Estate Probate and Trust Administration
Hays Firm LLC works closely with families to guide them through the entire probate process and the administration of a decedent's estate. The firm also provides individualized representation in connection with the management of the affairs of disabled individuals and guardianship proceedings.
Probate refers to the process by which property is transferred by a court or a judge. After a person passes, his or her property may need to be transferred by a court. The probate process can be very simple, or it can be very complex if the heirs of a deceased person are in conflict. Proper estate planning can help an individual’s family avoid probate and minimize conflict.
Wills and Trusts
Wills and Trusts are documents that instruct your loved ones after you die or become disabled. A will is the written declaration of a person’s intentions as to the disposition of his or her property taking effect at death. A will governs and distributes only “probate property.” A trust is an agreement with respect to the management of assets. A trust may govern property and actions that are not typically considered “probate property.” In the event that an individual does not have a Will or Trust in place the time of their death, their assets will be distributed to their family members according to Illinois statute.
Powers of Attorney
One way that an individual can protect themselves against exploitation as they age is to create an estate plan which includes Power of Attorney documents. In power of attorney documents, you name an agent that can make decisions for you. For example, in a “Power of Attorney for Property”, you name an agent who can make decisions regarding your finances. Likewise, in a “Power of Attorney for Healthcare”, you name an agent who can make decisions for your health care and for your end of life care. Naming your partner as your agent under a Power of Attorney document is essential to ensure that can make decisions for them in the event of their disability. Otherwise, the relevant statutes state that those decisions should be made by your loved one’s immediate family members.
Guardianship Estate Administration
Unfortunately, many individuals reach a point in their lives when - due to age, illness or injury - they are no longer able to safely make their own personal or financial decisions. If the appropriate documents are not in place, such as trusts or powers of attorney, it may be necessary to ask the court to appoint a guardian to manage the individual’s financial affairs and make personal decisions for them on their behalf. Hays Firm LLC represents and guides the guardian through the entire process in order to ensure that they have the knowledge and assistance necessary to protect their loved one’s best interests.
The firm works with individuals and families to ensure that our clients' assets are protected and efficiently transferred to their loved ones upon their death. These services include drafting wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other instruments to help clients meet their short and long-term goals. The firm provides asset protection planning services to clients as well. These services utilize various legal structures in order to provide a level of protection for a client's property that is not possible through the use of simple trusts.
Estate & Trust Litigation
Unfortunately, disputes often arise among family and friends after a loved one’s death. Hays Firm LLC represents individuals in estate-related litigation including will contests and trust contests. In addition, the firm represents both beneficiaries and trustees in disputes related to trust property.
Estate litigation is similar to other types of civil litigation, with several key differences. Specifically, the probate court is governed by the Illinois Probate Act, which has special time limitations relating to the filing of claims or actions. Therefore, it is essential that you retain and attorney who understands the unique rules that govern contested claims in the probate court, as quickly as possible.
Corporate Law and Business Litigation
Hays Firm LLC works with a variety of different small and medium-sized businesses. The services we offer our business clients include: creating the appropriate business entity; effectively negotiating contracts; and efficiently handling business-related disputes, including litigation when necessary.
In today's environment, lawsuits can be a fact of life for many business owners. Hays Firm LLC provides representation to its business clients in connection with various types of commercial disputes. This representation includes negotiations and litigation related to arbitration proceedings as well as lawsuits filed in Illinois state court or federal court in Illinois. Hays Firm LLC represents its clients' interests against all types of adversaries from the largest corporations and insurance companies to private individuals.
Small Business Legal Services
Hays Firm LLC works with a variety of different small and medium-sized businesses. The services we offer our business clients include: properly creating the appropriate business entity; effectively negotiating essential contracts; and efficiently handling business-related disputes, including litigation, where necessary.
Liquor License Services
The most significant obstacle in the formation or operation of any restaurant or bar is the ability to obtain a liquor license that allows the business to operate within its desired municipality. Many business owners have sought counsel from Hays Firm LLC regarding how to transfer or obtain the necessary liquor licenses. In order to address this need, the firm provides all services related to transferring a liquor license, or obtaining a new liquor license from a local municipality, on a fixed-flat fee basis.
In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges the right to marry is a fundamental right that is guaranteed to all same-sex couples. This ruling struck down all laws prohibiting the right of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states. Though same-sex marriage has been legal in Illinois since 2013, many couples are still confused about the financial consequences of marriage.
Whether same-sex couples decide to marry or not, all couples in long-term committed relationship should seek the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that their plan is up-to-date and that their wishes will be honored in the event of their disability or death.
Hays Firm has worked with many same-sex couples to structure estate plan so that their wishes can be honored in the event of their disability or death. Because we have experience with complex family probate matters, and have worked with many same-sex couples, we are able to structure an estate plan that best meets your goals.