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Probate & Estate Planning Conference for Alabama Attorneys - Materials Only

Probate & Estate Planning Conference for Alabama Attorneys - Materials Only

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Probate & Estate Planning Conference for Alabama Attorneys - On-Demand

Conference held May 11-12, 2017. Order your materials from this information-packed event!

The annual Probate & Estate Planning Conference for Alabama Attorneys brings together some of the state’s top estate planning and probate practitioners for two days of critical guidance on the hottest topics and most complex issues you’ll face. At the 2017 event, the distinguished faculty explained the very latest developments and strategies, including: 

  • Possible effects from federal tax reform—income, estate, generation-skipping and gift taxes 
  • Gifting considerations in grantor trusts 
  • Will drafting tips, including method of designating fiduciaries and building flexibility into the estate plan 
  • Using LLCs as an estate planning tool 
  • Importance of planning for digital assets 
  • Initial steps to take when your client dies 
  • Special needs trusts—ABLE accounts in Alabama 
  • Procedural tips for will contests 
  • Disposing of real property during probate 
  • Medicaid planning, including sources for long-term care payment 
  • Assessing the need for a guardian and/or conservator 
  • Ethical rules for probate and estate attorneys 


Your Conference Leaders

Nancy BallNancy Williams Ball is a partner at Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal LLP in Birmingham. She practices in the areas of estates and trusts, including estate planning and estate administration, taxation, real estate and corporate law. Ms. Ball is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Birmingham, Inc. and the Alabama Planned Giving Council. She is also a member of the Birmingham Bar Association and the American Bar Association and participates in the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section. Ms. Ball was recently selected by the Birmingham Business Journal as a Rising Star Lawyer.

Herbert BrowderHerbert E. (Chip) Browder, with Browder & Welborn, LLC in Tuscaloosa, has been providing legal services in Tuscaloosa  and throughout the state of  Alabama for nearly 25  years. He also has an extensive business management background, having managed his family’s hardwood veneer business and timber investments for over 10 years prior to entering law school. With two degrees in accounting from the University of Alabama and a master’s of law degree in taxation from the New York University School of Law, he is well-equipped to handle even the most complex accounting and tax issues involved in accomplishing client goals. He has been an annual lecturer for the past several years on Estates and Trusts at the University of Alabama Law School’s Annual “Bridge the Gap” and “Will Drafting” seminars for young lawyers in the state, and he is a frequent seminar speaker.

Ross CohenRoss Cohen, with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. in Birmingham, represents clients in the areas of taxation and tax planning, wealth-transfer planning, estate planning, asset protection planning, business organizations, corporate law, and mergers and acquisitions. He represents individual clients in personal and family tax and estate planning (including prenuptial agreements, trusts and the like), business succession, the establishment of private foundations and family investment vehicles, and similar matters. His business practice has involved tax planning for start-up entities and established businesses, executive compensation matters, tax-free organizations, mergers and acquisitions, and representation of clients before the Internal Revenue Service (tax controversy) and state tax authorities (SALT). He is frequently consulted on tax matters involved in public finance transactions, and has been involved in the establishment of nonprofit corporations and charitable organizations. He is a frequent speaker and prolific writer, having authored a number of articles and technical publications. A certified public accountant since 1980, Mr. Cohen practiced for several years with Coopers & Lybrand (now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers).

Shannon DyeShannon Dye, with Carney Dye, LLC in Birmingham, handles all types of estate planning, including wills, trusts, special needs trusts, and powers of attorney. She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She graduated from Birmingham-Southern College and Cumberland Law School. She served as the Student Materials Editor for the American Journal of Trial Advocacy and was a member of the Cumberland Honor Court and Trial Board. Ms. Dye also served as a Caruthers Fellow and was the research associate for Professor David Smolin. She is an active member of the Cathedral of St. Paul. She is involved in a variety of community activities, including the Autism Society of Alabama.

Connie GlassConnie Glass founded the Elder Law Firm of Connie Glass, P. C. in Huntsville. The Elder Law Firm is committed exclusively to serving the legal needs of persons over the age of 50. Prior to opening the Elder Law Firm in 1997, she served as the attorney for the TARCOG Area Agency on Aging for over ten years and was on the staff of the University of Alabama Law School. Ms. Glass is certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation, and is one of only three certified Elder Law Attorneys in Alabama. Ms. Glass is a charter member of the Alabama State Bar, Elder Law Section. She is also a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the National Elder Law Foundation. She is a graduate of The University of Alabama, having received her B.A. in 1978 and her J. D. from The University of Alabama School of Law in 1981. 

James GriffinJames B. Griffin founded James B. Griffin, LLC in Mountain Brook and serves clients in Alabama and Georgia who are pursuing the American dream of property ownership, business ownership, and investing in their future. The firm’s mission is the protection of private property rights, especially in real estate, the creation of wealth, and the preservation of assets through estate planning, especially for those heirs who are not capable of taking care of themselves. He is a Birmingham native who graduated from Gordon College in Massachusetts with a B.A. in Economics and History, from the University of Alabama with a M.A. in History, and from Vanderbilt University Law School. He began his practice at a large firm in Atlanta and then in a small firm for most of a decade in his wife's hometown of Covington, Georgia, before returning home to Alabama.  His practice today concentrates on estate planning, trusts, estate administration, property, and real estate.

Nancy HughesNancy C. Hughes, shareholder with Hughes and Scalise, P.C. in Birmingham,  has lectured on trusts, estate tax, and other matters before the Internal Revenue Service, American Bar Association, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, American Institute of Federal Taxation, Federal Tax Clinic, Mississippi Tax Clinic, various Estate Planning Councils, and the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning. Her areas of practice include estate planning, trust planning, probate, business succession planning, charitable planning, estate administration, family wealth transfer, fiduciary law, powers of attorney, trust administration, and trust law.

Bradley LardBradley W. Lard, with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Birmingham, is a member of the Trusts and Estates Practice Group. He is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), and is currently listed in Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Tax Law and Trusts and Estates. Mr. Lard is also a member of the Alabama Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, Birmingham Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. His practice primarily involves estate and trust planning and administration, with an emphasis on related income, estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax issues.

James NaftelJames P. (Jim) Naftel is a shareholder at Maynard Cooper & Gale in Birmingham. His practice is concentrated in the areas of estate planning (advice, planning, drafting and implementation of wills and trusts); probate (estate administration, guardianship, conservatorship); estate administration; and estate litigation. Mr. Naftel is a member of the American Bar Association (Real Property, Probate and Trusts Section), the Alabama State Bar Association, the Board of Directors of the Estate Planning Council of Birmingham, and the Board of the Probate Section of the Birmingham Bar Association. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Mississippi, and his J.D., magna cum laude, from The University of Alabama School of Law.

Judy ShepuraJudy Shepura, with Dominick Feld Hyde, P.C. in Birmingham, practices in the areas of estate planning and administration, probate law, trust law and special needs and elder law. She enjoys helping families work through difficult situations in ways that preserve their relationships and allow the individual family members as much autonomy as possible. This may arise in the course of probating a will and administering the estate of a deceased family member, or in assisting family members faced with caring for an elderly parent, or establishing a special needs trust for one who is disabled and needs particular protection in order to continue receiving government benefits, or in helping an individual craft his or her own will, power of attorney and health care directive in order to avoid future difficulties. Ms. Shepura is listed in Best Lawyers in America® in Trusts and Estates. In 2012, she was appointed to the Alabama Family Trust’s Board of Trustees by the Governor of Alabama.

Sidney SummeySidney C. Summey was the founder of the firm Summey & Hennecy, LLC (formerly Summey & Williams, LLC) in Birmingham and has over 38 years of experience in the legal profession.  In 2008, Summey & Hennecy, LLC merged with White, Arnold & Dowd, P.C., where Mr. Summey is a shareholder and heads the firm’s Probate, Trust and Elder Law Department. Most of his practice involves guardianships and conservatorships, decedent's estates, trusts, the representation of conservators of the estates of minors and incapacitated adults who have received personal injury awards, special needs trusts, elder law and litigation related to those areas. Since February 2008, he has served as the General County Conservator and Guardian for Jefferson County. He has been selected numerous times, most recently in 2016, as one of Birmingham’s Top Probate Attorneys in a peer selection published in Birmingham Magazine in the areas of Estates and Trusts, Elder Law and Probate Law. He has also been selected as a Super Lawyer multiple times in the Estates and Trusts category. He is a charter member of the Elder Law section of the Alabama State Bar, a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the National Guardianship Association, and is past Chair of the Probate Section of the Birmingham Bar Association. 

Megan WilsonMegan Wilson, with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Birmingham, focuses her practice on wealth transfer planning and tax-exempt organizations. She counsels clients in estate planning, estate and trust administration, and charitable planning. Ms. Wilson also represents charities, advocacy groups and other tax-exempt organizations. She works with clients to establish customized estate plans to efficiently transfer wealth to the next generation while minimizing the burdens that estate administration can place on family members. She also advises clients regarding the establishment of charities, private foundations, advocacy organizations and other tax-exempt and non-profit entities.

Peter WrightPeter Wright, a shareholder with Sirote & Permutt, P.C. in Birmingham, focuses his practice on trust and estate litigation matters, with particular emphasis on will contests, estate and trust administration matters, joint account or joint ownership of property disputes, power of attorney litigation, and general representation of fiduciaries (including trust institutions or corporate trustees) and beneficiaries of estates and trusts. He routinely handles adversarial and non-adversarial guardianship and conservatorship matters, and has been appointed to mediate various trust and estate administration disputes. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America® for trust and estate litigation for the past five years and was named an Alabama Super Lawyer in 2011 and 2012. He has also taught trial advocacy at the University of Alabama’s School of Law and is currently a member of the Homewood City Council.

Agenda Day 1 - Thursday, May 11

Handling Digital Assets
8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Jim Naftel
Maynard Cooper & Gale

  • Definition of “digital assets” and “digital estates”
  • The importance of planning for digital assets
  • How user policies impact digital assets
  • How federal law impacts digital assets
  • Fiduciary access to digital assets under current law
  • Obstacles/limitations
  • Planning/best practices for digital assets

Fundamental Principles of Will Drafting
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Shannon Dye
Carney Dye, LLC

  • Selecting the vehicle—initial advice to the client
  • Checklist for gathering client information
  • The statutory ABCs: What is required?
  • Method of designating fiduciaries
  • Disinheritance and no contest clauses: Will they stand?
  • Protective clauses for minors, incompetent persons, and beneficiaries with special needs
  • Building flexibility into the plan
  • Practical points and sample forms
  • Developing a document preparation system

10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

What To Do Before and After Client’s Death
10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Nancy C. Hughes
Hughes & Scalise, P.C.

  • Planning before client’s death: 
    • Waive bond
    • Waive inventory
    • Name a line of successors for the personal representative job
    • Give personal representative power to sell real estate
    • Give personal representative power to bypass trust if by its terms, the trust would terminate on funding
    • Allow for non pro rata funding of shares
  • After client’s death:
    • File for exemptions to provide for the family ahead of creditors
    • Work with the guardian ad litem—give him or her info in advance of a hearing
    • Call the Judge’s clerk and find out what the Judge requires ahead of time—always remember that local rules Rule!

LUNCH (on your own)
11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Contesting a Will
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Peter Wright
Sirote & Permutt, P.C.

  • Who may file
  • Procedure
  • Grounds
    • Improper execution of will
    • Lack of testamentary capacity
    • Undue influence
  • Effect of invalid will

Medicaid Planning Tips
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Connie Glass
The Elder Law Firm of Connie Glass, P.C.

  • Facility settings for long-term care
  • Sources for long-term care payment
  • Basics of Medicaid
  • Transferring assets—pros and cons
  • Estate planning for non-nursing home spouse

3:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Guardianships and Conservatorships
3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Sid Summey
White Arnold & Dowd, P.C.

  • Need for guardian and/or conservator
  • Starting the process
  • Appointing a guardian and/or conservator
  • Limited appointment
  • Temporary appointments
  • Statutes, forms, and procedures


Agenda Day 2 - Friday, May 12

Special Needs Trusts
8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Judy Shepura
Dominick Feld Hyde, P.C.

  • ABLE accounts in Alabama
  • Medicaid payback trusts may now be created by the beneficiary
  • Special needs trusts may now be named as beneficiary of some military pensions

Real Estate Issues in Probate
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Brad Lard & Megan Wilson
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

  • Executing simple deed transfers
  • Sale of real property in probate
  • Real property held in a trust
  • Managing property during probate
  • Tax considerations

10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Drafting Flexible and Effective Trusts
10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Ross Cohen
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C.

  • Replacement power over corpus retained by the grantor
  • Distribution provisions and powers of appointment
  • Trustee removal and replacement
  • Trust situs
  • Use of a Trust Protector
  • Possible effects from federal tax reform—income, estate, generation-skipping and gift taxes

LUNCH (on your own)
11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Understanding Grantor Trusts
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Nancy Ball
Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal LLP

  • Reporting of income: Helvering v. Clifford and its progeny 
  • Income tax treatment versus estate tax treatment
  • 2017 tax rates and considerations 
  • Gifting considerations
  • Effect of death of grantor

Ethics in Estate Planning
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
James Griffin
James B. Griffin, LLC

  • Rule 1.1 Competence
  • Rule 1.4 Communication
  • Rule 1.5 Fees
  • Rule 1.9 Conflict of Interest: Former Client
  • Rule 1.14 Client of Diminished Capacity
  • Rule 1.16 Declining or Terminating Representation
  • Rule 3.3 Candor Towards the Tribunal
  • Rule 4.1 Truthfulness in Statements to Others

3:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Use of LLCs in Asset Protection and Estate Planning
3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Chip Browder
Browder & Welborn, LLC

Mr. Browder explains how to use LLCs as an estate planning tool. How can a LLC be used to protect the estate’s assets? How can your client prepare for his or her beneficiaries to assume control of the business?


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