Birmingham Estate Planning Lawyer, Alabama

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Ferris S. Ritchey Lawyer

Ferris S. Ritchey

VERIFIED
Estate, Estate Planning, Wills & Probate, Mediation, Elder Law

Ferris Ritchey has over 35 years of experience in a wide range of legal matters with an emphasis on Domestic Relations, Mediation, Collaborative, Prob... (more)

Lorrie Maples Parker

Business Organization, Commercial Real Estate, Contract, Estate Planning
Status:  In Good Standing           

V. Michelle Obradovic

Corporate, Business Organization, Elder Law, Estate Planning
Status:  In Good Standing           

Shay N. Click

Collection, Estate Planning, Family Law, Municipal
Status:  In Good Standing           
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Stephen W. Shaw

Estate Planning, Employment Discrimination, Divorce, Criminal
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  41 Years

Brett Harrison Hollett

Landlord-Tenant, Estate Planning, DUI-DWI, Criminal, Litigation
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  14 Years

William N. Clark

Estate Planning, Employment Discrimination, Divorce, Criminal
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  50 Years

Marilyn H. Macey

Social Security -- Disability, Estate Planning, Social Security
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  29 Years

Preston Hunter Neel

Commercial Real Estate, Wills, Gift Taxation, Credit & Debt
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  13 Years

Cheryl Dickey Chapman

Social Security -- Disability, Estate Planning
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  37 Years

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Free Help: Use This Form or Call 800-943-8690

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LEGAL TERMS

FAMILY ALLOWANCE

A certain amount of a deceased person's money to which immediate family members are entitled at the beginning of the probate process. The allowance is meant to ... (more...)
A certain amount of a deceased person's money to which immediate family members are entitled at the beginning of the probate process. The allowance is meant to help support the surviving spouse and children during the time it takes to probate the estate. The amount is determined by state law and varies greatly from state to state.

STATUTORY SHARE

The portion of a deceased person's estate that a spouse is entitled to claim under state law. The statutory share is usually one-third or one-half of the deceas... (more...)
The portion of a deceased person's estate that a spouse is entitled to claim under state law. The statutory share is usually one-third or one-half of the deceased spouse's property, but in some states the exact amount of the spouse's share depends on whether or not the couple has young children and, in a few states, on how long the couple was married. In most states, if the deceased spouse left a will, the surviving spouse must choose either what the will provides or the statutory share. Sometimes the statutory share is known by its more arcane legal name, dower and curtesy, or as a forced or elective share.

COUNTERCLAIM

A defendant's court papers that seek to reverse the thrust of the lawsuit by claiming that it was the plaintiff -- not the defendant -- who committed legal wron... (more...)
A defendant's court papers that seek to reverse the thrust of the lawsuit by claiming that it was the plaintiff -- not the defendant -- who committed legal wrongs, and that as a result it is the defendant who is entitled to money damages or other relief. Usually filed as part of the defendant's answer -- which also denies plaintiff's claims -- a counterclaim is commonly but not always based on the same events that form the basis of the plaintiff's complaint. For example, a defendant in an auto accident lawsuit might file a counterclaim alleging that it was really the plaintiff who caused the accident. In some states, the counterclaim has been replaced by a similar legal pleading called a cross-complaint. In other states and in federal court, where counterclaims are still used, a defendant must file any counterclaim that stems from the same events covered by the plaintiff's complaint or forever lose the right to do so. In still other states where counterclaims are used, they are not mandatory, meaning a defendant is free to raise a claim that it was really the plaintiff who was at fault either in a counterclaim or later as part of a separate lawsuit.

PROBATE COURT

A specialized court or division of a state trial court that considers only cases concerning the distribution of deceased persons' estate. Called 'surrogate cour... (more...)
A specialized court or division of a state trial court that considers only cases concerning the distribution of deceased persons' estate. Called 'surrogate court' in New York and several other states, this court normally examines the authenticity of a will -- or if a person dies intestate, figures out who receives her property under state law. It then oversees a procedure to pay the deceased person's debts and to distribute her assets to the proper inheritors. See probate.

RULE AGAINST PERPETUITIES

An exceedingly complex legal doctrine that limits the amount of time that property can be controlled after death by a person's instructions in a will. For examp... (more...)
An exceedingly complex legal doctrine that limits the amount of time that property can be controlled after death by a person's instructions in a will. For example, a person would not be allowed to leave property to her husband for his life, then to her children for their lives, then to her grandchildren. The gift would potentially go to the grandchildren at a point too remote in time.

PROPERTY CONTROL TRUST

Any trust that imposes limits or controls over the rights of trust beneficiaries. These trusts include (1) special needs trusts designed to assist people who ha... (more...)
Any trust that imposes limits or controls over the rights of trust beneficiaries. These trusts include (1) special needs trusts designed to assist people who have special physical, emotional or other requirements, (2) spendthrift trusts designed to prevent a beneficiary from wasting the trust principal; and (3) sprinkling trusts that allow the trustee to decide how to distribute trust income or principal among the beneficiaries.

GENERATION-SKIPPING TRANSFER TAX

A federal tax imposed on money placed in a generation-skipping trust. Currently, there is a $1 million exemption to the GSTT; that is, each person may leave $1 ... (more...)
A federal tax imposed on money placed in a generation-skipping trust. Currently, there is a $1 million exemption to the GSTT; that is, each person may leave $1 million in a generation-skipping trust free of this tax. The GSST is imposed when the middle-generation beneficiaries die and the property is transferred to the third-generation beneficiaries. Every dollar over $1 million is subject to the highest existing estate tax rate--currently 55%--at the time the GSTT tax is applied.

TRUST MERGER

Under a trust, the situation that occurs when the sole trustee and the sole beneficiary are the same person or institution. Then, there's no longer the separati... (more...)
Under a trust, the situation that occurs when the sole trustee and the sole beneficiary are the same person or institution. Then, there's no longer the separation between the trustee's legal ownership of trust property from the beneficiary's interest. The trust 'merges' and ceases to exist.

BYPASS TRUST

A trust designed to lessen a family's overall estate tax liability. An AB trust is the most popular kind of bypass trust.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Maloof v. John Hancock Life Ins. Co.

... "The reason that these policies were even being discussed was because we were talking about estate planning and we got into a discussion of — of estate taxes and things like that. ... The whole purpose of the policies was to take care of estate planning. ...

ROTHFEDER v. KAUFMAN GILPIN McKENZIE THOMAS

... In February 2003, Rothfeder met with Derek Warren, an accountant practicing in Geneva, Alabama, to discuss the referral of one of Warren's clients, Ruth K. Baucom, to the firm for assistance with tax and estate-planning matters. ...

DeFriece v. McCorquodale

... Seeking to minimize that tax burden, the family consulted an estate-planning attorney who recommended, first, that DeFriece, Durst, Ernest Jr., their 467 respective children, and Nell disclaim their rights to receive real property under Ernest Sr.'s will, and, second, that DeFriece ...