A death in the family is one of the hardest times for people. What makes it even more difficult is when families have to deal with paperwork and legal issues for the deceased person and don’t know where to start.
How a Chicago Probate Attorney Can Help:
If the deceased individual planned ahead and had an estate plan prepared, the task of administering their estate can be relatively straight forward. However, sometimes those left in charge of distributing assets to beneficiaries and closing accounts are not comfortable with their responsibility. Other times, people don’t plan ahead or have an outdated will, and the estate administration becomes more complicated.
The Chicago probate lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC are experienced in helping their clients with the administration of a decedent’s estate as well as other probate matters. What this means is that an attorney can help his client sell property, transfer assets to beneficiaries, and navigate probate court as needed.
If you have any questions about what needs to be done after a death in your family, contact the probate lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC for a consultation.
Most people think that they’ll never have a need for Chicago litigation attorneys. After all, they think that Chicago litigation attorneys are exactly what they see in the movies and legal television dramas. However, there are plenty of reasons that you might need Chicago litigation attorneys. While most lawyers hope that mediation works and that a court appearance isn’t actually necessary, here are a few different reasons why you might need Chicago litigation attorneys.
Consider Chicago Litigation Attorneys For A Contract Dispute
If you’re heavily embroiled in a contract dispute, going at it alone just won’t cut it. You’ll need an experienced lawyer on your side. Whether your problem stems from an employment contract, disputes between business partners or contracts between two businesses. A good lawyer will be able to decipher just what’s inside the contract so you can settle the dispute as quickly as possible.
Find Chicago Litigation Attorneys To Dispute A Will
The time immediately following a loved one passing away is quite difficult, especially if your loved one left a will that you feel was drafted under duress. If your loved one left a disproportionate section of their estate to someone you don’t feel they know well, it might be a good idea to use Chicago litigation attorneys to contest it. An experienced litigation lawyer will be able to see if contesting the will can be successful. Although there’s no guarantee, a lawyer with experience can usually have a rough idea whether or not the contestation will be successful.
Chicago Litigation Attorneys Can Help With A Neighbor Dispute
What do you do if you can’t resolve neighbor disputes in a neighborly manner? Whether your dispute is over property lines, a fence that needs to be repaired, animal control issues (including dog bites) or an unsafe tree that needs to come down, Chicago litigation attorneys can help. Although suing a neighbor is likely the last thing you want to do, it’s sometimes necessary to avoid being harassed in your own home.
Consider Chicago Litigation Attorneys For Divorce And Custody Issues
If your marriage is breaking up and you don’t think that you and your former spouse will be able to resolve these problems amicably, you’re probably headed for court. Chicago litigation attorneys will be able to properly represent you in court so that your interests are protected. Look for lawyers who are experienced in family law so that you’re getting the very best representation possible.
These are just a few of the hundreds of situations that could call for Chicago litigation attorneys. If you’re not sure whether your case requires the assistance of Chicago litigation attorneys, contact the experienced lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC. They’ll be able to take a look at your case and work with you to decide whether it is something that you’d like to pursue in court.
If you don’t understand what probate attorneys in Illinois do, you’re not alone. Many people don’t understand what types of services probate attorneys in Illinois provide — that is until they need one! If you’re confused about what this type of lawyer can do for you, learn about the most common problems that probate attorneys in Illinois take care of. You may be surprised at what you learn.
Probate Attorneys In Illinois Can Write A Will To Avoid A Lengthy Probate Process
Probate always happens after someone dies. Although it sounds highly technical, it’s often quite simple. You’ll need to prove that a will is valid, which is easy to do if a professional, experienced attorney wrote the will. The more quickly a will is validated and proven, the faster the beneficiaries can receive their share of the estate.
If you’re writing your will and want to provide even more protection against a lengthy probate process, consider adding a no-contest clause to ensure that your wishes are followed. If you’re writing your will with an attorney, don’t keep it a secret! Let your family members know what’s in it and if you have special treasured belongings, consider going through them with your family members so that they understand what they can expect to receive after you’re gone. If you have multiple children, one of them may want a treasured painting hanging in your home, while another may want to receive Grandma’s antique china. Spelling out what should happen with each item after you’ve passed can help eliminate unnecessary arguments after you’re gone and keep the peace between your loved ones.
Probate Attorneys In Illinois Can Help Contest A Will
However, if you’re a family member and suspect that your loved one was under duress when the will was written, you can contest it with help from probate attorneys in Illinois. A lengthy fight can drain the estate of resources, which means contesting a will shouldn’t be taken lightly if you’re already a beneficiary. On the other hand, if you are a beneficiary and someone else is contesting the will, you can use a probate attorney to help fight against this and protect the estate.
Probate Attorneys In Illinois Can Help Avoid High Inheritance Taxes
Inheritance taxes can be quite high and many people think that they’re unavoidable. However it is possible to alter a will legally to shield beneficiaries from expensive inheritance taxes. It’s vital that this is done with the help of experienced probate attorneys in Illinois to make sure that the process is done legally — otherwise you could face problems other than high inheritance taxes!
If you think you need the assistance of probate attorneys in Illinois, contact Peck Ritchey, LLC. The helpful attorneys at Peck Ritchey are experienced in probate, estate planning, guardianships and tax law and will be able to help, no matter what type of services you need.
A litigation attorney in Chicago who practices in the field of elder law has a unique set of circumstances to navigate. While knowledge about the laws relating to guardianship, trusts, estates and a host of other applicable fields is obviously paramount, elder law attorneys must also possess a full understanding of the physical and mental challenges that aging individuals face. In order to best serve the needs of their clients, the attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC exhibit all of the following qualities, which are necessary to ensure the best possible representation.
Knowledge In A Variety Of Fields
The breadth of responsibility for an elder care litigation attorney in Chicago is far-reaching and extremely varied. Just some of the areas in which representation by a litigator may be necessary include:
- Estate Matters
- Fiduciary Matters
- Disputed Accountings
- Recovery of Assets
- Heirship Disputes
Top lawyers in the field, like those at Peck Ritchey, strive to stay informed on changing regulations, trends, and applicable precedents that may affect their clients. When seeking an elder care litigation attorney in Chicago, it’s important to look for someone with extensive knowledge in all aspects of the law that may affect your case. Guardianship issues, for example, can involve asset dispersal or have fiduciary ramifications. A qualified attorney needs to have the necessary knowledge base to be able to make timely and astute recommendations.
A Wealth Of Experience
Of similar importance is ensuring that the law firm you choose to represent you in elder care matters has the necessary experience in the specific type of law your case will require. If a given case requires litigation, it’s of vital importance that the attorney have a track record of success in working with cases similar to yours. Some firms maintain a general focus, while others may specialize in a particular area of elder law. A well-qualified firm will employ lawyers with a wide range of skill sets and experience to ensure that they are equipped to handle cases of every type.
The Responsibilities Of A Litigation Attorney In Chicago
Working with Peck Ritchey litigators means having the peace of mind that your case is being handled with the upmost professionalism and skill. A litigation attorney in Chicago must be prepared to navigate each step of the process, which can involve a great deal of detail-oriented work even before the trial begins.
- Assessment — The initial case investigation to determine the details of your case and formulate a litigation plan moving forward. This first step may also encompass examining evidence, locating and taking statements from witnesses, and gathering any supporting documents.
- Pre-Trial — Other responsibilities leading up to trial include filing motions and pleas, retaining expert witnesses, and finalizing any case discovery matters. Each detail of this process should be thoroughly communicated to ensure that the client is well aware of the details of their case. This is also the final opportunity for the case to be settled outside of court.
- Trial — If the case is not settled by this point, which the vast majority are, then a qualified litigator must be prepared to present the case before a judge. This is the part of the process that most people think of when picturing the responsibilities of a litigator. The truth is, while the trial can often be the most stressful part of the process for the client, much of the work has already been done in advance by the litigation team.
- Settlement — A settlement can be reached at any time during the litigation process, and many cases are settled before ever reaching the trial stage. At this stage it is the responsibility of the attorney to handle negotiations, and draft a settlement decision with the client’s best interest in mind.
- Appeal — If the outcome of the case is not deemed to be favorable, it may be appealed. At this point, litigators will identify grounds for appeal and draft post-trial motions to begin the process, at all times keeping clients informed about the next step.
At Peck Ritchey, LLC we understand that the litigation process can be extremely intimidating for families and individuals who are involved in the litigation of contested wills, trusts, or guardianships. Our attorneys possess the knowledge, versatility and experience to help determine the best course of action for your case. To learn more about our services or to retain a litigation attorney in Chicago, contact us at 855-328-5787.
There can be a myriad of factors the can cause a dispute over a deceased person’s estate.
Perhaps there is an issue with the will. Do you suspect it was signed under questionable circumstances, like after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease? A Chicago probate attorney can investigate the legitimacy of the will to help ensure that the rightful beneficiaries obtain what was promised to them. The attorney will go to probate court to contest the will and then inspect if it is valid.
It takes a while to file the necessary paperwork, close accounts, and sell off property after an individual passes away. Estate administration is a time consuming and tedious process. Sometimes, unfortunately, the person responsible for handling the distribution of a deceased person’s property and assets may not be qualified; other times he may take money for himself instead of distributing it to the rightful beneficiaries. If you are an heir or beneficiary of a person who passed away, and suspect that something isn’t right, it would be well advised to consult with a Chicago probate attorney.
A probate attorney can challenge any aspect of a decedent’s estate. Probate lawyers can get the court to step in to supervise the administration of the estate. This would mean that an inventory would have to be made as well as an accounting of all the financial transactions. This will better allow the court to see if there are any improprieties or mistakes in handling the deceased person’s final accountings. This would also force the administrator to get permission from the court to do anything related to the estate; the administrator would have to get the court’s permission to sell off property, give away assets to beneficiaries or to close accounts.
After a loved one dies, it can often be a trying time for anybody close to that person. If you are questioning or arguing with family and friends about the deceased’s final wishes, then it’s time to connect with a Chicago probate attorney. Peck Ritchey, LLC’s attorneys will provide a free 30-minute phone consultation. Put your mind at ease and call (855) 328-5787.
If you’ve ever watched a movie in which someone dies and their friends and family members gather around wearing black for a reading of the will, you might be surprised to find out that this actually doesn’t happen in real life — it’s just a Hollywood trick. While probate attorneys in Chicago do manage the filing of a will after someone dies, it’s done without ceremony. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need help from probate attorneys in Chicago. If you’re not sure whether probate attorneys in Chicago can help your family, ask yourself these questions.
Can Probate Attorneys In Chicago Help If Family Members Don’t Agree With The Will?
In many cases, a will is straightforward. However, in some instances, it can cause major strife among family members, especially if there are multiple assets that need to be divided. If one or more family members feel as if they’re being slighted, they could contest the will in court. If family members don’t agree, it could mean a lengthy court case that rips families apart and drains the assets from the estate.
Does The Estate Include Business Assets?
Another reason to hire probate attorneys in Chicago is if the estate includes a business. This is because handling business assets and transferring ownership could be a complicated process. Instead of leaving the company susceptible to errors, many families choose to turn to probate attorneys in Chicago for help when dealing with a business.
Has The Deceased Taken Steps To Avoid Probate?
In some states, probate is necessary. In Indiana, for instance, if the estate is worth more than $50,000 and assets aren’t owned jointly with another person, probate is required. However, in Illinois, it’s possible to create a living trust to avoid probate. Probate attorneys in Chicago who also handle wills can help create these documents. Ask your attorney about a transfer on death clause for your assets. This means that the assets in your estate — normally property, vehicles, bank accounts and retirement accounts — all automatically transfer to your beneficiary when you die instead of being locked up in probate.
What Else Do Probate Attorneys In Chicago Do?
However, probate attorneys in Chicago aren’t just helpful when someone has died. Many people hire these professionals to draft a will so that they can determine where their belongings end up and to minimize fighting among family members after they’ve died. They can also help create a living will, which is a very different type of document. While a regular will, or ‘last will and testament,’ determines which family members receive death benefits from a life insurance policy, the contents of a retirement account or even property, a living will helps family members know what medical decisions you want made in case you’re unable to make them yourself.
Probate attorneys in Chicago can help your family members through the rough time following your death. While no one really enjoys thinking about their death or what will happen to their assets when they die, coming up with a plan before it’s needed is one of the kindest things someone can do for their family. If you’re not sure how to proceed, talk to Peck Ritchey. Our probate attorneys in Chicago are experienced in helping clients plan for the future.
If you haven’t yet prepared a will, you’re probably putting it off because you aren’t sure what to include, how to structure it to protect your heirs or even how to establish a trust for your children. That’s perfectly normal – most individuals are confused by the many laws surrounding a last will and testament, but you can quickly get clarification from a Chicago will attorney at Peck Ritchey. Rather than run the risk of leaving behind a confusing or invalid will, talk to us about having your will prepared properly. We can help you avoid the following common mistakes:
Mistake #1: Neglecting To Assign An Executor Or Chicago Will Attorney
While the courts can appoint an executor for your estate, it’s best to choose a person you know and trust as the executor of your will. Almost any Chicago will attorney can tell you a tale about a court-appointed executor who winds up causing problems because he or she simply didn’t understand or care about the wishes of the deceased person. A Chicago will attorney can help you choose someone who has the right skills, is trusted by the family, and who will execute the will faithfully.
Mistake #2: Trying To Mix Assets
Family fights and bad blood can be avoided if your will clearly outlines what each heir inherits and what should be done with the bulk of your estate. Many people who are executors, however, attempt to mix assets or don’t fully understand the importance of keeping specific bequests separate. If there is an independent life insurance policy in effect or joint accounts that your loved one had with another individual, the situation can be even more confusing. To make sure that you don’t mix assets and that you understand which assets should be included or left out of the estate, consult with a Chicago will attorney.
Mistake #3: Not Making Funeral Plans
This is a crucial aspect of an estate that is often overlooked by individuals trying to write their own wills. They assume that their children or grandchildren will be able to make the funeral arrangements themselves. Sadly, this often leads to unnecessary bickering when everyone is trying to mourn and when most people are particularly sensitive to criticism. One person may feel that a cherry wood coffin and a lavish funeral with hundreds of mourners is appropriate while another heir may feel that their loved one would have preferred a private send-off with minimal fuss. A Chicago will attorney can assist you in outlining your funeral wishes clearly and in detail so that your descendants don’t have to go through the painful process of making arrangements.
Mistake #4: Not Appointing A Guardian For Your Children
No one thinks they will die while their children are still young, but it has happened often enough that every parent should prepare in advance for the possibility. Without stipulating a guardian for your children, they could end up wards of the court and given over to a guardian you would not have chosen because of their age, a fundamentally different lifestyle, or a religious view that doesn’t agree with your own. Talk to a Chicago will attorney at Peck Ritchey about choosing and appointing an appropriate guardian so that your children will be raised in a manner closely aligned with your own beliefs and child-rearing methods.
Mistake #5: Forgetting Fido
Despite their status as members of your family, pets are considered personal property by probate courts. That means your dogs or cats could end up being sold or given away if you don’t specifically leave them to an heir who will care for and love them. A Chicago will attorney may also advise you to leave a specific amount of money to the person who inherits your pet or pets to defray the expenses of caring for your furry friend.
Mistake #6: Not Paying Off Debts Before Distributing The Estate
As the executor of an estate, you may discover that the heirs to an estate are anxious to get their fair share of the inheritance. Often, they will want the executor to distribute the funds as soon as possible, not understanding or caring that there may be substantial debts or obligations that have to be paid for out of the estate before the remainder is distributed to the heirs. When preparing your own will, a Chicago will attorney can assist you in writing clear instructions for paying off debts and obligations from a bank account set aside specifically for this purpose. This allows for quicker distribution of the estate, while protecting executors from liability if additional expenses are discovered.
At Peck Ritchey, a will attorney isn’t just a lawyer who creates a standard document. He or she will be your advisor every step of the way, suggesting ways to structure your estate in order to protect your heirs and ensure that your final wishes are carried out faithfully. Visit our website to schedule an initial consultation.
If someone you loves trusted you to be the executor of their estate, they have put a great deal of trust in your ability to properly handle everything from filing the proper notices to distributing their property to their heirs. Even if you are familiar with the process, probate lawyers in Chicago can help smooth the way to an easy settlement of the estate. We’ll help you avoid several common estate mistakes by making sure you follow the appropriate steps.
Probate Lawyers In Chicago Will File All The Necessary Paperwork
From obtaining and filing the death certificate to preparing, serving and filing notices, Chicago probate lawyers are familiar with every document that needs to be filed in order to distribute and close the estate. We’ll make sure that notices are placed in the appropriate newspapers and that all potential heirs are contacted as well as debtors and creditors. Our probate attorneys will also use the correct language and form for each document.
We Will Determine What Is And Isn’t Covered By The Will
It’s becoming increasingly common for individuals to prepare a will that covers only a portion of what they want to leave to their descendants. Many people now have separate insurance policies and retirement accounts that aren’t part of their estate. Our probate lawyers in Chicago can quickly determine what is a part of the actual estate and what has to be handled separately. The laws that apply to these accounts can be confusing, but our probate specialists can walk you through the process with ease.
We Aren’t Afraid Of Tax Issues
Estate taxes and the federal laws surrounding life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other assets can be confusing. At Peck Ritchey, our probate attorneys in Chicago are experts at
taking an estate successfully through the complex maze of potential tax issues, protecting the estate from excessive taxation so that the heirs aren’t expected to pay a heavy penalty or excessive taxes.
Proper Interpretation Of The Will Is Critical
Handling someone’s estate also means seeing that their last wishes are carried out properly. This can be an emotionally draining process, particularly if the person who passed away didn’t outline those wishes clearly. If the will has numerous stipulations or is unclear about certain aspects of the estate, it’s best to consult with probate lawyers. Peck Ritchey’s Chicago attorneys have handled hundreds of estates and are proficient at interpreting and carrying out the wishes outlined in even the most convoluted wills.
Distributing The Estate At The Proper Time
Most people want to jump the gun on distributing an estate because they are looking forward to a financial windfall or receiving items of sentimental value. At Peck Ritchey, however, our probate lawyers in Chicago know that early distribution can lead to a variety of problems, including leaving the executor of the estate with responsibility for outstanding debts or obligations that should be covered by the estate. We’ll make sure that all obligations are properly discharged before we distribute the estate in order to protect the heirs as well as the executor.
We understand that as the executor of a loved one’s estate it can be difficult to handle every detail. That’s why working with one of our probate lawyers in Chicago is such a good idea. We’ll handle the details so that you can mourn the loss of your loved one without neglecting the estate or its heirs. Call us today at 312-201-0900 to discuss your estate or that
Estate litigation is one of the most common types of litigation a Chicago elder law firm will see. Disagreements over the division of wealth or prized possessions can tear even the closest family apart. But these disagreements can be avoided with a little advance planning. A simple will can stop many types of litigation in Chicago from ever starting. While you can never predict estate litigation, you can minimize the likelihood of your will or estate being taken to court by incorporating these tips into your will.
7 Ways To Avoid Estate Litigation In Chicago
1. Keep things equal. The biggest trigger for familial litigation in Chicago is when the children of the decedent are treated unequally. If you want to avoid having your will contested, divide your assets equally among your children. Do not favor one over the other for any reason, including stepchildren. In the eyes of the law, all children, stepchildren or not, have equal right to the inheritance. If you’ve decided to disinherit a child for some reason or another, include that in legal documents or that child will be able to make a claim to your property and assets.
2. Give away prized possessions ahead of time. The easiest way to prevent arguments from breaking out over who gets mom’s fine china or dad’s antique car are to give those possessions to their intended recipients while you’re still alive and able to voice your wishes. If you want certain things to go to certain heirs after you pass, include an inventory of the items along with your wishes for who gets what.
3. Record loans given out. If you have given one child a loan and not another, record it. Spell out the terms of the loan – is the child expected to pay it back, will it be deducted from their inheritance amount or will it be forgiven upon your death? Decide on the terms and include that with your legal documents.
4. Use formal agreements to transfer assets. Trusts and contracts are useful tools to transfer assets to an heir and avoid litigation. Chicago families who have businesses they want to pass on to a specific child often use contract of sale to do so. Contracts of law that are completed when you’re alive are hard to challenge and offer solid proof of your wishes.
Trusts are used in estate plans to transfer real property. A trust allows you to live on the property for a set period of time after which ownership is transferred to the heir you’ve designated. A trust can be enacted any time, even when you’re still alive.
5. Get a doctor’s note. The most common argument we hear in estate litigation in Chicago is that the parent was not of sound mind when he or she made their will or signed their legal documents. The best way to stop this argument in its tracks is to have your attending physician and a psychiatrist sign off on your physical and mental health at the time that you create or sign your will.
6. The “no-contest” clause. If you know that someone will be unhappy with your will and may try to challenge it, add a no-contest clause. These clauses often stop litigation before it starts because they state that any beneficiary who contests the will forfeits his or her interests in it. This is a very effective tool to prevent estate litigation in Chicago, particularly if the expected troublemaker is getting something he or she really wants.
7. Don’t wait. Draw up a will now. Do it while you’re healthy and aware of what your wishes are. If you wait until you’re ill, you are asking for litigation. Someone is certain to argue that your illness made you confused and you didn’t understand what you were doing or they can argue that you were coerced by another beneficiary into doing their bidding. What’s even worse? If you wait too long to draw up your will these things may become true. You don’t want to be in a situation where you could be coerced into doing something you don’t want to do. Get a will drawn up now and prevent the drama before it starts.
Contact the elder law attorneys at Peck Ritchey for assistance in drawing up a will or designing an estate plan. We can help you design a plan that will decrease the likelihood of litigation in Chicago and ensure your wishes are fulfilled.
Planning for the future of your children or loved ones without you in it is not a task that anyone enjoys, but it’s a necessary one in many cases. Guardianships are designed to help care for your loved ones if you’re unable to. They can be created to care for minor children, adults with special needs or elderly relatives. No matter whom the arrangement will protect, a guardianship lawyer is necessary to help you navigate the legal requirements of creating a guardianship. A Peck Ritchey guardianship lawyer in Chicago can help you create, manage, change or terminate a guardianship.
Why You May Need A Guardianship Lawyer In Chicago
As mentioned above, there are three main situations in which guardianships are used: to care for minors, to care for adults who cannot care for themselves and to care for the aged who are also unable to care for themselves.
A guardianship is a court order that assigns a responsible person the job of making important life decisions for their wards (persons being protected by the guardianship) because they can’t do so on their own. They are common in cases where the ward is a minor with parents who are no longer living or who are unable to care for their children due to extenuating circumstances.
For parents with special needs children, talking with a guardianship lawyer in Chicago can help them plan for the future care of their child once they are unable to do so themselves. In these cases, the parents want to designate someone to care for or assist their child in decision-making, depending on the child’s specific needs. Some adults with special needs are capable of independent living but may need some help managing their finances, while others need around the clock care, for example. A guardianship lawyer in Chicago can help the parents determine what type of guardianship will best suit their specific situation.
Adult children with aging parents sometimes find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to take control of their parents’ lives. A formal guardianship is a way to protect everyone’s interests. Since it is court-supervised, it ensures the parents’ best interests are being looked out for and it protects the guardian in decision-making if another relative raises questions or complains about the care given. These types of guardianships can be set up long before they are ever needed, with the full agreement of the parents and children, or they can be set up once it becomes obvious that the parent is unable to make sound decisions.
Responsibilities Of The Guardian
Every guardianship is different, just as every personal situation is different. There are several types of guardianships, but the specific responsibilities under each type vary from case to case. Some guardians have full control over decisions affecting their wards, while others only support and advise the ward in their decision-making and still others only manage the property or finances of the ward.
If you want to learn more about guardianships, contact Peck Ritchey at (855) 328-5787. An experienced guardianship lawyer in Chicago will be happy to discuss the options with you and help you get the process started.