Chicago Estate Planning Attorney
Compassionate Legal Representation Since 1989
For more than 20 years, Ferris, Thompson & Zweig has been dedicated to providing clients with the best legal representation possible. We tailor every estate plan to meet our clients’ needs, and always keep their best interests at heart. Our firm is determined to help every client with their estate planning and probate requests. Discussing wills, trusts, and power of attorney may be a difficult subject, but we are here to make our clients feel at ease when deciding where their assets and properties should go. Our Chicago estate planning lawyers have the experience to know how to minimize the probate court involvement, and lessen taxes on assets when gifted to beneficiaries.
Our firm handles all types of probate and estate planning cases; we will not turn a prospective client away based on the complexity of their case. We advise clients based on their specific situation. If you wish to donate money to a charity, or leave money for your grandchildren, we can help you create a will stating such instructions. We can also craft a trust or a special needs trust if you wish to give assets or property to certain individuals while you are still alive, at your death, or after you have passed away. If you wish to change beneficiaries in a will that you have already created, we can write an entirely new one, or make a codicil, which is an addition or supplement that explains, modifies or revokes a will or a portion of it. We can also help construct a power of attorney, and help you choose the best agent.
Understanding the Probate Process
After a loved one has passed away, his or her estate will go through a court-managed process to distribute his or her assets; this is known as probate. The estate must be opened for several reasons. First, so that assets can be administered. Second, so that relatives/heirs can be found, and third, so that the decedent’s debts and liabilities can be taken care of. Probate is required when a deceased individual owned real estate or personal property valued at more than $100,000. Property is transferred through a will or, when no will is left, by intestate succession.
There are several complex aspects relating to probate; for example, when drafting a will, you will designate a person or persons to handle the administration of your estate—this person is known as an executor. If, however, an individual passes away without naming an executor, the court will appoint someone known as the administrator to handle the estate. In some cases, the court may appoint an administrator even if an executor is named within the will—this may occur in cases where the executor is unable or unwilling, or if executors cannot get along to further the best interests of the estate.
Unfortunately, when someone is named an executor in a will, or appointed administrator by the court, they often are unfamiliar with the probate process. If this is true of your situation, our firm may be able to help you! We know the ins and outs of probate, and can aid in filling out the proper paperwork and submitting it before the necessary deadlines. People may attempt to administer an estate without legal assistance, but even the smallest mistakes can postpone a case. Estate taxes can also be confusing, and may take months to complete without an experienced lawyer.
Need an attorney for a probate case in Chicago?
The size and complexity of the estate will dictate how long this process will take, as will whether or not the decedent left a clear, updated will. Probate administration involves filing a petition with a probate court in Illinois, the petition to appoint an executor, inventory and appraisal of assets by an executor, and the distribution of the decedent’s assets to the right heirs/beneficiaries. Certain assets, however, do not have to go through probate. For example, assets that are transferred by a trust or gifted before an individual’s death may be able to avoid the probate process.
The cost of probate depends again on the value and complexity of the estate in question. Whether you are an executor, family member, or an heir who is unfamiliar with the probate administration process, Ferris, Thompson & Zweig can provide you with the counsel, guidance, and representation you need! Attorney Michael Zweig has administered probate estates and litigated probate matters for over 25 years. After learning that you are not in someone’s will, or have received less than what you think you deserved, we can represent you in probate litigation. This process is challenging without an attorney on your side, but we know the law and can fight for your rights!
Experienced Estate Planning Law Firm in Chicago
Our firm knows how stressful probate can be, and how challenging creating an estate plan may seem. Not only do we help people prior to the probate process, we help families who are facing probate after losing a loved one. Our Chicago estate planning attorneys are prepared to help every client who is interested in estate planning understand what happens to their assets and properties after they die. If a family is unaware of how probate works, our team can walk them through it. Losing someone is hard enough; going through the probate process alone should not be an unnecessary stressor. Our website allows prospective clients to fill out a free case evaluation form , which can be filled out and submitted online. You may also call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.
Looking for an estate planning lawyer in Chicago? We look forward to hearing from you soon and offering you the legal assistance you need to navigate through the probate process successfully!
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500 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10110
Ferris Thompson & Zweig (Main Office)
1 E. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, Illinois 60601- 1474