In today’s world of social media, it’s important to plan not only for your physical property, but also your digital accounts. Having a well-crafted estate plan is an enormous benefit to your family and loved ones. By including instructions for your online profiles, or utilizing the memorial tools from social media, you can make things simpler for loved ones after you pass away. Here’s a look at how some popular social media platforms handle accounts of deceased or inactive members.
Although planning a funeral may be uncomfortable for some, many seniors are now making pre-need funeral plans to alleviate stress on family members when the time comes. According to a recent article published in The New York Times, “pre-need is a broad term that encompasses any type of pre-death planning, and it may or may not include paying for services in advance.” Although pre-need planning fulfills many objectives, it has the primary effect of providing peace of mind to both you and your loved ones. More specifically, pre-need planning allows you to make certain that your last wishes are known, and that your family can focus on the funeral without financial worries.
In today’s world, almost everything is available at our fingertips with only a few clicks. You probably have seen advertisements for do-it-yourself legal help while watching television or surfing the web. These services are promoted as simple and convenient, leading people to believe that preparing a legal document is as easy as filling in blanks on standardized forms. Unfortunately, we regularly encounter DIY-gone-wrong every day.
DIY legal software programs and websites tend to provide a cookie-cutter, one-size fits all approach to preparing a legal document. This is troublesome because the law is not the same from state-to-state. Each state has their own unique laws, and such laws often times vary state-to-state. Even if the software is tailored to Alabama law, problems still arise as clauses or provisions are inadvertently added leading to unintended consequences.
In a will contest, a contestant challenges a will as invalid, usually for mental incapacity, undue influence, fraud, or a technical failure. Although somewhat of a rare occurrence and a tedious process, a will contest may be the only recourse for a client who has been disinherited or disenfranchised. First, only an interested party who has a potential interest to gain can challenge a will. A will can be invalidated in part or in whole. If a will contest is successful, the probate or circuit judge has options such as invalidating the challenged will, reinstating a previous version, or distributing property under the laws of intestacy. Beyond the hurdles of a will contest, the testator (the person who signed the will) sometimes inserts a “no-contest” provision into their will or trust. Under such a provision, the testator instructs that anyone who contests the validity of their will is disinherited. While these clauses create additional difficulties for one contesting a will, it is not always an absolute bar to the challenge. It would be a good idea for the client to consult an attorney to weigh their options and get a better assessment of their rights before challenging or contesting a will.
An interested party cannot challenge a will simply for being unfair. Instead, they must prove one of the following conditions or other good cause: [Read more…] about The Grounds (and Hurdles) for Challenging a Will
President-elect Donald Trump has recently announced that his business holdings will be placed in a blind trust in the care of his three oldest children. Trump’s holdings include real estate, hotels, golf courses, and numerous other investments in the United States and abroad. While Trump, through his attorneys, refers to the arrangement as a blind trust, scholars are quick to point out that the trust will not be managed be an independent party, a requirement for blind trusts. As the Trump trust issue unfolds, we wanted to revisit trust basics and the interests they serve.
A trust can be created during the life of the maker of the trust (the settlor) or upon his or her death through a will. A trust created through a will is known as a testamentary trust. There are many types of trusts and they serve a multitude of purposes.
Trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable. In a revocable trust, the settlor can modify or take back their assets without penalty. In contrast, an irrevocable trust cannot be modified and assets cannot be taken back by the settlor. Revocable and irrevocable trusts have important legal and tax ramifications. [Read more…] about Revisiting Trust Basics & President-Elect Trump’s ‘Blind’ Trust
Following his election to the position in August of 2015, Doug Martinson, II has officially assumed the office of Madison County Bar Association President. Doug has been an attorney at the law firm of Martinson & Beason since 1990 after graduating from law school at Washington & Lee University and undergraduate at the University of Alabama.
To make this presidency even more meaningful, Doug’s father, the late Douglas C. Martinson served as the Madison County Bar President from 1987-1988.
The Madison County Bar Association has over 700 attorney members and is the governing body for the attorney members. The purpose of the Bar is to elevate the legal profession to the highest possible standard of competence, integrity, morality, dignity and courtesy; to regulate its practice; to maintain closer relationships and cooperation with the Alabama State Bar and within the framework of the principles here enunciated; and to cherish the spirit of camaraderie among its members.
Doug’s main goals for the Bar this year are to establish a mentoring program for young attorneys and solo practitioners and to increase attendance at the Bar meeting and other functions.
Doug has an extensive record of service and leadership not simply in Huntsville, but across Alabama: As a former member and President of the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education, as a past President of the Huntsville Rotary Club, and as Vice Chairman of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library Board. He is also active in several non-profits such as Cap and Gown (which takes disadvantaged students on college tours), the Tennessee Riverkeeper and Hudson Alpha Professional Advisory Committee.