For the past two decades Attorney Shane Stewart has focused his practice on personal injury, probate litigation, estate planning and administration, and military law. Below are various legal topics within Attorney Stewart’s primary practice areas.
Our law firm has successfully represented injured clients in the following types of cases:
Tarbell & Brodich has a long history of helping people who have been injured by the carelessness of another. Its experience and financial resources bring complex cases to successful resolution. Whether a case will go to trial or settle is not easy to predict prior to discovery and depends on many factors, including the strength of the case and whether the parties are willing to compromise. While most cases settle, there are no guarantees. Knowing when to settle and when to try a case requires experience and judgment. Our lawyers will provide you with the information and advice you need to make correct decisions and will do their best to make sure you are fully compensated for all of your injuries.
Estate Planning and Administration
Attorney Stewart is an experienced estate planner. He also advises and assists executors, administrators, and trustees administer the estates of deceased or incapacitated individuals: Estate Planning – The correct preparation of an estate plan can maximize the amount of assets passed to heirs, while minimizing taxes as well as an executor’s or trustee’s stress. A simple estate plan involves such legal documents as wills, financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney and living wills, nomination of guardian forms and declaration of final arrangements. A more complex plan could involve one or more revocable or irrevocable trusts, in addition to the documents mentioned above. There are various types of trusts. Some, like a discretionary support trust, are created for heirs with addictions, debts or marital problems to ensure the proper management and use of trust assets from which they benefit. While other trusts, like a special needs trust, are created for the benefit of disabled persons to ensure the proper future management and use of trust assets, and to secure their continued eligibility for public benefits. Every estate plan is customized for the needs of the client.
Estate Administration – Administering an estate refers to the process which occurs when an individual’s property must be transferred and distributed after his or her death with the assistance of a Probate Court. Many assets pass to other people upon death without court oversight, such as assets held by a trust, real estate owned with a joint tenant with rights of survivorship, jointly held bank accounts, bank accounts held in trust for (ITF) or pay or transfer on death (POD or TOD), or life insurance and 401K’s that have either a beneficiary designation or designations. However, if an individual dies owning property in his or her own name, probate administration will be necessary whether the individual died without a will (intestate) or having a will (testate). Our office is able to assist executors, administrators and families in navigating the rules of the probate process.
Trust Administration – Many clients establish a living trust as a component of their estate plans. While the individual creating a revocable trust typically retains control of the trust assets, circumstances become more complicated when the trust creator dies or is unable to act as trustee. At this time, the successor trustee’s duties may be significantly more complex than those of the original creator, and potential liability may occur if the successor fails to follow the necessary procedures and directions of the creator. Our office regularly assists trustees though the transitional process of trust administration by advising clients as to the legal responsibilities of trustees and educating them about state specific laws relating to trust administration.
Tarbell & Brodich has experienced litigators that have successfully prosecuted or defended the following types of probate cases:
Elder Financial Exploitation – It is becoming more common for the elderly to become the victim of financial exploitation by a family member, friend or caregiver. Often the financial exploitation is accomplished by a perpetrator who has a relationship of trust with the elderly person, or through the use of a power of attorney, or other fiduciary relationship or appointment. We are experienced in representing family members in such matters, including stopping the exploitation, attaching and retrieving assets wrongfully taken.
Guardianship – Guardianship over a person is established when the court determines the functional limitations of an individual have declined to the point where that individual’s ability to participate in and perform minimal activities of daily living is not present. Guardianship over a person’s estate is established when the court determines that a person’s ability to understand and make decisions relative to financial matters is not present. The probate court has jurisdiction over these types of guardianships. To obtain guardianship, the applicant must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the proposed incapacitated person is unable to provide for his or her basic needs, that he or she is incapable of making an informed decision to provide for his or her needs, that he or she will or has come to substantial harm as a result of his or her incapacity, and finally, the applicant must prove the guardianship is the least restrictive alternative available. Our office regularly represents families in establishing guardianships over a minor or adult, as well as representing proposed wards.
Involuntary Admission – New Hampshire Hospital provides inpatient psychiatric treatment to patients admitted on an involuntary basis though an emergency admissions process, a non-emergency court order, or on a limited voluntary basis. For patients this involuntary process often results in their involuntary confinement at New Hampshire Hospital. Jurisdiction for involuntary admissions is vested with the probate court in the county where the person sought to be admitted resides or is detained. For two decades Attorney Stewart has defended patients and their rights in involuntary admission cases.
Attorney Stewart is a military lawyer and has been a certified Judge Advocate by the U.S. Army for the past 19 years. He currently serves in the rank of Colonel as the State Judge Advocate for the Maine National Guard, and has served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is experienced in the following areas of military law: detainee operations, general and special courts-martial, operational law, administrative law, claims, contracts, fiscal law, benefits, SGLI insurance claims, various appeals, and legal services.
Shane R. Stewart