Life After Probate

In the emotional aftermath of losing a loved one and working with an estate planning attorney in Mesa, AZ, and in the chaos of making final arrangements and adjusting to life without them, it may feel like this chapter of your life will never end. And though time may feel like it’s in slow motion, the chapter will eventually transition into the next one. At that point, you may feel as if you have swapped one set of challenges for another. This may be the case, but there is assistance available, particularly when it comes to distributing some of the estate’s assets and dealing with your loved one’s home. Rather than place the burden of handling everything on your own, consider taking advantage of the services of a moving company.

Not All Moving Companies are Equal

Many moving companies specialize in picking up cargo or a home’s contents and transporting it to another location, whether it’s across town or across country. A smaller number of moving companies offer additional services as well. In the context of dealing with the closure of an estate, or cleaning out a deceased relative’s home, those moving companies that offer the following services can make a great deal of difference:

  • Transportation of unwanted items that are suitable for donations to charity organizations.
  • Transportation of recyclable materials to a recycling facility.
  • Transportation of junk items to a refuse facility.
  • Transportation of items to another location such as the heir’s home.
  • Packing of items prior to transfer, whether they are large and heavy, fragile and valuable, or small and lightweight.
  • Unpacking of items after transporting them to the new location.
  • Cleaning of the original building as well as the new location prior to unloading items.

The Advantages of Hiring a Moving Company During or After Probate

One of the responsibilities of an estate executor is to locate the decedent’s assets. In many cases this is very straightforward if their assets are limited to retirement accounts, banking accounts, and items in the home as well as the house and vehicles. However, in other cases it can be more difficult. Assets that include commercial machinery located in other places or possessions that have been borrowed by others are but two examples. If the decedent owned an airplane, it may require special freighting, particularly if there are questions about its airworthiness. Hiring a moving company that is experienced with moving whatever assets need to be moved can take a lot of weight off the family’s shoulders when its time to transfer them post-probate.

Another advantage of hiring a moving company is that it can create a healthy buffer surrounding the assets. For instance, if it is too emotional to be in the now empty family home, hiring a moving company to transport the contents can make it easier on the surviving family members. Also, if the family home is not located nearby, out-of-town family members can arrange for a moving company to transport items so that they do not have to do this themselves.

If you are in the process of dealing with the loss of a family member, consider enlisting the help of a moving company to ease the difficulty of probate.

Thanks to for their insight into estate planning and life after probate.

Why Permits Are Necessary

Estate Lawyer

Home improvement projects take on a life of their own. Sometimes a person wants to change the paint color in the living room and suddenly they find themselves completely overhauling their bathroom. It is natural to want to make changes in a home but it is important to remember that there are limits to the changes that can be made without city approval. If a home is undergoing major construction, the city must ensure that there is a plan, accountability, and standards to be met.

Planning:

 Architects, plumbers, and electricians are all trained professionals who have studied extensively to do the job they are hired to do. An uncle who does botched construction jobs because “they work anyway” is not a professional. Before a project is started there needs to be a plan drawn out or a blueprint that specifically states the intentions of the renovation. This plan is then submitted to the city with the permit application and the city determines whether the plan is approved or denied. If approved, construction can begin immediately. If denied, the plans must be revised to meet the city’s expectations. This process depends heavily on the extent and complexity of the renovation.

Approval and Accountability: 

Permits are required when the remodeling of a home can put at risk the integrity of that home. Changing the cabinets in the kitchen is not the same as taking out a wall. Creating an opening from the kitchen up to the living room has become the newest trend, but that means that there is a section of support that is no longer there. Every home improvement show on HGTV has a contractor that pulls permits all the time. A permit sets a cohesive set of standards and requirements that everyone must follow. It also alerts the city of any possible issues that may occur.

On October 12,2019 a hotel building under construction in New Orleans collapsed. Although the incident was only a partial collapse, twenty people were injured and two others lost their lives. Upon further investigation, it was uncovered that the metal decking used on the roof for the floors was changed and the city never approved them. This in turn, was the cause of the collapsed infrastructure. The persons held responsible or liable for this event were the engineers.

This is only one of many events that have happened throughout the years, so it is important to remember that it is the safety of the people involved in the projects that really matter.

People are constantly trying to create the next wonder of the world. It is not the city’s intention to limit the engineers or the contractors, it is their duty to ensure that safety is kept on the forefront of every project. The Empire State Building in New York is 86 floors high, creates static electricity between people, and overlooks six states on a clear day. This project was built in a short thirteen months and is a wonder. Properly built, the structure stands tall almost ninety years after its construction was completed.

Permits in Arlington:

Every city has a unique approach for processing permits, but the city of Arlington allows for its residents to apply for permits online. One can apply for a permit but it is important to remember that the person who is applying for the permit is perceived by the city to be the “contractor.” A contractor is the person solely responsible for ensuring that all construction meets the specific city codes. In the event that a person hires an architect, plumber, or electrician, those professionals would be considered the contractors and therefore responsible for meeting city codes.

No matter what kind of home improvement project is around the corner, it is important that a person remains well informed. Every city has their own website with information about individual ordinances, codes, and details about what projects require a permit. Pulling permits may be a hassle and seem tedious at times but it is better than having to tear down half the project for not having a permit. It really is all about safety. Permits for major projects are not optional, they are a requirement that needs to be honored. 

If you’ve been injured from a construction site that did not follow the proper safety guidelines, a personal injury lawyer in Arlington, TX can advise you on your next steps for taking legal action.

 


 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into personal injury claims and why you need building permits.

What is an Executor of Someone’s Estate?

When someone passes away, his or her assets must be legally transferred to living beneficiaries through a process called probate. The person who is responsible for taking care of the decedent’s estate during this process is called an executor. The executor will make sure that all the debts and liabilities are paid from the decedent’s estate before the rest of the assets are distributed among the living beneficiaries.

The Executor’s Role

Generally speaking, probate can last somewhere between a few months and several years. The more complicated the estate is, the longer the case will take. The executor is the person who is responsible for managing the estate during the whole process. This will usually involve several court filings, court appearances, and even gaining approval from the probate court before taking certain actions.

The executor will also have to take into account the needs of beneficiaries and heirs, as well as any professionals who may need to be paid from the estate. Though probate laws vary from state to state, the process generally occurs in the same order no matter where the estate is located.

The first official duty of the executor is to submit the decedent’s last will and testament to the court. Following submission, the executor must attend a court hearing where the judge will inform the executor of the validity and legality of the will. In addition, the hearing generally allows others to contest the will if they have an interest in the will and feel that it’s not valid. In these cases, the contestant will need to file a separate lawsuit and prove to the court that the will is invalid.

Appointing an Executor

Decedents will often name an executor in their will, as they will typically have some idea of who they want to take care of their affairs. Unless the other beneficiaries object, this person will be named the executor of the estate.

If there is no will, however, or an executor has not been appointed in the will, the judge will most often choose a close family member to fulfill the role of the executor. Most states have specific laws regarding which family members may qualify, and in what order.

Once the executor has been chosen, the judge will grant the authority to act in the interest of the estate through letters of administration. Also known as letters of testamentary, these documents are necessary to provide professional companies – such as banks or insurance companies – proof that they can act on the estate’s behalf.

If you have been pointed as executor of someone’s estate, it may help to talk with a probate lawyer, like a probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ, to help you with the process.

Thanks to Klenk Law for their insight into what the executor of an estate is.

elderly woman and daughter doing a puzzle

Essential Estate Planning Steps For You And Your Parents

Talking about making a will and estate planning is often difficult for most people because whether or not it is for themselves or for someone they are close to and love, it means thinking about a time when they and/or the people they love will not be around anymore. It is important to do this though because having a legal will and well-made plans for a person’s estate when they are gone, protects a person financially now as well as their legacy in the future.

A surprising experience that many people have when they finally make the move and start to plan their own will or have that difficult conversation with a parent or other close family member about doing this, is a sense of relief. Especially when the will has been signed and finalized, and a person’s estate is in order legally, many people feel comforted and more relaxed knowing that their affairs are in order, rather than feeling like what they thought they might feel.

Planning an estate for a parent, a much loved relative, or for yourself, is not a way of saying goodbye- but rather a way to have peace of mind and to be able to enjoy time in the here and now.

Steps for Estate Planning
The following are some of the steps that are essential to planning an estate. Having a good estate plan is a way of protecting someone while they are alive, even if they are incapacitated, as well as their wishes for their assets when they pass.

  • Wills and Trusts
    It is important to have a legal will and for some people, a legal trust.
    Many people recommend enlisting the help of an estate attorney who can give you
    guidance and make sure your paperwork and documents are in order, rather than trying
    to do this on your own.
  • Emergency Information
    Compile a list of more than just doctors and their phone
    numbers. Different people have different needs but examples of things to have in one,
    easily accessible place include but are not limited to; the specifics of digital assets, bank
    accounts, stocks, retirement plans, and storage rental; online accounts with usernames
    and passwords; names and information about lawyers, financial advisors and anyone
    else who has legal knowledge of and/or access to the aforementioned.
  • Power of Attorney
    Designating a durable power of attorney to someone you and your
    family trusts, allows the person to make legal decisions in the event the person whose
    estate they have been appointed to is incapacitated and no longer able to make these
    Decisions for themselves.
  • Advance Medical Directive
    An advance medical directive is a document a person
    decides upon when they are healthy, in case there is a point where end-of-life medical
    decisions need to be made without them being able to say what they want.
  • Talk to Your Parents
    Even though many people have had a difficult time talking to their
    parents in general, and many people have been able to talk to their parents but don’t want to worry them by trying to talk about their financial affairs, it is important to do this while you all can. While these conversations are often not easy to begin, most people have a sense of relief once they have been started and feel better knowing that they now have agreed upon plans in place for the future.

Estate Planning With Parents
It is hard enough for most of us to see our parents getting older and it rarely gets easier as time goes on. But even harder usually, is admitting to ourselves that they can no longer fully manage their financial affairs and that we need to move in and do for them, what we as “children” are so used to them doing for us. As hard as it is, it is important to do this because it ultimately protects your parent(s), their security, and their assets.

For a highly recommended estate planning lawyer in Sacramento CA, contact Yee Law Group.

What Kind of Accidents Can Cause Brain Injuries?

Brain injuries can be traumatic or non-traumatic. Brain injuries can happen to anyone, from newborns to seniors. Children under the age of four, seniors and young adults from 15 to 24 years old are most at risk of brain injuries. You don’t even have to have to an open head wound to have a brain injury; a sharp jolt to your body that jars your head can cause a brain injury. You may not even lose consciousness. Here are some common causes of brain injuries. 

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
A TBI is an injury in which there is a blow to the head or other damage to the head. These types of events include:

  • Sports injuries, especially from sports that are high-impact or extreme, such as skateboarding, football, baseball, motocross, and many more. Youth are at a higher risk because their bones are still developing.
  • Vehicle collisions including those involving bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Violence, domestic violence assaults and child abuse, gunshot victims, or shaken baby syndrome can cause a TBI.
  • Falls, hitting your head on the bathtub or concrete can injure your brain. Older adults are at risk, as are small children.

Causes of Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injuries that occur because of an illness or chronic condition are called “acquired brain injuries” (ABI). A brain infection that causes inflammation can damage the brain permanently. Strokes are the leading cause of ABI, making older adults most at-risk, but tumors, a lack of oxygen, or cancer can also cause ABI.

Symptoms of ABI and TBI
Brain injuries, no matter how they occur, can cause many symptoms. There may be physical symptoms, such as paralysis, dizziness, hearing loss, or loss of vision. Some people experience intellectual problems or changes in their cognitive skills. A brain injury can make it more difficult to process information or communicate. Some patients with a brain injury have behavioral changes or social problems. Emotional and mental health issues are also a concern. A brain injury can affect a person for life across the spectrum. You should check with a doctor if you experience any adverse symptoms after you’ve hit your head or been injured. Many symptoms are often subtle changes that people tend to ignore.

Were You Injured?
If you or a loved one has a brain injury that was due to someone else’s negligence, you should speak to a brain injury lawyer, like a brain injury lawyer in Phoenix, AZ, about your rights. There may be compensation to help you take care of medical bills now and in the future.

Thanks to Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into the types of accidents that can cause a brain injury.

Why Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

When you are the victim of a motorcycle accident, you may face severe or even life-threatening injuries.  A knowledgeable and experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, like a motorcycle accident lawyer in Memphis, TN, knows how to handle your motorcycle accident claim. Indeed, there are very few fender-benders when it comes to accidents that involve motorcycles. Bike riders may suffer many different injuries that require significant time and expense to heal. 

Common Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Accidents

Due to the nature of an open vehicle like a motorcycle, riders can be at additional risk of some severe injuries, including: 

  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Road rash
  • Bruises, cuts, lacerations, and burns
  • Muscle and ligament damage
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Internal bleeding and organ injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries (even paralysis)
  • Wrongful death 

If you ride a motorcycle, you know that there are substantial risks when you hit the roadway. Irrespective of how safely you operate your motorcycle, you are vulnerable to the careless, negligent, or unlawful actions of other drivers. Here are some common questions motorcycle accident attorneys are often asked.

I’ve been in a motorcycle accident. What should I do next?

If you have been in a motorcycle accident, the very first and most critical thing to do is getting a medical evaluation and treatment for your injuries, no matter how inconsequential they may seem. Injuries do not always manifest signs and symptoms right away—it can take hours or even days after the crash for them to show up. Any lapse in treatment from the time of the accident to the time you get treatment can be used against you by the insurance companies involved. Also, document as much as you can about what happened while you are still at the scene of a crash. Take photos and get witness statements. Get copies of all police reports related to the crash as well.

What should I know about motorcycle accident injuries?

Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to severe injuries in motor vehicle and roadway mishaps. Even if a rider wears a helmet, significant injuries can result. A typical passenger vehicle weighs around two tons, and when it collides with a motorcycle, the motorcyclist usually suffers two impacts—one from the car and another with the ground.

Why do I need a motorcycle accident attorney?

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle crash that was caused by another person, then you need to seek legal assistance. Insurance companies will begin calling shortly after the accident. It would be best if you were prepared for this by your attorney. Don’t make any statements until your attorney has counseled you. To find out more about how a motorcycle accident attorney can help you, contact one and schedule a case review.

Thanks to Wiseman Bray PLLC for their insight into why you need a motorcycle accident attorney after being in a motorcycle accident. 

A Trusted Probate Lawyer

Have you recently lost a family member and you are getting ready to begin the probate process, but are unsure about whether or not you should retain a probate lawyer? If you can relate to any of the following issues or concerns, consulting a probate lawyer for advice may be in your best interest:

  • You have been named the executor and are unsure about what is expected of you.
  • You have found more than one will. 
  • You suspect there has been undue influence or fraud.
  • The estate is large or complex. 
  • A will dispute has arisen. 
  • You are ready to draft an estate plan for your future and your loved ones. 

If you believe something from the above, or perhaps another issue, holds true, you should contact an attorney for assistance. 

What is Probate?
Probate is a process that involves many things, including the need to prove the will is valid, overseeing the terms of the will, and distributing assets accordingly. At the time the will was drafted, the decedent must be named an executor or administrator. They will have a duty to:

  • Gather, inventory, and evaluate all assets.
  • Sell any assets to pay off debts.
  • Notify creditors of the will. 
  • Pay off any debts or taxes.
  • Transfer remaining assets to the beneficiaries.

When only a will exists, the estate must go through the probate process. This is required in all fifty states. There are exceptions to this — such as if a trust exists or the estate is worth less than $40,000 (this amount can vary). The circuit court nearest to the residence of the decedent will oversee the probate process. Depending on how complicated the estate is or whether there are any disputes, the process can take a few months to a few years, or more. The average time is nine months. It can benefit you to have a probate lawyer on your side. 

Skipping Probate
After learning about the probate process, some people will seek alternative estate planning options. As an estate planning lawyer will explain to you, it is possible to skip probate, but this must be planned ahead of time — before the death of the decedent. In other words, rather than drafting a living will, you should consider the following to avoid probate:

  • Create a trust.
  • Name beneficiaries on any financial account, investment plan, or retirement plan.
  • Have joint ownership of assets (i.e. property).
  • Gift assets prior to your death.

By including some or all of the above into your estate plan, probate may be avoided. That being said, whenever there is a will (even if there is also a trust), or the decedent died intestate (without any will or trust), probate is legally mandatory. 

Speak with an Attorney Today
Whether you are planning your estate or are the executor of an estate, you likely have questions and concerns. Call a probate lawyer, like a probate lawyer in Chandler, AZ, to get honest answers and advice that you can count on. 

Thanks to Citadel Law Firm for their insight into what probate is and why a lawyer can be helpful throughout the process. 

Am I Required To Leave an Inheritance to My Family?

Estate Lawyer

You may be wondering if you are required to leave your children or spouse property or money upon your death. While consulting an estate planning attorney will help you regarding your specific situation, here are some guidelines regarding your family’s right to inherit from you after your passing.

Are You Required To Leave Anything to Your Spouse?

There are some legal protections for spouses – or registered domestic partners – when it comes to survivorship. States that adopt common law offer protection against being disinherited completely. Additionally, most states enforce the rights of a spouse to receive a sizeable share of the property of a deceased spouse.

In a common-law state, a spouse that has been under-provided for will generally have the option of either taking what is offered by the will or rejecting the gift and taking the minimum share allowed by the state.

In some states, your spouse may have rights to the family home. This can vary from direct ownership to just the right to live there for the rest of his or her life. Additionally, each state will range in the amount of property that is entitled to the surviving spouse depending on their needs and whether there are surviving children.

Are You Required To Leave Anything to Your Children?

Generally speaking, you are not required to leave an inheritance to your children. There are two exceptions to this rule, however. Some laws give certain rights to minor children and laws that protect children who are overlooked in a will by accident.

Depending on the state, a minor may inherit the family home if they are less than 18 years old. Children that have been unintentionally overlooked in a parent’s estate will have different rights according to the state. In general, these laws will apply to offspring that were born after the will was signed and assumes that the parent didn’t intentionally leave the child out. As a result of these protections, the child will be able to claim part of the decedent’s property. If you have a specific idea about what you would like each child to receive, it’s a good idea to name each one of your children in your will to avoid any confusion.

If you have concerns that someone in your family may contest your will, it’s best to get legal advice. Estate planning attorneys, like an estate planning lawyer in Allentown, PA, can help secure your future wishes, even if your family has a different idea of what should happen to your property.

 


 

Thank you to the experts at Klenk Law for their input into estate planning, wills, and probate law.

Should You File for Bankruptcy?

Estate Lawyer

Nobody wants to declare bankruptcy, but when you can’t get out from being under financially, bankruptcy is often the best solution. Once you’ve decided to take this step, the next decision is which type of bankruptcy to file. Each type is designed to offer specific remedies for specific circumstances. Learn more about what type is best for you and walk into your bankruptcy lawyer’s office prepared.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is best described as a legal process in which people who can’t repay debts to creditors can get relief from most or all of their debt. There are many circumstances in which talking to a bankruptcy lawyer and filing makes sense. Some of the top reasons include the following:

  • Your creditors are suing for payment of debts
  • Your home is in danger of foreclosure
  • You routinely use one credit card to pay off another

All of the above are signs that a bankruptcy may be the best choice to prevent further financial ruin, but which type of bankruptcy is right for you? There are two basic types of bankruptcy. Keep reading to learn more about them.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

One of the most common types of filings is a  Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Taking about three or four months to finish, this bankruptcy will discharge most types of unsecured debt. This type usually allows you to keep most or all of your property and can even temporarily halt a foreclosure. Chapter 7 is generally available to people with income that is less than the median of their state. In general, this type of bankruptcy is ideal for debtors with few assets and little or no employment.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

This type of bankruptcy is a little longer-lasting and has some benefits over Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you repay creditors via a repayment plan that can last from three to five years. In exchange, you get to keep all of your property. This type of filing will also completely stop a foreclosure and help you make up missed payments. For this reason, a Chapter 13 is ideal for debtors who are employed, yet face mortgage delinquency.

There are other types of bankruptcies designed for businesses or very specific cases, but these are generally the most common two. Needing to file for bankruptcy can be disappointing, but it can give you the fresh start you deserve. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer, like a bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, TN, to learn more about how to start the bankruptcy filing process.

 


 

Thanks to Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, for their insight into filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

How to Make Visitation a Good Experience for Everyone

When parents divorce, the children go through a lot of emotional distress. The parents may or may not realize what the children are going through, but both should work together to create a sense of normalcy for the children. Visitation is just one way to do that. Regardless of your feelings for each other, put your differences aside and create a schedule that’s best for your children. The following are some things you should do in regards to a child visitation schedule.

Be Flexible

Again, the visitation schedule is about your children creating strong relationships with both sides of the family. Be flexible with the schedule. If your ex-spouse’s side of the family always does a big party on July 3rd, but your family doesn’t party until the 44h, it probably wouldn’t hurt you to give every July 3rd to your ex-spouse for visitation. While you would typically switch off every year for holidays such as Independence Day, you could be flexible in special circumstances such as these.

Be Kind

Your child loves both of his or her parents. While you may have unkind feelings toward your ex-spouse, your child is trying to make sense of the divorce, so be nice about visitation. Encourage your child to have a great time while he or she is with the other parent. Build up the visit just as you would build up a holiday or other special occasion. When the child comes back from the visit, don’t quiz him or her about what happened and who was there. It’s not the child’s job to be your spy, so if you have a serious concern, speak with your ex-spouse directly. Otherwise, just make sure your child had a good time and is happy, and that you’re happy to see him or her again.

Be Normal

If you were still married to your child’s other parent, you probably wouldn’t spend every day going to amusement parks and ice cream parlors, so you shouldn’t do that when you have the kids for visitation. While you want it to be a special time spent together, you also want to make it normal. Make sure your kids have some chores to do and that there’s downtime at the house when you all just hang out together. Your kids shouldn’t feel like your house is a vacation home, but rather just another normal home where they live for short periods of time with their mom or dad.

Start With Respect

Visitation schedules are really all about respecting the other spouse and encouraging the children to respect both parents as well. Respect is a great place to start creating your schedule, and when you do it that way, you’ll end up with the best results. Contact a family law attorney, like a family law attorney in Arlington, TX, for help deciding what to do next.

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm for their insight into how to make visitation a good experience for the children and parents.