New IICLE® Press Publication: Litigating Disputed Estates, Trusts, Guardianships, and Charitable Bequests 2012 Edition

Peck Ritchey is pleased to announce the recent publication of Litigating Disputed Estates, Trusts, Guardianships, and Charitable Bequests 2012 Edition produced by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE®).

As you may be aware, Kerry R. Peck was a co-author for this publication. His work can be found in chapter 13 on Guardianship Litigation.

The Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting the professional development of Illinois attorneys through Illinois-focused practice guidance. Mr. Peck’s work on this project is on a volunteer basis.

If you have any questions about the book, please contact IICLE® Customer Service at 800-252-8062 or

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Finding Experienced Elder Lawyers in Illinois to Protect Your Estate

As we age, we  discover  legal needs that we didn’t have when we were younger. The older we are, the more likely we have assets to protect, family and heirs  to provide for, and our own futures  to be planned out. With so many areas needing attention, consulting with elder lawyers in Illinois is a crucial step in preparing for the future. Elder law lawyers in Illinois have the specific education, expertise and experience to help you navigate the often confusing and always complex landscape of state and federal elder law. Following some simple tips can help you choose qualified Illinois probate attorneys, elder law specialists and trust and estate law experts who can answer your questions and grant you relief from your legal or financial concerns.

Illinois Probate Attorneys – Choosing Someone Who Understands You

Be sure to find an Illinois probate attorney who is familiar with all aspects of estate law and is experienced with avoiding Illinois probate conflicts. Some probate attorneys are focused on representing disgruntled heirs who are filing suit against an estate rather than the process of preparing an estate for probate. Planning ahead by establishing a proper estate plan to avoid probate battles requires an attorney who is focused on helping you and your heirs.

Illinois probate attorneys are also knowledgeable in other aspects of elder law (the various legal issues surrounding growing older). Elder law lawyers work regularly with elderly clients, guiding them through preparation of wills, establishing a solid financial plan for the future, and seeing that their assets are protected in the event they become incapacitated. Elder law attorneys in Illinois have handled a variety of elder law issues, including abuse of the elderly, administering estates, end-of-life issues, guardianships and health care decisions.

Successful Elder Law Lawyers in Illinois – Look at Their Record

Good elder law lawyers will have a history of successful resolutions for their clients. Be sure your Illinois probate attorneys are well versed in all aspects of elder law so that you can rely on them for other issues. You’ll be more comfortable and have a better rapport with your attorneys if you don’t have to switch horses mid-stream.

Chicago Elder law lawyers and Illinois probate attorneys will often belong to professional organizations relating to elder law and probate issues. Awards or recognition from bar associations, other Illinois attorneys, and advocacy groups are all indications of legal excellence. Check out the websites of any elder law lawyers in Illinois you are considering hiring. You should find an explanation of their professional affiliations as well as an outline of the areas in which they specialize.

Looking at the History of Elder Law Lawyers in Illinois

One of the better indications of the quality and experience of potential probate attorneys or elder law attorneys is their track record. While not all probate attorneys or elder law lawyers will list their clientele on their firm’s website, they may indicate some specific cases where they were asked to represent parties such as the state of Illinois, a city government, or an organization.

Perhaps one of the most important considerations when choosing elder law lawyers in Illinois is whether they make you feel comfortable and communicate with you effectively. Although the qualifications of Illinois probate attorneys are important, their personalities are also crucial. Find someone who gives you the feeling that they truly care about you, your heirs, and your future. If they really understand you and are ready to fight for your rights, you’ve found the best elder law lawyers in Illinois for you.

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Chicago Probate Attorneys Can Prevent Family Inheritance Feuds

There’s never a good time for family disputes, but after the death of a loved is certainly one of the worst times. Many families find the probate period extremely stressful, particularly when there is a disagreement over the terms of a will. Family members may be contesting the will because they feel they’ve been treated unfairly or because they honestly believe the estate isn’t being handled properly. Regardless of the reasons, a family feud can quickly escalate. If you’re handling an estate in Illinois, hiring Chicago probate attorneys to handle the estate is the best option when things get heated.

Are The Claims Real?

Chicago probate attorneys often see cases in which one child or grandchild threatens to contest a will immediately after it is read to the heirs. Often times this is simply a knee-jerk reaction based on their disappointment and the sorrow of losing someone they cared about or a feeling that the  estate was distributed unfairly and they deserve more. In these situations, Chicago probate attorneys may not be needed, although a consultation with an attorney is always a good idea.

How Much Is Being Disputed?

The larger the estate, the more often Chicago probate attorneys are needed. It’s simply human nature. Greed increases in proportion to the size of the inheritance, and many families who have gotten along fine for years will suddenly turn against each other if a significant amount of money or property is at stake. Individuals are more likely to put serious effort into contesting a will if they feel that they could end up with a significant amount of cash.

Who Is Handling The Probate Process?

If you are  designated as the executor of the will, you will be responsible for monitoring the division of assets. This is a difficult and sensitive situation and you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Hiring Chicago probate attorneys to walk you through the process is one way to protect yourself and see that the probate process is handled properly.

Chicago probate attorneys can advise you on proper legal procedures and make sure that all legal deadlines are met. Handling the probate process is an important responsibility, and you can be subject to legal consequences if you don’t handle the estate correctly. If there are any questions at all about the terms of the will, hiring Chicago probate attorneys will protect you as well as the estate. The cost of hiring probate attorneys is minimal compared to the peace of mind you’ll have knowing you have qualified legal representation.

Some disputes seem inconsequential at first, causing executors to delay in hiring probate attorneys. Unfortunately, even seemingly small disagreements can quickly escalate after the death of a loved one. Hiring probate attorneys before the situation becomes too difficult is the best course of action for everyone involved.

If you are administering the estate and have never handled a probate matter before, hiring probate attorneys can come as quite a relief. You won’t have to worry that you’ve missed a deadline or whether you’ve filed anything incorrectly. Of course, if you’ve already filed paperwork improperly or made other errors before you hire probate attorneys, the cost and time involved in settling the estate will increase. For this reason, it’s best to hire probate attorneys early on.

Hire Chicago Probate Attorneys If You Aren’t Confident Every Step Of The Way

It’s tempting to tell yourself that you can handle the estate, but even minor details can cause significant headaches during the probate process. You’re taking a risk every step of the way if you aren’t familiar with the legal process or there are questions about the will. Good Chicago probate attorneys will clarify each step in the process and smooth the way for you in court. If the will is contested in court, you’ll have the advantage of working with attorneys who are familiar with the estate and the court system.  Chicago probate court can be intimidating; having legal counsel you’re comfortable working with is important.

The death of someone you love is always stressful. You can reduce your stress level and avoid unpleasant complications by hiring probate attorneys at the beginning of the probate process.

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