Skip to main content

Kathy Ann McNeely-Johnson

Estate planning Attorney at ROCKFORD, IL

5.0   10 reviews
  • State Years
    Florida - FL 28 years
    Illinois - IL 29 years
  • Licensed for 28 years
    State FL
    Acquired 1995
    Member in Good Standing No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 29 years
    State IL
    Acquired 1994
    Active and Authorized to Practice Law No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Kathy

Learn Kathy’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Estate planning
    Death-not our focus. It is LIFE. We plan together to protect you going forward. A plan for the what-ifs of life. I will talk; no probate, about your prized orchid's home and your resting place. But it is your health & affairs we prioritize.

    19 years

  2. Elder law
    Quality of life. That is the concern. As we age, there are steps to take that protect that quality. I can help you find that path through planning and choices. This journey gets much easier if you have a guide.

    30 years

  3. Real estate
    Every real estate transaction involves contracts, deeds, financial disclosures, & closing documents. You need your champion to craft, read, & interpret those. I can provide that without bias or vested interest in the sale.

    19 years

  4. Business
    Making your dream possible. My help is, how to protect you, while you do the hard part, working that new business! I will guide you on entity choices, tax consequences, contracts, franchise agreements, and business plans.

    30 years

Our Mission

Finding serenity in life by planing for the future.


This is achieved by assembling the right stratagy, documents, and approach so thier goals may be achieved.  The result may be a comprehesive estate plan, the negotiation and closing of a real estate transaction, or structuring the family business so that a smooth generational transition may allow for the preservation of not only the business but the family relationships. 


My Experience

After 15 years as an Assistant Public Defender (ten of which were spent doing major drug and murder cases) in Rockford, Il, I chose to set out on my own to practice law.  My time spent as an asst. pd, while rewarding, failed to allow me to use many of my skills and training.  I am licensed to practice law in both Illinois and the state of Florida.  With a degree in business, experience with taxes, a second major in psychology and practical experience with both large and small corporations, I felt I could provide both prospective and insight to clients in the areas of business and life planning.  This has made for a great combination of creative problem solving as well as pragmatisim.  



Let my firm help you to find answers, guidence, and understanding in your legal matters.




Legal Serenity
403 Auburn St

Estate Planning lawyers nearby


5.0 / 5.0
  10 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by Loretta | April 13, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Estate Planning with Pet Trust and New Business Start-up
Estate Planning with Pet Trust: Estate planning is something that is easy to put off. It’s not fun to think of one’s own mortality and I put it off for a long time. After all, I reasoned, I don’t have much money or many possessions to leave others. But I do have pets that I want to be assured will be appropriately cared for after my death. Kathy Johnson walked me through the process of creating end of life documents, and, most importantly, a pet trust. It wasn’t easy thinking about being separated from my beloved pets but Kathy gently guided me through the process of determining who will assume responsibility for them and how they should be cared for when I no longer can. She was endlessly understanding of my myriad questions and requests, patiently explaining to me all of my options in ways easily understandable for a non-legal mind. She made astute and intuitive suggestions so that I now feel assured that when I become incapacitated, any pets I have will continue to live their best lives in the homes of trusted friends. After she created the required documents and saw that they were all duly signed and notarized, she presented them to me in a lovely binder complete with easy to read instructions for whoever might need it someday. I feel that Kathy left nothing to chance, detailing every aspect of my end of life requests and from her estate planning work on my behalf, I derive great peace of mind. New Business Start-up: Kathy Johnson’s assistance was invaluable to me as I started my new, small business. She helped me understand Illinois laws, so I could make an informed choice about the legal structure of my business. Kathy obtained all of the required state and federal business identification numbers and permits; she registered my new business with all the required agencies, providing me with copies of the completed documents. She advised me on potential tax implications, wrote an iron clad liability (including COVID-19) waiver, created effective (and attractive) registration forms, and generally was available to me every time I had a question or concern. Kathy’s unswerving patience and good humor in answering my varied and sometimes atypical questions knew no bounds. It is because of her exceptional work on my behalf that I can concentrate on running my business and attending to my customer’s needs, knowing my business is in full compliance with all local and state rules, regulations, and requirements.
Read less
Posted by Melody | April 5, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
She has my trust
I was pleased with all the items this Attorney brought up that I had not thought of on my own. She was organized and easy to talk to. The final papers all came with typed instructions and copies for my power of Attorney. She kept me on track with decisions but I didn’t feel rushed.
Posted by Curtis | April 5, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great sevice and caring
Very helpful, full of knowledge. Awsome and affordable service. Definitely hire again. She was very kind to say the least.
Posted by Sheila | July 15, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Home sale transaction 07/19
Kathy had a few challenges to face during my real estate transaction. I can't imagine any other attorney handling this case better than she did. Throughout this process she kept me abreast of her progress via email and phone calls. She always responded to my emails and answered my questions. Her brilliance as an attorney blended with her outstanding communication/people skills give her an edge over her competition. This attorney has integrity and compassion, yet can be tough when she needs to be. Thank you for everything, Kathy. I highly recommend her!!!
Read less
Posted by Abbigail & Michael | May 12, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent Help
The whole team at Legal Serenity was a tremendous help to us during our home buying process. Kathy was informative, patient, knowledgeable, and very kind from our initial consultation all the way to post closing. With this being our first home purchase, we didnt always know what to expect but she gave us the extra guidance and advice we needed to make sound and confident decisions. Because of her expertise, the process went very smoothly which exceeded our expectation. We are very grateful to have worked with such a caring individual and would refer her to any homebuyer or customer looking for legal advice. Thank you to Kathy and the Legal Serenity Team!
Read less
Posted by anonymous | February 21, 2016
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Trustee concern.
Kathy was very informative and addressed all my concerns. Highly recommend if you have question she will answer them completly. Thank You Kathy
Posted by Rebecca | February 10, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great help with quitclaim deed
Kathy assisted with mediating property sorting after the end of a long relationship. My ex and I owned a home together and needed to figure out how to separate assets. Kathy prepared all of our separation documents and later assisted with filing a quitclaim deed on the house. It was great working with her and I would gladly used her services again.
Read less
Posted by anonymous | January 28, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
College rental unit problem
I was in college and got myself into a sticky situation with a landlord. Kathy was honest and fair. She explained exactly what my options were and used her wise counsel to help me determine how to proceed. The situation resolved and I am forever grateful for her help in what was a crisis situation.
Posted by Amber | August 17, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A Great Person to Work With
Kathy is a warm vibrant person with a lot of experience and knowledge. I enjoyed her company and look forward to working with her on my house closing.
Posted by Janyce | July 12, 2015
Closing on my house sale
Kathy assisted me with a house closing and assured that it went well. She was aware of the real estate law and reviewed all the necessary documents. The closing went smoothly.
View less reviews


  • Free Consultation 45 minutes
  • Pro bono 5 %
Payment methods
Cash, Check


AVVO RATING 8.5 (Excellent)

Work Experience

  • Lead Attorney
  • Legal Serenity, PC
  • 2010 - Present
  • Asst. Public Defender
  • Winnebago Count Public Defender
  • 1998 - 2009
  • Assistant Public Defender, Misdemeanors
  • Winnebago County
  • 1994 - 1998
  • Student Clerk
  • United States District Court Northern District, Western division
  • 1994 - 1994
  • "711" Traffic Prosecutor
  • Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office
  • 1993 - 1993
  • Student Inernship
  • Office Of United States Attorney, U.S. Dept. Of Justice
  • 1992 - 1993
  • Resident Sales Engineer
  • Honeywell Int'l, Inc. Micro Switch Div.
  • 1979 - 1985
View all work experience


  • Northern Illinois University College of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1994
  • Bradley University
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • 1978


  • Illinois 17th Judicial Circuit
  • Mentor
  • 2010 - Present
  • League of Woman Voters
  • member
  • 2010 - Present
  • Winnebago County Bar Association
  • member
  • 1994 - Present
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1994 - Present
  • LWV greater Rockford
  • Co-Char Criminal Justice Position Advisory Section
  • 2019 - 2022
  • League of Women Voters
  • Board Member
  • 2012 - 2014
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law
  • 1 L Mentor
  • 2011 - 2018
  • Illinois 17th Judaical Circuit Professionalism Committee
  • Member
  • 2008 - 2016
  • Winnebago County Bar Association
  • Criminal Section Chair
  • 2005 - 2007
  • Kid's Place
  • Board Member
  • 1999 - 2005
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Board Member
  • 1999 - 2005
  • American Inns of Court
  • Member
  • 1994 - 2000
  • Junior league of Rockford
  • Board Member
  • 1988 - 1990
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Woman Law Student
  • Northern Illinois University
  • 1994
  • Magna Cum Laude
  • Northern Illinois University
  • 1994
  • Editorial Staff
  • Northren Illinois Law Review
  • 1993


  • The Lawyer
  • What to do if Your Client Moves to Florida
  • 2015
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law Review
  • US v Nixon, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • 1994

Speaking Engagements

  • The Essential Planning Needs That You Have
  • Estate Planning
  • 2020
  • What You Need to Know About Estate Planning in Florida
  • Estate Planning
  • 2018
  • AARP Tax-Aid Training
  • Tax Training ACA
  • 2016
  • AARP Tax-Aid Training
  • Tax Law
  • 2015
  • Tax-Aid Training
  • Preparing Taxes for Elders
  • 2014
  • Tax-Aid Training
  • Selecting the Proper Filing Status
  • 2013
  • Tax-Aid Training
  • Interviewing Elders to File Taxes
  • 2012
  • Law Student Orientation
  • Ethics
  • 2006
  • Law Student Orientation
  • Ethics
  • 2004
  • Annual Illinois Drug Court Meeting
  • Panel Member
  • 2003
  • Drug Court Retreat
  • treatment modalities
  • 2002
  • Drug Court Retreat
  • Accupunctor and Alt treatments
  • 2001
  • Drug Court Retreat
  • Constitutional Issues
  • 2000
  • Winnebago County Women's Bar Association
  • Internet and Legal Research Resources
  • 1999
  • Drug Court Retreat
  • Managing Stress
  • 1999
  • Winnebago county Drug Court Retreat
  • Team Building
  • 1998
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (2)
Given (0)
Endorse Kathy
Estate planning Attorney | Jan 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Elder law Attorney | Jan 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
This attorney hasn't created any attorney endorsements recently on Avvo.
ROCKFORD Estate planning Lawyer Kathy Ann McNeely-Johnson
Kathy Ann McNeely-Johnson
Estate planning Attorney
Licensed for 29 years
Free Consultation