisions or care for ourselves. It’s in situations like this that guardianships, also known as conservatorships in the case of older adults, come in to play.
Guardianships and conservatorships are court-ordered arrangements where a capable adult is given the responsibility of managing another adult’s financial, healthcare or household affairs. They are commonly set up between children and their senior parents in situations where the parent is no longer able to make reasonable decisions on his or her own. In some cases, the parent has set up an advance directive which specifies who is to care for them when the time comes that they need a guardian or caretaker. It might even specify one person to manage their finances and another to manage their day-to-day life decisions or healthcare choices. Advance directives give the senior control over who will be responsible for him, but they must be set up well before they are needed.
More often than not, however, guardianship requests are brought before the court when it becomes apparent that the senior cannot care for him or herself any longer. In cases like these, the court makes the ultimate decision on who will be the guardian and what his or her responsibilities will be.
Protecting Seniors Through Guardianship Law
Seniors who are incapable of making sound decisions for themselves run the risk of being manipulated and/or abused by friends, family and strangers alike. Guardianship law helps avoid these types of situations. Guardianship law helps protect a person’s assets and finances from mismanagement or theft by giving responsibility for such to a court-appointed custodian. Likewise, seniors’ healthcare and living decisions are protected under guardianship law when a guardian is responsible for the decision-making.
Types Of Guardianships
There are three basic types of adult guardianship arrangements: Guardian of the Person, the Estate of Property and Plenary Guardian.
A Guardian of the Person oversees their charge’s health. They manage all aspects of healthcare from making appointments to paying medical bills and dealing with insurance. Guardians of the Person might work with assisted living facilities to manage living and care arrangements. This type of caretaking is common to advance medical directives.
Guardians of the Estate or Property manage their ward’s property, assets and finances. They might handle taxes and tax payments, the distribution and property and paying day-to-day expenses and bills.
A Plenary Guardian is a combination of the above-mentioned guardianships. Under guardianship law, plenary guardians manage nearly all aspects of their charge’s life.
Creating A Guardianship With Help From Your Peck Ritchey Attorney
To set up a guardianship or conservatorship, a formal request must be brought before the court. As expected when you are talking about managing someone else’s life for them, it is not a simple process, which is why working with a lawyer experienced in guardianship law is so highly recommended.
At Peck Ritchey our guardianship lawyers assist their clients every step of the way. From the initial filing of the legal papers to representing the client at court hearings, your guardianship law attorney will be a resource you can count on to guide you through the nuances of the legal process.
Even before papers are filed, you can expect your Peck Ritchey attorney to advise you of all of your options. Conservatorships are not the only way to protect seniors. Powers of attorney, trusts and estate planning are just a few of the tools available to you if you want to avoid guardianships or if you are denied a guardianship request.
Working with one of our experienced elder care attorneys will make the process easier and ensure you’re choosing the best course of action for everyone involved. Our attorneys can help capable seniors set up advance care directives or they can help concerned relatives create a guardianship for their loved ones.