Serving North Central Illinois,

LaSalle, Bureau, Putnam, Marshall,

              Grundy and Livingston Counties

Reputation Matters

      James T. Reilly

Jennifer Bunker Skerston

name gavel, books, and scales of justice

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By Reilly Law Office, May 10 2019 07:27PM

Law Offices of Reilly & Skerston, LLC is located in Streator with appointments available in Ottawa and LaSalle. Attorneys James T. Reilly and Jennifer Bunker Skerston have represented clients throughout central Illinois for more than 45 years combined. Law Offices of Reilly & Skerston, LLC is a full-service general practice law firm including Estate Planning and Administration, Social Security Disability, Family Law, Accidents, Workers’ Compensation, Criminal and Traffic matters.

Both Jim and Jennifer handle family law matters involving custody determinations, divorces, paternity, adoptions and guardianships. Jim is a mediator certified for family law issues required to be heard according to Rules of the Illinois Supreme Court and Local Court Rules. Jim and Jennifer are knowledgeable concerning recent major changes in family law, including how maintenance and child support are calculated. They provide individuals who are considering a divorce information about their rights and what to expect during the process.

Jim is an experienced trial lawyer with over 60 jury cases tried to verdict. Jury awards include medical malpractice, wrongful death, fraud prosecution and various types of personal injuries. Jim has defended individuals in criminal courts ranging from murder cases to truancy. He has successfully obtained “not guilty” verdicts for persons charged with Arson, Aggravated Battery, drug offenses, Driving Under the Influence, Driving While Revoked, Domestic Battery, and many other felonies and misdemeanors.

Jim has served as a La Salle County Assistant Public Defender since 2000. He represents virtually all minors charged in La Salle County for adjudication of wardship under the Juvenile Court Act. He is also the La Salle County Guardian Ad Litem for abused and neglected children.

Jim also represents clients before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and has an extensive Social Security Disability practice obtaining permanent disability awards for over 150 clients throughout LaSalle County and Central Illinois.

Jennifer is actively involved in the Illinois State Bar Association Trusts and Estates Section Council. She is the Editor of the Council’s monthly publication distributed to members throughout Illinois and provides continuing legal education to attorneys, determines the need for new legislation, and reviews and suggests changes to current legislative proposals affecting wills, trusts and estates. She has developed and drafted will and trust-based estate plans and administered probate and trust estates. Jennifer Bunker Skerston has also taught an advanced Master of Laws (LL.M.) class at The John Marshall Law School in Estate Planning and Tax Law.

Jennifer explains the need for people to have appropriate estate planning regardless of age:

“Proper estate planning is important at all stages of life. Anyone who, if they passed away today, would leave assets, including proceeds of life insurance, to an individual who is a minor should seriously consider having appropriate documents drafted to protect the minor child(ren) from frivolously spending the inheritance at age 18. Parents of minor children should have their proposed guardian of their child(ren) named in a Will. As individuals grow older, issues concerning Medicaid and protecting assets from being spent on nursing homes become an important aspect of estate planning. The sooner a client comes to our office to address these issues, the more likely we are able to protect their assets. We also regularly draft Powers of Attorney which grant another individual the ability to make decisions concerning healthcare and finances. These can be used to avoid expensive public hearings for guardianship when a person can no longer make decisions for themselves or to simply allow another (usually a child of the elderly person) to provide assistance when needed. Additionally, proper estate planning eases much of the burden on loved ones after the person has passed.”

Both Jim and Jennifer are actively involved in their communities. Jennifer was recently recognized by the Streator Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry as an Outstanding Young Leader. She was selected as a 2019 Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star in Family Law. She was also recognized as an outstanding young professional and a member of the “Forty under 40” class for Bureau, La Salle, Marshall and Putnam counties. She has been nominated for the 2019 ISBA Young Lawyer of the Year Award. Jennifer is Secretary of the LaSalle County Bar Association, and Vice Chairperson of the OSF HealthCare Foundation Council for Ottawa/Streator. She has been actively involved in the Zonta Club of the La Salle-Peru Area. Jennifer and her husband, Scott Skerston, have one daughter, Lydia.

Jim has served the Illinois State Bar Association as: a member of the Public Relations Committee; Marketing and Communications Committee; ISBA Assembly (the governing body of the Illinois State Bar Association); and Subcommittee on Technology for the ISBA Website. He is past president of the La Salle County Bar Association for many years and currently is the LCBA Treasurer. He is active in the United Way (especially their Labor of Love repair project for the poor and elderly); member of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Child Welfare Team; Juvenile Justice Symposium Board; Foundation Chairman for LaSalle County’s entry into the Big Brother/Big Sister Program of the Mississippi Valley. He is also a member of Ottawa’s Special Events Committee, Ottawa Civil Service Commission, Dayton Preserve Volunteer, member of the Reddick Mansion Association, member of the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery Board, and a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus. Jim and his wife, Debby, have two sons, Damian and Phillip, and three grandchildren, Alexandria, Zander, and Creed.

By Reilly Law Office, Mar 1 2019 04:10PM

We are pleased to announce that Jennifer Bunker Skerston, a partner at Law Offices of Reilly & Skerston, LLC, has been selected to the 2019 Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star list in the area of Family Law. This is an exclusive list, recognizing no more than five percent of attorneys in the State.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes, assuring a credible and relevant annual list.

The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes:

• Peer nominations

• Independent research by Super Lawyers

• Evaluations from a highly credentialed panel of attorneys

The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazine and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as the Illinois Super Lawyers Digital Magazine.

Please join us in congratulating Jennifer Bunker Skerston on her selection.

For more information about Super Lawyers, go to

By Reilly Law Office, Dec 26 2018 06:53PM

Well-known financial columnist Mary Hunt states, “Every adult needs his or her own will – one that is frequently updated and compliant with the laws of the state in which that person maintains permanent residence”. There are numerous problems with using the online or off the shelf will forms. A simple will for an individual prepared by an attorney is not that costly. The forms available online are often confusing and require some degree of computer savvy that not everyone has. An attorney will also be able to answer any legal questions you may have before signing your will and take appropriate actions to ensure that your wishes are met and concerns addressed.

If you die without a will or with one that has not been properly created, you are considered “intestate”. In this situation, the directions you wanted are often not followed. Asset division is made according to the laws of the state you reside in. That can often have money going to persons you did not intend to leave your estate to. Incurring unnecessary attorney fees that could have been avoided if you had done some advanced planning is a possibility. A will is important for planning who will take care of your minor children if you pass away, what specific items you desire to go to certain individuals, what charities or other organizations you wish to give money to in addition to your kin, and which of your descendants or heirs are to get what type and amounts of your various assets and under what conditions.

There are other more extensive estate planning tools such as Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and division of your assets by contract. All of these things should be discussed with a competent Trust and Estate attorney.

by James T. Reilly

Reilly Law Office, LLC can help you with any Estate Planning needs you may have. You can call us from Monday to Friday between 8.30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 815-672-8505.

By Reilly Law Office, Dec 4 2018 12:24AM

On October 1, 2018, St. Margaret’s support group for persons affected by Parkinson’s disease met at 1:30 p.m. in Spring Valley, Illinois. The support group offers emotional support and information for people affected by Parkinson’s disease and their families. The group meets monthly in St. Margaret’s Presentation Room for socialization.

Attorney Jennifer Bunker Skerston presented valuable information about estate planning, Powers of Attorney, their importance and implications. The presentation addressed important aspects on Financial Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, their role and importance for people with Parkinson’s disease.

The question of whether or not having an Estate Plan is necessary also came up. Attorney Jennifer Bunker Skerston explained that an Estate plan can be useful to make sure that the right people get the right property at the same time, that the wishes of the Decedent will be fulfilled and last, but not least, to ensure that the Decedent’s family will continue to have the standard of living they are used to. Among the goals of an Estate Plan is preventing unnecessary taxes, costs and the guarantee of property distribution according to the Decedent’s wishes. During the presentation it was also explained what intestacy, or passing away without a Will, involved and what the Illinois law allows for in these cases. Attorney Jennifer Bunker Skerston’s presentation tackled complex issues such as Probate time frames and costs and delicate information like what happens to an Estates after death.

The issue of Trusts and their usefulness was also approached. The Attorney explained that Trusts can save people time, money and taxes making them one of the most efficient modern estate planning tools. The advantages and disadvantages of Living Trusts were explained and a presentation of the different types of Special Needs Trust was also given.

With today’s rising taxes and life’s uncertainty, the best way to make sure that your family’s needs are taken care of after your passing is to plan ahead. At REILLY LAW OFFICE, LLC we make sure your family and loved ones will receive the property you wish them to have and give you peace of mind so you can enjoy your golden years with less to worry about.

CALL 815-672-8505 TODAY for a FREE consultation and find out what we can do for you and the ones you care about most!

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