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Your health and wellness are of the utmost concern to Peck Ritchey, LLC. Below we have shared information directly from the CDC to keep you and your loved ones safe.

The Risk of COVID-19

Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Who is at higher risk?

Everyone is at risk of getting sick from COVID-19, however some are at higher risk, including older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.

How to prepare for COVID-19?

  • Have supplies on hand, including but not limited to, medications, groceries and household supplies.
  • Take precautions
    • Wash hands often, for at least 20 seconds (after blowing nose, sneezing, couching, or being out in public).
    • Use hand sanitizer if hand soap is not available.
    • Avoid touching common surfaces in public places like door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, shaking hands, etc.
    • Wash hands after touching public surfaces.
    • Avoid touching your face.
    • Regularly clean and disinfect germs from commonly touched surfaces in your home - tables, doorknobs, lights, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, phones, iPads, etc.
    • Avoid crowds.
    • Avoid non-essential travel.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms, contact your doctor. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately:

  • difficulting breathing or shortness of breath
  • persistent chest pain or pressure
  • new confusion
  • bluish lips or face.

What do I do if I get COVID-19?

  • Stay home and call your doctor.
  • Call your healthcare provider and let them know about your symptoms. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. 
  • Know when to get emergency help
  • Get medical attention immediately if you have any of the emergency warning signs listed above.
Family and Caregiver Support
  • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.

Information taken from the CDC: People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19.

Join Kerry Peck at the Union League Club of Chicago!

Meet the Author at Union League Club Chicago's Authors Group 
-April 22, 2020 at Lunch

Join Club members Stephen Schlegel, moderator, and authors Kerry Peck and Rick Law as they discuss the legal aspects of an Alzheimer's diagnosis with their book Don't Let Dementia Steal Everything.

If you wish to attend as a guest of Peck Ritchey, LLC, please contact Marketing Coordinator, Lauren Muttschall, at

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 Census Day approaches, below is a popular scam to be aware of so you can protect yourself and loved ones.

Census Scam by AARP Fraud Resource Center

"April 1, 2020 is Census Day — the due date for Americans to take part in the decennial national headcount. Until then, and possibly beyond, you’ll probably hear a lot about, and a lot from, the U.S. Census Bureau. But census activity isn’t limited to years ending in 0, and neither is census fraud.

Census scammers contact you by phone, email, regular mail or home visit, or direct you to phony websites, seeking personal and financial information. Like other government impostors, they adopt the mantle of officialdom in hopes of winning your trust — and they have the added advantage of pretending to represent an agency specifically tasked with asking questions. Along with its once-a-decade population count, the Census Bureau conducts more than 130 surveys each year.

The biggest, the American Community Survey (ACS), is sent annually to more than 3.5 million randomly selected homes to gather population, economic, housing and other data that helps determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in state and federal money is distributed. With its detailed questions about things like income, assets, job status, household amenities, even your commute, the ACS does set off scam suspicions — it’s a frequent subject of calls to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network Helpline — but it is legitimate, and relatively easy to verify (see below).

There are some things no genuine census survey or agent will ask — for example, for your Social Security, credit card or bank account number. They won’t ask for money. They won’t threaten jail time if you don’t answer their questions. Any of these is a sure sign that a supposed census taker is phishing for ways to steal your identity, money or possessions.

Census fraud can hit at home or at work (the Census Bureau conducts business-related surveys, too). Be especially watchful for impostors in early and mid-spring of 2020, when the actual Census Bureau will be sending out reminders to fill out your form and following up in person at households that don’t respond. Count on these tips to head off census scams.

Warning Signs

  • You get an unsolicited email purporting to be from the Census Bureau. For household surveys and the decennial Census, the agency almost always makes contact by mail.
  • A supposed census agent asks you for money or financial data, such as the number of and amount in your bank account.
  • A supposed census taker threatens you with arrest. Taking part in the Census is required by law, and you can be fined for not doing so, but you can’t be imprisoned.


  • Do verify that a census taker who comes to your home is legitimate. They should have a Census Bureau photo ID badge (with a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date) and a copy of the letter the bureau sent you. You can also search for an agent’s name in the Census Bureau’s online staff directory.
  • Do confirm that a questionnaire you’ve received is on the Census Bureau’s official list of household or business surveys.
  • Do contact the bureau’s National Processing Center or the regional office for your state to verify that an American Community Survey or other census communication is genuine.
  • Do check that a census mailing has a return address of Jeffersonville, Ind., the site of the National Processing Center. If it’s from somewhere else, it’s not from the Census Bureau.
  • Do check the URL of any supposed Census website. Make sure it has a domain and is encrypted — look for https:// or a lock symbol in the browser window.


  • Don’t give your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, or bank or credit card numbers to someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau. Genuine Census representatives will not ask for this information.
  • Don’t reply, click links or open attachments in a suspicious census email. Forward the message to
  • Don’t trust caller ID — scammers can use “spoofing” tools to make it appear they’re calling from a real Census Bureau number. Call the National Processing Center at 800-523-3205, 800-642-0469 or 800-877-8339 (TDD/TTY) to verify that a phone survey is legitimate."

Article Link: Census 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

In February Kerry Peck was honored to do a webinar presentation for the Illinois Department on Aging to discuss pressing issues within the aging community. With hundreds of participants tuned in, Kerry discussed capacity, advance directives and guardianship. 

In our continued partnership with the North Shore Senior Center, Kerry Peck addressed a staff meeting to provide staff with insight and a basic understanding of trusts. With a better understanding of this common estate planning tool, staff members at the North Shore Senior Center are better prepared to assist members of the community.

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 3-part series continues into March on the 7th and 14th at Summit of Uptown in Park Ridge. To register, click here: Power to Care Registration.

How can I bring up the need for estate planning to my parents?

We hear this every day from adult children who are looking out and trying to advocate for their parents. “Having the talk” with your parents about their finances and estate plan is a delicate subject. No one likes to discuss their own disabilities, their decline, or plan for their own death.

We suggest to start small and have a series of conversations as opposed to attempting to address all issues in one large and usually overwhelming meeting. The topic isn’t something you want to bring up at a holiday celebration, their birthday, or Father’s Day. It’s important to share with your father your own concerns about his health and finances. However, the focus at all times must be on what can I, or we as your children, do to ensure that our father lives without financial worries and that his wishes are observed and carried out.

Be patient and look for opportunities to bring up the subject. Perhaps consider discussing your own estate planning and ask for his advice. Ask him “what did you do?” You may want to tell him that you attended a seminar or you talked to your attorney about your plans and want to discuss recent changes. A third idea, is to approach the subject as generally as possible, you can bring up the upcoming election, and discuss that there may be some changes coming down the road affecting his estate plan, gifts he intends to make, and estate taxes.

Having a series of these low-pressure, non-confrontational conversations may help your dad start to open up. There may be some underlying reasons why your dad doesn’t want to”have the talk.” Again, make sure you listen and understand your dad’s concerns, which may include that he feels he doesn’t have enough assets, the cost of estate planning, or that the process is just too complicated.

How often should I review and/or update my beneficiary designations on my various insurance and IRA accounts?

It is important to review and update your beneficiary designations as you move through different stages of your life or have life changing events. The most common changes and events that we see are marriage, divorce, birth of a child, your children becoming adults, and, ultimately, death.

Keeping your designations up to date may help you to avoid unfortunate financial situations during your lifetime and legal disputes between your heirs following your passing. It is important to note that many insurance policies and IRAs have a default beneficiary if one is not selected. Therefore, if you do not update your policies, you run the risk of the decision having been made on your behalf, which may not reflect your actual wishes.

What is the difference between testamentary capacity and contractual capacity?

Testamentary capacity occurs when an individual is of sound mind in that they understand what document is being drafted, the assets owned, and who will be receiving said belongings upon their death. On the opposite side of the spectrum is contractual capacity. Contractual capacity is different than testamentary capacity in that it is a more rigorous standard to meet. For a person to have contractual capacity, they must comprehend the effects of said decision, including the potential consequences involved, as well as the benefits and other alternative possibilities. It is the capacity necessary to enter into a valid contract. An individual needs to meet the standard for testamentary capacity to draft a will. However, if they would like to draft a trust, contractual capacity will be needed.


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:

North Shore Senior Center Partner Day 
-April 16, 2020 

On the morning of April 16, Peck Ritchey's marketing team will be at the North Shore Senior Center to welcome community members, provide information about Peck Ritchey and schedule free initial consultations to discuss estate planning and probate matters. 

Teepa Snow Presentation – North Shore Senior Center 
-April 27, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.

The North Shore Senior Center is hosting premier dementia educator Teepa Snow on Monday, April 27, 2020 from 12:30 – 4:00 p.m. Teepa will talk about understanding symptoms and situations in dementia and practical tips for getting through the day. Peck Ritchey will have a table at the event to provide community members with resources for the legal implications of a dementia diagnosis.

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

Elder Law News

‘It’s Pretty Brutal’: The Sandwich Generation Pays a Price

Parents feel emotionally and financially stressed by caring for young children and older relatives at the same time.

Make Sure You Are Counted in the 2020 Census

The 2020 census is starting soon, and seniors need to be counted. This may be more of a challenge this year because for the first time, the census will be completed largely online.

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