How Chicago Estate Planning Lawyers Help Families Young and Old

Chicago Law Firm As one’s family changes over the years, there are many situations for which advanced estate planning can help during an emergency. Whether you are new parents looking for an Illinois will and guardianship attorney for your children or learned of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in the family, a Chicago estate planning lawyer can help you to plan appropriately for your specific needs.

The Chicago estate planning lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC help families plan for future health care decisions, end-of-life planning, general estate planning and administration, and guardianship. Many people are often unaware that an estate planning attorney can also assist with planning for a family member’s mental or physical disabilities.  When an individual becomes disabled, a Chicago estate planning firm can set up a special needs trust, guardianship, and a long-term care plan to protect their assets.

Each family has unique needs and situations. The Chicago estate planning lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC understand the importance of having a well drafted estate plan for asset protection in Illinois. It’s the goal for the Chicago estate planning firm, Peck Ritchey, to help their clients make informed choices about their family’s future.

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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.

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Important Questions To Ask Of Perspective Estate Lawyers In Chicago

Estate Planning DocumentLegal 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.

For more information about how Peck Ritchey, LLC can help with all of your estate planning needs, contact us at 855-328-5787.

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Kerry Peck Co-Author of New Alzheimer’s Book

AlzheimerAndTheLaw_LRGAfter spending a large portion of his career fighting for the best care and financial strategies for his clients with Alzheimer’s disease, Peck Ritchey, LLC Managing Partner Kerry Peck co-wrote the book Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law in hopes that people use it as a manual to better understand the legal options that are available before and after a diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law is a new book aimed at helping readers better understand the legal implications that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis has over an individual’s future.

Written by Chicago Litigation Lawyer Kerry Peck and Rick Law, Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law is designed to give attorneys the knowledge needed guide their clients diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  The book addresses ethics, health care options, asset protection strategies, and other long term care planning.

Additional contributors to this book include Brandon Peck and Diana Law. The book’s Forward was written by acclaimed author Scott Turow.

This book will answer a variety of questions including:

  • How do we get health care for the patient?
  • What are the ethics of working with clients with Alzheimer’s?
  • What options are available for health care?
  • How are these options going to affect the patient and the family/spouse?
  • What is the long-term outlook for everyone?
  • How can we protect the family assets?

For more information about Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law visit http://apps.americanbar.org/abastore/index.cfm?pid=1620569&section=main&fm=Product.AddToCart

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Peck Ritchey’s Estate Lawyers In Chicago Help Fiduciary Agents Perform Their Legal Duties

Estate Planning DocumentManaging 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.

Fiduciary Responsibilities

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 to learn more about our estate planning and administration services.

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Think You Don’t Need Estate Attorneys In Chicago? Why Everyone Needs This Type Of Lawyer

Elder Law ChicagoIt’s a common misconception — estate attorneys in Chicago are only needed if you’re extremely wealthy. However, this is completely false! If you have a modest lifestyle and don’t own a private jet or other luxuries, here’s how estate attorneys in Chicago can help you.

Estate Attorneys In Chicago Can Establish A Living Will

Even though it seems slightly morbid, it’s important to think about what happens if you’re suddenly incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. Whether you had a major medical event, such as a heart attack or stroke, or were in a car accident, it’s important that your family members know how much — or how little — medical care you want to receive. Perhaps the thought of living on a ventilator for the rest of your life bothers you or you don’t want to receive life-sustaining nutrition if you’re unable to eat on your own.

A living will can take the guesswork out of your family members’ hands. They won’t have to worry about arguing over what they think you would have liked, because your living will can make sure everyone knows your wishes.

Estate Attorneys In Chicago Can Establish Guardianship

If you have minor children, do you know what would happen to them if you were to suddenly die? While this is any parent’s nightmare, it’s important to plan for this possibility, just in case. Before you meet with estate attorneys in Chicago, talk to your friends and family members. Ask them if they’re willing to step up and raise your children in case you pass away and then have your attorneys draw up guardianship papers so there’s no question. This important step can help ensure that your children are left in a stable household, no matter what happens to you.

Guardianship also refers to the legal guardianship of adults who are no longer able to care for themselves. Establishing guardianship of an adult means that you’ll be able to make medical and financial decisions for them, but you must be appointed by a court order for the guardianship to be legal.

Estate Attorneys In Chicago Can Create A Power Of Attorney

A power of attorney is a useful document if you’re ever unable to access your money, sign legal paperwork or make medical decisions. A power of attorney can be special or limited. If you decide on a limited power of attorney, your estate attorneys in Chicago will be able to advise you on just what it entails because the power will be limited to the specifications in the document. A special power of attorney will give your agent full power of representation in all situations. If you’re not sure which document is right for your situation, make sure to ask your estate attorneys in Chicago for their advice to make sure that you’re choosing the right one.

Someone with a power of attorney can make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to make them yourself. However the difference between this and a living will is that with a power of attorney, the agent does not have to take your wishes into consideration. If you have a specific way you want medical issues to be handled, a living will is a necessary document.

You don’t need to be very wealthy to take advantage of estate attorneys in Chicago, as everyone should have a living will, establish guardianship for their minor children and have a power of attorney in case they’re unable to make decisions for themselves.

If you’re looking for estate attorneys in Chicago, Peck Ritchey, LLC can help. We can help you understand the complex issues surrounding estate planning to make sure you — and your loved ones — are taken care of.

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