Estate Planning Attorney in Chicago

The Chicago estate planning lawyers of Peck Ritchey, LLC are here to help you make sure that your desires are met and your wishes for your family are made clear when you have passed. Getting your estate plans in order will help ease complications in the future. Estate planning allows you to be in charge of who owns and receives your property.

For over a 100 years, our firm has been dedicated to serving the community with regards to probate, trusts, and estates. Our attorneys make our firm the success it is. Kerry Peck, a partner of the firm, received the Justice John Paul Stevens Award which is the Chicago Bar Association’s highest honor. He also served as the president of the Chicago Bar Association in the past. Our firm has earned a great reputation for our lawyers expertise in the complicated legal domain of trusts and estates. Consistently, our attorneys have been named among Super Lawyers, Top 40 Under 40, and Leading Lawyers in Illinois.

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    Our Estate Planning Services

    Peck Ritchey, LLC offers a broad scope of estate planning services, including assisting clients with:

    However, there is more to estate planning than the aforementioned services. We ensure that each client’s long-range plans are addressed with their unique needs in mind, whether those needs are simple or highly complex. Our careful attention to detail and broad legal experience make us one of Chicago’s premier estate planning firms.

    Do I Need More Than a Will?


    Having a will in place is an important step in ensuring your wishes are met and your assets are properly distributed following your passing. However, your estate plan may involve more than just preparing a will. There are other considerations that a will may not cover.


    For example, it’s important to consider vital health care decisions. If you are unable to make decisions regarding your own health care, who will you turn to? Health care power of attorney and living wills are legal documents that spell out who medical professionals can turn to for answers about your continued care. They communicate your health care wishes when you are unable to communicate them yourself.


    Beneficiary designations are also important components of an estate plan. Some possessions and assets can be passed on to heirs without being explicitly dictated in a will. If you have insurance plans, pensions, or other assets, it is important to make sure that the appropriate beneficiaries and contingency beneficiaries are specified.


    Other examples of estate planning may include a durable power of attorney, letter of intent, or a guardianship designation. How do you know which estate planning must-have you need to have? Contact the legal team at Peck Ritchey, LLC for answers. We can review your circumstances and help you craft an estate plan that addresses all your needs.


    Why You Need to Establish an Executor 


    It is generally in your best interest to name an executor to handle your will or trust. An executor is an individual who is in charge of managing the estate. Their responsibilities may include handling and finalizing the probate process, protecting the assets of the deceased and the estate, paying creditors, and distributing assets as outlined in a will or trust. If an individual fails to specify an executor, then one may be nominated. However, this can complicate things and sometimes lead to family tension or rifts.


    It is always better to name an executor that you trust – someone you can have a frank conversation with about your financial wishes, and someone you can count on to make sure that your wishes are upheld and your assets are distributed in the manner you intended.


    An executor can also be a beneficiary. In many cases, a parent may designate their child or spouse to be the executor of their estate. However, non-family members may also be chosen and named as an executor if an individual feels more comfortable with a neutral third-party handling the details of their final wishes.


    How do you know who to nominate as the executor of your estate? An experienced estate planning attorney can help you sort through your options. It can be beneficial to have an objective, outside opinion when it comes to picking your executor. An attorney can provide you with the legal support and advice you need to make the best decision for your circumstances.

    Why You Need a Lawyer

    Planning your estate is no easy task. While planning your estate on your own is doable, there are certain standards you must meet. And without the careful guidance of a lawyer, you may make mistakes. You may not even consider details, such as taxes, which are essential to planning an estate. This ultimately means your property might not be distributed the way you want. You may lose all control.

    Estates need to follow rigid state laws and statutes in order to be valid. This process can be daunting. Thinking about death and planning ahead for it can be emotionally exhausting. Let the attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC assist you in handling your assets properly. We can tailor an estate plan to your needs. Our trusting lawyers are ready to help you in any way you need.

    The estate planning attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC can advise you in all of your estate planning needs, whether you are just beginning to build your estate or want to protect the wealth that you have amassed over a lifetime.

    If you have minor children, estate planning can make sure that they are provided for, both personally and financially, upon your death or incapacity. Peck Ritchey’s attorneys are also experienced in same-sex estate planning.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Trust, estate and tax laws are constantly changing. Peck Ritchey, LLC‘s attorneys counsel clients with up-to-date advice in order to properly plan their estates and protect the assets they build over a lifetime. We are here to help answer any questions you may have, and are just a phone call away at (855) 328-5787.

    Who gets my estate if I don’t have a plan?

    Without a valid estate plan, your property will be distributed according to the state probate laws. The Illinois statutes state that if you die and are survived by a spouse, then all of your property will go to them. If you are only survived by children, then your children will inherit all of your estate. However, if you are survived by both a spouse and children, then your spouse and children will each receive half of the estate.

    Though, if you are not survived by a spouse or children, then the future of your estate gets more complicated. First, your estate will be divided equally and go to your parents and siblings. If that is not a viable option, then it will be disbursed equally amongst the rest of your family such as your cousins, nephews, uncles, etc. And, although it is not common, if you are not survived by anyone, then your estate will go to the state of Illinois.

    What are the possible consequences of not having an estate plan?

    One good reason to have an estate plan is to lower the cost of the probate process. These unnecessary fees can be huge. There may not be any disputes, yet you may have to pay a lot. Not to mention that a court could take a small percentage of your estate’s value.

    Other consequences include the delay of your estate being implemented and a loss of your privacy. A simple probate can take longer than year. And during this time, anyone can access your private information from the court. This includes family members, organizations, and creditors; they will try to use your information to challenge the validity of your estate plan. With our attorneys, you don’t have to worry about the unneeded expenses, delays or loss of privacy.

    How much does estate planning cost?

    Estate planning depends on the size and value of your estate and the complexity of how you want it distributed. But, estate planning doesn’t have to be expensive. The lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC can help start your estate plan with what you can afford. We provide a free consultation to let you know how much it might cost you and find practical solutions with your financial capabilities. Don’t plan your estate alone in order to save money. experienced lawyers can provide you peace of mind while we prepare your documents properly.

    Contact Us

    Trust, estate and tax laws are constantly changing. Peck Ritchey, LLC attorneys counsel clients with up-to-date advice in order to properly plan their estates and protect the assets they build over a lifetime. Peck Ritchey, LLC has proven experience in effectively and legally reducing exposure to gift, estate, and inheritance taxes. We provide advice on estate planning techniques that can be used not only upon death, but during your lifetime to enable wealth to pass to your intended beneficiaries in the most tax-efficient manner possible.

    The Chicago estate planning lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC are ready to protect your property. Now is the best time for you to plan your estate. Unfortunately, we can’t plan our death. However, you can take control of your assets and minimize complications in the future. Plus, knowing you have a plan created then you will know your family will be protected the way you want. Don’t wait. Beginning your estate planning today by contacting an attorney at Peck Ritchey, LLC at (855) 328-5787 for a free consultation.

    Peck Ritchey’s attorneys are also experienced in same-sex estate planning.


    Attorney Kyle Fahey handled our matter with skill and professionalism, and was always responsive. 10/10, would work with him and the firm again.

    –Jon T.

    The peace of mind that Peck Ricthey's office has given me is worth every penny. The services they provided me and my family in an emergency medical situation is beyond outstanding. Last minute notice, Peter Brady and team were compassionate, understanding and most importantly efficient and got the job done. Look no further if you have any needs that this office can provide for you. Definitely in good hands! Thank you, a thousand times over for all of your help.

    –Christine K.

    Very responsive and knowledgeable at handling our brother’s estate. Would definitely recommend!

    –Ralph C.

    I solicited Peck Ritchey, LLC for assistance with a living trust for which I became the beneficiary. I needed assistance with understanding the details of how it all worked. However, I was especially concerned because there were threats of allegations made by family members and a lawsuit was filed against me. I needed a solid professional who had my best interests in mind. Peter Brady took my case and he managed it flawlessly. He explained everything in a way I could understand, he knew the law inside and out, he was always available to answer questions, and even offer support when things seemed like they could become extremely problematic. In addition to this, he had a plan. He navigated the course as if he already knew the next move by the opposing attorney. He made me feel like everything was in control and that’s because he knew exactly what he was doing and he consulted with me about everything. We ended up settling out of court and ultimately the court officially dismissed the lawsuit. I honestly believe if it wasn’t for Peter and his expertise this could have gone in an entirely different direction. Peter did a stellar job and I couldn’t be more pleased and impressed with his performance.

    –John T.

    Tim Ritchey is as smart, honest, and genuine as they come. He truly puts helping people above making money. If you have a need, don’t hesitate to hire him.

    –Jay T.

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