Working with estate attorneys in Chicago can be uncomfortable — after all, there are some tough questions that need to be asked and answered. However, the entire experience can be made less stressful if you know what types of questions your attorney will ask. Before you make an appointment with estate attorneys in Chicago, make sure you know the answers to these questions.
Estate Attorneys In Chicago Ask: Who Will Care For Minor Children?
If you have minor children, this is an important question to answer — who will take care of them if both you and your spouse dies? However, having an answer to this question isn't enough. You should also make sure that the person you name guardian agrees with your decision. If they don't, your death could be even more stressful as the guardian struggles with their new role and your children struggle with the loss of their parents.
Estate Attorneys In Chicago Ask: Are There Any Other Descendants Or Companions?
If your estate attorneys in Chicago seem to ask the same question again and again, it's not because they don't remember your answers! Oftentimes when an attorney asks if there are any other descendants, the answer is initially no. A few days later, however, the attorney receives a call that tells them, yes, there's a secret descendant. If you have a child from a previous relationship, now is the time to have a conversation. It will likely be uncomfortable, but it can be stressful for your loved ones if this relationship comes to light at your funeral or immediately following your death.
If you have a relationship outside of your marriage, it's also important to disclose it to estate attorneys in Chicago. He or she will be able to advise you on how to approach this relationship in your will, if you want to at all. If you don't want to provide to your partner, you're not obligated to do so. However, letting your estate attorneys in Chicago know about the relationship can help them defend against a will contestation after you're gone.
Estate Attorneys In Chicago Ask: What About Pets?
Man's best friend needs a plan for when you're gone too. If you have pets and want to make sure they're taken care of after you're gone, have estate attorneys in Chicago put in a provision for them. You can decide who's going to care for these pets and even leave funds available for their care.
Estate Attorneys In Chicago Ask: What About Health Care?
Lastly, decide what you want to do in case that you're left in a vegetative state. Do you want life-sustaining measures taken or do you want ventilators and feeding tubes turned off? Don't rely on your family members to make these decisions for you, especially if you haven't made your wishes fully clear. When you spell them out in a health care directive, there will be no question as to what your wishes are.
If you're in the beginning stages of the estate planning process, these are just a few of the many hard questions estate attorneys in Chicago will ask. Before you meet with one, think about your wishes and how you want your affairs handled after you're gone.
To meet with professional and qualified estate attorneys in Chicago from Peck Ritchey, please call us at (312) 201-0900.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to getting legal matters taken care of, convenience of a law firm’s location is vital. The estate planning and elder law attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC understand their current and future clients’ needs, which is why they have offices in the suburbs.
Peck Ritchey, LLC’s main office is located in the Chicago loop. But for the convenience of their clients, both litigation attorneys and estate planning attorneys can have meetings at our offices in Northbrook, Orland Park or Skokie.
Having offices in both Cook and DuPage County is especially helpful for our elderly clients and their families. The close, personal attention our legal team provides will ensure you understand your options and what steps need to be taken to achieve your goals.
To have a 30 minute, no-cost consultation with a Peck Ritchey, LLC attorney call 312-201-0900. When you speak to the attorney, let him know if you can schedule a meeting at one of our satellite offices. This way, our attorneys can help ensure you have the best legal experience possible.
Simply writing a will won’t mean your wishes will be honored in probate court when you die. The complexities of probate laws in most states can mean confusion over the intent of your will after you pass away. Estate attorneys can explain the many probate laws in your state and help you structure your estate in a way that will guarantee your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Estate attorneys can also minimize the chance that disputes will be filed by probate attorneys on behalf of individuals contesting your will.
Not Every Will Is Straightforward
Greed and jealousy can rear their ugly heads among normally loving relatives if there is a lot at stake. In many cases, relatives will hire probate attorneys to contest a will that has left them out of the picture. A standard will can be difficult to interpret or uphold in court if those contesting it have hired experienced Chicago probate attorneys. The more scrutiny your will is under, the less likely it will stand up in probate court if you haven’t attended to the details by working with estate attorneys when drafting it.
Estate Lawyers In Chicago Can Craft A Customized Will
Estate lawyers can help write a will that addresses any unusual wishes you might have. For example: If you die unexpectedly and don’t want your children to have full access to your assets while they are still minors. Consulting with Chicago probate attorneys or estate attorneys can help you structure your estate and establish a trust fund or restricted account, protecting the bulk of the estate until your children are old enough to handle it responsibly.
Estate attorneys can also help you address issues such as who will raise your children and what to do with your home when you pass away. There are dozens of other issues to contend with as well, estate lawyers in Chicago or you local area can advise you on how to address these concerns properly.
Death And Taxes: Coping With A Sure Thing
Unfortunately both death and taxes are unavoidable, that is why consulting with estate attorneys sooner rather than later is essential. Inheritance taxes are complex and can vary widely from state to state. Estate Planning attorneys are often also CPA’s and are well versed in tax law issues surrounding wills and estates. They can offer suggestions and can recommend an appropriate tax attorney. Experienced estate lawyers and probate attorneys can help you understand the tax ramifications of your death so that you can prepare now, and have your family protected later.
Using A Standard Will Template Can Lead to Problems
Do not be lulled into assuming that writing a will using a standard template will protect your heirs. Your seemingly simple instructions can quickly mushroom into a family feud or a battle of the probate attorneys. Printing a form off of the Internet does not guarantee your wishes will be followed, the form may not even be legal, may not cover all areas of your estate and even if it does, without an attorney, you cannot ensure you have signed the document properly for it to be recognized by the court.
By planning now and working with estate attorneys can minimize family strife and greatly reduce the chance that your heirs will need probate attorneys to fight for their rights. Protect your heirs properly by meeting with estate attorneys now rather than waiting until it’s too late.
The majority of Americans understand that a will is the best way to ensure their assets are handled appropriately after their death. Many individuals, however, either avoid this crucial step or put it off until it’s too late. The time to hire a will attorney is now.
If you’re in the process of creating your estate plan or are still researching your options, the tips below can point you in the right direction and help you avoid the common mistakes that can result in a will or trust litigation lawyer dragging your estate through the court system.
1. The Time To Consult A Will Attorney Is Now, If Not Yesterday
Regardless of how seemingly insignificant your current assets are, you should prepare in advance to protect your legacy and your family’s best interests. You need to decide how you want your assets divided and who will inherit what from you. In order to make it easier for the executor of your estate to retrieve and distribute your assets, make sure you have a complete inventory of your assets. If you have a will attorney, make sure they have a copy of your assets as well.
If you’re young and have significant assets, handling your estate properly becomes even more complex. Parents, children, and siblings may all expect something, and if you don’t have a will, you can expect at least one litigation attorney, if not more, will become involved. An estate planning lawyer can ensure your will is drafted properly and executed correctly so there are no if, ands or buts. State laws can also cause problems, so be sure you work with an Illinois will attorney who is familiar with every aspect of wills and estates in your area.
If you have a substantial estate with assets in many different forms, it’s essential that you talk to a will attorney who can understand the complexities of your assets. You may also want to discuss your assets with a financial planner, who can work along side your attorney at your request. Be sure to have deeds and other paperwork needed to transfer properties when you consult your attorney. Having your paperwork organized and prepared will allow the estate planning process to go smoother and allow the lawyer to draw up a truly comprehensive will that won’t run into problems.
2.Drafting Your Estate Plan Without Consulting A Will Attorney Can Be Unfortunate
Instant access to all kinds of information on the Internet can lull you into a false sense of security. While there are websites that allow you to prepare a simple will, you won’t get the personalized service and comprehensive knowledge of the law that you receive from a will attorney. Keep in mind that every situation is different, and a “one size fits all” approach to your will can mean crucial portions of your estate won’t be covered by the standard wording of an Internet form.
A will attorney can go over your assets with you in detail and suggest a variety of options that will maximize the value of your estate and minimize problems during probate. The document drawn up by your attorney will clearly outline your wishes and take any unusual circumstances into account. If you opt for a “fill in the blank” will, you dramatically increase the odds that someone in your family will hire a litigation attorney, resulting in a long, distressing legal battle.
3. Back Up Your Information
If you’ve prepared your will and have it stashed in a safety deposit box somewhere, you’ve made a common mistake. If, when you pass away, no one else has access to or knows about your safety deposit box, your estate can become a legal nightmare. Even having only one copy of your will in an easy to access location isn’t enough to fully protect you. Damage or loss can reduce your will to nothing. Your will attorney should retain one copy, you should hold one yourself, and a trusted family member or friend should have a third copy.
Preparing your last will and testament on your own is always risky. Contact a will attorney. He or she can guide you through the complex laws surrounding your assets and craft a document that ensures your heirs will honor your wishes and benefit from your estate as you intended.
Disclaimer: While the following tips can help guide you as you prepare a will, it is not a substitute for legal representation or legal advice. Please consult with an attorney who can advise you regarding your specific situation.
This weekend Peck Ritchey has several big events to share with our readers as we reach out to the community to advocate, raise awareness and educate.
THIS SATURDAY, September 11th, join Peck Ritchey as it proudly sponsors the Chicago Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk for the third year. We can’t say it any better than the Alzheimer’s Association: “With more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and nearly 10 million more serving as caregivers, the time to act is now!” And World Alzheimer’s Day is September 21st so start your advocacy now!
In addition to the inspiring 5K walk down the Chicago lakefront, all of our team mates will receive a free autographed copy of Alzheimer’s Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers, written by our colleague Dan Kuhn of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Chapter. For more information on this event, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website or contact Kate Konieczny, Marketing Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS SUNDAY, September 12th, at 10:30 a.m., from the comfort of your home,while you are reading your morning paper and sipping on some coffee, listen in to Radio 750AM where Kerry Peck will chat live on “The Legal Forum” radio show about wills, trusts and estate planning.
Get questions answered such as:
- What are the general building blocks of estate planning every person should have- regardless of income?
- What is going on with the estate tax?
- What is the difference between a living will and a power of attorney for healthcare and what will happen if I don’t have one?
A busy weekend for us, but we hope you can join us!