Quick Guide To My Services and Your Rights and Needs

What is Property Law?

The field of law that regulates what people own is called property law. It is the branch of law that establishes who is allowed to own property and personal belongings, how they may be used, and under what restrictions. Real and personal property are both covered by the laws of property. Everyone in society is impacted by the legislation of property ownership and use. In addition, property law plays a significant role in municipal, family, and estate law.

Owners of real estate need to be aware of the requirements for legally acquiring ownership through a gift or sale as well as how to go about doing so. A person might, for instance, be the sole owner of a piece of property or they might be joint tenants with others. If they are joint tenants, they could or might not be able to transfer their portion of the property to another person at any time or upon their passing.

The government may impose restrictions on a person’s use of their property. Zoning regulations are rules that limit how real estate can be used. A government might limit a property’s use to residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, for instance. Anyone purchasing property in a specific area must be aware of and adhere to the zoning laws. Zoning regulations can be very general, such as limiting a land to residential use, or quite particular, such as mandating a certain distance between buildings and the road.

In some situations, the law grants people the right to claim ownership of something without having to pay for it. Adverse possession refers to the right to claim property. A person must live on the property for a certain period of time in order to obtain it through adverse possession. Typically, people have to have lived on the property for ten or more years with a claim of ownership, not in hiding. When nearby property owners utilize erroneous borders over time, adverse possession can be a frequent problem.

What is Probate Law?

Probate Law entails authenticating a decedent’s final will and testament (if present), paying off any outstanding debts or taxes, and distributing any residual assets to the decedent’s legitimate heirs.  Probate is simply the process of formally gathering all of a person’s possessions and distributing them to the appropriate beneficiaries, which can be complicated.  The process starts with contacting the court and is completed with the payment of all estate taxes, the filing of death certificates, and the official distribution of assets to legitimate heirs and surviving family members.  The purpose of probate is to ensure that things like a will and other important documents are distributed according to the intended beneficiaries.

What Is a Will, Deed, or Trust?

A will expresses a person’s preferences and guidelines for how their estate will be managed and divided after death. A will is a legal instrument. Instead of passing pursuant to a testament, intestate succession distributes the decedent’s property in accordance with the state’s intestacy laws. Simple wills, testamentary trusts, joint wills, and living wills are the four primary forms of wills.  If you adhere to the laws of your state, you can write your own will. In fact, you can construct your legal paperwork yourself using state-specific do-it-yourself choices and online estate planning services.  But online advice and templates do not take into account your unique situation.  This is where a good attorney helps to protect the rights of all involved.

Deeds are used to transfer titles. The actual legal document used to transfer ownership (title) of a piece of property from one person to another is called a deed. The grantor, who is the one selling or transferring the property rights, signs the deed. The grantee is the party who purchases or otherwise acquires the property rights.

In a trust, a third person, or trustee, is given the authority to hold assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. There are numerous ways to set up trusts, and they can stipulate the precise timing and distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries.  Your beneficiaries might have quicker access to these assets because trusts typically escape probate compared to assets transferred through a will.  A trust’s assets might also be able to pass without going through probate, which would save time, money on court costs, and perhaps even estate taxes.

What Is An Uncontested Divorce?

A divorce proceeding known as an uncontested divorce is one in which the court formally grants the desired divorce without having to engage in a large amount of combative litigation. In a nutshell, an uncontested divorce occurs when the parties do not disagree on the terms of the divorce or their separation.  In an uncontested divorce, the parties expressly agree in writing to settle all differences between them. An automatic divorce occurs when there is no response to the complaint, either because the defendant did not answer the summons or because the parties agreed to enter a default.  The processes that govern uncontested divorce actions vary by state.  An experienced attorney can finalize quickly, assuring all legal matters have been covered.


Born and raised in Alabama, attorney Richard D. Thompson III has tight family roots here. Richard comes from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, the eleventh oldest law school in the United States, where he achieved a degree of Juris Doctor. After graduation, Richard returned to his hometown, where his love of history drew him to a 200-year-old historic home.  His passion for history and preservation led him to become a member of the Courtland Historical Association and a board member of the Courtland Heritage Museum.  Now in his 18th year of practice, Richard’s focus is property law, probate law, wills, deeds, trusts, and uncontested divorce.

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