Wills and Trusts

BELLEVILLE PROBATE LAWYERS ILLINOIS FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS ILLINOIS ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEYS BELLEVILLE PROBATE LAWYERS BELLEVILLE DIVORCE LAWYER ATTORNEYS IN BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS BELLEVILLE WILL/TRUST CONTEST GUARDIANSHIPS POWER OF ATTORNEYS ELDER LAW CONTESTED ESTATES

Will/Trust Contests

We are experienced litigators in the areas of disputes, controversies and contests involving wills, trusts, estates, guardianships and related matters.  Those cases may have to do with breach of fiduciary duties, over-reaching, financial manipulation, fraud, duress, tortious interference with expectancies and matters related thereto.

Estate Settlement

We have been handling estate settlement matters for decades, including independent administration, supervised administration, probate and non-probate, including representation of Executors, Administrators, beneficiaries, and others, the preparation and filing of estate settlement documents, including admitting wills to probate, obtaining Letters of Office, having First and Final Account and Reports approved by the Court and matters related thereto.

Guardianships

We have experience and expertise in the areas of routine and non-routine guardianships, including objections to guardianships of the person, objection to guardianships of the estate, removal of guardians for various reasons, requesting the Court to appoint guardians of the person and estates, representing guardians in regard to annual accounts and matters related thereto.

Power of Attorneys

We have been preparing Power of Attorneys for years, including durable power of attorneys, living wills, healthcare power of attorneys, property power of attorneys, limited power of attorneys and we have experience in regard to removal or revocation of power of attorneys, and appointments of power of attorneys independently or through the Court.

Elder Law

We have been dealing with elder law issues for years, including relating to estates, trusts, guardianships, power of attorneys and other matters.  Our experience has necessarily involved issues relating to old-age, senility, alzheimer and physical and mental disabilities.

Belleville Probate Attorneys Provide Representation in Contested Guardianship Proceeding in Randolph County

We were contacted by a client from Randolph County, Illinois for representation.  It turned out that our client’s elderly aunt had Alzheimer’s Disease and was not completely aware of the guardianship proceeding that had been instituted against her.  It turned out that the aunt’s husband had a girlfriend and was concerned that his wife would divorce him.  The husband thought that by hiring a law firm from Columbia, Illinois that he could have his wife declared incompetent and take over as guardian of her person and estate and thereby shield himself from a divorce proceeding, including losing at least fifty (50%) percent of the marital estate to his wife.  We immediately took action and objected to the guardianship proceeding that was already pending in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court, Randolph County, Illinois.  With a guardianship, there is supposed to be a Physician’s Affidavit, which generally includes a recommendation that guardianship is appropriate.  In reviewing the Court file at the Courthouse in Chester, Illinois, the Physician’s Affidavit was located.  It turned out that a Columbia, Illinois law firm had requested a Physician’s Affidavit from a Belleville physician.  The Physician’s Affidavit contained a sworn statement that our client, the elderly wife with Alzheimer’s Disease, had been examined by the physician and determined to be in need of a guardian.  We investigated this matter and our due diligence included requesting discovery, including subpoenaing the physician’s records.   We learned that the physician had not examined our client prior to completing and submitting the  Physician’s Affidavit to the Columbia, Illinois law firm who represented the husband.  Apparently, all that occurred regarding the Aexamination@ was that the physician had received a request from a Columbia, Illinois lawyer and a form to be completed.  The form was completed based on an example provided by the Columbia, Illinois lawyer and returned to the Columbia, Illinois lawyer. for processing.  The husband’s attorney then filed the Physician’s Affidavit with the Court, apparently intending for the Court to rely upon the Physician’s Affidavit in making a determination regarding guardianship.  Once we brought to the Court’s attention what was occurring, the Columbia, Illinois law firm eventually agreed to withdraw the Physician’s Affidavit, including because our client had never actually been examined by a physician prior to the affidavit being completed and submitted to the Court.  A Guardian Ad Litem was then appointed by the Court.  Based on what was occurring, a dissolution of marriage proceeding was filed.  A settlement was reached whereby our client received a dissolution of marriage from her husband and her husband was thwarted in his attempts to be appointed the guardian of her person and estate.  A close family member of our client was appointed guardian of our client’s person and estate and a successful result was achieved for our client.

Belleville Probate Lawyer Involved in Contested Wills and Trusts Cases in Southern Illinois

Heirs, beneficiaries or other interested persons may have the right to challenge proceedings, including contesting wills and trusts.  A thorough examination should be made of all facts and circumstances, including documents that may be involved.  Challenges or litigation in regard to Wills and Trusts can be based on a variety of factors, including undue influence, lack mental capacity, duress and interference with an inheritance expectancy, including relating to the competency of the person when the Will or Trust was made.  In this type of probate litigation, we usually recommend discovery depositions, including in regard to persons who may have witnessed Wills or Trusts being executed.  Sometimes persons that are closest to the maker of the Will or Trust have fiduciary duties, and sometimes those fiduciary duties are violated when those persons prefer themselves in the making of the Will or Trust.

St. Clair County Probate Lawyers Handling Joint Tenancy Accounts, Payable on Death Accounts, Beneficiary Accounts, Life Insurance Policies, Bank Accounts, Retirement Accounts and Employment Accounts

Sometimes contested probate proceedings, which may relate to Wills or Trusts, can also involve actions that were engaged in prior to death, including relating to joint tenancy accounts, payable on death accounts, beneficiary accounts, life insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement accounts and employment accounts.  Sometimes there are disputes or controversies regarding heirs and/or beneficiaries, or relatives, or caregivers, friends and acquaintances.  A fiduciary relationship is one of trust.  That means the person in a fiduciary capacity, is held to a higher standard because of the trust relationship with the person to whom the fiduciary duty is owed.  Depending on the circumstances, if a fiduciary relationship exists, then the burden of proof can shift to the fiduciary to show by clear and convincing evidence that there was no fraud involved in financial transactions that benefitted the fiduciary.

Matters Involving Relatives In Contested Will and Contested Trust Cases

In many situations, the fiduciary may be a relative or other person having a close relationship with the person to whom the fiduciary duty is owed.  By the date of death, sometimes substantial assets or benefits have already been received by the fiduciary or his or her family.  In other instances, the fiduciary can end up being a joint tenant or a payable death beneficiary in regard to an account or other assets that originally belonged to the person to whom the fiduciary duty was owed.  This becomes problematical when that fiduciary may also be named the trustee or successor trustee, or executor of the Will.  In that situation, the fiduciary, who has been acting as Trustee and/or Executor, usually has a duty to disclose the existence of those assets, as well provide explanation in regard to how those assets came into existence or were retitled.  Sometimes it is necessary for the fiduciary who is then acting as Trustee or Executor to step aside, or possibly have a Special Administrator appointed, in regard to issues or conflicts that may exist with respect to the fiduciary acting as Trustee or Executor and the fiduciary being a beneficiary under the Will and/or Trust, or the fiduciary being a joint tenant or payable on death beneficiary as of the date of death of the person to whom the fiduciary duty was owed.

The following are representative of some of the contested estates, wills, trusts and guardianship cases that have involved our law firm in recent years throughout Southern Illinois, the Metro East and Missouri areas.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – HILLSBORO (MONTGOMERY COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Belleville, Illinois probate attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate in Montgomery County, Illinois.  In that case, there were brothers engaged in farming operations and an action was brought by their out-of-state sister to set aside transfers and objecting to activities of the brothers prior to the death of their father. Fayette County, Will Contest Attorneys were involved in that case.  There was in excess of $1,000,000.00 involved in that probate proceeding in the Fourth Judicial Circuit, Illinois and our client received a substantial settlement.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – BELLEVILLE (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Metro East, Illinois will/trust contest attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate.  In that matter, there were issues in regard to the decedent’s estate plan and his out-of-state relatives and the surviving spouse of the decedent. St. Clair County Attorneys, Illinois estate attorneys and St. Louis, Missouri will/trust contest attorneys were also involved in that proceeding.  There was in excess of $30,000,000.00 at stake and the surviving spouse received a substantial settlement in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court, Illinois proceeding.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – BREESE (CLINTON COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Illinois estate lawyers, we were hired by family members in regard to the (Confidential) Estate in Clinton County, Illinois. That case involved shareholders of closely held corporations and buy-out disputes and related issues concerning shareholders who were descendants of the decedent.  A Clinton County, Illinois estate planning attorney was involved in that proceeding.  Our client received a substantial settlement in the Fourth Judicial Circuit, Illinois proceeding.

(CONFIDENTIAL) – MT. VERNON (JEFFERSON COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As Illinois trust contest attorneys, we were involved in a Jefferson County, Illinois, case which involved contested trust and estate issues in regard to the Estate.  This case also involved Mt. Vernon, Illinois estate administration attorneys, Centralia, Illinois trust contest lawyers, and a Marion, Illinois, trust administration lawyer. There was a resolution in that Second Judicial Circuit, Illinois proceeding.  That involved in excess of $10,000,000.00.

(CONFIDENTIAL) – METROPOLIS (MASSAC COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As St. Clair County, Illinois estate attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate in Massac County, Illinois. Issues included disputes among the natural children and the second wife of the decedent, including with respect to real estate and powers of attorney.  A Massac County, Illinois estate administration attorney was involved in that proceeding.  In that First Judicial Circuit, Illinois proceeding, we represented the executor of the estate.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – OFALLON (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Belleville, Illinois probate attorneys handling cases in OFallon, Illinois, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate. In that case, there were issues concerning the estate plan of the decedent and disputes between family members regarding money and other assets.  A Fairview Heights, Illinois will contest attorney was involved in that proceeding.  There was more than $1,000,000.00 in a dispute in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Illinois proceeding.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – VIENNA (JOHNSON COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As Metro East, Illinois trust and estate attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate in Johnson County, Illinois.  In that matter there were issues concerns transfers, powers of attorney and joint tenancy assets.  A Johnson County, Illinois estate attorney in Vienna, Illinois was involved in that proceeding.  There was a settlement reached in that First Judicial Circuit, Illinois proceeding.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – OFALLON (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As Belleville, Illinois probate attorneys,we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate in St. Clair County, Illinois.  In that case, there were issues concerning real estate and various wills and trusts.  We handled matters with the Internal Revenue Service and the Illinois Department of Revenue in that proceeding.  There was in excess of $2,000,000.00 involved in that proceeding and estate settlement occurred through the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – COULTERVILLE (RANDOLPH COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As St. Clair County, Illinois estate attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate in Randolph County, Illinois. Issues in that case included conflicts or potential conflicts of interest, claims of creditors in regard to the estate, and the personal representative and other matters. A Randolph County, Illinois, estate administration attorney was involved in that proceeding.  There was in excess of $1,000,000.00 of farmland at stake and estate administration was handled through the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI.     As Metro East, Illinois probate attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential)  Estate in St. Louis, Missouri.  That case involved various issues with respect to the development of commercial property in the St. Louis area and other matters.  A Missouri estate administration law firm in St. Louis, Missouri was involved in that proceeding. There was more than $200,000.00 in assets involved in the estate administration proceeding in the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, St. Louis, Missouri.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – COLUMBIA (MONROE COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Illinois estate administration lawyers handling cases in Columbia, Illinois, we were involved on behalf of Edward Jones Trust Company in regard to the (Confidential) Estate in Monroe County, Illinois. Issues included the interpretation of the terms of a trust and other matters.  A Monroe County, Illinois, attorney, in Columbia, Illinois, was involved in that proceeding.  There was more than $1,000,000.00 involved in that the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Illinois proceeding in Waterloo, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – BELLEVILLE (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS.   As Belleville, Illinois probate attorneys we were involved in the handling of the (Confidential) Estate, which involved in excess of $12,000,000.  We represented AG Edwards Trust Company of St. Louis, Missouri, as Executor of the Estate.  The case included a life estate for a close friend of the decedent. Administration from the estate was handled through the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Belleville, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) – BELLEVILLE (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As Belleville, Illinois probate attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate in St. Clair County, Illinois.  That case involved the interests of family and non-family members.  There were disputes regarding estate assets and claims of creditors.  Estate administration occurred through the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Belleville, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – WHITEHALL (GREENE COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As Belleville probate and Illinois will/trust contest attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate in Greene County, Illinois. That case included matters involving admission of a copy of a Will to probate.  A Carrolton, Illinois probate attorney and  a Jacksonville, Illinois will contest attorney were involved in that proceeding.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – JERSEYVILLE (JERSEY COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As St. Clair County, Illinois estate attorneys, we were hired for representation in the (Confidential) Estate in Jersey County, Illinois. Issues in that proceeding included wills with trust provisions relating to farmland, transfers of real estate prior to date of death and other matters. A Jerseyville probate attorney in Jersey County, Illinois was involved in that proceeding.Farmland worth more than $1,000,000.00 was involved in the Seventh Judicial Circuit, Illinois proceeding.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – HIGHLAND (MADISON COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As Metro East probate lawyers, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate in Madison County, Illinois. That case involved five (5) siblings who never married and had no children, and who left the bulk of their estates to their surviving siblings with disputes involving St. Josephs Hospital in Highland, Illinois and St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Highland, Illinois.  A  Edwardsville, Illinois estate lawyers and Granite City, Illinois estate attorneys were involved in that proceeding.There was more than $2,000,000.00 in farmland in bank accounts involved in the Third Judicial Circuit, Edwardsville, Illinois proceeding.

(CONFIDENTIAL) CASE – BELLEVILLE (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Belleville, Illinois estate and trust lawyers, we were involved in the (Confidential) case in St. Clair County, Illinois. That matter involved disputes among siblings, some of whom were basically disinherited to the benefit of others.  That case included a Columbia, Illinois probate attorney and St. Clair County lawyers estate attorneys of Belleville, Illinois. There was more than $1,000,000.00 in estate and trust assets in that Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court, Illinois proceeding in Belleville, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI. As St. Clair County estate settlement lawyers, we were involved in the settlement of the (Confidential) Estate in St. Louis, Missouri. That case involved issues among family members and the handling of property and family interests.A Belleville, Illinois probate law firm was involved in that case.

(CONFIDENTIAL) CASE – WATERLOO (MONROE COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As St. Clair County, Illinois will/trust contest attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate in Monroe County, Illinois. This case had to do with the disinheritance of certain family members by the decedent.  A St. Louis, Missouri probate law firm was involved in that proceeding.There was trust litigation in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Illinois in Waterloo.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – GRANITE CITY (MADISON COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Belleville, Illinois estate lawyers, we were involved in the (Confidential) case in Madison County, Illinois. Issues included the sale of a dental practice. Granite City probate attorneys were involved in that proceeding. Estate Administration occurred through the Third Judicial Circuit, Edwardsville, Illinois proceeding.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – NASHVILLE (WASHINGTON COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As attorneys handling probate cases in Washington County, Illinois, we were involved in issues concerning the (Confidential) Estate in Washington County, Illinois. In that matter, there were disputes regarding estate planning documents and transfers of real estate.  A Marion County, Illinois will/trust  law firm in Centralia, Illinois and Jefferson County, Illinois probate law firm in Mt. Vernon, Illinois were involved in that matter.There was substantial value regarding farmland involved in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court, Illinois proceeding in Nashville, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – SALEM (MARION COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Metro East, Illinois will/trust attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate in Marion County, Illinois. There was an issue regarding influence of an individual attempting to take over representation from a corporate fiduciary.  A St. Clair County, Illinois probate law firm in OFallon, Illinois, was involved in that proceeding.  Administration occurred in Fourth Judicial Circuit Court, Salem, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) CASE – BELLEVILLE (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Metro East, Illinois estate attorneys handling contested guardianship cases, we were involved in the (Confidential) casein Belleville, Illinois. Issues included matters involving an alleged disabled adult and various disputes.  An estate law firm in Swansea, Illinois, will/trust attorneys in Chicago, Illinois and a probate attorney in Swansea, Illinois were involved in that proceeding.There was more than $8,000,000.00 involved in that Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Illinois proceeding in Belleville, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) CASE – BELLEVILLE (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Belleville, Illinois guardianship attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) case in Belleville, Illinois. Issues included matters concerning administration of the trust and matters related thereto of an alleged disabled adult.   Regions Bank was involved in that matter.There was more than $8,000,000.00 involved in that Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Illinois proceeding in Belleville, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) GUARDIANSHIP CASE – BELLEVILLE (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Belleville, Illinois guardianship attorneys, we were involved in contested guardianship proceedings involving (Confidential).  In that case, there were issues concerning who would be named as permanent Guardian of the Estate and Person of an alleged disabled adult. Belleville, Illinois, estate attorneys and St. Clair County, Illinois probate attorneys were involved in that proceeding.  There was more than $1,500,000.00 involved in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Belleville, Illinois proceeding.

(CONFIDENTIAL) CASE – RED BUD (RANDOLPH COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As Belleville, Illinois probate attorneys, we were involved in the (Confidential) guardianship proceeding.  In that case, there was litigation in Chester, Illinois, in regard to guardianship and a related divorce proceeding.  A Chester, Illinois probate lawyer and St. Clair County, Illinois, estate attorneys in Belleville, Illinois were involved in those proceedings.  There was in excess of $1,000,000.00 involved in that Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Illinois estate proceeding in Red Bud, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – JACKSONVILLE (MORGAN COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As Metro East, Illinois probate attorneys, we were involved the (Confidential) Estate.  There were issues in regard to transfers of real estate relating to the decedent. Greene County, Illinois, probate attorneys in Whitehall, Illinois and Morgan County, Illinois estate attorney in Jacksonville, Illinois were involved in that proceeding.  There was a substantial amount involved in the Seventh Judicial Circuit, Jacksonville, Illinois proceeding.

(CONFIDENTIAL) CASE – BELLEVILLE (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS.  As St. Clair County, Illinois estate attorneys we were involved in the (Confidential) Estate.  Issues included various changes to estate planning documents of an elderly person prior to her death. St. Clair County, Illinois estate attorneys in Belleville, Illinois and Belleville, Illinois probate attorneys were involved in that proceeding.There was more than $1,000,000.00 involved in that trust and estate administration proceeding in Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Illinois.

(CONFIDENTIAL) ESTATE – BLOOMINGTON (MCLEAN COUNTY), ILLINOIS. As Belleville, Illinois probate attorneys, we were hired to provide representation in regard to the (Confidential) Estate in McLean County, Illinois.  Issues included the decedent borrowing substantial unsecured amounts and competing estate claims in regard to a contracting business of the decedent.  Bloomington, Illinois estate attorney was involved in that proceeding.There was more than $1,000,000.00 involved in that Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Illinois proceeding in Bloomington, Illinois.

“AV” Rating

Blake Law Group, P.C. has received an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the most trusted and respected service for rating attorneys in the United States. The “AV” rating is the highest possible rating for legal abilities and reputation by other lawyers.

Referrals

We often receive referrals from other attorneys who may not practice, at least to the extent we do, in regard to certain areas of the law, including complex will and trust matters. As a result, this has increased our volume of cases and expertise in this area of the law.

We have been involved in various legal matters in numerous counties throughout Illinois, including Bond County, Clay County, Clinton County, Effingham County, Fayette County, Franklin County, Green County, Hamilton County, Jackson County, Jefferson County, Jersey County, Johnson County, Macoupin County, Madison County, Marion County, Monroe County, Perry County, Randolph County, St. Clair County, Salem County, Union County, Washington County, Wayne County, White County, Williamson County, Edwards County and including cities such as Belleville, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Alton, Carlyle, Greenville, Vandalia, Bloomington, Springfield, Vienna, Pinckneyville, Nashville, Jerseyville, Carrollton, McLeansboro, Carmi, Marion and Carbondale.