Special Needs Planning Lawyers in Chicago

Estate planning for families who have a loved one with special needs can present a set of difficult challenges. The purpose of a special needs trust is to allow your loved one to still receive public benefits while also getting private funds. Leaving your loved one with a large set of assets may disqualify them from these public benefits. A trust will allow the trustee (the person who will manage the money) to regulate how a beneficiary (in this case, your loved one) receives the money. With a trust in place, your loved one does not have to worry about being disqualified for any public benefits. An attorney at Peck Ritchey, LLC will create the trust and help you through this meticulous process to ensure the best for your loved one.

The lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC understand the importance of providing for your family. We also know the challenges that come with estate planning for a loved one with special needs. Our legal team can help create a trust tailored to the needs and unique circumstances of your family. At Peck Ritchey, LLC, the interests of our clients come first. Our compassionate Chicago special needs planning attorneys will provide dedicated service when assisting you through this complicated process. Contact Peck Ritchey, LLC today at (855) 328-5787 to begin estate planning for your family.

Table Of Contents

    Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

    An experienced attorney can help you create a proper special needs trust. Everyone has unique circumstances that may complicate the process, and without the proper knowledge of a special needs estate planning attorney, it may be difficult to solve these challenges. With an attorney’s assistance in drafting your trust, the whole process becomes a lot simpler. You can rest easy knowing your needs and interests will be met.

    Special needs trusts are very involved. There are a lot of requirements and meticulous details that will need to be taken care of. It is easy to make a mistake, which may lead to your loved one losing their eligibility for government benefits. In order to create a special needs trust that will benefit your loved one, consult a legal team that has extensive experience in this particular area of law. A skilled attorney at Peck Ritchey, LLC will help explain your options and will help you make sure that the trust you create is strong.

    Why Should I Choose Peck Ritchey, LLC?

    Any firm with a decent understanding of probate law can assist you with creating a special needs trust. However, you deserve a firm that stands out from the rest. There are several questions to consider in special needs estate planning.

    • Will your loved one’s funds be well managed?
    • How can you help your child by leaving them with funds, but not jeopardizing their public benefits?
    • Will the money be able to help your family in the long run?

    At Peck Ritchey, LLC, we have answers to these questions. When the care for your family is at stake, you need a compassionate lawyer you can trust.

    For over 100 years, our experienced attorneys have been helping families plan out their estate for their disabled loved ones. Our attorneys make Peck Ritchey, LLC the successful firm it is. Kerry Peck, a partner of the firm and former president of the Chicago Bar Association, received the Justice John Paul Stevens Award, the Chicago Bar Association’s highest honor. Our attorneys have consistently been named among Super Lawyers, Top 40 Under 40, and Leading Lawyers in Illinois.

    Cases We Handle

    Peck Ritchey, LLC assists families to plan for disabled children or other family members who are, or are likely to become, disabled and require special protection. Through the use of special needs trusts, asset planning and coordination of private and public resources, our legal team helps families to maximize resources and enhance the quality of life for loved ones, including:

    Special needs trusts protect a disabled person’s eligibility for current or future public benefits while simultaneously allowing the disabled person access to additional funds to pay for expenses not covered by public benefits. Having an experienced estate planning attorney map out a plan for your family member with special needs is critical to their health and well-being.

    As a parent of a child with special needs, you are involved in your child’s medical, educational, and personal issues on a daily basis. When a child with special needs reaches the age of 18, they are presumed to be competent to make decisions. While your special needs child still requires your continued guidance, parenting and assistance, until you are legally appointed your child’s guardian, a parent’s ability to make decisions regarding medical treatment, money management and government benefits (i.e. social security) is uncertain.

    Guardianship is the legal relationship between a parent and a person over the age of 18 who is unable to make medical and/or financial decisions for him or herself. It is important to consult with your doctor and legal counsel to determine if your child’s disability renders him or her incapable of making these decisions.

    Benefits of a Special Needs Trust

    The most important benefit of a special needs trust, as mentioned previously, is being able to leave your loved one’s assets without disqualifying them from any government assistance. A trust (unlike a will) leaves the management of the assets in the hands of someone other than your loved one. This means that the benefits your loved one receives from the trust won’t even be considered when government assistance programs decide eligibility.

    Another benefit that special needs trusts provide is protection over any funds that your loved one may receive in the future. If your loved one was to win a lawsuit, receive an inheritance, or gain assets, the funds will be funneled straight to the trust. This ensures that your loved one will still be eligible for public benefits. This money also can’t be touched if your loved one were to get sued.

    Acceptable Uses of the Trust’s Funds

    A special needs trust is designed to help your loved one maintain the quality of life you provided for them. They are used to supplement government assistance programs. In other words, the special needs trust can cover costs for things the public benefits don’t provide. Some of the things may include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Therapy
    • Insurance
    • Rehabilitation
    • Counseling
    • Medical expenses
    • Vacations
    • Entertainment
    • Basic spending money

    There is a lot of liberty for using the funds of a special needs trust. However, there are some things that can’t be covered. These items often include what government assistance programs are already providing, such as groceries, rent, or utilities. It is important to consult an attorney first before spending the trust funds.

    Assets Held in the Trust

    Virtually anything can be included in a special needs trust: stocks, property, assets of the family, and much more. But the main purpose for the creation of a special needs trust is for your loved one to have access to cash. The cash is used to fill in the gaps of what a public benefit program does not provide.

    Contact Us

    The compassionate probate lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC are ready to assist you with creating a trust that best helps your special needs loved one. It is important that you have a trust set up in order to provide for your family. Our attorneys will put your interests first and tailor a trust that meets your needs. Contact one of the trusted attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC today at (855) 328-5787. We are here to help.


    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.

    View all