What Your Chicago Will Attorney Wants You To Know

Estate Planning DocumentIf you don't have a will drafted, you may now realize why it's important to have one. Learn more about what a Chicago will attorney wants you to know regarding creating a will that can help protect your family members from fighting and stress.

Chicago Will Attorney Tip #1: Everyone Needs A Will

If you don't have a lot of assets, you probably think you don't even need a will. However, this is completely false! Everyone needs a will. Wills can help your relatives know what you want to do with your belongings after you're gone, even if this just includes your furniture or other household goods. Without it, your family members could spend time arguing amongst themselves instead of pulling together and mourning your loss. Additionally, when you have a legally binding document from a Chicago will attorney that spells out your wishes, your beneficiaries will be able to access your estate more quickly.

Chicago Will Attorney Tip #2: Use A Lawyer

Everyone has seen the commercials for DIY legal services. This is a terrible idea. These documents may not be binding or they might not address your specific situation. Instead, contact a Chicago will attorney and have a lawyer draft the right type of documents for your individual situation. The cost is often negligible and the benefits can save your family members a lot of heartache after you're gone.

Chicago Will Attorney Tip #3: Understand What Your Executors Do

Wills must have an executor appointed. This is the person who is responsible for making sure your wishes are carried out after you're gone. Many married couples choose to name each other as executor, but what happens if there's an accident and both spouses are killed or one is medically unable to act as the executor? These situations are why it is important to have someone named as a substitute executor.

Chicago Will Attorney Tip #4: Don't Forget To Name A Guardian And Trustee

If you're relatively young and have children living at home, it's vital that you name a guardian for them. If you're married and both spouses die in an accident, the children could be placed into a state run foster home, especially if it takes a while to contact your next of kin. Additionally, if you're unmarried and living together, it's important to name someone as guardian. An unmarried father may not automatically receive custody of his own children, especially if an aunt or grandparent contests the guardianship. For this reason, it's important to appoint guardians.

If you put assets into a trust for younger children, it's also necessary to appoint a trustee. This doesn't have to be the same person as the guardian and many people choose to name a trusted attorney or family friend as the trustee. The trustee ensures that assets are managed well when the children are too young to make responsible financial decisions for themselves.

Chicago Will Attorney Tip #5: Let Your Family Members Know Where It Is

Lastly, it's important that your family members know where your will is. The days surrounding your death can be stressful and chaotic, especially if it was a surprise. If your family members know where your will is, they'll be able to make sure your wishes are followed.

If you don't have a will drafted, let a Chicago will attorney from Peck Ritchey, LLC help create one. When wills are done correctly they can reduce a lot of stress and strife after a loved one's death. To learn more about Peck Ritchey, LLC, please visit http://www.peckbloom.com/about-us.html

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Don’t Make These Six Mistakes When Writing Your Will

Estate Planning DocumentIf you haven't yet prepared a will, you're probably putting it off because you aren't sure what to include, how to structure it to protect your heirs or even how to establish a trust for your children. That's perfectly normal – most individuals are confused by the many laws surrounding a last will and testament, but you can quickly get clarification from a Chicago will attorney at Peck Ritchey. Rather than run the risk of leaving behind a confusing or invalid will, talk to us about having your will prepared properly. We can help you avoid the following common mistakes:

Mistake #1: Neglecting To Assign An Executor Or Chicago Will Attorney

While the courts can appoint an executor for your estate, it's best to choose a person you know and trust as the executor of your will. Almost any Chicago will attorney can tell you a tale about a court-appointed executor who winds up causing problems because he or she simply didn't understand or care about the wishes of the deceased person. A Chicago will attorney can help you choose someone who has the right skills, is trusted by the family, and who will execute the will faithfully.

Mistake #2: Trying To Mix Assets

Family fights and bad blood can be avoided if your will clearly outlines what each heir inherits and what should be done with the bulk of your estate. Many people who are executors, however, attempt to mix assets or don't fully understand the importance of keeping specific bequests separate. If there is an independent life insurance policy in effect or joint accounts that your loved one had with another individual, the situation can be even more confusing. To make sure that you don't mix assets and that you understand which assets should be included or left out of the estate, consult with a Chicago will attorney.

Mistake #3: Not Making Funeral Plans

This is a crucial aspect of an estate that is often overlooked by individuals trying to write their own wills. They assume that their children or grandchildren will be able to make the funeral arrangements themselves. Sadly, this often leads to unnecessary bickering when everyone is trying to mourn and when most people are particularly sensitive to criticism. One person may feel that a cherry wood coffin and a lavish funeral with hundreds of mourners is appropriate while another heir may feel that their loved one would have preferred a private send-off with minimal fuss. A Chicago will attorney can assist you in outlining your funeral wishes clearly and in detail so that your descendants don't have to go through the painful process of making arrangements.

Mistake #4: Not Appointing A Guardian For Your Children

No one thinks they will die while their children are still young, but it has happened often enough that every parent should prepare in advance for the possibility. Without stipulating a guardian for your children, they could end up wards of the court and given over to a guardian you would not have chosen because of their age, a fundamentally different lifestyle, or a religious view that doesn't agree with your own. Talk to a Chicago will attorney at Peck Ritchey about choosing and appointing an appropriate guardian so that your children will be raised in a manner closely aligned with your own beliefs and child-rearing methods.

Mistake #5: Forgetting Fido

Despite their status as members of your family, pets are considered personal property by probate courts. That means your dogs or cats could end up being sold or given away if you don't specifically leave them to an heir who will care for and love them. A Chicago will attorney may also advise you to leave a specific amount of money to the person who inherits your pet or pets to defray the expenses of caring for your furry friend.

Mistake #6: Not Paying Off Debts Before Distributing The Estate

As the executor of an estate, you may discover that the heirs to an estate are anxious to get their fair share of the inheritance. Often, they will want the executor to distribute the funds as soon as possible, not understanding or caring that there may be substantial debts or obligations that have to be paid for out of the estate before the remainder is distributed to the heirs. When preparing your own will, a Chicago will attorney can assist you in writing clear instructions for paying off debts and obligations from a bank account set aside specifically for this purpose. This allows for quicker distribution of the estate, while protecting executors from liability if additional expenses are discovered.

At Peck Ritchey, a will attorney isn't just a lawyer who creates a standard document. He or she will be your advisor every step of the way, suggesting ways to structure your estate in order to protect your heirs and ensure that your final wishes are carried out faithfully. Visit our website to schedule an initial consultation.

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New Year’s Resolutions

With 2012 quickly coming to a close, people begin drafting their lists of New Year’s resolutions.  While many will join a gym or vow to stop smoking as a way to improve their lives, they will often overlook getting their legal paperwork in order.

It may not be a priority for all, but updating beneficiaries after major life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or the passing of a family member is an important thing to do.

Talk to an estate planning attorney about what is best for you and your family. A well thought out and properly prepared estate plan can help you save time and money.

Take inventory of your documents. Where are insurance policies, retirement paperwork and investment information saved? It’s critical to have this kind of information at hand in case of an emergency.

And while making legal decisions is often difficult, our team offers compassionate, informed, and dedicated service. Peck Ritchey, LLC staff counsels clients with up-to-the-minute advice that will protect their assets during their lifetime and for their family after the client’s death.

Peck Ritchey estate attorneys will meet at an office location that is most convenient for their clients; Peck Ritchey has office locations in Chicago, Northbrook, Orland Park and Skokie. The firm also provides legal services for DuPage County.

Take the opportunities over these next few months to examine how happy and healthy your older relatives’ lives really are. You can help avoid future emergencies by productively discussing their current and future living situations now.

Resolve to get your legal affairs in order and contact the attorneys at Peck Ritchey by calling 312.201.0900 for a 30 minute no-cost consultation and start the New Year off right.

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Questions to Ask Elderly Relatives This Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us, it’s important to check in with family members. When visiting your parents or elderly relatives consider asking more than just how they are doing.

Do you know how to spot signs of elder abuse?

Are your elderly relatives able to live well on their own? Perhaps looking into obtaining a caretaker or moving them into a senior living facility should be considered for the future.

Ask about their routines, health and social interactions to get a better picture if they need more help in their day-to-day lives.

Finances may not be an easy topic of discussion but looking for clues in conversation could help you recognize signs of financial abuse. For example:

  • A new “friendship” with someone who has nothing in common with the older person.
  • Sudden changes in regular banking withdrawal activity.
  • Co-signing or guaranteeing a loan for someone else.

Do you know your family members’ end-of-life wishes?

Not only should you learn about their wishes but you should also find out if and where they are documented. If funeral arrangements have been prepared ahead of time, do the right people know where to find burial plot information, etc?

Take the opportunities over these next few months to examine how happy and healthy your older relatives’ lives really are. You can help avoid future emergencies by productively discussing their current and future living situations now.

If you find that your loved ones need assistance with updating their legal documents or are in need of a guardian, contact the elder law attorneys at Peck Ritchey.

Peck Ritchey concentrates in all aspects of probate, estate planning, guardianship, tax law, nursing home injuries, elder abuse and elder law. Our attorneys provide innovative approaches and successful solutions to meet your needs.

For a no-cost, 30 minute consultation call 312.201.0900.

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Living Trusts: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Trust Litigation Attorney

 

One of the better ways to financially protect an elderly individual is setting up a trust.

The type selected depends on the goals and circumstances of the donor or grantor who is providing the money and property to fund the trust.  It also depends upon the circumstances of the person who is to benefit from the trust.

A living trust, also known as a Revocable Living Trust, is not the same as a living will, which provides medical care decisions. A revocable living trust is created while the person is still alive and can be modified at any time; it’s an easier alternative to organize assets and allows for efficient property distribution upon one’s death.

When considering setting up a revocable living trust for an elderly individual, it’s also important to first consider their mental capacity. Do they have the ability to: transact ordinary business and understand the trust that they are signing?

Did you know?

  • If the person with the trust becomes mentally incapacitated, their trustee can manage their assets rather than a court-supervised guardian or conservator.
  • A Revocable Living Trust helps avoid probate and the details of trust agreement cannot become public record.
  • When the person with the living trust dies, those assets go directly to the beneficiaries named in the trust agreement.

The attorneys of Peck Ritchey, LLC are recognized leaders in estate, trust and guardianship litigation.  For more information on setting up a trust by speaking to a trust litigation attorney, visit our website or call directly at 312. 201.0900.

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Consulting With Chicago Estate Attorneys: 4 Tips That Can Help You Prepare For The Future

Young people tend to think they’re invincible and most don’t want to look too far into the future, reasoning that they have years to prepare for retirement or write a will. Unfortunately, unexpected circumstances can crop up at any time, and if you aren’t familiar with estate planning or wills, you may find yourself caught off guard. You may be years away from retirement, but understanding Chicago elder law issues will be crucial if your parents need assistance or you become incapacitated or pass away suddenly.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare sufficiently for the future. An estate attorney in Chicago can help you prepare for the unexpected by assisting you in the preparation of an iron-clad will, guiding you through the legal ramifications of guardianship of your parents or elderly loved ones, and protecting your property, assets and children in the future.

Chicago Elder Law Consultations – The Time Is Now

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that having a Chicago will attorney isn’t relevant to your own family just because you’re young. Consulting with an elder law attorney can help you prepare for the future by giving you an understanding of all the legal issues involved in setting up an estate, writing a will, and stipulating guardians for your children if you pass away while they are minors.

You can also learn a great deal about issues surrounding becoming a legal guardian for loved ones who are already entering their twilight years. If you have a parent or parents who will need assistance in the near future, meeting with a Chicago will attorney or Chicago estate attorneys is the first step in preparing the legal documents you’ll need.

You should discuss the various documents you can use to outline a plan for your own care as you grow older. Among the most common reasons for consulting an elder law attorney before you’re retired are preparing a will that clearly outlines who inherits what from your estate, instituting a medical power of attorney that outlines which life saving measures you do and don’t want exercised on your behalf and putting someone you trust in charge of important decisions if you are incapacitated.

Why Now Is Better Than Later: Chicago Elder Law Issues Affect Your Life Today And Tomorrow

Most people don’t like to think about meeting with Chicago estate attorneys, particularly when they are young and have children who are still little. It’s not a comfortable thing to think about, and some people worry that preparing a will is tempting fate. It’s a serious mistake, however, to assume you have plenty of time; unexpected illness or death can leave your children  and  legacy unprotected if you don’t have a will, power of attorney or other estate planning documents in place.

Meeting with estate attorneys while you’re still young is an excellent way to ensure that your children are properly cared for both financially and physically. Establishing a good working rapport with Chicago will attorneys is one of the best steps you can take. Chicago elder law attorneys who prepare estate documents can help you put your finances into proper order in the event you are injured or pass away while your children are young. Chicago will attorneys who are already familiar with your financial situation and your final wishes will be better able to carry out those wishes and protect your heirs in court.

Dying without a will in place or without instructions for the care and placement of your minor children can lead to your children suffering additional financial and emotional burdens they should have never had to face. Chicago estate attorneys can minimize or avoid the probate process.

Estate Administration & Inheritances

In addition to helping you write up your own will or estate plan, Chicago estate attorneys can help you handle the complexities of administering a loved ones estate, should you be appointed executor, or representing you as a beneficiary of any inheritance that comes your way.

Will Contests

Disputes over wills arise every day. They can tear a family apart, particularly if your parents or grandparents died without a will, revised their will suddenly before their death or left behind an ambiguous, difficult to understand will. Scheduling a family meeting with a Chicago will attorney can help clarify inheritance issues and prevent feuds in the future so that your parents can rest easy, knowing you and your siblings will be properly provided for.

Now is the time to consult with a Chicago elder law attorney or Chicago estate attorneys. By having your entire family meet with an estate attorney, you can ensure that three generations of your family are protected and cared for when you or your parents pass away.

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