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   A variety of legal issues arise throughout an individual’s lifetime regarding estate planning and the disposition of assets. Specifically, you want to ensure that that you can live comfortably.  But, you also want to pass on your life savings and property in a way that will best serve your children, grandchildren or other loved ones.  You only have one opportunity to get this right, allow Attorney Stephanie Brooks Chadwell to personally serve your family with integrity.  You sacrificed so much for your family over the years, often, even time with them, to ensure they had enough.  That mindset continues with good estate planning.  Honor that lifetime commitment to those you care about with the right estate plan for you.  Attorney Chadwell advises her clients in southwest Virginia and southeast Kentucky as to their estate planning options and focuses on achieving client goals in an effective and efficient manner.  

   Attorney Chadwell provides legal advice, document drafting and conflict resolution in the following areas: 

  • General Power of Attorney – In this document you name an agent to take care of your personal and financial matters.  For example, your agent may be designated to do some or all of the following: writing checks, selling personal and real property and filing tax returns.  This is a useful document if you travel or if you have a serious medical procedure scheduled.  Powers of attorney end at death.

  • Medical Power of Attorney/Advance Medical Directive – This document is important because it is used to make your medical wishes known to your family and is requested when you are admitted to a health care facility.

  • Living Wills – Living wills are also called Medical Powers of Attorney/Advance Medical Directives.

  • Last Will and Testament – The death of a loved one can be one of the most painful and difficult things a family goes through.  If that loved one dies without a Will, it can also be a very stressful event that destroys familial relationships for years to come. The most loving thing you can do for your loved ones is to have your wishes memorialized in your Last Will and Testament or Trust.  A well drafted Will provides clear guidance to your loved ones regarding your final arrangements and the division of your property and serves to lessen the stress and familial conflict.  A Will is essential if you own real estate in Virginia.  If a person dies without a will in Virginia, or has a will that did not grant his Executor the power to sell his real estate, the Personal Representative will have to file a Petition and appear in Court to have an Order entered to sell the estate property.  This is a time-consuming and expensive process.  In the alternative, Virginia laws streamline the probate process for people who have a Last Will and Testament.

  • Trusts – Trust-based planning can help you protect your assets and retirement from obscene medical costs, continual assisted living or nursing home fees, and in-home care. Trust-based estate plans also allow couples to avoid probate—thus saving probate costs at the death of each spouse.  The right plan is far cheaper than no plan at all.  A properly drafted revocable trust can help with the following:(1) providing stability and security for disabled or special needs children; (2) managing financial assets on behalf of children who would otherwise mishandle the funds without accountability; (3) preventing second marriages by your spouse after your death from effectively disinheriting your children; (4) protection for you should you become disabled; (5) ensuring your assets remain with your child, even if they go through a divorce and their better half is demanding the “better half” of their inheritance; (6) and ensuring your financial privacy because your family will not have to go through the public scrutiny of probate.

  • Pet Trusts – Do you own pets? Do you want to make sure that your pets are taken care of when you die?  Pet Trusts make sure that your animal(s) are taken care of after your death.  Not only does this provision within your Will allow you to name a caretaker for your animal(s), it also sets aside a certain amount of money from your Estate to make sure that costs and expenses associated with your animal(s) are managed of appropriately.

  • Litigation – Disputes between family members can be caused by a misunderstanding of what each person will inherit, by a disagreement among the beneficiaries that the Testator was competent at the time he or she signed the Will or, can be a disagreement about a word definition such as “descendants.”  If these disputes cannot be negotiated between the parties, mediation or litigation is required to resolve the issue.

  • Estate Administration – There are several steps involved in estate administration.  An attorney who represents the Estate will help you probate the Will, make sure all of the documents are in order and prepare the accounting for the estate that may be required by the commissioner of accounts.

  • Lost Wills – If you cannot find your original Will, you need to make a new Will because copies of Wills are not always accepted by the Clerk for probate. It will save your estate time, money and hassle to redo the Will now. 


Call today to discuss your case immediately with Attorney Stephanie Brooks Chadwell

     If you or someone you love needs estate planning guidance, let me provide the efficient and effective help needed. Call my office at (276)-346-0555 or email us at to schedule an appointment.  My office serves southwest Virginia and eastern Kentucky from our Jonesville, Virginia location.  Attorney Stephanie Brooks Chadwell is licensed in Virginia and Kentucky.

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