Wills, Estate & Probate
Here are a few of the reasons why everyone should have a Will:
- You can direct how you want your property divided after your death.
- You may name the person you want to handle your estate.
- You can decrease the expenses of administering your estate.
- You can save taxes, especially if you have a relatively large estate.
- You may establish a trust for the support and education of your minor children without the necessity of court proceedings.
- You may appoint a guardian for your minor children.
Who may make a will?
Individuals must be 18 years of age or older to make a Will. They must also be of sound mind and free of any improper or undue influence by another person when they make the Will.
Are special formalities required to make a valid will?
Yes. A Last Will and Testament is a special type of legal document and it must be prepared and executed in a particular way with special formalities as required by state law.
What happens if I don’t make a will?
With the exception of certain life insurance and property held in joint ownership, your property is distributed under a plan provided by law. This may not be in accordance with your wishes. Without a Will, you lose the opportunity to select a guardian for your minor children and an executor for your estate. Court- appointed administrators and guardians may not be the family member or friend that you would have chosen to handle your affairs. Dying without a Will can be costly and may complicate and delay the transfer of your property to your heirs. For example, your estate may have to pay bond premiums if there is no Will stating that you don’t require executors and guardians to post a bond. If a Will is made, these problems and the additional expenses can be avoided.
Probate and Estate Administration
When a loved one dies, you need an experienced probate and estate administration attorney to guide you through the process of dividing and distributing the decedent’s property and assets. We are dedicated to protecting the final wishes of your loved one.
What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy allows one to either obtain a fresh start free from debt or re-organize and pay off certain debts and discharge other debts.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows a person to claim certain property as exempt property and discharge debts that exceed his ability to pay.In Alabama your exemptions are limited and you should consult a Bankruptcy attorney.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is known as a wage earners plan and allows a worker to make payments for up to 60 months through the Bankruptcy Trustee.The Trustee, and Bankruptcy law determine the fair distribution of property to creditors. There are several types of personal bankruptcy, with two main types. There is Chapter 7 liquidation and Chapter 13 reorganization. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation is designed primarily for the individual whose assets and property are exempt from execution. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is used often to eliminate credit card debt, medical bills and other unsecured debt.In those cases the debtor will not be required to repay any of their unsecured debts. This process takes all physical property that is not exempt and converts it to cash and then pays the proceeds to the creditors. Once all notice to creditors and the bankruptcy law is complied with the debtor may be discharged from his debts.
A Chapter 13 reorganization attempts to repay the creditors through a Chapter 13 plan over 60 months or less.
A Chapter 11 may be used when a business goes into bankruptcy proceedings.You should consult with an Alabama Bankruptcy attorney or your family lawyer to determine if bankruptcy is a viable option.
The information contained in this message is general in nature and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed bankruptcy attorney.
Checklist of items to bring with you to your initial appointment:
60 days of pay check stubs
Last 2 years tax returns
Copies of bills
For help with bankruptcy visit these sites:
Hummingbird Credit Counseling
Consumer Financial Education Foundation of America
Under the federal Social Security Disability Act, “disability” means the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physician or mental impairment which can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months or result in death.”
Social Security Disability Benefits or SSDI are paid to individuals who have worked in the recent years. Usually you have to work 5 out of the last 10 years.
Supplemental Security Income benefits or SSI are paid to individuals who are low level income and disabled whether or not the individual has worked in the past. SSI child’s disability benefits are paid to children who are under 18 years old, are disabled and the parents or guardian are lower level income.
You should file as soon as it is determined that you will not be able to work during the next 12 months or your condition is expected to lead to death. However Social Security is not a short term disability. Therefore if you have an accident where you cannot work for several days or even a few months, you will not be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.
If you have suffered serious personal injuries, chances are you will have questions about how to pay your significant medical expenses. When injuries are the result of another’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. We counsel you on your right to collect compensation and will vigorously assert your interests through negotiation or litigation.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Representing North Alabama workers with injuries sustained on the job. Know your rights under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. We represent Alabama workers in any industry or occupation in obtaining compensation from reluctant insurance companies for construction site, scaffolding or industrial machinery injuries, explosions or toxic exposures, as well as back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome or other claims arising from day-to-day job duties. These include:
- head injury
- repetitive strain injury
- back or neck injury
- accidental amputation
- eye injuries