Blake Behme Gilbreth Links, P.C

Blake Behme Gilbreth Links, P.C

Blake Behme Gilbreth Links, P.C., highly rated, forty (40) years of experience obtaining successful results for clients in regard to divorce, custody, estate planning and administration, will and trust contests, real estate matters and tax matters.

Firm Overview

The Law Firm of Blake Behme Gilbreth Links, P.C. was founded in 1983. Our main offices are near the St. Clair County Courthouse in Belleville, Illinois, and we have offices in Collinsville and Edwardsville, Madison County, Illinois, in Carlyle, Clinton County, Illinois and in Effingham, Effingham County, Illinois.

Our law firm offers a full range of legal services in the following areas, including Family Law, Divorce, Estates and Trusts, Estate Planning, Will and Trust Contests, Real Estate Law, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense, Business Law, Tax Law, Internal Revenue Service, Taxes, Civil Litigation and General Practice.

Our firm takes pride in its professional and personalized approach, which takes into the account the individual needs and goals of its clients. We have a reputation throughout the region for delivering quality legal representation timely in a wide variety of cases. We are a group of skilled and accomplished legal professionals who strive to give their clients the attention, service and representation they deserve.

Main Office

Belleville Office
Richland Executive Plaza II
521 West Main Street, Suite 100
Belleville IL 62220

Phone

(618) 233-7900

Fax

(618) 233-9490

Fees

Free Initial Consultation?

Yes

Office Information

Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Other Offices

Carlyle Office
553 9th Street
Carlyle

Collinsville Office
1355 N. Bluff Road, Suite B
Collinsville

Edwardsville Office
201 Hillsboro, Ste. 206
Edwardsville

Effingham Office
305 West Professional Park Avenue
Effingham

Probate

ESTATE PLANNING, WILLS, POWER OF ATTORNEYS, TRUSTS, ESTATE ADMINISTRATION AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION

Last Will and Testament -
A last will and testament is a written document detailing how you wish for your assets to be distributed upon your death, appointing a guardian for minor children and naming an Executor. Without a last will and testament, the Court will determine guardians for minor children, appoint an Administrator and determine how your assets are distributed.

Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Health Care -
A Healthcare Power of Attorney is a written document wherein you designate someone to be your agent or representative to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are not able to make said medical decisions on your own behalf regarding your healthcare.

Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Property -
A Property Power of Attorney is a written document wherein you designate someone to be your agent to handle your financial affairs, including, but not limited to, paying bills, banking, buying and selling property, filing tax returns and other financial matters.

Revocable Living Trust -
A revocable living trust can avoid probate and the assets in said trust may be distributed to the named beneficiaries without Court administration. A revocable living trust will state exactly what is to be done with your assets.

Estate Planning and Other Strategies -
An estate plan is a way to make sure your assets and your heirs and/or beneficiaries are protected. Without an estate plan, your heirs and/or beneficiaries could face tax burdens and the court will designate how your assets are divided, as well as who gets your children.

A will states specifically how you want your assets distributed to your heirs and/or beneficiaries after your death. A will names an executor to handle distribution of assets. If you do not have a will, you will die intestate, meaning the court will decide how to distribute your property.

If you do not have an estate plan, your executor may be required to open a probate case after your death to obtain approval to distribute assets. Probate cases can be timely and costly. During the pendency of the probate case, assets can be tied up by the process and your family may not have access to said assets. An estate plan can ensure that your assets are distributed immediately upon your death, without having to open a probate case.


Probate Disputes and Will and Trust Contests -
If disputes occur between beneficiaries, we represent your interests. We have decades of experience in regard to challenging wills and trusts, or defending the challenges to wills and trusts.

Appointment of Guardians -
In regard to minor children, your estate planning documents allow you to make decisions about the future care of your minor children, including nominating a guardian of their person and estate in your estate planning documents.

Probate -
Assets that pass under probate court administration include assets which you own in your own name alone at death without a surviving joint tenant or pay on death beneficiary.

What Are Non-probate Assets? -
Examples of non-probate assets, including, but not limited to, assets titled in a revocable living trust, assets which may have payable on death or beneficiary designations upon death, assets held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship which pass to one or more surviving joint tenants, etc.

Irrevocable Trusts -
Sometimes it is recommended to have an irrevocable trust, depending on facts and circumstances. An irrevocable trust can basically be a completed gift with respect to which the maker of the trust may no longer own or have an interest in the assets owned by the irrevocable trust.

Federal Estate and Gift Taxes -
We handle issues in regard to federal estate and Illinois estate taxes as well as gift tax issues.

Generation Skipping Transfer Tax -
Depending on facts and circumstances, the generation skipping transfer tax (GST) may be due in addition to any estate and/or gift tax, if a taxable transfer of property is made to the decedents of a child who is living at your death, to children of a living sibling, or to other beneficiaries who are more that one generation younger than you.

Changing Your Estate Planning Documents -
As your life may change, so might your estate plan. You may need to revise your estate planning documents throughout your lifetime.

Estate Administration and Trust Administration -
Estate and trust administration may involve the handling of assets, including, but not limited to, real estate and financial accounts, and involving executors or administrators handling the estate of the deceased persons, with a will or without a will. Trustees generally are in charge of administering trusts that were established by other persons. Guardians of a disabled adult or a minor, have the responsibility of handling the guardianship estate of minors or disabled adults. Each type of estate or trust administration involves a fiduciary duty, which relates to a position of trust, which is a high standard of duty imposed by the law. Estate and trust administration are legal procedures through which estate assets are transferred after death under the law. The State of Illinois provides a mechanism for estate and trust administration court proceedings if the deceased was a resident or owned assets in the State.

Estate Administration Attorneys Assisting You Through The Estate Administration and Trust Administration Process -
When a person dies, their real and personal property may need to be distributed among their heirs and their last wishes will need to be followed. Depending on a person's assets and whether they have created a will or a trust, it may be recommended to complete the legal process of estate administration. The purpose of estate administration includes confirming who may inherit property of a deceased person and to determine how the outstanding debts of the deceased person are to be paid. Estate Administration may be handled by the executor named the deceased person's will, or if there is no will, the administrator of the estate that has been appointed by the Court, and that person will identify and appraise the deceased person's assets, pay any outstanding debts and taxes and distribute property to the deceased person's heirs, pursuant to the Order of the Court. After the death of a decedent, the executor may file their will with the Court and, if estate administration is recommended, the executor may file a petition to open an estate. The executor sends notice to the deceased person's heirs, provides public notice of the estate administration case through a newspaper and directly notifies any known creditors. In general, creditors have six (6) months to file any claims against the estate. During the estate administration process, the executor may gather and identify the estate's assets, file any income tax returns for the estate or the decedent and make arrangements to pay any income taxes or estate taxes. After any creditor claims have been paid and a full accounting of the estate has been made, the executor may distribute the remaining assets to the decedent's heirs according to the terms of the will, or if there is no will, according to Illinois intestate law, subject to Court approval.

Estate Administration Assets versus Non-Estate Administration Assets -
There are legal strategies that may allow a person to pass property to another person after death, without going through estate administration. (1) Joint tenancy and Tenancy by the Entirety - adding another person to assets as a joint owner or a joint tenant with rights of survivorship may allow your property to pass to them upon your death without going through estate administration. There are drawbacks to the strategy, however, which include subjecting such assets to any claims (such as lawsuits) against the co-owner and making them available to the co-owner's creditors - all while you are still alive and planning on using the assets yourself. (2) Beneficiary Designations - Illinois allows transfer on death (TOD) or payable on death (POD) beneficiary designations to be added to bank accounts. Beneficiary designation is preferable to joint tenancy in that it allows you to transfer property only upon your death without giving away current ownership. However, one of the problems is that it can be difficult to obtain an equitable distribution of property among your heirs or others by utilizing beneficiary designations. Further, if you have beneficiaries listed on your assets, those assets will be distributed upon your death to the listed beneficiaries even if your last will and testament appears to provide otherwise. (3) Irrevocable Living Trusts - an Irrevocable Living Trust is a document that allows you to establish a separate entity (trust) to 'hold" legal title to your assets while you are alive and to name trustees to manage those assets according to the trust terms. Typically you serve as the trustee while you are alive, managing your assets for your own benefit.

Every Estate Administration and Trust Administration is Unique -
Although every estate administration is unique, many involve the following procedures, filing of a petition with the proper court, notice to heirs under the will and to statutory heirs, including if no will is located, a petition to appoint an executor, in the case of a will, or an administrator for the estate if no will, an inventory and appraisal of estate assets by the executor or the administrator, payment of estate debts to creditors, sale of estate assets, payment of estate taxes if applicable, payment of income taxes if applicable, and distribution of assets to heirs.

Contests and Other Disputes -
An objection to a will, which may be known as a will contest can be a fairly common occurrence during an estate administration proceeding. In order to contest a will, one has to have legal "standing" to raise objections. This may occur when, for example, children are to receive disproportionate shares under the will or when distribution changes from a prior will to another will, depending on events, facts and circumstances. In addition to disputes over distribution of the property, will contests can involve disputes in regard to who may serve as executor or administrator. If relatives or other inheritors fight about the will or assets, and if there are Court battles, it may be over (1) a claim that someone unduly influenced the deceased person or that the person did not have the mental capacity to make a valid will (2) the execution or signing and witnessing of the will (3) ambiguous or confusing language in the will (4) creditors claims (5) accusations of wrongdoing by the executor or administrator or (6) identity of the heirs under the State law if there is no will, or for other reasons.

Settlement of Estate Administration -
Before an estate administration can be closed pursuant to Court Order, the executor must first file a final account and report that shows how estate assets were handled. The account may also document how the executor intends to distribute the rest of the property. At closing, the executor submits the final account and report to the Court and is subject to any objection or rulings of the Court.

Divorce

DIVORCE, CHILD CUSTODY, REMOVAL, VISITATION, SPOUSAL SUPPORT, DOMESTIC LITIGATION, GRANDPARENTS RIGHTS, GUARDIANSHIP CASES AND ALL OTHER FAMILY LAW MATTERS

Our divorce cases have involved legal separation, division of property, child support, child custody and visitation, grandparent visitation, spousal support, 401(k) issues, business valuations, modifications, post-decree enforcement actions, contempt actions, litigation, post-judgment matters and other disputes and controversies. We have been involved in various cases involving joint custody, sole custody, contempt actions, relocations and other custody issues. In regard to paternity cases, we have experience in establishing paternity, paternity testing, child support, custody, visitation and parenting agreements. Because circumstances change, including new families, changes in jobs or other factors, we have been involved in post-decree modifications of support and custody. In regard to property division matters, we have experience in valuing and dividing property including real estate, residences, securities, pensions, business assets and other property.


We have decades of experience handling a wide variety of family law issues, including, but not limited to the following:


Allocation of Parental Responsibility
Parenting Time
Primary Parent
Removal/Relocation
Primary Residence
Parental Notice
Dissipation
Dissolution of Marriage
Contested Divorce
Uncontested Divorce
Legal Separation
Annulment
Mediation
Paternity
High Asset Divorce
Change of Name
Orders of Protection
Prenuptial Agreements
Postnuptial Agreements
Child Custody Battles
Removal to Different State
Removal to Different Country
Step-Parent’s Rights
Grandparent’s Rights
Deceased Parent
Incarcerated Parent
Department of Children and Family Services
Unpaid Child Support
Unmarried Parents
Civil Contempt
Criminal Contempt
Kidnaping
Abduction
Divorce Appeals
Same-Sex Divorce
Divorce Trials
Grandparent Visitation Appeals
Divorce Different Jurisdictions
Rule to Show Cause
Contempt Proceedings
Child Support Appeals
Separation Issues
Bigamy
Guardianship
Step-Parent Adoption
New Spouse Adoption
Emancipation
Property Rights
QDRO
QILDRO
Counseling
Unfaithful Spouse
Emotional Issues
Divorce Tax Matters
Dependency Exemption
Tax Returns
Divorce and Bankruptcy
Marital Debts
Non-Marital Debts
Co-mingling
Conversion
Divorce Impacting Joint Tenancy
Quit Claim Deeds
Sale of Marital Residence
Listing Sale of Residence
Transmutation
Emails in a Divorce Case
Social Media Issues
Juvenile Cases
Child Support
Spousal Support
Alimony/Maintenance
Parental Rights
Summer Visitation
Holiday Visitation Schedules
Transportation Expenses
Substitution of Judge
Estate Planning in Divorce Cases
Medical Power of Attorney
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Durable Power of Attorney



OUT-OF-STATE CLIENT DU QUOIN (PERRY COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Du Quoin, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented an out of state client who was taking her former spouse back to Court for unpaid child support. The case involved a family law attorney from Murphysboro, Illinois. A resolution was reached that granted our client the relief she was seeking without having to return to the State of Illinois to appear in Perry County Circuit Court.

RESULTS EXCEED EXPECTATIONS VIENNA (JOHNSON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Vienna, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client that fell in love with a younger boyfriend and filed for divorce. The case involved farmland, livestock and financial accounts. The wife was represented by a family law attorney from Marion, Williams County, Illinois. The Judge heard the case at the Johnson County Courthouse in Vienna. The outcome exceeded the expectations of our client. Our client was referred to us by another divorce client from Johnson County whose case resulted in her receiving substantial tillable farmland, cattle and an undivided monetary settlement.

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Scott Air Force Base, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we handled a divorce case for a fighter pilot who was stationed at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. His income was substantial. He was seeking custody of his children. The case involved Belleville, Illinois divorce attorneys. The case was heard by a St. Clair County, Illinois Circuit Court Judge. Our client was concerned with his security clearance.

FREEBURG (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Freeburg, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we were involved in a divorce and child custody case involving a pilot at Scott Air Force Base. His wife was accusing him of sexual misconduct and we represented the wife and she received custody. In that case we were dealing with St. Clair County, Illinois divorce attorneys and the Judge was from the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, sitting in Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois.

ALTON (MADISON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Alton, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a physician who was seeking a divorce from his long time wife. The children were grown. We were able to reach a settlement, without depositions, that resulted in our client receiving over $3,000,000.00. In that case we were dealing with an Edwardsville, Illinois domestic litigation attorney and there was a Judge from the Third Judicial Circuit, sitting in Edwardsville, Madison County, Illinois.

HILLSBORO (MONTGOMERY COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Hillsboro, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we were involved in representing a client in a child custody/visitation matter in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Hillsboro. Our client was seeking removal because he was moving out of the state. After several Court appearances, we were able to work out a resolution which exceeded the expectations of our client. In that case, we were dealing with attorneys from Litchfield, Montgomery County, Illinois and the Judge was from the Fourth Judicial Circuit, sitting in Hillsboro, Montgomery County, Illinois.

BREESE (CLINTON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Carlyle, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client in Clinton County Circuit Court in Carlyle, Illinois in regard to a child custody and removal case. Our client prevailed and she was able to relocate to a different state. In that matter we were dealing with a matrimonial law attorney from Clinton County and there was a Fourth Judicial Circuit Judge sitting in Carlyle, Illinois.

CARLYLE (CLINTON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Carlyle, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented the former spouse of a chiropractor and real estate developer in Clinton County. There were disputes regarding custody and visitation. After depositions, the case was resolved and our client prevailed on her position. In that case, the husband was represented by a divorce law attorney in Mt. Vernon, Jefferson County, Illinois and there was a Fourth Judicial Circuit Judge sitting in Carlyle, Clinton County, Illinois.

COLUMBIA (MONROE COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Columbia, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client living in Waterloo, Illinois who was involved in a divorce proceeding in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit in Waterloo, Illinois. That issue involved a long time marriage, farmland that was to be divided between the parties and other serious issues. In that case we were dealing with a domestic relations litigation law firm in Monroe County.

WATERLOO (MONROE COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Waterloo, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented the wife of a physician whose husband claimed that her lesbian relationship ruined their marriage and warranted a divorce. It was a long time marriage and custody and support of minor children was involved. Without taking depositions we were able to work out a resolution which met with the satisfaction of our client. That case involved a family law attorney in Columbia, Illinois handling domestic relations litigation and the case was in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit - Waterloo, Illinois before a sitting Judge from Monroe County, Illinois.

CHESTER (RANDOLPH COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Chester, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client from Collinsville, Illinois in regard to a post divorce and a modification matter in Randolph County Circuit Court. His former spouse was attempting to remove the minor children from the area, and have them relocated to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. After hearings, and receiving favorable rulings from the Court, we were able to work out a resolution which protected the relationship our client had with his minor children. That case involved a dissolution of marriage lawyer in Chester, Randolph County, Illinois and the case was in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court - Randolph County before a Judge from Chester, Illinois

SPARTA (RANDOLPH COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Sparta, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client from Sparta, Illinois in a divorce proceeding in Randolph County Circuit Court. Our client had business interests in Sparta, Steeleville, and Chester. We were able to reach a resolution that was favorable to our client. That case involved a divorce lawyer from Sparta, Illinois and the case was in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit - Randolph County before a Judge from Randolph County.

COULTERVILLE (RANDOLPH COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Coulterville, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client that was living outside of Coulterville, Illinois who had a successful construction and contracting business in O’Fallon, St. Clair County, Illinois. It was a long time marriage and he had fallen in love with another person. His children disowned him. We were able to reach a resolution whereby our client maintained his assets and there was maintenance or alimony for a short period of time. That case involved a divorce lawyer from Edwardsville, Madison County, Illinois and the case was heard in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit - Randolph County, Illinois before a sitting Judge from Sparta, Illinois.

JERSEYVILLE (JERSEY COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Jerseyville, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client in a divorce proceeding in Jersey County, Illinois. The case involved farmland. There were disputes among various parties. A resolution was reached that met with the satisfaction of our client. That case involved a family law attorney from Jerseyville, Illinois and was in the Seventh Judicial Circuit before a Judge from Jersey County, Illinois.

HIGHLAND (MADISON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Highland, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a divorce client from Highland, Madison County, Illinois that involved division of marital assets, grounds for dissolution of marriage, child custody and support. After a period of time we were able to reach a resolution that exceeded the expectations of our client. That case involved a divorce attorney from Glen Carbon, Illinois and was in the Third Judicial Circuit - Madison County, Illinois before a Judge from Edwardsville, Illinois.

GRANITE CITY (MADISON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Granite City, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we were involved in a divorce and child custody dispute involving clients from Granite City and Pontoon Beach, Madison County, Illinois. There were criminal issues and drug issues involved and we were able to reach a resolution that met with the satisfaction of our client. That case involved a divorce attorney from Glen Carbon, Illinois and was in the Third Judicial Circuit - Madison County, Illinois before a Judge from Madison County, Illinois.

SALEM (MARION COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Salem, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client from Iuka, Illinois who was involved in a child custody battle and child support dispute with the natural mother. After a period of time a resolution was reached which met with the satisfaction of our client. That case involved a divorce attorney in Salem, Marion County, Illinois and was before a Judge in the Second Judicial Circuit.

COLLINSVILLE (MADISON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Collinsville, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented the husband in a divorce proceeding filed by his wife in Madison County, Illinois. The wife was a part time teacher in the Collinsville Community Unit School District 10. The husband was retired from a good paying job as a salesman. They were “pickers”, or dealt with antiques in the Southern Illinois area. There were issues regarding personal property and how to divide marital assets. After negotiations, a resolution was reached which exceeded the expectations of our client. The attorney representing the wife was a Collinsville, Illinois divorce lawyer and the case was in the Third Judicial Circuit Court - Madison County, Illinois before a Judge from Edwardsville, Illinois.

EAST ST. LOUIS (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS As East St. Louis, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client from East St. Louis, St. Clair County, Illinois in a divorce in Belleville, Illinois. The client’s husband denied he was having affairs but had spent $650.00 for cologne within a short period of time at a store at the St. Clair Square Mall in Fairview Heights, Illinois. After depositions, a resolution was reached and our client received custody of the children and child support. Subsequently, the husband passed away. That case involved a family law attorney from East St. Louis, Illinois who specialized in domestic relations litigation. The case was in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court - St. Clair County, Illinois and the Judge was from St. Clair County, Illinois.

MARISSA (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Marissa, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client from Marissa, Illinois in regard to a dissolution of marriage proceeding that included issues relating to child custody, visitation, child support, division of marital assets and grounds for dissolution of marriage. After negotiations, a resolution was reached which met the satisfaction of our client. That case involved a divorce lawyer from Marissa, St. Clair County, Illinois and the case was in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court - St. Clair County, Illinois before a Judge from St. Clair County, Illinois.

CARBONDALE (JACKSON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Carbondale, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client in Carbondale, Jackson County, Illinois who was going through a divorce proceeding in Carbondale, Jackson County, Illinois. His daughter was in the motion picture business from New York and had contacted us in regard to a second opinion with respect to his primary divorce counsel that he was using from Benton, Illinois. There were issues regarding mental capacity, undue influence and the daughter was concerned that her father was not capable of making the right decisions in his divorce proceeding. The parties reached a resolution. That case involved divorce attorneys from Williamson County, Illinois that had offices in Benton County, Illinois and divorce attorneys in Jackson County, Illinois that had offices in Murphysboro, Illinois.

MARION (WILLIAMSON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Marion, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client in a contested child custody case in Marion, Williamson County, Illinois. The natural father was attempting to take custody or prevent removal. That case involved a child custody attorney from Marion, Illinois and was and was in the First Judicial Circuit - Marion County, Illinois before a Judge from Marion County, Illinois.

HARRISBURG (SALINE COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Harrisburg, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented the natural mother in a child custody dispute case in Harrisburg, Saline County, Illinois. There were allegations of inappropriate conduct by our client, use of drugs, abandonment of the children, endangering the welfare of the children and other allegations. A resolution was reached between the parties. That case involved a divorce law attorney from Harrisburg, Illinois and was in the First Judicial Circuit - Saline County, Illinois before a Judge from Saline County, Illinois.

MCLEANSBORO (HAMILTON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As McLeansboro, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we were contacted by a client from McLeansboro, Hamilton County, Illinois in regard to a divorce, child custody, child support and division of marital assets case. That case involved a divorce attorney from Mt. Vernon, Jefferson County, Illinois and was in the Second Judicial Circuit - Hamilton County, Illinois before a Judge from McLeansboro, Illinois.

FAIRFIELD (WAYNE COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Fairfield, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client that had interest in real estate in Wayne County, outside of Fairfield, Illinois. That case involved a Mt. Vernon, Illinois law firm. The case was in Jefferson County Circuit Court in Mt. Vernon, Illinois before a Judge from Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

TEUTOPOLIS (EFFINGHAM COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Teutopolis, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we were contacted by a client from Teutopolis, Illinois that involved issues in Effingham County. The case included matters involving a law firm in Effingham, Illinois. The case was in the Fourth Judicial Circuit - Effingham County, Illinois before a Judge from Effingham County, Illinois.

NEWTON (JASPER COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Newton, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented the former wife in a child custody dispute in Newton, Jasper County, Illinois. She had since relocated to the State of Florida and she was seeking outside counsel or a law firm not from the Effingham, Newton, Illinois vicinity. That case involved child custody and removal issues. We were able to reach a resolution that did not require our client to return to Jasper County, Illinois from the State of Florida. That case involved attorneys from Newton, Jasper County, Illinois and was in the Fourth Judicial Circuit before a Judge from Jasper County, Illinois.

MURPHYSBORO (JACKSON COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Murphysboro, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we were contacted by grandparents from Benton, Franklin County, Illinois that were not pleased with the results of their family law attorney from Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois in regard to a child custody and grandparents rights case. We substituted counsel and took over representation and worked with our clients in regard to that matter. That case involved a divorce attorney from Carbondale, Illinois and the case was in the First Judicial Circuit - Jackson County, Illinois before a Judge from Jackson County, Illinois.

METROPOLIS (MASSAC COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Metropolis, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we were involved in a divorce proceeding in Massac County, Illinois which involved a farmer whose wife had basically run off with a boyfriend. There were issues regarding dissipation of marital assets, our client sustained a severe farm injury, and, after hearings, a resolution was reached. That case involved a divorce attorney from Benton, Illinois and was in the First Judicial Circuit - Massac County, Illinois before a Judge from Massac County, Illinois.

MOUNDS (PULASKI COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Mounds, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we were involved in an estate administration proceeding in Pulaski County. Our client was from the State of Mississippi. He claimed to be an heir. That case involved a probate and estate administration attorney from Carbondale, Illinois and was in the First Judicial Circuit - Pulaski County, Illinois before a Judge from Mounds, Illinois.

STAUNTON (MACOUPIN COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Staunton, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we took over representation when a divorce client from Staunton, Macoupin County, Illinois fired her Edwardsville, Illinois divorce attorney. There was over a million dollars at stake in regard to rental property and other assets. The husband claimed that the Wife ran off with a boyfriend. The alleged boyfriend was killed. The husband was represented by an Edwardsville, Illinois family law attorney. After a series of hearings and meetings, a resolution was reached which met the satisfaction of our client. She received her share of marital assets. She kept her 401K and profit sharing. She did not have to pay maintenance or alimony. That case was in the Seventh Judicial Circuit - Macoupin County, Illinois before a Judge from Staunton, Illinois.

MASCOUTAH (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Mascoutah, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we were contacted by a client from Mascoutah, Illinois in regard to a divorce case. She had a long time marriage. She worked at a bank. Her husband basically ran off with another woman. There was a child involved. We were able to reach a negotiated settlement without taking depositions. The settlement exceeded the expectations of our client. This case involved a Mascoutah, Illinois family law attorney and was in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit - St. Clair County, Illinois before a Judge from St. Clair County, Illinois.

SHILOH (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Shiloh, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a retired Colonel that had connections with Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. His wife had taken him back to Court in regard to life insurance and other issues from a divorce more than ten (10) years before. The Court ruled in our favor, the client did not have to pay insurance proceeds. The former spouse was represented by a Belleville, Illinois divorce lawyer. The case was in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit - St. Clair County, Illinois before a Judge from St. Clair County, Illinois.

SWANSEA (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Swansea, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented the wife in a divorce case that involved selling and dividing net proceeds of a house. Matters were worked out except for the home. The divorce occurred. Afterward, the home was sold and net proceeds were divided pursuant to the Agreed Order entered by the Court. Our client was extremely satisfied with the result. The case was in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit - St. Clair County, Illinois before a Judge from St. Clair County, Illinois.

MILLSTADT (ST. CLAIR COUNTY), ILLINOIS As Millstadt, Illinois Divorce Attorneys we represented a client from Millstadt, Illinois in regard to a divorce case in St. Clair County, Illinois. The case involved retirement benefits, QDROs, division of marital assets, child custody, maintenance and other issues. This case involved dealing with a Columbia, Illinois divorce attorney. The case was in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit - St. Clair County, Illinois before a Judge from St. Clair County, Illinois.

Real Estate

REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS, DISPUTES, LITIGATION, DEED IN LIEU OF FORECLOSURE, LOAN MODIFICATION, MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE DEFENSE, SHORT SALE NEGOTIATIONS, EASEMENT DISPUTES

Depending on the terms of the agreement you reach with your lender, they may or may not be entitled to pursue a deficiency judgment against you. The "deficiency" is the difference between the value of the home and the amount you owe and they may have the legal right to attempt to collect that amount. If they don't pursue a deficiency judgment, you may also face unexpected tax liability. The amount of the loan that is forgiven may be considered part of your income for tax purposes.

A deed in lieu of foreclosure may not be appropriate for all properties. To be approved, your home will need to pass a close inspection. Excessive liens on the property will also complicate the process. And with the forgiveness of any deficiency balance, tax implications are possible.

A clean title is essential to real estate transactions, whether it involves a real estate purchase and sale, inheritance-related conveyance of title, or partition action. Our attorneys apply our extensive knowledge and experience to each real estate transaction, ensuring we devote the attention that is necessary to identify and resolve title issues prior to transfer of title and deed. Our experience and know-how in addressing complex title issues is beneficial to residential and commercial real estate clients alike.

A deed in lieu of foreclosure is an alternative to foreclosure that may be an option for those borrowers who do not qualify for a short sale or who cannot fight a foreclosure on legal grounds. A deed in lieu of foreclosure allows you to avoid a foreclosure by voluntarily turning over your deed to the property to your lender. In exchange, your mortgage debt is forgiven. You relinquish the property and walk away. No need to go through the foreclosure process, have a foreclosure listed on your credit report, or suffer the credit damage that will follow.

Federal, state, and local agencies have initiated intervention programs to help resolve the foreclosure crisis around the country. In a settlement conference, the two parties may make new arrangements such as modifying an existing loan's interest rates, length, type, waive fees, or some other mutually agreed upon alternative. During the settlement conference, your financial situation will be reviewed and evaluated. This evaluation will include taking a look at your income, expenses and your current assets. Any settlement will be based on your ability to make your current loans or be adjusted to a new loan payment arrangement. Other factors involved may include the type of mortgage you have, how overdue your payments are, and other relevant facts. Solutions mediated may include forbearance agreements involving temporary reductions or suspension of required payments, repayment plans, short sales, or modifications of loan terms.

If you are facing a possible foreclosure, you may qualify for a short sale to avoid the negative consequences of a foreclosure. If you owe more on your home loan debt than the value of your home and do not have a second mortgage, you may qualify with your lender to sell your home for less than the mortgage amount due. Generally, in a short sale the lender will forgive the difference of what is owed. Even homeowners who are currently on time with their payments may be able to do a short sale if they have fallen on hard financial times and foresee a potential foreclosure in the future. Each case is different and will have to be negotiated on its own terms with the lender involved.

An easement is generally the right to use the real property of another without possessing or owning it. In other words, an easement is a grant of rights that allows the use of another's property.

A short sale is the sale of real estate where the owner owes more to the bank than the property is worth. Homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship often turn to a pre-foreclosure sale to avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy. On the other end of the spectrum, many investors are anxious to buy almost foreclosure properties because it can be a bargain.

Credit scores will be hurt due to a short sale. However, many believe foreclosure hurts it more. Either way, when you go 30+ days behind on your mortgage payment, your bank has the right to report to all the credit bureaus that you are 30 days behind on your payments. When a late payment is reported to the major credit bureaus it does effect your credit scores. After going through a short sale or a foreclosure, most people have multiple 30, 60, 90+ day late payments reporting on their credit report. The shorter the period of missed or late payments the better, and with foreclosures taking an average of more than a year around the country you should have far fewer missed payments, and therefore fewer dings on your credit report, with a short sale.

A deed in lieu of foreclosure can offer several advantages to both the homeowner and the lender. The objective, for the homeowner, is to have the lender waive any "deficiency'" from the sale of the property. A deficiency is the amount left unpaid on the loan after the property is sold for less than what is owed against it. In many situations, this is a distinct possibility; in others it is more challenging.

Tax

LIENS AGAINST PROPERTY, LEVIES AGAINST WAGES, OFFERS IN COMPROMISE, PAYROLL TAX PROBLEMS, REPRESENTATION RELATING TO AUDITS, PENALTY ABATEMENT, INNOCENT SPOUSE PROTECTION AND FILING DELINQUENT TAX RETURNS

We represent many taxpayers who have not filed federal and/or state tax returns for many years. Sometimes there are unusual or even catastrophic events that occur in one's life. For many reasons, those events can cause persons not to file tax returns. By not filing in any given year, that can exasperate the anxiety and pressure an individual may be experiencing. Sometimes tax returns are not filed in subsequent years, after a year is missed, because of the very real concern that by filing tax returns, after tax returns have not been filed for a year or more, that may lead to the discovery and consequences associated with tax returns not being previously filed. All the while, taxes, penalties and interest continue to accrue.

We have clients who have experienced tax problems that result in various collection activities, including relating to closing a business. When that threat is made, we can work with the taxpayer immediately to explore options that may be available. In some situations, we are able to work out resolutions that allow for a business to remain open while we work on outstanding tax liabilities with the tax agencies and/or contact persons.

We are often consulted regarding tax liabilities as same may be impacted by bankruptcy. Sometimes these cases have to do with individuals where there are tax liabilities claimed due and owing, even after a bankruptcy has been filed. In some cases, bankruptcies are dismissed, including Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, with tax liabilities still claimed due and owing. In other instances, there can be successful completion of bankruptcy cases, but with tax liabilities still claimed owed. We have also conferred with individuals regarding discharging tax liabilities. In those instances, our analysis includes the type of tax, whether or not certain kinds of penalties have been asserted, the conduct of the taxpayer and many other variables.

We provide representation in preparation for and representation at audits, both federal and state. This usually includes working with the taxing agency in regard to deciding what documents or information to produce, the actual production and review of documentation and information and providing an interface or Ago between the taxing agency and the client. In certain situations, depending upon the circumstances, it may not be recommended that there be direct contacts between the taxing agency and the taxpayer, at least initially, and until there is some control over the case and potential consequences are properly evaluated.

We have represented clients over the years in regard to installment payment arrangements, including breach of installment payment arrangements, or situations where promises have not been kept that have been made to the taxing agencies. These situations often involve the taxing agency making demand for immediate payment, or proceeding with wage garnishment (employer), non-wage garnishment (bank accounts), etc.

We have represented taxpayers over the years in regard to criminal tax prosecutions, both at the state and federal level. With respect to criminal tax cases, the prosecutor has to show a taxpayer is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain the burden of proof. Therefore, the initial actions by the taxpayer, as well as decisions being made regarding whether or not there is going to be cooperation, can be critical for the client, including analyzing matters that may not be of apparent immediate importance. Criminal tax cases at the state level often have to do with income tax, sales tax, use tax, and/or withholding tax. In many instances, taxpayers have had issues that extend over a number of years. Criminal tax cases at the federal level in many instances involve income taxes or employment taxes. In some situations, there are both federal and state tax issues for the same years, depending on the taxpayer and the circumstances.

We represented a long-time employee of a major financial institution located in St. Louis. She was a trust officer. The trust officer withdrew funds from a depositor's account and placed the funds in her own account which she opened at the same financial institution. The money never left the bank. When the fraud was discovered, restitution by the trust officer was made. The bank was made whole. The depositor was made whole. However, the client had substantial unreported income during the year of embezzlement. Since the monies were repaid the following year, there was no deduction or offset available to the client for tax purposes.

We represented an accountant in a criminal tax case involving several dentists in the Southern Illinois area. Pursuant to a scheme, payments were made by the dental practices to a dental lab. The problem was the dental lab did not exist. The dentists and their accountant were investigated for criminal tax fraud. The dentists claimed that they were following the advice of their accountant. The accountant was charged with various felony counts, pled guilty to a single count and received a sentence of probation.

We represented a hairdresser that had businesses in several cities. Based on the lifestyle and expenditures of the hairdresser, including trips, luxury automobiles, etc., the Internal Revenue Service was able to show, by an indirect method of proof, that expenditures were exceeding reported income. The hairdresser was charged with various counts of tax evasion. There was a joint investigation which involved tax agencies in Illinois and Missouri. There was a plea negotiation in regard to which the client pled guilty to a single felony and received probation.

We represented a city attorney in Southern Illinois who was involved in a scheme whereby out-of-state truckers on an interstate highway were ticketed. They were allowed not to return to the area with a disposition of their case that included a fine and costs. The problem was that the city attorney was funneling the amounts received into a separate account, and not for the city. In other words, the tickets were being dismissed, the amounts were paid by the truckers but the amounts paid were not being received by the city. The attorney was charged with filing false tax returns because he did not report the income that he wrongfully received from the scheme.

We represented an insurance agent in Southern Illinois that was charged with not filing tax returns and/or filing false tax returns with the State of Illinois. The insurance agent was a person of high standing and repute in his community. He was a good family man, attended church regularly and was active civically in his town. However, without any justifiable reason, he simply chose to stop filing tax returns. By the time he was investigated by Special Agents with the Illinois Department of Revenue, psychological and psychiatric defenses were considered, since the client had no prior criminal record and was a successful business person of considerable substance and wealth. The Illinois Department of Revenue took the position that the taxpayer had a financial motive and he simply wished to keep the money instead of paying taxes.

We represented the pastor of a religious organization in regard to not paying taxes on his salary earned serving his congregation. There was concern regarding how it may look to the parishioners if their pastor was having his salary levied by the Internal Revenue Service. We were able to work with the pastor, and the Internal Revenue Service, and avoid any criminal action, as well as avoid any negative publicity and the pastor was able to maintain his reputation with the congregation.

We represented a person who was involved in tax fraud/bankruptcy fraud. The tax fraud had to do with receiving payoffs or kick-backs from a local school board in regard to contracts. The bankruptcy fraud had to do with the client not fully disclosing all assets, and their values, when he filed his bankruptcy case, apparently fearing that his limited bankruptcy exemptions would not protect all property that he had accumulated.

We had a client that received monies from long-time friends and elderly individuals. They thought they were making investments into a strategy that would payoff handsomely for them. The client thought she could treat monies received as loans. However, she did not give written promissory notes at the time monies were received and there was no stated rate of interest. The Internal Revenue Service took the position that the monies received were not loans, but were investments or profits, and that the client should have declared income in the year received, and paid appropriate taxes. Not only did the client have to pay taxes, penalties and interest, she was also sued by the so-called investors when she was unable to repay the amounts they paid to her.

We have been representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service for years. This type of work can include taxes, penalties and interest, clients that have not filed tax returns for years, including strategies relating to criminal and civil, working on Offers in Compromise with respect to liability and collectability, installment payment arrangements and other matters. We also represent clients at audits, including at our offices, or the client's place of business, or at the Internal Revenue Service offices.

We have been representing clients for years with respect to the Illinois Department of Revenue. Those matters could include sales tax, use tax, income tax, state tax, persons or businesses that have not timely filed all tax returns, persons or businesses that are being audited, persons or businesses that do not have sufficient funds to pay. We also represent clients at audits, including at our offices, or the client's place of business, or at the Illinois Department of Revenue offices.

We represented a cosmetologist who purportedly had hair salons in E. St. Louis, St. Louis, Houston and Los Angeles. He was suspected by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service of dealing in drugs and not reporting income received from his drug sales and/or hair salons. Pursuant to a federal indictment, he was charged with a variety of felony counts. We recommended to the client that tax returns and/or amended tax returns be immediately prepared and filed. There was a recommendation through the U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern Illinois that the case be prosecuted.


Blake Behme Gilbreth Links, 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.

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 tax and business matters. As a result, this has increased our volume of cases and level of expertise in this area of the law.

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

We believe clients should be as educated as possible in regard to their legal issues. We encourage active client participation throughout any case and we provide appropriate communications and documents to clients so that they are educated throughout the entire process.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

Yes. We frequently review documents prepared by clients.

How frequently does your firm use mediation, arbitration, or collaborative law to resolve cases?

We frequently use mediation, arbitration and collaborative law to resolve cases.

What are your firm's strengths and style?

We value our clients. We give great weight to not only each client, but also each case we handle for each client. Our clients are kept fully advised in regard to all matters. We listen to our clients. We work with our clients to achieve optimal results.

What are your policies about dividing work within the firm to make the process most cost-effective for the client?

We use a team concept. We believe having various attorneys and legal assistants working on legal matters provides a better result for the clients.

What distinguishes your law firm from others?

We have a reputation for having provided excellent and experienced legal representation in the Metro East, the Southern Illinois and Central Illinois regions for more than forty (40) years. we have excellent ratings. we attempt to exceed the expectations of our clients.

What experience or education distinguishes your lawyers from others?

In addition to bachelors degrees, many of our attorneys have masters degrees in addition to law degrees, not to mention Edward J. Blake, Jr., having an LL.M. in Taxation.

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

We practice in areas that clients have expressed the need for experienced legal representation. All of our attorneys are experienced in the areas of their practice and are focused on achieving the best results for our clients.

Edward J. Blake, Jr.

Blake Behme Gilbreth Links, P.C

EDWARD J. BLAKE, JR., born in East St. Louis, Illinois on August 3, 1952; admitted to bar, 1978, Illinois; 1979, U.S. Tax Court.

Education: St. Louis University (B.S.B.A., 1975); Southern Illinois University (M.B.A., 1977); St. Louis University (J.D., 1978); Washington University (LL.M., in Taxation, 1982).
Member: The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis; St. Clair County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association (Member: Section on Estate Planning, 1987 - 1988; Federal Taxation, 1988 - 1989; Business Advice & Financial Planning, 1995-1996) and American Bar Association; Madison County Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, American Agricultural Law Association, Illinois State Trial Lawyers Association.

Illinois State Bar Association Section Member: (1) Trusts & Estates; (2) Family Law; (3) Agricultural Law; (4) Civil Practice & Procedure; and (5) Senior Lawyers.

American Bar Association Section Member: (1) Family Law; and (2) Real Property, Trust and Estate Law.

Mr. Blake practices in the following areas of law: Estates and Trusts, Family Law, Divorce, Guardianships, Litigation, Real Estate Law, Tax Law, Business Law as well as General Practice.

License

Bar Number: 03121565
Illinois, 1978

Education

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
M.B.A., 1977

St. Louis University
J.D., 1978

Washington University
L.L.M., in Taxation, 1982

St. Louis University
B.S.B.A., 1975

Jennifer M. Behme

Blake Behme Gilbreth Links, P.C

JENNIFER M. BEHME, born in Chicago, Illinois.
License: Illinois, 2008
Education: University of Illinois at Chicago (B.A. in Criminal Justice, with honors, and Psychology, 2004); St. Louis University School of Law (J.D., 2008 with a Certificate in Health Law)
Member: Illinois State Bar Association, St. Clair County Bar Association. Illinois State Bar Association Section Member: (1) Family Law and (2) Civil Practice & Procedure.

Areas of Practice: Ms. Behme practices in the following areas of law: Estates and Trusts, Family Law, Divorce, Guardianships, Litigation, Real Estate Law, Business Law as well as General Practice.

License

Bar Number: 06294857
Illinois, 2008

Education

University of Illinois at Chicago
B.A. in Criminal Justice, with honors, and Psychology, 2004, 2004

St. Louis University School of Law
J.D., 2008

Megan M. Gilbreth

Blake Behme Gilbreth Links, P.C

MEGAN M. GILBRETH, born in Belleville, Illinois.

License: Illinois 2012
Education: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (B.S. in Social Work, Summa Cum Laude, 2007); St. Louis University School of Law (J.D., 2010)

Areas of Practice: Ms. Gilbreth practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Guardianships, Estates and Trusts, Litigation, as well as General Practice.

Illinois State Bar Association Section Member: Family Law

License

Bar Number: 06309080
Illinois, 2012

Education

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
B.S., 2007

St. Louis University School of La
J.D., 2010

Nathan P. Links

Blake Behme Gilbreth Links, P.C

NATHAN P. LINKS, born in Carlyle, Illinois .
License: Illinois, 2012
Education: Southern Illinois University Carbondale (B.S. in Biological Sciences, 2009); St. Louis University School of Law (J.D., 2012)

Member: Illinois State Bar Association, St. Clair County Bar Association.

Areas of Practice: Mr. Links practices in the following areas of law: Estates and Trusts, Family Law, Real Estate, and Guardianships, as well as General Practice.

License

Bar Number: 06309556
Illinois, 2012

Education

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
B.S., 2009

St. Louis University School of Law
J.D., 2012

Jeanna S. Raney

Blake Behme Gilbreth Links, P.C

JEANNA S. RANEY, born in Flora, Illinois
License: Illinois, 2014
Education: St. Louis University (B.S. in Psychology, Minor in Political Science, 2010); Faulkner University - Jones School of Law (J.D., 2013)
Member: Illinois State Bar Association, Madison County Bar Association, St. Clair County Bar Association
Areas of Practice: Family Law, Child Support, Criminal as well as General Practice.

License

Bar Number: 06315768
Illinois, 2014

Education

Faulkner University - Jones School of Law
J.D., 2013

St. Louis University
B.S., 2010

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