Legal proceedings relating to estate matters can often be complex and intimidating, even for experienced attorneys who aren't familiar with this particular specialty. They can also be especially difficult because they often deal with delicate family matters, both in the planning stages and when a trust or estate must be administered following the passing of a loved one. When choosing between estate lawyers in Chicago it can be helpful to keep a few basic questions in mind to ensure that the attorney you select will be able to offer you the best possible representation.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Law?
This is generally the first question that comes to mind for most families seeking estate lawyers in Chicago. An attorney with a wealth of experience, especially if they have spent a good portion of their tenure focusing on estate planning, will have had the opportunity to be exposed to a wide variety of case details and documentation. Estate proceedings involve a great deal of documentation and wills, trusts and power of attorney forms used by experienced attorneys have often been repeatedly revised to adjust to the varying needs of their clients.
Do You Primarily Focus On Estate Planning?
This question will be of particular importance if your case has the potential to present complications to a general attorney who may have only passing experience in preparing simple wills or healthcare documents. Extenuating circumstances involving family or financial matters, large taxable estates or pre-existing legal proceedings may require the expertise of a specialized attorney who devotes the majority of his or her time to dealing with such matters.
Have You Had Experience In Cases Similar To Mine?
Finding the right match for your individual needs is important in any legal proceeding. Taking the time to go over some of the basic details with perspective estate lawyers in Chicago will help to give you the peace of mind that the lawyer you choose has had experience, and ideally success, in handling similar cases. A reputable firm will be happy to provide you with a listing of cases they've handled in the past and provide you with an idea of how the proceedings unfolded.
How Will I Be Charged By Estate Lawyers In Chicago?
While the quality of the representation is paramount, it's also very important to understand how a given firm's fees are handled. While some attorneys charge a flat fee, others may bill an hourly rate. It's also important to find out up front what is and is not covered by any flat rate fee in order to avoid any unexpected charges. Here at Peck Ritchey, there are no hidden costs or surprises, we strive to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation while being fully informed about our fees.
What Is The Process Moving Forward?
If you've determined that a perspective attorney may be a good fit, ask them to lay out the next steps in the process. Having an idea of how different estate lawyers in Chicago might proceed in handling your affairs can give you peace of mind and insight into their particular process. This is also your opportunity to determine if you will be comfortable sharing the details of your life with a given lawyer. The more at ease you feel with the individual handling your estate matters, the more likely you are to be upfront and forthcoming with the information they require to help you make the best decisions possible.
Managing the estate of a deceased friend or loved one can be challenging. There are legal requirements to meet and ramifications for nearly every decision you make. To make it more difficult, you'll often have to make these decisions while still mourning the loss of your loved one. That's why it's important to have Peck Ritchey estate lawyers in Chicago helping you.
The job of fiduciary or executor often falls to the most trustworthy and honest person the decedent knew. While an honor, it comes with a great deal of responsibility that some people are unprepared to handle. Suddenly you are in charge of making sure the person's final wishes are honored, will is filed and honored, debts and taxes are paid, obligations are taken care of and every day matters of living are attended to. Oh, and did we mention, you might have to do this under the scrutiny of heirs who don't think you're the best person for the job?
It's for reasons like this that so many executors seek the advice, counsel and guidance of Peck Ritchey estate lawyers. Our estate lawyers in Chicago guide hundreds of executors through the probate process, help them manage wills and trusts and ensure they are performing their duties in compliance with the law every year.
How Peck Ritchey Estate Lawyers In Chicago Can Help
Anyone can be named the executor of an estate. You don't need to have any special legal knowledge or be particularly good with finances. What you do need is to operate within the confines of the law. Sometimes, people get nervous just thinking about being responsible for someone else's assets. Others get nervous when they realize there are legal requirements to be met and they don't know what they are. Still others are too distraught over the loss to feel confident in their ability to make the best decisions.
Peck Ritchey estate lawyers can guide and support you through this maze. Our experience and expertise extends to all aspects of estate planning and administration. We can:
- Guide you through the probate process.
- Appear by your side in court, if need be.
- Assist in the transfer of assets.
- Help resolve claims.
- Ensure the estate plan gets implemented as intended.
- Prepare and file state and federal inheritance tax returns.
- Help you find and identify heirs and manage the estate if there is no will.
- Arrange for the disposition of assets.
- Help you identify individuals, agencies and services that should be notified of the decedent's passing.
- Keep detailed records of all decisions, actions and transactions made related to the estate.
We will also make sure you're meeting all of your legal obligations. It is vitally important that you follow the rules of law when fulfilling your fiduciary duties. If you fail to do so, you can open yourself up to personal liability and may find yourself getting sued by heirs or fined by the court or government agencies.
You have an important duty to fulfill. Let the Peck Ritchey estate lawyers in Chicago help you accomplish it. Contact us at 855-328-5787 or visit us at www.peckbloom.com to learn more about our estate planning and administration services.