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Areas of Practice

The Law Office of Berry Tucker is proud to provide services in these areas:

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Bankruptcy

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Business

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Divorce & Family Law

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Estate Planning / Wills & Trusts

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Real Estate

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Personal Injury

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Elder Law

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Medical Malpractice

Experienced Family and Divorce Lawyers in Oak Lawn, IL and Southwest Chicago Area

Not Just Legal Advice – A Partnership to Share Your Vision

The family divorce lawyers of Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. has over 50 years of experience in a number of legal matters, including but not limited to: family law, divorce law, child custody, personal injury, real estate, bankruptcy, medical malpractice, and more in Oak Lawn, IL and the surrounding southwest Chicago area. Our private practice has allowed us to give clients the most undivided attention, applying years of experience and knowledge of current law to unique cases. At Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd., you can expect complete attention, commitment, and assertion from our experienced family and divorce attorneys.

Divorce Law

When it comes to divorce law in Oak Lawn, IL, nobody knows this are of practice like our attorneys. Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. takes divorce law matters very seriously, handling each case with care and attention to detail while asserting the needs and rights of our clients. Within our divorce law services, we handle all of the following: Pre- and post-nuptial agreements, alimony, child custody and support, domestic violence, visitation, division of property, and post-decree issues. With our experience and resources, we will ensure that your rights are heard to negotiate the solution that is most favorable to you.

Child Custody and Support

Many states will automatically favor joint custody for divorcing couples, and Illinois is one of them. This will quickly make the fight for time with your child stressful if an agreement can’t be made outside of the court. But the child custody and support lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. in Oak Lawn will ensure that your parental rights and responsibilities are heard, fighting for both your and their best interest.

Personal Injury Attorneys

As an established law firm in Oak Lawn, our personal injury attorneys have experience with a broad range of accident cases in the Southwest Chicago area. Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. understands the pain and suffering as a result of other’s wrongdoing and/or negligence, which is why we will use an assertive approach to advocate your rights. Regardless of the type of injury you have suffered, our lawyers will commit themselves to get you the compensation you deserve.

Real Estate Lawyers

From first-time sellers and buyers to experienced property investors, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. in Oak Lawn can provide keen insight to both buying and selling real estate transactions. Our real estate attorneys focus on efficiency, communication, and diligence in order to attain the best solution for both the client and real estate agent. We are also currently offering a $195 special on typical single family sales transactions!

Bankruptcy Attorneys

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. can help you determine whether or not this is the right path for you. Our Oak Lawn bankruptcy attorneys have assisted clients who have been struggling with debt for a number of reasons, including divorce, hospital bills, credit cards, foreclosures, and more. We can help you climb out of this financial turmoil by educating and guiding you through the option that works best for you.

**Please note that the following is subject to withdrawal without notice; terms and conditions apply. Please talk to our office for a specific quote.

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February 13, 2024Income Cuts, Mortgage Debt and Medical Fees are the main reasons why people face bankruptcy Keeping up with bills can be difficult, especially if you’re months behind. While deadline extensions are limited, there is another option that’s available: filing for bankruptcy. But before making any quick decisions, it’s important to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to make sure that it’s the right move for you. When it comes to filing bankruptcy, Chapters 7 and 13 are among the most common. Most Common Causes of Bankruptcy 1. Medical Debt Due to the increase in medical care costs, it’s becoming increasingly harder for patients to keep up with their bills. In fact, much of this care has left Americans with additional costs they didn’t anticipate. According to a Harvard study, 62 percent of all bankruptcies have been spurred by medical debt. 2. Loss of Income The second biggest cause of bankruptcy includes either a loss or significant decrease in income. As many as 22 percent of all cases are due to unemployment. Without the necessary funds, people will use their credit cards – often with high interest rates – to provide temporary relief. But long term, they are digging themselves into a deeper hole. Aside from unemployment, decreased hours can still lead to other financial problems, like legal fees, divorce, student loans, mortgage, and any other large expenses. A bankruptcy attorney can also help to provide guidance out of debt. 3. Credit Card Debt, Mortgage, and Other Debts Another common reason that Americans file for bankruptcy includes credit card debt, mortgage, and other major expenses. While it can create major financial problems, much of this is caused  by uncontrollable spending. It’s often the case that many credit unions and banks are too eager to lend out the money with the expectation that they would be paid back with high interest rates. But credit card and mortgage debt is also a problem that can be relieved with the help of a bankruptcy attorney. However, it’s not common that many Americans seek the help of an attorney. 4. Legal Fees Believe it or not, legal feels accounts for about 8 percent of bankruptcy cases. These fees can include anything from child support payments to alimony. The hard part is that these fees cannot be “written off” with bankruptcy, however, others can, which allows the filer to focus on paying these fees. 5. Natural Disasters If you have ever experienced a tornado, fire, flood, or any other kind of disaster, you’ll know well that they are expensive. Especially if your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover the expense or you don’t have insurance, you’ll find yourself quickly buried in restoration bills. On the other side, almost all homeowner’s insurance policies cover disaster cases. Just be ready to pay the deductible, which may also be significant, depending on your policy. Least Common Causes of Bankruptcy You may be surprised that these reasons even constitute for bankruptcy. But while they are rare, they still happen and it’s important to be aware of them. 1. Foreclosure Many Americans love their home so much that they file for bankruptcy to prevent foreclosure. In the process, they can also alleviate some of their other debts so they can catch up on their mortgage payments. So in many cases filing for bankruptcy to alleviate multiple accounts of debt can be the best option. 2. No Structured Financial Plan While the number of Americans that file for this reason is low, it includes those that have set no budget or boundaries for themselves. In these cases, uncontrollable spending will quickly send people into financial distress. 3. Utility Bills You might be surprised but utility bills account for 1 percent of all bankruptcy cases, including electricity, gas, trash, and water. For bills so inexpensive, some people do not consider these a priority, thus, letting them pile up while they pay the minimum charge to keep everything running. For some, filing for bankruptcy can provide them with a “fresh start” to catch up on their living expenses. 4. Student Loans With college tuition already sky high, it may seem shocking that only 1 percent of Americans file for bankruptcy. But the reason for this is because student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy (or else everyone would be doing it). On the other hand, few people do in order to eliminate or restructure other debts so they can catch up on their student loan payments. 5. Car Repossession The last reason for bankruptcy includes the reason to avoid car repossession. With as many as 3 missed payments, the creditor can easily take the car away. But as soon as you file for bankruptcy, they must return your car as well as any other property that was taken. 6. Divorce When a couple splits up, it’s not just emotions that suffer—finances can take a hit too. One big reason is that during divorce, debts and assets get divided. Sometimes, one partner ends up with way more debt than they can handle alone. 7. Overspending: With prices going up, managing money is trickier than ever. It’s not just about knowing inflation’s effects; it’s about budgeting smart and being careful with spending. Sadly, many people struggle because they don’t budget well and spend too much. This leads to debt piling up and financial stress getting worse. Life After Bankruptcy Filing for bankruptcy can feel like a failure at first, but afterwards, it can be such a relief to get rid of all that debt. Simply working with a bankruptcy attorney cannot only lead you to a “fresh start” long term, but also provide immediate relief like prevent foreclosure and repossession. After all, you need a place to stay and means of transportation to work and pay for these expenses. So if you are worried that you might lose these things in the near future, filing for bankruptcy can stop this process, even allowing you to keep more than you think. Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney Financial turmoil is depressing and can easily lead to other problems like divorce due to arguments caused by financial distress. If you are contemplating declaring bankruptcy, be sure to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to make sure that this is the right step for you. If you live near the southwest Chicago, IL area, contact the attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our attorneys are not only experienced but stay updated on all current laws. They have also worked in a number of diverse cases, you can feel comfortable as they guide you to make the best financial decision. When working with our bankruptcy attorneys, they will answer all of your questions, provide legal advice that is tailored to your unique situation, help filling out all documents, and provide deadline reminders. Schedule a Consultation To speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd., contact us directly at (708) 425-9530 or fill out a contact form. We will be in touch with you shortly! [...]
January 10, 2024As marriage rates decline and rates of births outside of marriage rise, single parenthood in the U.S. is increasing. While mothers have certain rights, fathers, too, have access to their share of rights. Family law has evolved over the decades, giving fathers the same constitutional rights as mothers. These rights include making decisions about the children and spending time with them. In Illinois, fathers are awarded equal parenting time and share decision-making authority. In fact, the state created a law that acknowledges the rights of fathers. The Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 recognizes the right of children to receive the physical, emotional, and monetary support of their parents, regardless of their parents’ marital status. The importance of fathers playing an active role in their children’s lives cannot be underestimated. While mothers have long been viewed as being nurturing caregivers, capable supporters, and strong providers, the role of fathers and father figures is just as critical. Numerous studies conducted on fatherhood show that children whose fathers are involved or supportive tend to perform better academically. Social and language development are also easier for these children. Similar to mothers, fathers can be capable caregivers and effective disciplinarians. What is the importance of establishing paternity? Paternity means being a legal father. While the legal father is normally considered to be the biological father, this is not always the case. A father can adopt a child and become the legal father, just as one who has rights through a valid surrogacy agreement. Establishing paternity is important for fathers who wish to be involved with their children. Rights, privileges, and responsibilities come with establishing paternity early on. Delays in establishing paternity can lead to accusations that the father is uncaring or financial support being owed. Paternity also gives the legal father the right to specific information about the children, such as medical care and school performance. By failing to establish paternity, a father could miss out on opportunities to guide and protect the children or otherwise parent them. What are the rights of a father? Upon the confirmation of paternity, a father may be granted certain rights under Illinois family law. Particularly, the father may seek custody and visitation rights, which are now referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, respectively. Not all parents contribute equally to the care of their children. Parenting time may be scheduled based on variable factors, such as how much time the parents wish to spend with their children and a history of the parents’ level of involvement with their children. A father may gain greater parenting time if, upon examination of past behavior, the judge finds evidence showing how involved the father was. If a father wants to spend more time with his children, his past efforts to do so will influence the judge regarding future opportunities for parenting time. If a mother attempts to prevent the father from spending time with the children but the father tries to be involved, it can sway a judge’s decision in favor of the father. The judge will primarily gauge the past efforts of the father when determining a parenting schedule. It is a sad fact that a mother with whom the children live may outrightly refuse to allow the father to visit his children. Such a parent may allow or disallow access to the child based on the conveniences of her schedule or as a way to leverage financial support. A court can intervene, however, and give the father parenting time with his children. The exception is when the mother expresses verified concerns about the safety and well-being of the children when in the father’s care. In such cases, parenting time may be supervised by a relative or professional. Parenting schedules are determined after the judge evaluates the fitness of both the mother and father, their co-parenting time and their past involvement with the children. It is possible that the father can be awarded the majority of parenting time with the children. Overall, Illinois courts give importance to giving both parents regular opportunities to spend time with their children. The reality is that Illinois fathers who want parenting time with their children will receive it under the laws of the state, unless the father poses as a safety risk to the children. Once the courts are involved, the judge will ensure that both parents will spend time with their children, and neither will be able to exclude the other parent from the children’s lives. The goal of the courts is to encourage a meaningful relationship between the children and both parents. Fathers may also have the right to receive child support. The law gives equal importance to both parents, meaning they share parental responsibilities and, if appropriate, child support payments. A child support agreement may be reached with the help of a father’s rights attorney. Call us to Learn Your Rights a s a Father Children benefit significantly when both parents are involved in their upbringing. However, fathers may have a bigger uphill battle when seeking visitation rights and the opportunity to make decisions in their children’s lives. It’s important to consult the attorneys at Berry K Tucker & Associates when this occurs. We are a family law firm with a team of father’s rights attorneys who are experienced in providing legal assistance to fathers who are underrepresented. Once you establish paternity, our lawyers will help you address any legal concerns regarding the relationship with your children. Our father’s rights attorneys will fight for your rights for visitation, high child support payments, child custody, and overreaching child enforcement actions. Fathers who already play a significant role in the well-being and development of their children will make it easier for the courts to grant further rights. The family law attorneys at Berry K Tucker & Associates are committed to defending the rights of fathers and ensuring they have rightful access to their children. When you seek expert legal guidance, consult our law firm. We support fathers in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Call today to schedule an appointment. [...]
December 19, 2023While marriages are meant to last forever, they don’t always do. Each state will have different legal requirements for finalizing a divorce, but this article will highlight the general steps of where to start, how to prepare for your court hearing, and how to finalize it. Just keep in mind that all cases are unique and it would be a good idea to work with an experienced family attorney to guide you through the process. They will be able to address your specific situation and guide you to make the best legal decisions throughout the process. Preparing for Divorce As mentioned previously, working with an attorney through the divorce can make things a lot easier and will help you fight for what is most important to you. They will be able to foresee specific factors that will affect your case and even know what is favored and disfavored by the judge after working with them in previous cases. The family attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. are experienced in all areas of family law, including divorce, child custody, parental responsibilities (child support), alimony, property division, and more. They will be able to help with you with as much or as little assistance as you need, including the following: Initial consultation Providing legal advice Informing you which laws will apply to your case Guiding you throughout the divorce process Make Sure You Qualify to File for Divorce In order to file for divorce in the state of Illinois, you must have lived here for at least 90 days. You must also adhere to the following: Both parties must agree to the divorce and agree that there is nothing more that can be done to save the marriage, despite making all efforts to solve the problems after 6 months. Live separately from your spouse for at least 2 years if your spouse does not agree to the divorce. Know the Law, Conditions, and Standards While your divorce attorney will advise you to read up on the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5, discussing child custody, support, and property division. This document will prepare you for the presumptions and preferences the judge has to make as well as using proper terminology, including: Determine child custody according to the child’s best interest. Determine child support on the number of children under 18 and a percentage of the payer’s net income. Determine the division of property assets, unless you and your spouse have already agreed beforehand. Select the Court to Process the Divorce As each county will have its own court system, choosing which one to file will have an impact on the results of your case. If you and your spouse have been living together up until the time of divorce, it is best to pick the court in your own county. Otherwise, file in the county in which your spouse lives to ensure that they will be able to order support from him or her. Finding and Completing All Forms While Illinois Legal Aid provides some simple forms to fill out, there are a number of documents to read over and sign. Your divorce attorney can also help with this process, or feel free to use your local self-help center. But it is crucial that you understand the significance of these documents and what you agree to as they outline your future after finalizing the divorce. Getting Ready to File for Divorce After completing all necessary forms for your case, you will need to sign the notary boxes in front of a notary. The courthouses will usually have one on staff or allow a deputy clerk to notarize them. If this is not the case, other approved services include check-cashing services, such as a bank, or your attorney’s office. Just remember to make four copies of each document. Identify Common Roadblocks Because Illinois is an equitable distribution state, you and your spouse will need to agree to a property settlement. The judge will then determine how to divide the assets and liabilities according to the current situation of each party. These will include any or all of the following: The property neglected by each individual Any previous agreements of each individual All custodial provisions of each child The tax results of the property division The circumstances of each parent, including age, occupation, source and amount of income, employability, employment skills, liabilities, estate, health, and their individual needs. Possible and amount of spousal support or alimony The duration of the marriage The current value of the assets for each spouse Opportunities for each party to have a reasonable income or ability to buy assets Create a Parenting Plan that Includes Child Support The best way to get what you want out of the divorce is to come prepared with a parenting plan. This will highlight the parental responsibilities that each of you will have to your children. It also includes visitation times that will work best for both of your schedules. Of course, don’t forget to include child support, or the percentage of income that must be paid to the other parent, depending on how many children that need support. While the amount will vary according to the economic situation of each parent, common amounts include 20% for one child and 50% for 6 or more children. If relevant circumstances have changed, the court may deviate the percentage according to the current situation of the family. Filing and Carrying Out the Divorce As soon as all documents and plans are ready, provide the original copy of each document to the clerk of the court who will hear your case. Be prepared to pay a fee, unless if you are qualified to have it waived. The court clerk will then sign your documents and summons (if needed), return your summons, and stamp your copies of the documents with the filing date if you ask them. Summoning the Divorce and Serving Your Spouse Unless if you and your spouse have already made agreements, you will need to serve them the summons. After the clerk signs these papers, make a copy for your records, and send the originals, along with the rest of your documents, to your spouse. Keep in mind that they must receive these within 1 month of having the summons issued to you. If you prefer to avoid contact, you can pay the sheriff to deliver these documents for you. Once all documents have been received by your spouse, they will have 30 days to respond with a written answer. File for Default if Your Spouse Doesn’t Answer If you haven’t received an answer in over a month, you can file for a Default Judgment. Just remember that this won’t solve everything, especially if your spouse lives out of the court’s jurisdiction. For example, if the children are in Illinois and the other parent lived in a different state, the judge would be able to change the visitation times or the power of decisions they are allowed to make on your children’s behalf. But they may not be able to issue an order for child support. Following Through with the Divorce The first step in preparing for court is gathering evidence and information needed to support your case, known as the discovery phase. You will find the regulations, techniques, and processes regarding discovery in Part E of the Rules on Civil Proceedings in the Trial Court. You will also want to work with your divorce attorney through this phase as they can educate you on what to say and how to make the best legal decisions to help your case. During the discovery, you will be allowed to require your spouse to: Answer all questions under oath Allow you to inspect items and/or property Provide you with copies of documents regarding the divorce and marriage Stating Disclosures When preparing to state your case, make specific disclosures as well as requesting the same from your spouse. These can include lists of witnesses asked to testify, financial complications, relevant evidence, and any other statements your family attorney recommends. But if these are not disclosed prior to the hearing or your spouse objects to their use, you might not be able to use them during the trial. Understanding the Rules of Evidence Ask your attorney about the rules and regulations of evidence and ensure you understand them well. Mediation Mediation is always required when children are involved in divorce. Throughout this process, a third party will suggest possible options to help each party settle an agreement for all issues. But the mediator will only provide suggestions, not make decisions, so you won’t need to bring evidence with you. If both parties are able to come to a mutual agreement, then there is no need to go to trial. If both parties have come to an agreement, the mediator will prepare all necessary documents for you and the individual to sign. If you were not able to come to an agreement, matters will then be handled in court. Keep in mind that the mediator will not make any statements to the court, regardless of what was said during mediation. Scheduling the Hearing As this is the most important step of the divorce process, make sure you are prepared with everything, including: Your documents and summons Relevant evidence The estimated duration of the hearing Issuing subpoenas for witnesses Date, time, and location of the hearing The judge who will attend the hearing Confirmation from your divorce attorney When Attending the Hearing You should be dressed in business professional attire on the date of your hearing. Men should wear suits and women blazers and dress pants or skirt. If you do not have either, dress clean and respectfully, avoiding shorts, tank tops, miniskirts, sagging pants, and flip flops. When entering the court room, don’t speak with anyone other than your attorney and the judge, and refer to them as “Judge” or “Your Honor.” Whenever it is your turn to speak, stand before doing so. The divorce case will then proceed as any other would, unless under specific circumstances: The petitioner will make their opening statements (a summary of the case and what is to be proven) Opening statements from the respondent All witnesses cross-examined by the respondent and called by the petitioner and vice versa Closing arguments by the petitioner (summary of their wishes and why the hearing should be ruled in their favor) Closing arguments from the respondent Final argument from the petitioner Final ruling from the judge Reviewing and Adhering to or Appealing a Hearing After the hearing is finished, the opposed party will usually have to prepare orders, unless if you had already proposed them earlier. But if you do have to prepare them, you can find blank ones on the bench, picking the one that applies to your case, and complete it there. When you are done, make 2 copies and file the original with the court, sending a copy to the other party and keeping the originals for yourself. As soon as the judge signs the order, you can get a signed copy from the clerk. If at any time you disagree with the ruling, you have about 30 days to file a Notice of Appeal with the Trial Court. Ask Your Attorney for Extra Help As there are numerous benefits of working with an experienced family attorney, they will be able to help you through all stages of the process. They may be able to complete your documents and summons for you. But regardless of your case, they will best prepare you for mediation or the hearing, including gathering all necessary evidence and information, which questions to ask, and how to answer questions. Ultimately, they will guide you to make legal decisions that will work in your best interest. If you live in the southern suburbs or parts of Chicago, contact Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our family attorneys not only have years of experience but have worked in unique situations that will help you through any and all complications of your divorce. They also remain updated on all current law in order to educate you and argue why the hearing should rule in your favor. Don’t hesitate to contact them at (708) 425-9530 in Oak Lawn, IL. [...]
November 18, 2023Wills offer peace of mind. These important legal documents stipulate how your assets will be distributed once you have passed. Without a will, the state of Illinois, via the Illinois Probate Act, determines how your assets will be handled. The best time to create a will is now, whether or not you are in peak health, to ensure your loved ones’ futures are secure. The type of will you create can fall into any of the following four variations and be legally recognized in the state of Illinois. Here are the Different Types of Wills Simple Will Simple wills are just that, simple to create, require minimum effort to draft and address most assets. This type of will is especially ideal for those who do not own a major estate that is subject to estate taxes. A simple will manages your last desires, including Distributing property once you are deceased Designating a guardian for your minor children Appointing an individual to handle your minor children’s financial affairs and Naming a person to execute your estate A simple will normally take care of the needs of people under the age of 50 who have a small estate (your property). If you own significant assets or property or will owe estate taxes upon your death, a simple will may not be for you. Plus, if you intend to distribute your wealth to your children and, when they die, to your grandchildren, you will require a more complex will. You, as the testator (the person writing the will), can write a simple will without the assistance of a will and trust attorney. Once the will is written, at least two witnesses (according to Illinois law) must sign the form in order for it to be legally binding; these witnesses must not be beneficiaries. Individuals may create simple wills via self-help books, online forms, and software designed to develop these legal documents. Testamentary Trust Wills When you designate a portion of your property to a trust, you require a testamentary trust will. This type will allow your property to be your beneficiary, but a designated trustee manages the details of how and when your assets are dispersed to the trust beneficiary. For instance, you designate your oldest child as your beneficiary but stipulate that your brother acts as the trustee. The trustee manages the funds, doling out a portion of your assets regularly over a period of time, rather than delivering the funds in one lump sum to your oldest child. If your designated trustee declines the role, the court may assign a trustee; alternately, another trusted individual may volunteer to assume the responsibility. Joint Will A joint will is drafted so that all your assets go to your living spouse. Essentially, couples leave their property to each other. A joint will cannot be revised without the other spouse’s consent, meaning it is irrevocable once one spouse has passed. Given the irrevocable nature of the joint will, attorneys advise against drafting such a document. The surviving spouse may live for several more years and eventually may face life circumstances that warrant a change in the terms of the joint will. For example, the living spouse may wish to allocate a portion of the assets to a grandchild for his college expenses; or, the survivor may desire to downsize and move into a smaller home. Unfortunately, alterations to the joint will cannot legally be made, since receiving approval from the deceased spouse is impossible. Living Will A living will involves your last wishes related to your medical care if you become too incapacitated to communicate. For instance, you may draft a living will that relays your wish to not be hooked up to feeding tubes or be resuscitated in the event you become unconscious. A living will serves as your healthcare directive. In the document, you appoint an agent to carry out your decisions as outlined in the living will. The appointed healthcare agent cannot be the testator’s healthcare provider. According to Illinois law, two witnesses must sign the living will; these witnesses must be over 18 years old, should not be accountable for your healthcare costs and should not be legally permitted to your estate. As the testator, you are responsible for notifying your medical provider of the existence of the living will. Unrecognized Wills In the state of Illinois, two types of wills lack legal authority. The first of the two is the holographic will, which is handwritten by the testator and fails to bear the signatures of witnesses. Unless the will was written in another state that does not require witness signatures, the holographic will has no legal power in Illinois. The second type of will that is unrecognized in Illinois is the nuncupative will. Such a will is spoken to witnesses, including in such scenarios as life and death emergencies, soldiers in war or persons in danger of facing imminent death, and by people who cannot immediately draft a written will. Illinois does not accept nuncupative wills under any condition, although some jurisdictions do. Wills ensure that your final wishes are carried out as you intend. In order for a will to be accepted in a court of law, the document must be legally binding. One way to ensure your will is permissible in court is to create the form with the help of a will and trust attorney from the reputable law firm of Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Work with Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. The attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. stay current on changing Illinois laws, ensuring your legal documents are properly executed and your family’s financial future is secure. Our lawyers take time to understand your unique financial situation and advise you appropriately. We are experienced in all forms of estate planning, from simple wills to trusts, like irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts, and living trusts, among many others. Our exceptionally skilled estate planning lawyers from Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. serve the greater Oak Lawn, IL community with dedication and unparalleled expertise. Consultations are available for those interested in meeting with one of our will and trust attorneys. Request a Consultation To request an initial consultation with Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd., give us a call at (708) 425-9530 or fill out a contact form. We look forward to working with you! [...]
October 9, 2023Marriage can bring couples significant emotional well-being. However, when disagreements become the norm, a split is an inevitable result. Divorcing your partner shatters the physical and emotional bonds that initially kept the two of you together. The break from a husband or wife can be a devastating life blow and emotionally draining. Physically, a divorce can wear you down and build up anxiety. Financially, a divorce is like a devastating hurricane that tears apart things you value, especially when mutual assets like property and savings accounts are involved. Life after divorce may offer a new sense of freedom, as well as a new take on life without your former significant other. When your marriage produces children or legal matters are involved, however, the interaction between divorcees becomes a necessity. No matter how strongly you feel about your ex, there are manageable ways to deal with a former partner. Here are 9 Tips to Deal with your EX after Divorce Settle on a Communication Method Email is probably one of the best ways to communicate with an ex. Emails do not have to be answered right away. Plus, when you email, you have a chance to reread the contents prior to hitting send, checking for any unnecessarily harsh language. Texts, if you both agree, can be reserved for emergency communication that requires an immediate response. If you run into an unexpected issue and can’t pick up the kids from school, for instance, texting your ex to get the children is appropriate. Some divorcees may even prefer voicemail as a preferred communication method. If you both agree on this form of messaging, keep the voicemails relevant, respectful, and brief. Honor the Role of Your Child’s “Other Parent” Children of divorcees often scramble between two homes, sharing time with each parent. Teach your children to respect the other parent. It’s beneficial for the children to grow up feeling the love of both parents. When the kids spend time with your ex, be happy that they have the opportunity to experience caring from the other parent. Experts note that varying styles of parenting can produce happy children. So, remember that your way is not the only best way to raise your kids. Seek Support Elsewhere Married couples are likely to discuss the needs of their children with each other. When you’re newly divorced, you may fall back on looking to your former spouse for support with the kids. Find new support systems to help with your children; turn to friends and family for assistance. Protect Your Finances If alimony or child support is involved after a divorce, handle any concerns through your divorce lawyer. Never plead with an ex to resolve any issues with finances. Separate Physically Upon a divorce, establish that your home is indeed your home—not your ex’s. This means your former spouse is a guest in your home if invited at all. Helping oneself to the contents of a refrigerator or entering the home without ringing the doorbell does not make a welcome houseguest—which is what a newly divorced individual becomes, even after an amiable divorce. Detach Emotionally Treat your new ex with cordiality, not familiarity. Protecting your privacy means stopping yourself from the natural impulse of sharing intimate feelings, personal fears, or other concerns. Refrain from conversing about anything that leads to an emotional tangle. If you have conversations with your ex, keep it businesslike. Respect Each Other Your once-ardent flame may have transformed into an unbearable annoyance, leaving you to seek the haven of divorce. When you encounter your ex, handle the communication with respect, no matter how difficult it may seem. Walk away from any yelling or inappropriate behavior. You are divorcees now, and the old ways that instigated the divorce are unacceptable. Remember Your Ex’s Humanity Divorcees are likely to unleash their claws and spew bitter hate toward one another. Remember, however, there was once a time when you vowed to spend the rest of your lives together in harmony, peace, and love. Challenging as it may seem, keep in mind that your ex is undergoing a lot of the distress that you feel as well. View the world through your ex’s eyes, instead of just your own. The insecurity, frustration, and anger that is felt after a divorce is likely to be two-sided. Picture yourself in your former spouse’s shoes. If your ex is demanding, try looking at the situation from his or her perspective. Doing so is likely to soften your response and help achieve a win-win solution. Work with a Divorce Attorney A divorce can be one of the most painful events in an individual’s life. Divorces are often financially distressing and emotionally exhausting. When you need to sort through the avalanche of barriers that result from a divorce, turn to an experienced family law firm, like Berry K. Tucker & Associations, Ltd. Our family law attorneys help you reach an agreement on a wide range of divorce-related issues, such as child custody and visitation rights, spousal support and property division. If you and your ex signed a pre-nuptial agreement or a post-nuptial agreement, the attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. will help you understand all its benefits. Messy divorces can result due to an infinite number of reasons, including domestic violence. In instances where accusations of domestic violence are involved, a family law attorney can represent you upon request. A stressful divorce may also involve disputes with retirement accounts, real estate, debt, and savings accounts. The family law attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. have years of litigation and mediation experience, sorting through divisions of assets, including personal belongings and prized possessions, and will help you reach an agreeable solution. Divorce is a headache in itself. A skilled family law attorney can ease the burden by efficiently handling the multitude of complex details that a divorce frequently involves. Build a strong partnership with a qualified family lawyer who will help you navigate through the myriad of physical, emotional, and financial problems associated with divorce. [...]
September 29, 2023Intestate is the term used by the court system to identify a person who has died without a valid will. The scenario is one in which the individual has “died intestate”. The living family members will want to know who will inherit the assets and how the estate will be distributed. Intestate Succession In intestate succession, state law allows for certain classes of family members to inherit the decedent’s estate. Each state has its own set of laws for intestate succession, which offers an organized and systematic way to distribute property. The class of heirs delineates who will receive what portion of the decedent’s estate. For example, in the case where a decedent leaves behind a spouse and four children, the estate will be divvied up, with half of the estate going to the spouse and the other half distributed to the children. If the decedent had no spouse but children only, the estate goes directly to the children. If the decedent leaves behind no spouse and no children, more distant relatives receive the share. Five classes of heirs exist when evaluating an intestate case: Parents The surviving spouse of the decedent Descendants, including children and grandchildren Siblings, nieces, nephews, and other descendants of the decedent’s parents Aunts and uncles (the descendants of grandparents) When none of the above survive at the time of the intestate succession, then the estate escheats to the state or county. Such situations where the state receives the entire estate rarely occur, as state laws are designed to ensure that even the most remote relatives receive the inheritance. Unmarried partners, friends and charitable organizations do not receive a decedent’s assets under intestate succession laws. It is important to note that certain properties cannot by law be passed by a will. These assets include the following: Property in a living trust Assets in a 401(k), IRA, or retirement plan with a named beneficiary Stocks, real estate, or vehicles held in a transfer on death (TOD) account or deed/title Proceeds from life insurance policies Assets held in joint tenancy, including bank accounts and real estate These types of property may only be passed on with documentation that establishes co-ownership or a beneficiary. Those Who Will Not Receive Assets All states have established laws that prevent a relative who behaved badly toward the deceased individual from inheriting any assets. For example, a kindred who committed a crime against the person who died, causing the individual’s death, will almost never receive anything from the decedent’s estate. Parents who failed to pay child support, committed crimes against the child, or abandoned the child do not profit from the deceased child’s assets. Children Children can have varying descriptors in the eyes of the courts. Foster children, for instance, do not typically inherit an estate from foster parents. Stepchildren who are not legally adopted by the deceased usually do not receive a portion of the inheritance. Legally adopted children have the right, according to state laws, to receive the estate just as would biological children. However, intestate succession laws do not give children adopted by an unrelated family the legal right to inherit the property of the biological parents nor the right for biological parents to inherit from the deceased child. In adoption cases where inheritance is in question, the state laws cut the legal tie between birth parents and their children. Spouses State laws give careful consideration about who qualifies as a spouse. Normally, a spouse is one who is legally married to the decedent at the time of death. Questions may arise as to the legal status of marriage, such as in the following scenarios: Pending divorces and legal separation blur the line between who qualifies as a spouse and who does not in the eyes of the law. If divorce proceedings are begun before an individual dies or if the couple is separated prior to one spouse dying, a judge will consider whether or not the surviving member is deemed a spouse. Differing states may or may not recognize common-law marriages. Some states do allow common-law marriages, in which a couple intends to get married, cohabits and presents themselves as would a married couple. Other Relatives Illinois has certain additional laws that affect intestate succession. “Half” relatives, such as a half-brother or half-sister, are entitled to a deceased parent’s inheritance just as would “whole” relatives. Relatives who are not citizens of the United States are entitled to an inheritance under Illinois intestate succession laws. Those who abuse, neglect, or exploit an elderly individual will not receive any portion of that person’s estate upon his or her death. Illinois laws also stipulate a survivorship time period of 120 hours. This means that in order to inherit, the individual must outlive the decedent by at least 120 hours. If two siblings are involved in a car accident, for example, and one sibling dies a few hours after the other, the survivorship law does not allow for the inheritance of property. Estate Planning Attorneys When you are in doubt about a family member’s transference of property when no will is found, consult the most trusted estate planning lawyers in Oak Lawn IL, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our lawyers are experienced in helping clients develop wills and trusts. Our estate attorneys not only assist you with creating and modifying a will but also with contesting wills. The Berry K. Tucker & Associates Ltd. team of lawyers also specializes in trusts as a part of estate planning. Clients will want to provide for the future of their family with the development of a trust. Examples of trusts on which we focus include charitable trusts, dynasty trusts, life insurance trusts, family trusts, living trusts, and special needs trusts, among others. Plan for your family’s future by consulting the skilled will and trust attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our lawyers are available for an immediate consultation at (708) 425-9530. [...]
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