MARTIN HELLER POTEMPA & SHEPPARD, PLLC is a boutique firm comprised of Nashville lawyers recognized locally and nationally for their skills and expertise in personal injury and wrongful death litigation, estate planning, wealth preservation, estate, probate and trust litigation, conservatorships, end of life issues, wrongful death litigation, and family law litigation. Our attorneys have served clients in Belle Meade, Cool Springs, and Hillsboro Village, among other communities throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties.CONSERVATORSHIPS & GUARDIANSHIPS
A conservator is a person appointed by the court to provide partial or full supervision, protection and assistance of the person or property, or both, of a disabled person.
Conservatorships, while ideally avoided altogether, are often necessary when an adult needs a fiduciary to make his or her decisions. A conservatorship proceeding is brought in probate court and often becomes necessary when an adult becomes incapacitated due to advanced age or a mental disability. A conservatorship proceeding may also be necessary when loved ones hold competing powers of attorneys or don’t agree on the current fiduciary’s decisions. The necessity of a conservatorship proceeding can often be avoided with smart estate planning and the appointment of Powers of Attorney.
A Guardian is a person appointed by the court to provide partial or full supervision, protection and assistance of the person or property, or both, of a minor.
If you find yourself in need of assistance with a conservatorship or guardianship issue, please contact us.ESTATE PLANNING
Our attorneys work diligently to protect your financial interests and wishes regarding asset distribution as you grow older. The first consideration in any estate plan is to ensure that all documentation has been properly drafted and executed. One of the most common estate planning tools, a last will and testament, must be signed by two witnesses and the testator, who is the person making the will. The witnesses must sign in the presence of each other and the testator. This requirement is designed to forestall fraud, but it can also present complications if it is not correctly followed.
Likewise, a trust is a useful instrument that can assist with estate planning. It can protect assets from creditors and can avoid probate. Tennessee law requires that a trust document must clearly define its terms, appoint specific beneficiaries, and provide a trustee. The attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard stay updated on the latest inheritance and probate laws. They can utilize their extensive knowledge and technology to protect your interests.ESTATE, PROBATE AND TRUST LITIGATION
The death of a loved one and task of tending to decedent’s affairs is a stressful and emotionally trying experience at it’s best. When heirs dispute the validity of a will or their share of the estate, the process can be even more stressful, delayed and costly.
Only certain people can contest a will. For example, you can’t contest your friend’s will just because you believe she shouldn’t have left her estate to her niece. You must be an interested party. This means you would have inherited from your loved one if there was no will or you are a beneficiary of the will.
In addition, you cannot contest a will solely because you think the distribution is unfair. A will can be contested only in certain circumstances; there must be evidence that something is wrong with the will. The following are examples of situations in which a will may be contested:
- Mental incapacity. You may contest a will if you believe your loved one did not have the mental capacity to write the will. The best way to prove this is with a statement from a doctor who examined your loved one around the time he or she wrote the will. You may also use medical records and other witnesses who were around your loved one at the time.
- Undue Influence. If you believe another person exerted undue influence over your loved one and induced your loved one to change the distribution under his or her will, you may contest the will based on undue influence. Generally, the person contesting the will is required to prove the person exerted undue influence.
However, if the person had a fiduciary relationship with your loved one, that person may have to prove that there was no undue influence. People who might have a fiduciary relationship include a child, a spouse, or someone with a power of attorney.
- Fraud. Arguing your loved one was fraudulently induced into signing his or her will is another way to contest a will. Fraud occurred if your loved one signed a will without realizing it was a will. It could also happen if someone gave your loved one misinformation that caused him or her to change the distribution in the will.
- Improper Execution of Documents. Finally, a will may be invalid if it was not executed properly. Each state has laws dictating what makes a will valid. Usually, the signing of the will must be witnessed by independent witnesses. If the document was not witnessed properly, it may be invalid.
If you want to contest a will, you should contact an attorney immediately because you will need to file a claim with the court. If you are an interested party, you should receive notice from the court that the will is being probated.
If you are successful in invalidating a will, the court may reinstate your loved one’s prior will. If there is no earlier will, the estate may pass under the state’s intestate succession laws. Another alternative is for the court to invalidate just the portion of the will that is invalid, leaving the rest intact.
A trial before a judge or jury may be necessary to protect your rights with regard to your loved ones’ estate.
If you find yourself in need of assistance with estate, probate, or trust litigation, please contact us.DIVORCE & FAMILY LAW
Divorce is a trying and emotional experience for a family, especially if children are involved. The attorneys at MHPS, PLLC have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, from complex divorces where the marital estate contains substantial assets, to simple matters where the parties only need an attorney to prepare divorce paperwork.
Our attorneys can help you in cases involving:
- Divorce, Alimony & Spousal Support
- Division of Property
- Child Custody & Visitation
- Parenting Time & Parenting Plans
- Primary Residential Parent Designation
- Child Support
- Choice of School Issues
- Civil & Criminal Contempt Issues
After suffering an injury, you may be forced to deal with time away from your job, lost wages, emotional trauma and pain and suffering. You should never negotiate with an insurance company after such an accident without first consulting an experienced attorney.
Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC has a dedicated team of trial lawyers who have recovered millions of dollars for their clients in cases involving:
- Automobile Accidents
- Tractor-Trailer Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Premises Liability (slip & falls)
- Medical and Dental Malpractice
- Wrongful Death
If you or a loved one needs assistance in a personal injury or wrongful death matter, please call us at (615) 800-7096, or contact us.Knowledgeable Legal Representation for Franklin Residents
If you or a loved one needs assistance in a family law matter or any other legal issue in Franklin or the surrounding area, you can call our knowledgeable attorneys at (615) 800-7096, or contact us online. We will take the time needed to understand the details of your case and explore your legal rights and options.