If you are a potential client, please do not hesitate to call our office at 931-651-1900 or submit the Contact Us Form on our Contact Us page to set up a phone consultation or initial conference.
If you are a current client, the best way to get in touch with us is by sending us an email or message through our Mycase Client Portal.
Our normal business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST. We are closed 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. for lunch. We do our best to return all phone calls and messages within 24 business hours. In the event we do not respond to your email or message in 24 hours, please do contact our office at 931-651-1900.
In the event you would like to speak with an attorney, please schedule a conference call, as their schedules do not generally allow them to take unscheduled telephone calls, unless there is an emergency.
A trust is a legal relationship that allows a third party, or a trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. Trusts can be arranged in many ways and can specify exactly how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries.
Every trust must have a person or entity who manages trust property under the terms of the trust. The trustee acts as the legal owner of trust assets, is responsible for assets held in the trust, tax filings, and distribution of trust assets according to the terms of the trust.
A special needs trust will preserve the beneficiary’s eligibility for needs-based government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Because the beneficiary does not own the assets in the trust, he or she can remain eligible for benefit programs that have an asset limit.
First party (or self-settled) special needs trust are most often used when the person with a disability inherits money or property outright or receives a court settlement. These SNTs also are useful when a person without a prior disability owns assets in his or her name, later becomes disabled, and thereafter needs to qualify for public benefits that have an income or asset limitation.
An elder law attorney can assist with the preservation and transfer of assets, Medicare and Medicaid compliance, Disability and Social Security appeals, long term care planning, elder abuse and fraud, guardianship and conservatorship litigation, and planning with advanced directives.
A power of attorney is a legal relationship that allows someone else to act on your behalf. Powers of attorney are critical for the elderly or for someone who can no longer make critical decisions over their healthcare or property.
Probate is the formal legal process that gives recognition to your Will and appoints the personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries.
We will schedule an initial conference for you to come in and review the probate estate of your deceased loved one with us. If you decide our firm is a good fit, we will send you our representation agreement. After our initial conference, our firm will prepare the petition for probate and letters of administration to be filed with the court. Once the petition has been filed, our law firm will contact you with the scheduled court date, whether in person or virtual. Once you have received your court date, you will be requested to schedule a conference call with one of our attorneys to prepare for the court hearing.
After the court hearing, the clerk will notify our office when the letters of administration and order are ready to be picked up.
You are not authorized to use estate funds for any purpose until a court orders the distribution of estate assets. All expenses must be approved by the court prior to using estate funds or assets. If you have questions about expenses of the estate, please contact our office for guidance.
By law, the estate must remain open for four months from the date of publication of the notification to creditors. The publication is usually completed the following week after opening the estate, but it varies depending on the county.
We will schedule an initial consultation to see if a conservatorship is something you need for your loved one. If it is, then we will send you our representation agreement for you to sign. At this point, we will begin preparing a petition for a conservatorship for your loved one. We cannot file the petition until we have received a signed report by a physician stating that your loved one does in fact need a conservator. This affidavit will be filed in conjunction with the petition.
Our next step is requesting a guardian ad litem be appointed by the court. The guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed by the court to investigate the allegations in the petition and render a neutral report to the court. The guardian ad litem will likely visit your loved one and will probably call you to retrieve supporting documentation. You should be prepared to provide the guardian ad litem with any documentation requested.
Once the guardian ad litem has submitted his or her report to the court, a hearing will likely be scheduled. At the hearing, the judge will make a determination as to the merits of the conservatorship.
Once a conservator is appointed, a property management plan may need to be filed with the court. This is simply an accounting and budget of your loved one’s assets. We will work together with you to create this document and ensure that it is properly filed with the court.
Additionally, each year you may be required to post bond to protect the balance of the managed funds or assets. Lastly, an accounting may need to be filed each year to detail the assets held on behalf of your loved one.