At Red Oak Legal, PC, we are dedicated to helping people in Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, and the surrounding areas primarily with Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate and Civil Litigation matters.
To learn more about these areas of the law, sign up for one of our free workshops to get a crash-course in Alabama estate planning, elder law, and probate issues. In the meantime, read on to learn more about these areas of the law.
When most people think about estate planning, they only think about transferring wealth from one generation to the next. But a comprehensive estate plan has three primary purposes.
The first is to establish a plan to maintain control over your affairs so long as you are able. Second, an estate plan should determine who would make decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able. Finally, your estate plan should set out who should receive your assets after you’re gone.
At a minimum, every estate plan should contain three fundamental documents . . .
Asset protection planning involves making prudent decisions today to protect yourself, your business, and your hard-earned assets from lawsuits, nursing homes, bankruptcy, divorce or other creditors.
Widely-published statistics prove what many people already know—most family businesses fail to transition successfully from the founding generation to the next. But handing down a business to one’s loved ones is not the only concern. Partnerships and other jointly-owned business ventures should have a business succession plan to determine how to transfer ownership of the business if one of the co-owners dies.
Our goal is always to help our clients avoid litigation when possible. In the event that defending against or filing a lawsuit is necessary, however, our firm is prepared to represent its clients in state and federal court, in addition to alternative dispute resolution proceedings such as mediation and arbitration.
Due to the high cost of assisted living, nursing home facilities, and at-home long-term care, most people cannot afford to pay for these services out-of-pocket for very long. The elder law attorneys at Red Oak Legal, P.C. can help families determine how to coordinate private resources with public benefits provided by Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA in order to provide for a loved one’s long-term care needs.
The probate process can be time consuming—in Alabama, it takes a minimum of six months. There are two kinds of probate proceedings which are used to transfer a decedent’s probate assets to his or her heirs.
When the individual died having executed a valid last will and testament, then the will is offered to probate, and assets are eventually distributed according to the terms of the will. When the individual did not leave a will, however, then a similar process called an Estate Administration is filed in the Probate Court. In that case, the decedent’s property is divided among certain people according to the law of intestate succession.
Even a small inheritance, personal injury settlement, or other windfall can inadvertently disqualify a person with special needs from receiving the valuable public benefits they rely upon, such as Medicaid and SSI. Proper use of a Special Needs Trust (sometimes called a Supplemental Needs Trust) can set aside money to be used to enhance that individual’s quality of life while maintaining eligibility for their public benefits. In addition, a special needs trust may be used to preserve assets for the benefit of someone entering into a nursing home.
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