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No One Fights Like Family: Estate Litigation


Estate Planning Confidence!
Click on the book for answers to the most common estate planning questions

In this episode of “Legal Minute,” we delve into the world of estate litigation with my esteemed colleague and friend, Jeff O’Kelley.

Jeff is a seasoned estate litigator. He shares his insights and describes why he’s passionate about his work: estate litigation.

The key takeaway is the importance of planning ahead. You never want your family embroiled in legal battles when you are gone.

Making your wishes clear can prevent conflict and ensure your legacy is protected.

That’s why everyone needs an estate plan.

To help you begin, I’ve written a book titled ‘Estate Planning Confidence.’ I address the 49 most common questions families ask about estate planning.

It’s a comprehensive guide designed to give you the confidence and knowledge you need to make informed decisions for your future and your family’s well-being.

Until next time, take care and take charge of your future.

Car Crash? The Two Legal Battles Ahead

Car Crash? The Two Legal Battles Ahead
By Robert Monahan

The law is rarely straightforward.

Even something as simple as a car crash can have unexpected twists and turns. For example, did you know that if you are a victim in a car accident, you will probably be dealing with not one, but two legal battles. You will participate in:

  • a traffic ticket prosecution; and
  • a car crash claim.

These two legal cases are connected, but they are different in big ways.

Traffic Ticket Criminal Prosecution

In this case, you will be the witness for the State.

In theory, the State itself is the person who was wronged and you are just a witness, helping the prosecutor win his traffic case against the other driver.

The prosecutor’s goal is to punish the other driver and to stop or discourage others from breaking the law. Compensating you is not his concern.

If the other driver is convicted, he may face fines, jail time, and probation. The severity of these penalties will depend on the specific crime the driver is convicted of and the other circumstances of the accident.

Car Crashes and Injuries: Civil Lawsuit  

In this case, you will be bringing the claim. You were injured by the at-fault driver. Here, you are a plaintiff, not just a witness. But here, you will have to hire your lawyer yourself. He will be on your side – not the side of the State.

Your goal is to get compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.


Let’s say that Benito rear-ended Antonio at a red light. Antonio is injured and goes to the hospital. Benito gets a ticket for reckless driving.

Benito’s reckless driving ticket is a criminal matter. The prosecutor will bring a case against Benito in branch court (in Park City, Round Lake, Mundelein, etc.). Antonio will be a witness in the ticket case. If Benito is convicted, he may face fines, jail time, and probation.

Antonio will also want to file a car crash claim against Benito. In the car crash claim, Antonio will seek to recover for his medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If Antonio wins, the court will award him damages to compensate him for his losses.

For Antonio, there are two courts – traffic court for Benito’s ticket; and civil court for Antonio’s compensation. Traffic court is about punishing Benito and not compensating Antonio. For compensation, Antonio must find a plaintiff’s lawyer to pursue the claim for injuries in civil court.


If you are in a car accident, it is important to know the difference between the traffic ticket and the car crash claim, so that you can protect your rights and avoid any unexpected “bumps in the road.”

Robert Monahan has been helping people for 25 years. His law office in Gurnee at 4229 Grove Avenue. His telephone number is (847) 848-6165. His website is If you have any questions, please contact Attorney Bob Monahan.

Navigating the IEP Process for Struggling Students

Navigating the IEP Process for Struggling Students

The law surrounds us. Even though my job involves injury claims and estate planning, knowing about other areas of the law helped my family protect my son.

Navigating IEPs: Our Story

My second son was diagnosed with autism when he was a toddler. We had suspected something was wrong from the beginning. When his mom entered the room, he would never track her with his eyes. This was so different from my first son, that we were scared that He might be blind. As he grew older, he fell far behind on typical developmental milestones like talking and interacting with others. That led to his diagnosis at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital.

Because of his autism, we had to learn to advocate in the public school system.

He began school in a special “early childhood” program. When it was time to enter kindergarten, we were worried. The school wanted to “mainstream” him in a regular kindergarten classroom. We were not sure because we did not know what he could handle. We got help from a friend, who suggested we have him evaluated at a nearby autism center.

At his IEP meeting, we brought the expert who evaluated my son. In the end, we compromised and agreed to have him enter a regular kindergarten class, but with a lot of extra support. The expert was there to help specify what supports he would need.

If you have a child with special need

s, ask about an IEP. It can help your family protect your child.

Before you can qualify, your child must be diagnosed with a disability — including autism, or other intellectual, learning, speech, emotional or behavior disabilities or developmental delays.

An IEP is a contract between the school and your family. It says what the school must do to help your child succeed. If the school doesn’t follow the IEP, you can take legal action.

What Circumstances Would Lead a Parent to Seek an IEP?

There are many circumstances that might lead you to seek an IEP for their child. Some common reasons include:

Your child struggles academically, even with extra help from their teacher.

He has difficulty paying attention or following instructions in class.

He has behavior problems that interfere with his own learning or the learning of others.

He has a diagnosed disability (like autism) that affects his ability to learn.

You or your child’s teachers are concerned about his development.

Benefits of an IEP

An IEP provides benefits including:

  • A personalized education plan that is tailored to your child’s individual needs.
  • Access to specialized services and supports, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or assistive technology.
  • A team of people who are working together to help your child succeed.
  • A legally binding document that ensures that the school is providing your child with the services they need.

If you are concerned that your child may need an IEP, the first step is to talk to their teacher. The teacher can assess your child’s needs and discuss your options with you. If you decide to pursue an IEP, the school will need to c

onduct an evaluation to determine if your child is eligible.

If your child is eligible, a team of people will be formed to develop the plan. This team will include you, your child’s teachers, and other specialists. The team will work together to identify your child’s present levels of performance, set goals for the year, and determine the services and supports that your child needs.

IEPs: It’s All About Helping Your Child

An IEP can be a valuable tool for helping children with special needs succeed in school.

If you are concerned that your child may need an IEP, talk to their teacher. They can help you get the process started.

As for my family, my second son is now sixteen years old. He is in high school. He is doing fine because of all the early intervention we received. We are forever grateful that we advocated for him when he was a toddler to set him up for the best chance possible to succeed.

Although education law is not my area of practice, if you ever need help, please do not hesitate to contact me at my office because I know very good lawyers in Lake County.

Bob Monahan has been helping people for 25 years. He can be reached at (847) 848-6165. His office is in Gurnee.