Frequently Asked Questions
Our address is 11111 Hwy. 31 Ste. C Spanish Fort, AL 36527
We represent clients in Probate, Estate Planning, Criminal and Traffic Court, and more.
This depends upon the type of case that you hire us to represent you on. Generally, our firm bills clients on either a flat-fee or hourly basis.
For certain estate planning documents, we can typically give you a flat fee quote after your consultation. How much you will ultimately pay is dependent upon the complexity of your estate and what your financial goals are. During our consultation we will carefully weigh available options and work toward developing an estate plan that will help you meet your goals.
An initial telephone consultation is free of charge. Typically, a consultation with an attorney can be had the same day you call. This consultation is limited to 10 minutes in duration.
For an in office consultation, our firm charges $150.00. This meeting is limited to one hour in duration.
Yes. If you live out of town, we are happy to assist you. You are not required to schedule an in-office meeting with us as many aspects of your case can be handled by telephone or through the mail.
We handle cases primarily in Baldwin and Mobile Counties.
Alabama Probate FAQ’s
Probate is a court involved process that distributes a decedent’s estate when they pass away. If the Decedent had a Will at their time of death, the only way for the Will to have legal effect is by opening a probate estate in Alabama.
Most probate estates will take a minimum of 8-9 months to settle once they are opened
Administering an estate is not brain surgery, but neither is re-plumbing your home. Both require particular skills in a certain subject matter developed through effective training, hands-on experience, and hard work. But with that being said, most people find that hiring a professional is the quickest and most efficient way of getting the job done.
It is not uncommon to spend anywhere from $2,500.00-$5,000.00 toward an attorney in probating an estate. For contested estates, the amount can be much higher as those cases could be much more time consuming. Many probate attorneys will charge hourly, especially if the case is contested or the estate will involve selling real property. Estates that qualify under Alabama’s “Small Estates Act,” otherwise known as Summary Distributions, will generally be less expensive than regular-length probate administrations that last 8-9 months.
Absolutely. In fact, anyone who has an interest in the estate can petition or “open” a probate estate. In other words, any person entitled to inherit from the estate (e.g. heir or next of kin, etc.) or any creditor claiming an interest in the estate may file a petition.
An insolvent estate is one that lacks sufficient assets to pay off the entirety of the debt. If an estate in insolvent, it is possible that that the beneficiaries to a Will do not receive any property from the estate. Whether a beneficiary or heir can receive any share from an insolvent estate depends on whether they are entitled to the statutory exemptions/allowances under Alabama’s probate code.
If the Will is self-proving and no other party objects to it, the probate judge can admit the Will without a hearing. If any party objects to the Will, a hearing will be held and each party is afforded a chance to present their own evidence supporting their objection.
Yes. Any interested party can have the probate case transferred to Circuit Court where they are entitled to a trial by a jury. However, this option must be exercised early on or else the right to have a trial by jury is waived.
Yes. However, the executor can normally recoup those expenses from the estate.
Alabama Estate Planning FAQ’s
A Will does not have to be notarized to be valid. However, if the Will is notarized it is called a “self-proved” will. This means that no testimony is needed to have the Will admitted to Probate. Having a self-proved, notarized Will can cut down on the amount of courtroom time.
No, it does not. Some counties might offer residents a place keep their will on “file” for safekeeping, but many do not. For the counties in Alabama that do offer such service, it could be wise for residents to consider take advantage of such offering.
Preferably not in a safety deposit box or anywhere else that only the Testator can access. A will should be secured but also accessible to a trusted person(s) so it may be submitted to the probate court. It can be wise to keep a copy in a separate place.
Yes. Any person who has an interest in the estate (e.g. children, heirs at law, beneficiaries, and even creditors) can contest the validity of a Will, even if it is a self-proving will. In some circumstances a jury can determine the validity of a will.
Generally speaking, yes. It is important to consult with an attorney or tax professional with any questions you might have involving potential estate recovery. There are options available involving trust planning that can prevent medicaid from taking your home.