Estates: Heirs, beneficiaries or other interested persons may have the right to challenge proceedings, including contesting wills and trusts and other estate issues. 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.
Wills & Trusts
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.
Powers 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.
Family Limited Partnership
A family limited partnership is a form of limited partnership (LP) in which family members are the partners. A family limited partnership may reduce or eliminate estate taxes on the assets it holds. The family limited partnership also provides an ownership structure that will ensure continuous family ownership from one generation to the next. The family limited partnership also shelters the assets its owns from creditors, from lawsuit judgements, and from transfer taxation. The FLP is used for asset protection because it allows an individual to maintain full control and enjoyment of his property while divesting himself or herself of legal ownership. The law provides that a creditor of a partner cannot reach the assets of the partnership to satisfy an obligation of the partner since it is the partnership as an entity, not the partner that now owns the asset. Instead, the creditor receives a charging order which in essence causes the creditor to be taxed for income never received. The usual scenario involving an FLP involves a family member who holds significant assets (usually investments or real estate) that can be centrally managed. The family member is usually from an older generation, typically the parents. The parent place certain assets into FLP, and initially serve as both general and limited partners. Eventually, they begin to gift limited partnership interests to their children.
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.
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.
Breaches of Fiduciary Duties
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.
We have been involved in the preparation of Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorneys and other estate planning documents for decades. None of our Wills or Trusts have ever been set aside. On the other hand, we have represented various clients in contested litigation throughout the Southern Illinois and Central Illinois regions in regard to disputes involving Wills, Trusts and other estate planning documents.
If a will in which you are a beneficiary is being challenged, or if you are concerned that a loved one was unduly influenced during the writing of her will, or you believe that a trust administrator is not fulfilling his fiduciary duties, we can advise you about your rights under the law and how to best approach a defense or whether you have a reason to file a legal claim on the estate.
We are often contacted by family and friends of elderly individuals who face myriad of problems in regard to medicaid planning. Some of these issues have to do with the value of the assets, contemplated transfers and how same may impact medicaid planning. In some instances, individuals are very close to being admitted to a care facility and are concerned about disclosures they are being requested to make. In other cases, clients have concerns regarding what property or income they can keep and how this impacts eligibility for medicaid.
Elder Law Cases
ELDER LAW ATTORNEYS • LONG-TERM CARE BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS ATTORNEYS • ASSET PROTECTION FOR THE ELDERLY BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS LAW FIRM • ST. CLAIR COUNTY, ILLINOIS LAW FIRM HANDLING TRUSTS, WILLS, POWERS OF ATTORNEYS • BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS LAW FIRM INVOLVED IN PAYABLE ON DEATH ACCOUNTS • BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS • ESTATE LAW• JOINT TENANCY ACCOUNTS • BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS MEDICAID PLANNING ATTORNEYS • ST. CLAIR COUNTY, ILLINOIS SENIOR CITIZEN LAWYERS • BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS GUARDIANSHIP ATTORNEYS TO PROTECT THE ELDERLY AND/OR DISABLED • FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION ATTORNEYS, BLAKE BEHME LINKS RANEY, P.C. – “AV” RATED BY MARTINDALE-HUBBELL