Illinois Probate Lawyer
Matters regarding estate planning and estate administration are topics about which many individuals prefer not to think. After all, thinking about our own mortality or the death of a loved one can be difficult and emotional. With over 20 years of experience, the Chicago probate attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates are adept at handling estate matters with skill and compassion. Whether you are an individual with concerns related to transferring your property to your family, you are an executor in need of assistance with the estate administration process, or you are a beneficiary or heir with questions related to your distribution or inheritance, we have the knowledge of Illinois estate law and experience before the Illinois Probate Court to help you in an effective and efficient way. Because estate planning is not limited to the transfer of wealth, but also involves planning for our financial well-being and personal care as we age, our probate practice also involves working with our clients to develop asset protection strategies and plans for incapacity.Estate planning
Estate planning involves making careful planning during our lifetime to ensure to ensure the orderly transfer of wealth to those we care about once we pass away. We take a comprehensive approach to estate planning. We first find out what your goals are so that the strategy is design to meet those goals. Some clients want to make sure that certain family members such as the spouse and children are well-cared for financially. Others want to remember a cause that is important to them by leaving a charitable organization, an educational institution, or a religious organization a legacy. Still others want to make sure that a disabled loved one has the resources to be properly cared for the rest of his or her life.
Instead of taking a cookie-cutter approach to estate planning, we assess each client’s estate, gather information about his (or her) family’s needs and dynamics, and learn about the client’s preferences and goals. Then we work closely with the client to create documents such as a will and trust customized based on the client’s needs.Estate administration
Estate administration is the orderly process of settling the estate of a decedent and ensuring that his (or her) property is distributed to his beneficiaries in the manner described in the decedent’s will, or according to Illinois’ intestate succession rules. In Illinois, the process of estate administration is overseen by the Probate Court and managed by the executor named in the decedent’s will. Because of our deep understanding of both the Illinois Probate Act and Probate Court procedure, we have the knowledge and resources to help executors, beneficiaries, and other interested parties navigate the estate administration process. From initiating a probate proceeding, to addressing claims against an estate, to distributing assets, we can make sure the process is completed as quickly and efficiently as possible based on the specifics of the estate.
We are particularly adept at handling issues related to complex and high value estates. We are frequently engaged by executors and trustees to oversee the administration of large estates and trusts and to carry out the various fiduciary responsibilities, such as managing estate or trust property, disposing of estate property, handling required tax and accounting work, and maintaining all records.Estate litigation
Estate administration is not always a smooth process. Because of complex family dynamics, the emotions associated with the loss of a loved one, and the financial implications of the estate settlement process, It is not unusual for disputes to develop during the process of estate administration. In some cases there are questions about how the executor has gone about fulfilling his fiduciary duties. In other instances beneficiaries disagree on issues related to distribution. The estate administration process can begin with a dispute if there are questions related to whether or not the will is valid.
Whatever the nature of the dispute, we have can help. When disputes develop during probate or estate administration, our goal is your goal: to resolve disputes as quickly as possible, to avoid costly litigation, and to avoid delaying the distribution of assets. Using our sharp negotiation skills, we are often able to resolve disputes in a manner that is favorable to our clients without litigation. However, if litigation is necessary, we are not afraid to fight for our client’s interests in court.Elder law
Our estate practice extends to the area of elder law. We represent clients in matters related to concerns associated with aging. Specifically, a great concern is related to the long-term care needs and the costs associated with them. We help clients implement asset protection strategies that will ensure that they have access to the care and housing that they need as they age, and that they do so without using all of the money that took them a lifetime to save.
We also help clients plan for incapacity. Whether due to an illness associated with aging, another type of illness, or an accident, there may come a time when you are not able to communicate with your doctors, caregivers, or family members, make decisions for yourself, and you are not able to care for your own affairs. Advance planning for this is critical. We draft durable powers of attorney, advance healthcare directives, and other documents to ensure that your personal affairs and finances are handled according to your wishes and your beliefs should there come a time when you are unable to speak for yourself.
Whether you would like to discuss an estate plan, you need help with the estate administration process, you need guidance on long-term care planning, or you are involved in an estate dispute, the Chicago probate attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates will provide you high quality personal service. We get to know our clients and the issues that matter most to them. We serve clients throughout Chicago. Call us at 800.454.5529 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.