What types of legal matters do you handle?
Our firm handles all types of probate matters. General estate and trust planning is one of my biggest areas of focus. I enjoy assisting clients with putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together in planning for their futures, and to provide for their loved ones or charitable organizations that are important to them, once they pass away.
I also devote a large portion of my practice to special needs planning, and I personally understand how complicated and difficult this can be for the families making these decisions. Special needs planning can look different for everyone, but it typically includes assisting parents or other family members in providing for their loved one with special needs, while at the same time enabling the special needs individual to maintain access to benefits, which they may need to provide for their medical or other needs. I also assist special needs individuals who may have inherited money to place that money into a trust for their benefit.
In addition, I handle the majority of our firm’s estate administration matters. It is my privilege to assist clients who have lost a loved one with walking through the steps of opening a probate or trust administration. This process typically involves working with the client (personal representative or executor) to determine what assets the decedent owned at their death, whether we need to open a probate estate in court, developing an action plan for a swift resolution of the estate, and making any necessary court appearances on behalf of the estate. My goal is to help make the client familiar and comfortable with the estate administration process and to help them navigate around any potential pitfalls or problems.
What is your philosophy about estate planning?
My philosophy is that it is for everyone. You don’t have to be a millionaire in order to have an estate plan. While a Will is the main document that everyone thinks about when it comes to estates, there are other documents, particularly a Durable Power of Attorney, that are almost more important. Therefore, it is important to cover all of your bases and plan for your death and potential incapacity. Being prepared is the best gift you can give to yourself and to your family. Unfortunately, failing to plan for the future can result in chaos in our families once we are gone. The best way to prevent that is to exercise your control now, and create a thoughtful estate plan, which is tailored to your unique situation and family.
What do you see as your role as an attorney?
My role as the attorney is listen to my clients’ wishes and concerns, and then to help them find a way to make those wishes happen, while eliminating or limiting the things which may be causing them concern. I am a sounding board and an adviser for my clients. My job as the attorney is to help clients see the full picture surrounding a potential legal issue (whether it be estate planning, probate, or business planning). This involves listening to what the client wants, making recommendations about what might be in their best interest, and then ultimately executing on the plan that we have made together. I am personally involved in every one of my client’s legal issues, and I want them to understand and know that their matters are important to me.
What are your qualifications?
I attended law school at Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and undergraduate school at Birmingham-Southern College. Prior to beginning my estate planning/probate practice, I represented many clients in civil litigation matters, and was quite successful at the trial level. After several years spent in litigation, I decided to make the transition to estate planning/probate because I wanted to help my clients solve their problems on the front end, rather than jumping in after problems had already arisen. Since beginning my work in estate planning/probate, I have helped clients in all walks of life plan for their future and help prevent family disputes. We work closely with all of our clients, their families, and the courts and/or government agencies to help ensure the best outcome for our clients.
Tell me more about your background.
I am originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, but moved to Birmingham to attend undergraduate school at Birmingham-Southern. I love Birmingham and am proud to call it home. My husband, Matt, is also an attorney in the Birmingham area. He and I have two children, Luke and Juliana, and a cocker spaniel named Odie. I am a member of the Cathedral of St. Paul, and in my spare time I serve as a wedding director for my church. I am also involved as a member of the Autism Society of Alabama, and previously served as President of their Junior Board. Currently, I am serving as the Leadership Development Committee Chair for the Women Lawyer’s Section of the Birmingham Bar Association. Additionally, I am a member of the Birmingham Bar Association’s Future Leader’s Forum, Class of 2015-2016 and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.« Back to Attorneys Page