Probate Law

Probate LawRegardless of whether you have a significant estate or a modest estate, having a properly prepared plan can help save your loved ones time and money. Regardless of how well you have planned your estate there may still be a need to have an attorney involved when the time comes to settle your estate including administration of your estate or trust administration. We provide a whole range of probate services including:

Wills

When you take the time to prepare a will, you will name a person who will be responsible for administering your estate after your death. This can mean fewer delays in the process since the court will not be determining who will be acting as executor. Preparing a will allows you to control who receives your assets and ensures your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. Additionally, a living will (and/or health care power of attorney) can help ensure your end of life medical care preferences are carried out in accordance with your wishes.

Powers of Attorney

A properly drafted power of attorney can insure that in the event you are unable to conduct your own affairs due to an extended absence from home, illness or other infirmity, your affairs are handled by the person you have selected and in the manner you have directed. We take the time to explain each provision of such documents so that you have a full understanding of the powers that you are granting and limiting the amount of exposure over reaching documents can create.

Trusts

In some cases, a properly prepared trust that is properly funded can help minimize the involvement of the probate court in your estate and protect your hard earned assets. Trustees and successor trustees are often named to ensure that the property and assets in your trust are managed correctly. For some families, a special needs trust may be necessary to ensure that family members are cared for after your death.

Estate Closure

Regardless of the estate plan you put into place, there are certain steps that must be taken after your death including validating your will, liquidating (when appropriate) and distributing assets and filing the necessary tax returns for your estate. We can help the executor of your estate or the trust trustee complete the process to ensure all legal requirements are met.

Guardianship and Conservatorship

When a person has no power of attorney or has not crafted plans for their care and finances in the event of incapacity or disability, the probate court may appoint a guardian. Generally, the guardian is given wide latitude to make decisions for the living arrangements and medical care you will receive. If you have been appointed as a guardian or are seeking the guardianship of another, we can help you to meet the requirements of the court.

When a person is no longer physically or mentally able to make financial decisions on their own, the probate court may appoint a conservator to ensure their financial matters are taken care of. Conservators have a fiduciary responsibility to act in a manner that is most beneficial financially to the person in their care. The conservator protects and manages the property of an incapacitated person while the guardian attends to the person’s everyday needs. This appointment also requires regular reporting on all financial activities and we can help you with the required reporting and other legal matters you could be facing.

The steps necessary to obtain a guardianship and conservatorship are detailed and mandatory under our law.

Having an estate plan can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your final wishes are available in writing and there is no confusion in how you wish your medical care to be handled or how your assets will be distributed after your death. Contact Attorney Edward S. McCallum at (864) 223-8546 for a consultation to discuss estate plans.