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Kerry Peck Featured in ABA Journal Article

Amanda Robert, ABA Journal legal affairs writer, sat down with Managing Partner, Kerry Peck to discuss the emerging practice of elder law, including cases that involve older adults being financially exploited. The article titled Why elder law is a growing, 'anything-can-happen practice' can be read by clicking below.


Peck Ritchey Welcomes Associate Attorney, Madison R. Clark

Madison R. Clark is an associate attorney at Peck Ritchey, LLC. In addition to representing individuals and families, Madison represents financial institutions, medical institutions, and various fiduciaries.

Madison earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School. During law school, Madison served as a clinical staffer for The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship as well as the International Human Rights Clinic. Prior to law school, Madison earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the Honors College at Oklahoma State University, where she graduated summa cum laude.

Madison’s practice areas include Trust and Probate Litigation, Guardianship Litigation and Administration, Estate Administration, Will Contests, Fiduciary Defense Litigation, and Elder Law. She is an active member of the Chicago Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association.

Welcome, Madison! 

Financial scams have become increasingly popular, especially among seniors. Seniors typically have worked hard to save money and have large sums sitting in accounts which is exactly what the scammers are after.

As Valentine's Day approaches, below is a popular romance scam to be aware of so you can protect yourself and loved ones.

Romance Scam by AARP Fraud Resource Center

"The con works something like this: You post a dating profile and up pops a promising match — good-looking, smart, funny and personable. This potential mate claims to live in another part of the country or to be abroad for business or a military deployment. But he or she seems smitten and eager to get to know you better, and suggests you move your relationship to a private channel like email or a chat app.

Over weeks or months you feel yourself growing closer. You make plans to meet in person, but for your new love something always comes up. Then you get an urgent request. There’s an emergency (a medical problem, perhaps, or a business crisis), and your online companion needs you to wire money quickly. He or she will promise to pay it back, but that will never happen. Instead, the scammer will keep asking for more until you finally realize you’ve been had.

Phony suitors also seek out targets on social media, and they are increasingly active. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received more than 21,300 reports of romance scams in 2018, up 250 percent from three years earlier. Reported losses totaled $143 million, the most for any type of consumer fraud. The older the victim, the heavier the financial toll, according to the FTC — the median individual loss for people aged 70 and over was $10,000, compared to $2,600 for all victims.

Warning Signs

  • Your new romantic interest sends you a picture that looks more like a model from a fashion magazine than an ordinary snapshot.
  • The person quickly wants to leave the dating website and communicate with you through email or instant messaging.
  • He or she lavishes you with attention. Swindlers often inundate prospective marks with texts, emails and phone calls to draw them in.
  • He or she repeatedly promises to meet you in person but always seems to come up with an excuse to cancel.


  • Do take it slowly. Ask your potential partner a lot of questions, and watch for inconsistencies that might reveal an impostor.
  • Do check the photo, using Google’s “search by image” feature. If the same picture shows up elsewhere with a different name attached to it, that’s a sign a scammer may have stolen it.
  • Do be wary of flirtatious and overly complimentary emails. Paste the text into a search engine and see whether the same words show up on websites devoted to exposing romance scams.
  • Do cut off contact immediately if you begin to suspect that the individual may be a swindler.
  • Do notify the dating site or the maker of the dating app on which you met the scammer.


  • Don’t feel a false sense of safety because you’re the one who made first contact. Scammers flood dating websites with fake profiles and wait for victims to come to them.
  • Don’t reveal too much personal information in a dating profile or to someone you’ve chatted with only online. Scammers can exploit details like your last name or where you work to manipulate you or to commit identity theft.
  • Don’t ever give an online acquaintance intimate photos that could later be used for extortion.
  • Don't send cash to someone you've chatted with only online or put money on a reloadable gift card for the person — you’ll never get it back."

Article Link: Romance Scams - AARP Fraud Resource Center

Is Someone Trying to Steal Your Inheritance?


Is it a family member, caregiver, or "new" friend?

We can help!

Call (312) 201-0900 for a no-cost initial consultation.

Noteworthy News

Peck Ritchey is honored to sponsor the family and caregiver learning series Power to Care. The series has a focus on community, family members and caregivers caring for individuals with cognitive changes wanting to expand their knowledge and skills. The series is scheduled for February 29, March 7 and March 14 at Summit of Uptown.

Peck Ritchey is a proud sponsor of The Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Texas Hold'em Tournament and Casino Night Fundraiser on February 20, 2020. Proceeds benefit The Chicago Bar Foundation in an effort to make the justice system fair and accessible for everyone. 

Peck Ritchey is also proud to sponsor the Fourth Annual Judicial Reception hosted by the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois on February 20, 2020. This year the Honorable Grace Dickler, Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division in the Circuit Court of Cook County, will be honored with the Distinguished Judicial Service Award and the Honorable Jesse Reyes will be presented with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. Congratulations! 

What is probate?

Probate is the oftentimes lengthy and expensive legal process for distributing an Estate after someone's passing.  During the process, a Will is validated, debts are paid and assets distributed according to the Will. 

If I create a Will, does my family still need to go through the court system after my death?

In Illinois, if you pass with a Will and have an Estate of $100,000 or more, a probate Estate must still be opened. To avoid probate, talk with your attorney about whether or not a living trust is a good option for you.

Do I need to change my estate plan every time I move?

While it is prudent to periodically have your estate plan reviewed due to changes in circumstances and laws, moving to another state would definitely call for a review of your estate plan. Laws vary by state with respect to what is required at the time of the execution of your documents, and it's also wise to have a form widely familiar and accepted in your state of residence to avoid confusion when your documents are needed most.


Peck Ritchey in the Community

Peck Ritchey is proud to educate residents and professionals in the Chicagoland community on a number of important issues surrounding aging and estate planning. Here are our upcoming speaking events:

Hoarding and the Law – CEU Event at ARTIS Senior Living of Lakeview
-February 25, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

Kerry will be presenting to professionals earning CEU’s while he discusses self-neglect laws & hoarding, mandated reporting, legal issues that can arise from hoarding, ethical considerations with hoarding clients, and guardianship versus involuntary commitment.

Guardianship, Powers of Attorney & Alzheimer’s Disease – Illinois Department on Aging 

Kerry is honored to present a webinar with the Illinois Department on Aging to discuss pressing issues within the aging community.

The Sandwich Generation – The Carrington at Lincolnwood
-February 27, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

Kerry will be discussing with the local community the toll aging takes on family dynamics including what divides a family and estate planning basics. You can register for this event by contacting Natasha Theodore at The Carrington at or (847) 973-6262.

If you are interested in having Peck Ritchey speak in your community, please contact Marketing Coordinator, Lauren Muttschall, at

Elder Law News

Caregivers Are Getting Younger, Making Planning for Long-Term Care Even More Important

As baby boomers age, more and more millennials are becoming caregivers. Many are taking on this role while just getting started in their own lives, leading to difficult decisions about priorities. Proper planning can help them navigate this terrain. 

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