Brandon Estate Planning Law Firm

At Palmer & Slay, PLLC, we are dedicated to using our combined talents and experience to provide a number of legal services to the Jackson Metropolitan area and the surrounding Rankin County community. Our primary focus is on helping the individuals and families who come to us seeking counsel. We believe our job as attorneys is to help our clients plan for the future in ways that are thoughtful and cost-effective. It gives us great satisfaction to know that those we serve sleep more soundly knowing that we have crafted their estate plans, helped them prepare for long-term care or incapacity or guided them through a probate process for a loved one.

Creative Thinking

At Palmer & Slay, we listen carefully to each of our clients because we know that in order to be helpful we have to fully understand not only their finances and families, but their unique needs, goals, and concerns. From the time we first meet you, we are trying to establish a long-term relationship and we are well aware that this will only happen if we earn your trust. You can always count on us to think of creative ways to protect your assets, provide for your family, and help you plan for various eventualities — not only retirement, for example, but for the possibility that you or one of your loved ones will at some point require long-term care. We make it a point to come up with innovative solutions to problems you’re aware of as well as to prepare you for contingencies that may not have crossed your mind.

Customized Implementation

We keep current with any new laws that affect our practice areas so that we are never caught off-guard. We also look for new ways to put effective methods into practice to help you plan for the consequences of aging, and come up with a customized estate plan that protects your accumulated wealth from unnecessary taxation and protects the most vulnerable members of your family from losing government benefits like SSI or Medicaid.

Our Practice Areas

Palmer & Slay has four basic areas of practice focus. Because all are interconnected, we can be helpful to you in dealing with places in which the spheres overlap. Below are our practice areas and some information about each one.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is a way of preparing legally and financially for your future and the future of your family. Since this can be a complicated process, especially if you have a large estate, it is important to have a knowledgeable, skilled estate planning attorney to guide you through. At Palmer & Slay we are well-versed in every aspect of estate planning, so we will be able to shield your assets from unnecessary taxation and ensure that all of your loved ones are well provided for. In a great many cases, probate — a time-consuming and costly process — can be avoided by setting up trusts to hold your assets. We can set up one or more trusts to suit your particular needs. These include: trusts for minors, trusts for family members with special needs, marital trusts, spendthrift trusts, and even trusts for pets.

Each type of trust has a special purpose. Establishing a trust for a minor or a loved one known to be irresponsible with money can arrange for a trustee you choose to dole out assets as needed so that your worldly goods are helpful for as long as possible. A special needs trust accomplishes similar preservation of assets, but in this case the trust prevents the disabled individual from losing government benefits (SSI, SSD, or Medicaid) because of the inheritance. Many issues have to be taken into account when we help you plan your estate. If you own a business, you probably want to make sure that the business you worked so hard to establish survives you. We know all the ins and outs of business succession and will be able to set up a workable plan to preserve your legacy.

Probate

Probate is the process through which a judge determines a will’s validity, but, as noted, the process can be expensive and prolong the settlement of the estate. In addition to trusts, there are certain assets which do not have to go through probate. These advantageous non-probate assets are: jointly owned property with “right of survivorship,” retirement accounts that have designated beneficiaries (e.g. IRAs and 401(k)s), and bank accounts that are payable on death to a named beneficiary.The court process requires that the Decedent’s creditors must be provided with notice of the death and the notice must also be published in the newspaper.

Creditors have 90 days from the date of first publication to file documents showing that they are entitled to payment of their debt from assets covered by the will. After the 90-day period expires, the attorney usually will be in a position to guide the Executor through closing the estate, paying valid creditor claims and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. The probate process will take a minimum of approximately 4 months but may stretch out much longer, depending on the situation.The process for transferring property after one’s death if there is no Last Will and Testament is called intestate succession. This is a rigid process that is controlled by Mississippi law. Assets go where the law says they go, without any deviation. This process is also referred to as an administration. The administration process is not desirable and is easily avoided by execution of a Last Will and Testament.

Long-Term Care/Medicaid Planning

Aging is a universal occurrence. As the saying goes, “It’s not so bad when you consider the alternatives.” Facing the possibility of infirmity or incapacity, however, is difficult. Nonetheless, as responsible adults, in addition to preparing for the pleasure and relaxation of grandchildren and retirement, we should all prepare for the eventuality that we may require long-term care at some time in the future.There are several significant matters that we can help you with relative to the possibility of your need for long-term care, including:

  • Protecting your assets from estate taxes, creditors, and liability lawsuits
  • Overseeing your retirement benefits
  • Advising you regarding what the best time is to take your Social Security benefits
  • Planning for long-term care and Medicaid
  • Drafting documents relating to your end of life decisions (healthcare proxy, HIPAA release form, organ donor form, living will)

In most cases, we also create a power of attorney document for you so that you can pick an individual you trust to make your financial and medical decisions if you are no longer physically or mentally able to do.

VA Pension

Many of the benefits available to veterans through the Veterans Administration (VA) are based on the type of service by the veteran, the health of the veteran, or a combination of these factors. Of particular importance to these families dealing with the effects of aging and the desire to maintain independence, is tax-free income from the VA to help pay for the cost of healthcare, assisted living care and nursing home care. This benefit is called “Improved Pension.” In addition to the pension, a person who is housebound or in need of the assistance of another person with activities of daily living may receive additional pay called Housebound Benefits or Aid and Attendance Benefits, which supplement the pension. Basic eligibility for the Improved Pension is that the veteran must have served at least 90 days of active service with one day being in wartime. In general, wartime is:

  • World War I
  • World War II: December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946
  • Korean War: June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam Conflict: August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975 (serving anywhere), but February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975 for veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam
  • Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law

The veteran’s discharge must be other than dishonorable for the individual to be eligible for pension benefits, as well as meet specific income, asset and health requirements. Benefit amounts for the Improved Pension and supplements vary based on a number of factors and are set by law, but can be in excess of $20,000 annually, tax-free.

We Want to Help

We established the law firm of Palmer & Slay because we truly want to be of service to those in need of legal assistance. You can be sure that when you come to us, we will approach you with a background of knowledge and personal concern. We take your issues seriously because we know you’re depending on us. We are easy to reach. Just call us or fill out the contact form on our website.

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Our Office

12 Woodgate Drive, Suite F
Brandon, MS 39042

601.724.1870