Chicago Trust Contests Attorneys

Many trusts are managed without any serious issues. Occasionally, legal issues between parties of the trust – such as the trustee and beneficiaries – arise. For example, a trust contest may occur when a beneficiary believes that trust funds are being mismanaged. Sometimes, an elderly individual’s trust fund may be taken advantage of by a coercive family member or friend. As such, trust litigation can be a complicated process.

In the event that something has gone awry with your loved one’s trust, you can take action. In seeking the help of a skilled trust contest attorney, you have the best chance of correcting any issues that have arisen. When the relationship between the trustee and the beneficiaries is strained, a lawyer can be incredibly helpful in untangling the issues between the two parties. Though trust disputes can quickly become complicated, the presence of an attorney will not only help you achieve a favorable outcome, but also expedite the process.

The legal team at Peck Ritchey, LLC happily serves Chicago area residents with any probate or elder law conflicts that may arise. Our seasoned attorneys have the experience necessary to assist you with any obstacles surrounding trust contests. We are serious about helping you through legally complex situations. Communication is paramount to us. As such, our lawyer remain accessible to answer your questions and concerns every step of the way. To speak with a member of our team about your situation today, call (855) 328-5787.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Taking action to invalidate a trust is complicated. Especially if you are not familiar with the legal process, achieving a favorable outcome will be difficult if you attempt to manage your case alone. An experienced attorney can walk you through the process from the initial filing through the trial. In addition to having a better understanding of the legalities, your lawyer will have a better sense of the situation once the trial begins. This understanding will give you invaluable insight into the progress of your case, as well as the timeline.

In addition to the practical advantages of hiring an attorney, when you entrust your situation to a skilled lawyer, you can feel comfortable knowing that a lawyer is looking out for your best interest. No matter if your relationship with a trustee is strained, or if you believe that your loved one was manipulated, you are likely in the midst of an incredibly stressful situation. Hiring a lawyer is an effective way to manage some of this stress you’re dealing with as you actively pursue a good outcome.

Why Choose Peck Ritchey, LLC?

The attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC understand that issues regarding trusts can quickly become contentious subjects within families. We have over 100 years of combined experience assisting people caught up in difficult situations, including contesting trusts. In fact, contesting trusts and wills is the primary focus of our entire firm.

We are very involved in this area of the law. We frequently teach at continuing education programs for other attorneys, speak to the press to help educate the public on these issues, and even help draft new legislation for the Illinois General Assembly.

Time and time again we have been named Super Lawyers for our integrity and the consistent results that we are able to obtain for our clients. When you are going through a difficult time and need legal help with a will, trust, or estate, we know that we can be an asset to you.

Process of Contesting a Trust

Contesting a trust cannot be done by just anyone; in order to contest a trust, you must have a stake in it. The two groups of people that typically have a stake include beneficiaries and heirs. Beneficiaries are explicitly named in the trust, whereas heirs would be the spouse or relative in line to inherit the assets of the deceased. It is possible to be both an heir and a beneficiary. If you fit either or both of these descriptions, you may have legal standing to take action.

The following steps outline the basic process of contesting a trust in Illinois. Keep in mind that each situation is different and depending on your situation, the process may depart from the following timeline:

  1. Filing Petition – With the help of your attorney, the first step in contesting a trust typically includes filing a petition in the appropriate probate court. In order to file a petition, you must have acceptable grounds for doing so. Once the petition is filed, a summons will be served to everyone else involved.
  2. Discovery Process – The discovery process occurs before the trial and allows each side to request documents and information, and conduct depositions.
  3. Trial – During the trial, witnesses are typically interviewed and questioned in attempts to prove either the validity or invalidity of a trust. Witnesses can include anyone that has knowledge of the situation, like a beneficiary, or a medical provider.

In order to be able to file a petition in the first place, it is important to understand the grounds for being able to do so, and the lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC can help.

Common Causes of Trusts Contests

In order to begin the legal process of contesting a trust, not only must you have a stake in the trust, but you must also have proper grounds for contesting it. Being dissatisfied with the stipulations of a trust is not enough to argue that the trust is invalid. There can be any number of circumstances that lead to trusts contests. For instance, the following may be challenged:

  • A trust’s formation (was the deceased coerced, manipulated, etc.?)
  • A trust’s management (is the trustee mismanaging funds?)

In addition to these, the following are common grounds cited during the process of contesting the validity of a trust:

  • The grantor was not of sound mind at the time that the trust was written and agreed upon
  • The grantor was under the undue influence of someone else driving the decisions.
  • The very creation of the trust was fraudulent. For example, if the grantor signed the trust not understanding what the document was.
  • The trust was revoked before the grantor passed away.
  • While creating the trust, the grantor did not follow the proper legal procedure to execute the trust.

If you have recently become involved in or are considering filing for a trust contest in the Chicago area, it may be wise to discuss your legal options with an experienced probate attorney. With a legal team by your side, the rights and interests of the testator can be better protected.

Contact a Trusts Contests Attorney in Chicago

Trust contests can be challenging and time-consuming situations to handle. If you are in the midst of a trust dispute, this may be the first, and hopefully the last, time you will have to experience one. Though this situation may be overwhelming and confusing for you, understand that these matters are not new to the team at Peck Ritchey, LLC. We have the hands-on experience needed to help you. As such, if you’re in the Chicago area, feel free to contact our Chicago probate team at Peck Ritchey, LLC today. Give us a call at (855) 328-5787 to discuss your situation with a friendly member of our legal team.

Testimonials

When my Mom passed, I discovered that a family member had changed Mom’s will after she had dementia so I reached out to several law firms to find out what my obligations were as a Co-Trustee. They all felt that I was responsible to the other beneficiaries to investigate, but they also told me that “Undue Influence” was almost impossible to prove and I would most likely spend more in legal fees than I could gain back for the Trust.

Fortunately, my final phone call was to Tim Ritchey. Tim was interested in a preliminary review of documents and evidence before making any determination on my likelihood of success. From that point on, he laid out our strategy in steps that gradually recovered more important facts, and showed opposing counsel that we were serious. At each step along the way, Tim evaluated the decision to move forward based on the likely financial outcome, always advising me not to spend more in legal fees than I was likely to gain back.

For almost two years, I worked closely with Tim Ritchey and Kyle Fahey. They are both extremely smart, focused, tough, creative thinkers. I never once felt like my attorneys were trying to bill extra hours; they worked efficiently and remain focused on preparing us to win at trial- never sidetracked with unnecessary discovery battles that would not contribute to our success.

Kyle and Tim presented such a compelling case and clearly had no fear of taking it to trial, that the opposing counsel caved on the day of trial. With his outstanding negotiating skills, Tim was able to balance just the right amount of pressure, patience, and professionalism to give us a substantial advantage at the settlement table. In addition to the huge settlement we won, I am so grateful to Kyle and Tim for their thoughtful, compassionate and dedicated approach to such a sad family conflict.

–S.W.

We were extremely impressed with Peck Ritchey’s representation of us in complex litigation involving contested deeds, powers of attorney, and hundreds of acres of family farmland. Kerry Peck and Jesse Footlik were steadfast in their commitment to winning our case, which ultimately resulted in a tremendous settlement for us. Although our case was located in “downstate” Illinois, Kerry and Jesse’s timely and thorough communication made us feel like their office was right next door. We could not be more pleased with their services and the outcome of our case.

–K.S and K.S., Edgar County, IL

I was referred to Peck Ritchey by a former judge after he heard the problems I was having in my case with my first attorney. Kerry Peck and Tim Ritchey are experienced and professional litigators who helped turn my case around for me. I wish I would have gone to them first. They helped me in a contested will and trust matter and were exceptional. I would recommend them highly for any estate, will, or trust matter!

–J.F., Chicago

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Kerry Peck and Jesse Footlik for the professional and courteous manner in which Peck Richtey have assisted us during the past couple years. You will never know how much it meant to us.

–Kathy S from Champaign

If you want a great experience with your estate planning needs, then you owe it to yourself to visit with Ron Webb at Peck Ritchey.

He explained all the intricacies of optimizing our estate planning needs in a knowledgeable and very friendly manner. It was truly a pleasure working with him and the staff at Peck Ritchey. We highly recommend their services.

–Larry and Judy F., Crystal Lake, IL

Kerry Peck and Jesse Footlik represented me in an extremely complex and litigious trust dispute involving numerous parties. After several years of litigation, the case was settled with a very successful outcome.

Kerry and his team of diligent attorneys help develop creative and detailed strategies that proved to be an excellent solution and produced the results I was hoping to achieve. During the duration of the lawsuit, communication with the attorneys was timely and thorough. Their passion and attention to detail was genuine and unwavering during the entire ordeal. I was very fortunate to have the Peck Ritchey team for representation and it was a great experience working with them. Knowing that the stakes were extremely high in the trust dispute Peck Ritchey, LLC was the right firm to handle a litigious case of this magnitude.

–Harvey C, Chicago

Thank you so much for all of your work and time you spent in facilitating the purchase of our first home. I know we provided you with a short deadline and we appreciate both of you making it happen. The Escrow Officer commented on how seamless everything was for our close. We are extremely grateful for all of your effort. Thank you again!

–Steve T and Anna C

Very professional handling of my mother’s estate. Ron was there every step of the way and so were his paralegals I might add – from coming to Rush University when my mom was too sick to come to the office, and taking my phone calls, and always answering my questions, I can’t thank him enough! I am truly grateful for the wonderful experience with Peck Ritchey especially since it is already stressful enough when a loved one is ill. Thank you so much! We will be using your firm for our own estate planning in the very near future, I would definitely recommend Peck Ritchey.

–Brenda S., Crystal Lake, IL

Peck Ritchey was there with great advice when my family most needed it the most. They got my daughter’s guardianship done on time, and referred us to an expert social worker so we could get her cases through the complicated government systems. The social worker found that the trust put together by others were not in order. Peck Ritchey made new trust documents or amended existing trusts as needed and improved other existing documents. What I appreciate most is they explained it in plain English so I could understand what had to be and what has been done. I am grateful for everything they did and how they did it!

–Victor O., Chicago, IL
Accolades to Peck Ritchey (in particular, Ron Webb), for handling our estate issues professionally and expediently. We connected after attending a very informative presentation on estate planning, offered to retired educators. Everything was explained thoroughly, encouraging us to seek Ron Webb’s assistance and expertise. Thank you for a valuable experience and for giving us peace of mind for the future.
–Myrna B., Palos Heights, IL

I was Legal Guardian and Executor for mother who had passed away 12 years ago. There were two wills. One my mom wrote and another an aunt forced her to change while she had dementia. My former attorney advised me to pay the surety bond for all these years. He lost the original will and the file and closed down his office. My brother who was on SSI was still living in my mother’s apartment, and the estate was left to my mother’s four children. One sister wanted us to buy her out. She was impossible. Peck Ritchey worked with sister’s attorney, helped my brother and closed the estate with all its complications in a few months. We were all concerned that this would turn into a legal mess but they were true professionals, kind, caring and answered all our questions. This the law firm you want on your side. I highly recommend them regarding estates, legal guardianships and drawing up wills.

–Ellie W., Chicago, IL

Peck Ritchey both represents us defending our funding decisions, but also represents the best in leadership and support for issues that can change the quality of life of older persons. We are grateful that we are represented by a group of thoughtful and skilled experts on the law, and great colleagues in making the law work for our older clientele.

–Jon L., Oak Park, IL

My family is so grateful for the positive outcome in my mother’s guardianship trial that had divided our family. Tim Ritchey and the Peck Ritchey team were very professional and thorough in stepping up in an emergency situation and preparing for trial. Peck Ritchey provided us with the peace of mind that my mother will be cared for throughout the rest of her life.

–Kevin G. Chicago, IL

Thank you so much for your consistent attention to our case this past year. We were fairly small potatoes, yet you actually ‘got back’ and stayed on it. There were times when the government seemed to drop the ball more than my little league outfield, but my attorney was there. I realize that you actually went beyond the scope; I truly do appreciate your work.

–Kirt G., Chicago, IL

Peck Ritchey did an excellent job of resolving a very difficult estate matter.

–Scott S., Barrington Hills, IL

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