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 Ritchey or to contact us about issues related to elder law in Chicago, please visit our website or call (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 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 Ritchey, LLC. To learn more about the firm's services, please visit http://www.peckbloom.com/about-us.html.
Elder law is an area of practice that concentrates on issues that affect the aging population. But don’t let the name fool you, elder law lawyers work with individuals of all ages!
How do you know if you need a Chicago elder law attorney?
At Peck Ritchey we have an array of Chicago elder law attorneys who concentrate in many different areas. Finding the right lawyer starts with an assessment of your needs. For example, if you need help with estate planning, our Chicago elder law firm has extensive estate planning experience. If you have an issue with a will, trust or even abuse/neglect, our elder law litigation lawyers can address that issue in court if necessary.
Ways an elder law lawyer in Chicago can help:
Peck Ritchey, LLC provides an array of services for seniors, including planning for health care decisions, end-of-life issues, and meeting possible long term care needs. An elder law lawyer can also assist with general estate planning, administration, and guardianship proceedings, and even litigation matters.
If you have aging parents, you know that keeping track of their financial well being can be difficult. Seniors are especially susceptible to elder abuse, but families can help protect them against financial abuse by knowing what it looks like, being aware of the warning signs and taking legal steps with the help of elder lawyers in Illinois. Take a few minutes to learn how you can employ elder lawyers in Illinois to protect your aging parents or other relatives.
What Is Financial Elder Abuse?
Basically, financial elder abuse occurs when a senior is taken advantage of financially just because of their age. Seniors can be easy targets for scammers and swindlers. These people can use a number a ways to scam seniors out of money, including:
- Contacting them over the phone and asking for money for a made up charity.
- Stealing a credit or debit card.
- Using a power of attorney to write checks or make unauthorized ATM withdrawals.
- Convincing a senior to sign over a financial power of attorney.
What Warning Signs Should You Look For?
Financial elder abuse can be difficult to spot, but there are a few key warning signs that you can look for to protect your loved ones. If you notice things like bills that are going unpaid, credit card or bank statements with a number of unusual transactions, or that your loved one is suddenly spending a great deal of time with a new friend and giving away large gifts or belongings, you should be on the lookout for financial abuse.
Although most people worry about elder financial abuse from strangers, it's actually family members who are the biggest perpetrators. This could be because family members could feel like they deserve the money and elderly parents may not want to prosecute their children who are taking advantage of them.
How Families And Elder Lawyers In Illinois Can Help Protect Seniors
One of the best ways families can protect their elderly relatives is to have more than one person be responsible for financial accounts. Checking accounts could have more than one adult child on the account, as well as the senior. While it might not be possible to have bank account or credit card statements mailed to two addresses, it is possible for each person to have online access. Having two sets of eyes on each account can help ensure that money is being spent wisely and that there aren't any red flags.
Additionally, elder lawyers in Illinois can help by drawing up joint powers of attorney. This ensures that two people can make any necessary financial decisions, protecting seniors, their money and their families. If you find that your parent or other relative has been a victim of financial elder abuse, elder lawyers in Illinois can also help you fight back and recoup your parents' money.
If you're looking to protect your elderly parents from financial elder abuse, turn to elder lawyers in Illinois. Elder lawyers in Illinois, such as Peck Ritchey, LLC can help draw up paperwork that won't leave your parents vulnerable to scammers and swindlers. If you're looking for elder lawyers in Illinois to help protect your family, please contact them today.
To learn more about services from our elder lawyers in Illinois, please visit http://www.peckbloom.com/practice-areas.html
At Peck Ritchey, LLC we are more than just lawyers who help our clients navigate the legal system. We are lawyers who care about our clients. We care about their well-being and the well-being of their family members as they go through some of life's toughest transitions.
One example of this is setting up a guardianship in Chicago. It's a very difficult decision to choose to create a guardianship for an aging loved one and we understand that. That's why we offer emotional, legal and practical support to our clients as they face these decisions.
Yes, we can help you set up a guardianship in Chicago, but we won't leave you on your own once it has been established.
5 Ways Peck Ritchey Can Help Ease The Transition Of Guardianship In Chicago
There are many issues that arise as we age. One of the most difficult decisions an adult child can make is whether or not to establish a guardianship for their parent(s). Making that decision requires careful consultation with an attorney and other family members, but even after a guardianship has been set up, there are needs to be met. We can help you find the resources you need to navigate the transitions that caring for aging relatives bring.
1. Legal Knowledge. Sometimes, a guardianship isn't the best solution. We can analyze your situation and give you advice as to whether you should pursue a guardianship or if some other arrangement would work better such as power of attorney, a living will or surrogate decision-making.
2. Estate Planning. Depending on the type of guardianship created, you may find yourself responsible for your parent's estate. If they do not have an estate plan in place, a Peck Ritchey lawyer can help you create one. This can help ensure there are funds available for long-term care of the parents, to help you meet your tax obligations, or to make plans for nursing home care down the road.
3. Senior and Social Services. We are very active in the Chicago community and have developed strong working relationships with the many senior and social service agencies in the city. Guardians may find themselves under a lot of stress and pressure with their added responsibilities and could benefit from counseling or joining a support network of people going through the same challenges. We can help put you in touch with agencies that can make the transition to guardianship in Chicago easier on you and on your loved ones.
4. Social Security and Medicaid. It's not unusual for adult children to have questions about how Social Security and Medicare or Medicaid work once their parent is under a guardianship. If you have trouble obtaining access to benefits due to your parent(s), contact us. We can look into the situation and help you gain access to the benefits you are due.
5. Outside Care. Guardians still have their own lives to live. If you need help finding in-home care, suitable nursing homes, or end-of-life or hospice care for your loved one, we can recommend reputable agencies and review any documents or papers you are required to sign. If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, contact us immediately. We can investigate the situation and ensure actions are taken to protect your loved one right away.
As the snow melts and the temperature steadily rises, the urge to clean house is eminent. As you stock up on cleaning products and make a to-do list, don’t forget to review your legal documents. Getting your paperwork in order may be the most productive thing you can do for yourself and your family all year. By making sure you have all your ducks in a row, you can help ensure your family is prepared and protected in case of an emergency.
Questions to add to your to-do list:
- Do I know where all my legal paperwork is stored?
- Do I know where my parents or elderly family members’ paperwork is stored?
- Is my will up-to-date?
- Have I updated the beneficiaries on my legal documents, insurance policies, etc?
- Do my parents have a funeral plan in place, and if so what are the details?
After you dust off your legal documents, contact the estate planning attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC for a complementary consultation at 312-200-0900. Our team can guide you through updating your legal paperwork and assist your family members who may need to consider Powers of Attorney or a trust.
Be aware that as of January 1, 2013 there were major changes in estate tax law. If you are not aware of these tax changes it’s imperative that you speak with an estate planning attorney. Not only will getting your estate plan in order give you piece of mind, but it will also help prevent conflict in the future.
Elder law attorneys help seniors and their families in many ways, in both proactive and reactive situations. With help from one of our Chicago elder law attorneys, seniors can map out a plan for their financial future, ensure their last wishes are honored or fight for rights that have been violated.
Facing The Future
No one knows what the future may hold. As we age these uncertainties can become more worrisome. Our financial situation may become more precarious. Our health may start to decline. We may worry about staying in our homes. In any of these situations, an elder law attorney can help seniors prepare for the future. Elder care lawyers have spent years learning about elder law and the unique issues that seniors face.
To help prepare clients for the future, Chicago elder law attorneys may draw up estate plans, establish trusts and guardianships, help seniors navigate tax law or offer asset protection advice. Alzheimer’s Disease planning can lessen the devastating effects this progressive disease has on families and individuals by designing legal protections that can protect quality of life and ensure financial stability even as cognitive function fades. A strong will or estate plan ensures last wishes are honored while appropriate tax planning can lessen the burden of income or estate taxes on seniors. Setting up an advance healthcare directive or planning for long-term care can ease worries about the future too.
Managing The Unexpected
Not only can elder law attorneys protect your future, they can protect your present as well. Age discrimination, elder abuse and neglect and family squabbles over your care or assets all warrant a call to your elder care lawyer. Through legal procedures or litigation, you and your rights can be protected.
Many seniors and their families eventually come to the conclusion that outside help is needed or that it’s time to move to a nursing home. Chicago elder law attorneys often have a vast network of professional services and organizations that cater to senior’s unique needs. Even if your situation doesn’t require legal action, your elder care lawyer can be a great resource in finding trusted services.
Choosing A Chicago Elder Law Firm
Finding the right elder care lawyer starts with an assessment of your needs. Since the field is so wide and varied, it is impossible for every lawyer to adequately cover every area of elder law. Most have chosen a few areas of specialization. Start here. If you need help with estate planning, look for a Chicago elder law firm that has strong estate planning experience. If your rights have been violated and you need to go to court, look for an elder law litigation lawyer.
At Peck Ritchey we have assembled an array of elder law attorneys who concentrate in many different areas. This allows our Chicago elder law firm to offer services that cover all areas of Chicago elder law and elder care. If a situation arises where your attorney doesn’t have the expertise needed, it’s a simple matter to call in a colleague to consult. More than our expertise is our compassion. Every one of our lawyers cares about seniors, their unique needs, and their individual situations. We understand that you’ll be sharing very personal information with us and sometimes be making tough decisions. Our attorneys will listen to your concerns, hopes and fears just as intently as we will evaluate your needs and legal recourse. Contact the Chicago elder law attorneys at Peck Ritchey today for a free initial consultation.
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.
Retirement, long-term care, Social Security, Medicaid. These are just some of the new issues we have to deal with as we age. For many of us, these issues and the changes they bring can be overwhelming and confusing. Elder care lawyers in Chicago can help you make sense of the decisions you have to make and clear your confusion.
Elder Care Lawyers In Chicago Specialize In Issues Affecting Seniors
Consulting a firm of elder care lawyers in Chicago can be one of the smartest moves you make as a senior citizen. These attorneys have dedicated their legal practice to understanding the issues seniors face and developing legal solutions to carry their clients through their golden years while maintaining their quality of life. Elder care lawyers in Chicago work with seniors and their loved ones to develop legal protections that ensure their clients needs are met for the rest of their lives and that their last wishes are honored.
In addition to providing legal services, elder care lawyers in Chicago often tap into their network of senior resources to help their clients manage day-to-day life. These professionals can often be counted on to provide suggestions or recommendations for public and private agencies or services that serve the senior population such as home healthcare assistance, Meals on Wheels programs and transitional housing programs.
Areas Of Legal Expertise
Since seniors are affected by nearly all aspects of the law, and even some that are unique to older adults, it should come as no surprise to find elder care lawyers in Chicago with a wide range of expertise. In fact, the field of elder law is so broad that it is not unusual for a firm of elder care lawyers in Chicago to employ several lawyers, each with only a few specialties. By setting up the practice this way, the firm can ensure their clients receive expert knowledge and service in very specific areas as opposed to a single lawyer who can provide general knowledge of many areas, but not a high level of expertise in any.
Areas of concentration among elder care lawyers in Chicago include:
- Estate Planning
- Wills, Probate and Trusts
- Guardianships and Conservatorships
- Healthcare Planning, including End-Of-Life and Long Term Care decisions
- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs
- Retirement Planning
- Asset Protection
- Age Discrimination
- Elder Abuse and Neglect
Elder care lawyers in Chicago often serve in more hands-on capacities as well. They may act as executors of wills or trusts or be called upon to administer the estate after death. They can guide the estate administrators through the probate process and assist with the filing of inheritance tax returns, resolving claims and fulfilling the wishes of the deceased.
One of the greatest services provided by elder care lawyers in Chicago, however, is simply the advice and support they offer seniors and their families. Elder care lawyers are professionals who understand the unique needs and limitations of seniors and have spent their entire practice designing solutions to seniors' most pressing legal needs.
If you need to consult elder care lawyers in Chicago, contact the attorneys at Peck Ritchey. We provide litigation and transactional services for seniors covering all aspects of elder law in the Chicagoland area.