Tips From An Attorney Concentrating In Elder Law In Chicago: How To Protect Elderly Relatives

Elder Law ChicagoElder 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.

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What Attorneys Concentrating In Elder Law In Chicago Want You To Know About Planning For Your Parents’ Future

Estate Planning Lawyers ChicagoIf 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 our about us page.

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Is an Elder Law Lawyer for You?

Elder Law ChicagoElder 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.

Contact the Chicago elder law attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC today for an initial consultation at (855) 328-5787.

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Financial Elder Abuse: Warning Signs And How To Use Elder Lawyers In Illinois To Fight Back

Elder Law ChicagoIf 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 see our practice areas

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Conservatorship And Elder Law: Chicago Law Firms Can Help You Protect Your Loved Ones

Chicago Guardianship LawyerIt’s a very common situation: Your elderly parents or grandparents simply cannot take care of themselves any longer. Perhaps your mother keeps forgetting to take her heart medication, or your grandfather has become so frail that he can’t move around his home anymore. Perhaps the situation has even progressed as far as full-blown dementia. Whatever the specifics of the case may be, you’ve come to realize that your beloved relative needs someone to take care of her.

So what can be done about that? After all, it’s not like you can just swoop in and take over a grown adult’s affairs without consent. Luckily, there is a specific field of law that has provisions in place for this very situation called elder law. Chicago law firm Peck Ritchey has extensive experience in this field and can help you come up with a solution for how to care for your loved ones.

Conservatorship And Elder Law In Chicago

Obtaining control over an adult’s affairs is known as guardianship or conservatorship. This goes a step further than a simple power of attorney. Conservatorship becomes appropriate only when an adult is determined to be disabled and completely unable to care for himself. There are several different levels of adult guardianship that may be appropriate depending on the unique situation.

It’s important to know right at the outset what type of guardianship you would like to pursue. If full guardianship is necessary, then the guardian, or appointee, would have complete control over the elder’s affairs, including medical and financial details. These duties can be shared with another competent adult as co-guardianship. If the situation does not require such full control, then a limited conservatorship may be the better option. The potential ward may only need help with financial matters, for example, or for making decisions about her medical care. It’s also possible that you may only need to be the conservator for a short period, such as after an illness or surgery.

After you know what type of guardianship will be appropriate, your next job is to prove that your relative is unable to care for herself. The judge will not just take your word for it in such a serious matter; instead, you will need to consult a physician. That doctor will perform a thorough exam of your loved one and provide a physician’s report that includes an explanation of whether he or she believes that the patient is incapacitated and why. Once you have this report, you can file a petition with the court.

What Happens Next?

After you’ve filed the petition, the judge in charge of the case will appoint a guardian ad litem. This is the term for a lawyer who will be responsible for representing the elder’s rights in the case. The guardian ad litem will consult with his or her client in order to form another opinion over whether or not that person should be made a ward.

Copies of the petition will also be provided to the alleged ward and to your other relatives at least 14 days in advance of the court hearing. This way, no one can obtain conservatorship of a senior citizen without the knowledge of the rest of the family. This dramatically reduces the likelihood of elder abuse; for example, someone obtaining guardianship of a wealthy older person and then stealing all of the money.

During the court hearing, your job will be to convince the judge not only that your elderly relative is completely disabled, but that you would be an appropriate conservator. If you can state your case convincingly and have the corroborating opinions of both the guardian ad litem and the physician, then your request will most likely be granted.

Naturally, this process is more complicated than it sounds, and just like with any legal matter it requires scads of paperwork and forms to fill out correctly. And since the laws and regulations vary from state to state, it’s always a good idea to consult with a specialist in elder law. Chicago area law firms will be able to assist you with guardianship cases in the state of Illinois and will be an invaluable resource to you. With the assistance of a qualified attorney, you can make sure that your elderly loved ones are protected. 

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Mistakes Estate Lawyers In Chicago Don’t Want You To Make

estate-planning-peck-bloomIf you’re beginning the estate planning process, you know how important it can be. However, understanding the importance just isn’t enough — you also need to make sure that you’re avoiding these common problems. Before you meet with an attorney, heed the advice of estate lawyers in Chicago and learn how to avoid these common mistakes.

Choosing The Wrong Executor

Choosing the executor of your will is a vital step. This person will be responsible for a number of major decisions, including whether your house should be sold and filing your final federal and state tax returns. The executor will make sure that the wishes of the will are enacted. He or she will make sure that pets and minor children are taken care of according to the will and that assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. He or she is typically a family member, but it’s possible to name estate lawyers in Chicago or even a certified public accountant as the executor.

Before naming someone as an executor, estate lawyers in Chicago recommend that you ask permission, especially if you’re naming a friend or family member. Acting as an executor can be a major undertaking so it’s important that the person knows what they’re getting into before they volunteer for the job.

Not Including A No Conflict Clause And Not Treating Beneficiaries Equally

Another mistake that estate lawyers in Chicago want you to avoid making is not adding a no conflict clause in to the will. A no conflict clause will help eliminate fighting among family members and beneficiaries. It basically states that anyone who contests the contents of the will receives nothing. It’s an easy way to ensure that everyone gets along throughout the entire process.

Also, treating everyone equally will help ensure that beneficiaries don’t fight among themselves. If you have multiple children, ensure that everyone receives an equal portion of your assets. While it might seem like a good idea to give wealthier relatives less than relatives who aren’t as financially stable, this can create negative feelings and strife between family members.

Not Updating The Beneficiaries In Your Will

Estate lawyers in Chicago also want you to make sure that your beneficiaries are updated regularly in your will. If someone named in your will has recently died, it could cause problems if the document isn’t updated. It’s a good idea to take a look at your legal documents at least once a year to make sure the information is accurate and go to your estate lawyers in Chicago for updates if it’s not.

#1 Mistake Estate Lawyers In Chicago Want You To Avoid: Not Making A Plan At All

The top mistake that estate lawyers in Chicago want you to avoid is neglecting to make a plan at all! People who don’t plan for what happens to their assets after their death are setting their family members up for a nightmare of paperwork and potential problems. They could also lose a large percentage of their assets to taxes and attorneys’ fees. Instead of leaving your loved ones with a mess, make sure that the details are taken care of well in advance.

Avoiding these common mistakes can really help your loved ones through the difficult time after you’ve passed. If you haven’t planned for the future, contact top estate lawyers in Chicago at Peck Ritchey. We’ll be able to ensure your family members are taken care of, even after you can’t.

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Legal Spring Cleaning

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.

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Face The Present And The Future With Confidence With Help From Chicago Elder Law Attorneys

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.

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Elder Care Lawyers In Chicago: Helping Seniors Protect Themselves And Their Assets

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
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Age Discrimination
  • Elder Abuse and Neglect
  • Litigation

Hands-On Services

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.

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Understanding Elder Law In Chicago

As our population ages, more and more attention is being paid to elder law. Chicago area seniors and their families are seeking out these specialty lawyers and have come to rely on their expertise to guide them through all of the new experiences that come with aging, to help them plan for their golden years and to ensure their last wishes are honored.

But what is this fast-growing field of law, and do you really need a lawyer concentrating in elder law in Chicago?

What Is Elder Law?

Broadly, elder law is a legal practice that specializes in issues affecting older adults. The attorneys who specialize in elder law in Chicago help their clients plan for the future by developing legal solutions to financial, healthcare, relational and transactional needs. Almost any legal issue can fall under the scope of elder law, but firms that practice elder law in Chicago and elsewhere usually have strong experience in estate planning, long-term care planning and advance directives, wills, trusts, probate, guardianships, retirement planning, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs and many other issues that affect seniors like Alzheimer’s and dementia, long-term disability, age discrimination and tax planning.

They can also advocate for seniors in tenant/landlord relations, nursing home disputes, in cases of elder abuse or neglect, and represent them in all legal matters, including litigation.

A Team Approach To Elder Law In Chicago

Elder law encompasses so many topics, it’s nearly impossible to find one lawyer who is an expert in every situation. More likely, you will find firms of elder law attorneys like Peck Ritchey. Our firm practices elder law in Chicago and we have many qualified attorneys who have each practiced in a few specific areas. This allows us to offer many services to our clients from lawyers who have dedicated an enormous amount of time to very specific areas of expertise.

Additionally, elder law lawyers work closely with their senior clients and their family members to develop legal solutions that meet the clients’ needs. There is never a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather a team effort between the client, his family and the attorney to come to the best solution.

The Big Picture

A good elder law lawyer will be interested in the big picture of their clients’ lives. They will take into account the client’s finances, health and familial support to develop solutions that will provide a high quality of life for the rest of their clients’ lives.

Not only that, these attorneys often have access to resources for the elderly and can help them find programs and support services that they need, such as home healthcare providers, assisted living facilities or nursing homes, and even local senior services.

When To Hire A Firm That Concentrates In Elder Law In Chicago

Hiring an elder law lawyer or firm is a good idea for any older adult who wants to plan ahead for his golden years by developing an estate plan or designing a healthcare directive. If your will needs updating or you want to protect your heirs from having to go through probate, an elder law firm can help.

In addition to planning services, a firm can help if you are having problems obtaining Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits.

If you suspect your elderly parents have been neglected by their caregivers or have been a victim of fraud, elder care lawyers can help you protect your parents’ rights and if your parents are no longer able to care for themselves, an elder care lawyer can help you obtain a guardianship.

If you’re in need of a firm that practices elder law in Chicago, contact the attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC. We provide litigation and transactional services for seniors covering all aspects of elder law in Chicago.

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