Susan Harville-Stein and I focus on estate issues and Personal Injury cases. We have opened many estates where there has been a will or no will left. We have opened and managed the entire estate administration process, including selling personal property and real property, or house or rental property, of the person who has died and distributing the proceeds to the next of kin or those specified in a will. We have assisted family members throughout Alabama, particularly in Jefferson County and Shelby County, in gaining conservatorships and guardianships over loved ones who can no longer manage their own affairs or be trusted to make their own decisions, and then helped them to manage the affairs of that loved one, particularly the business affairs. We have drafted many wills with particular attention to what Alabama law allows you to waive under existing law and helping to make the decision on whether making certain waivers in your will is in your best interest. We have worked with many children and incapacitated persons in Jefferson County, Alabama, representing their interests in wills being probated and trust matters. Our philosophy is if we are not the right attorneys to assist you with your matter, we strive to assist you in locating the attorney who can help you.
Susan and I began the practice together in 2003 in Birmingham, Alabama and Jefferson County and Shelby County. Susan's background includes being the first female investigator for the Sherriff's Department in Lawrence County, Alabama, and she has a Master's Degree in Social Work. Susan was accustomed to working with individuals with various mental health issues and generally serving the public as a social worker.
I have an MBA and 20 years experience in business and working for corporations in various management positions. We met in law school, and the partnership has been successful both professionally and personally. Together, we bring our clients a diverse background of experience in both human behavioral issues and business. As a result, we have evolved into attorneys who provide for end of life issues, and are sensitive to the needs of the family when those issues actually arrive. We pride ourselves on making sure children, the most vulnerable, are properly protected in legal proceedings involving estates and other issues. Alabama is Susan's home. Alabama has become my home. We are pleased to serve the needs of Jefferson County, Shelby County and all of Alabama.
Cases we have handled include a mom who called us because the father of her children, from whom she was divorced, had committed suicide. She lived with the children outside of Alabama, and the father died in Jefferson County, Alabama. For her children, we opened the estate of their father, who had left behind a defective will, and gathered up his financial accounts, sold some minor possessions, regained an auto from his brother who thought he was entitled to it "for sentimental reasons," sold the auto for the children's benefit, and worked tirelessly to sell a broken down piece of real property that was part of the estate. In the end, both children received just under $5,000 each from what was a very small estate with lots of problems. We were glad we could create these funds out of the mess their dad had left them, so that they may have something good, like the start of a college fund, come out of it.
Another case involved an estate with only the maternal side of the family heirs known, all out-of-state. The call came from out-of-state when a distant aunt of theirs had died in Jefferson County, Alabama. She left no will, as she did not sign it before she died. She had an old house in an area of lower value homes. She had old furnishings and some significant funds in a bank account. We served as the administrator of her estate and the attorney as permitted under Alabama law. We gathered all the assets. While we managed the estate, individuals broke into the house and ripped out all the copper plumbing, flooding the house. We filed the insurance claim, made the repairs, and the left-over insurance proceeds went into the estate. Under Alabama law, the maternal side gets half and the paternal side gets half. We knew nothing of the paternal side, and with just some information from a graveyard near where this person originally lived, we were able to hire a genealogist who found all the next-of-kin on the paternal side! The estate wound up having 29 heirs, and each got every penny of what they were entitled.