Any person concerned about what will happen to their loved ones and their assets should they become incapacitated or die, should seriously consider estate planning. There is a widely-held belief that only the very wealthy engage in estate planning, however this is simply not true. You have many choices to make as you plan for the future; these choices may include a living trust, a will, a healthcare and financial power of attorney, beneficiary forms, a medical directive and even a list of assets and contacts. Effectively managing your estate now, can create a secure future for your loved ones, ensuring the state does not have the power to distribute your assets as they see fit.
A will can spell out how you would like your estate divided, and can establish a guardian for minor children in the event of your death or disability. A power of attorney document can name a person to take care of your finances or to make healthcare choices on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. An advanced directive can clearly spell out the procedure for carrying out your specific wishes (such as limiting heroic measures to keep you alive). A revocable living trust will allow your assets to be distributed to those you choose, while avoiding the long, public process of probate. The attorneys at Martinson & Beason, P.C., can assist you in determining which of these documents are necessary for your estate plan and your specific situation.
When you choose an attorney for your probate and estate issues, you may not fully understand how that firm’s peer reviews, client reviews and legal honors and awards may impact you. In fact, such legal accolades show a firm’s commitment to their clients and their community. When you choose a firm known for excellence, with a solid reputation for over 75 years, you have immediately made a positive difference in whatever legal issue you are facing. The Martinson & Beason attorneys have the experience necessary to help our Huntsville clients design the very best plan for an orderly distribution of their estate. Along with our commitment, we bring the following to the table on behalf of our clients:
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Which showcases the most distinguished collection of trial lawyers in the U.S. who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements—featured the firm of Martinson & Beason, and we are notable members of this forum.
Each of our partners has received a top Avvo rating. Avvo is a third-party company which compiles ratings and information for attorneys. Attorney Douglas C. Martinson II has been licensed to practice law in the state for 26 years. Doug has a client rating of five stars (the best rating possible), and an Avvo rating of 10 out 10. Attorney A. Mac Martinson has been licensed for 24 years, and has a client rating of 5.0 stars, with an Avvo rating of 9.2 out of 10. Attorney Morris Lilienthal, has been licensed in the state for 12 years. Mr. Lilienthal has a client rating of 5.0 stars, and an Avvo rating of 10 out of 10. Our firm was awarded the 2015 client’s choice award for personal injury.
The Martinson & Beason attorneys have a long history of satisfied clients, as evidenced by word-of-mouth references, as well as positive online reviews. Our clients have given our firm top marks. With more than fifty, five-star Google reviews to their credit, the firm’s reputation and experience level are top-notch.
Better Business Bureau Accredited
The Martinson & Beason law firm has met all of the Better Business Bureau standards, including exercising a commitment to resolving all customer concerns. The firm received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Super Lawyers – Rising Star
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding attorneys who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorney Morris Lilienthal has been selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star, in 2013, 2014 and 2015 as a result of peer evaluation, peer nominations and independent research.
Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated
The Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory features peer review ratings. Three of the Martinson & Beason attorneys are featured in the Directory. Attorney Douglas C. Martinson II received a 4.8 out of 5.0 in peer reviews and a 5.0 out of 5.0 in client reviews. Attorney A. Mac Martinson received a 4.6 out of 5.0 in peer reviews and a 5.0 out of 5.0 in client reviews in the Directory, and attorney Morris Lilienthal received a 4.9 out of 5.0 in peer reviews.
By planning ahead for your death, you can make it easier on your loved ones, and ensure your assets are distributed as you would want them to be. There are a number of estate planning mistakes which many people commit, mostly out of lack of knowledge about the subject. If you have made the decision to have your estate plan prepared by a knowledgeable Huntsville probate and estate attorney, then you will be unlikely to make these mistakes, however you should be aware of the following:
- The number one mistake made by most people who have been responsible enough to have an estate plan prepared, is to believe once it is done they never have to think about it again. There are many changes which occur within families and family businesses. Family members may die, children are born, divorces happen, assets and property is sold or acquired. It is necessary to periodically review your estate plan in order to ensure the changes in your life are properly reflected.
- Even those who take care of having an estate plan prepared, and keep that plan updated, may neglect to plan for their own disability. If you develop a disability or a long-term illness, your personal and financial affairs can end up in turmoil unless you have made the proper provisions. You must include a revocable living trust, a medical power of attorney, and an advanced medical directive in order to ensure all eventualities—including incapacitation—are properly covered.
- Most people choose a family member as the person to handle their estate following their death. While this might seem to make sense, in fact it could be better to name a person who has no personal interest in your estate, therefore may have a better ability to objectively handle the duties of the executor as well as any potential disputes between beneficiaries. An impartial party is usually much more likely to say “no” to heirs who want their inheritance immediately or want to make changes to your final wishes, than a family member would be. If you want to ensure family harmony after your death, it might be wise to choose a non-family member to handle your estate.
- Taking the “do-it-yourself” route for your estate plan is seldom a good idea. While there are many things you can competently do for yourself, you should not consider estate planning one of those things. Far too many times the family of a person who prepared their estate plan on their own are dismayed to find there are serious issues they must deal with which would not have been a problem if an estate attorney had prepared the estate plan.
A solid estate plan takes into account virtually every imaginable contingency, and do-it-yourself plans nearly always lack such perspective. An experienced Huntsville probate and estate attorney from the Martinson & Beason firm can ensure your wishes are translated into a strong legal estate plan. Such a plan can ensure you have peace of mind for the future, and that your beneficiaries and children are properly taken care of. Your Martinson & Beason attorney will also be cognizant of the many tax implications associated with your estate plan and will know how to maximize the assets which actually go to your heirs. Don’t wait until it is too late—call a Martinson & Beason attorney today for a consultation.