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James Blount Griffin

James Blount Griffin

Estate Planning, Probate, Trusts, Real Estate
  • Estate Planning, Probate, Real Estate Law ...
  • Alabama, Georgia
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Biography

We help you find the peace of mind that comes from taking care of your family and property. You want to protect your assets and save them for those you love. Almost every adult needs an estate plan: will, powers of attorney, and, sometimes, a trust. When someone dies, a close relative usually needs to open an estate in order to settle the deceased's affairs and make distributions to the heirs. Please call me if I might help you, and if I cannot, I'll try to find someone who can.

Practice Areas
Estate Planning
Guardianship & Conservatorship Estate Administration, Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills
Probate
Probate Administration, Probate Litigation
Real Estate Law
Commercial Real Estate, Condominiums, Easements, Eminent Domain, Homeowners Association, Land Use & Zoning, Mortgages, Neighbor Disputes, Residential Real Estate, Water Law
Gov & Administrative Law
Administrative Law, Election Law, Government Contracts, Government Finance, Legislative & Government Affairs
Fees
  • Free Consultation
    I can usually discern during the initial telephone call if I can help you. If I can help you, we will meet to discuss your problem and goals.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Because every situation is different, standardizing fees is very hard unless it is a high-volume practice (e.g., title searches). Just as you would not select a surgeon based upon price alone, your search for a lawyer involves asking good questions. For instance: 1. What cases or matters have you handled that are similar to mine, what did you decide to do, and what were the results? The answer to this question should tell you if you were in the right lawyer’s office. 2. May I contact some of your clients or former clients? The answer to this question will tell you whether his clients love, like, or dislike him. 3. What is your preferred way to keep in touch with me, and how fast could you or a member of your staff get back to me? Poor communication is the most common complaint by clients of the legal profession. Feel free to call and ask me these questions.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Alabama
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Georgia
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Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Principal
James B. Griffin, LLC
- Current
Help clients find the peace of mind that comes from taking care of family and property through estate planning, healthcare planning, elder law, probate law, real estate law, property law, and business succession planning. Focus directly on the clients and do not worry about the billable hours.
Associate
Bishop Colvin Johnson & Kent, LLC
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Represented cities, school boards, and state agencies in land use, land acquisition, code enforcement, zoning, employment, annexation, civil rights, constitutional, and intergovernmental relations matters. Litigated appellate matters and land-use matters. Advised public officials on privacy, open records, employment, civil rights, statutory, and constitutional issues.
Associate
Law Offices of Wm. Thomas Craig
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Represented county commission, development authority, and sheriff in fast-growing Atlanta metro area; litigated land-use, environmental, civil rights, and zoning matters. Acquired dozens of parcels of property for roads, public facilities, and water reservoirs. Advised elected officials on wide variety of legal matters.
Associate
Morris Manning & Martin, LLP
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Practiced in real estate group of large Atlanta firm working on large commercial developments, land sales, leases, and timber leases. Assisted with defense in litigation of a Fortune 500 company facing shareholder suits.
Education
Vanderbilt University Law School
J.D. (2001) | Law
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Honors: Associate Editor, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law Phi Delta Phi
Activities: St. Thomas More Society, Federalist Society
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University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa
M.A. (1990) | History
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Studied European and American history; wrote thesis on religion and constitutional development during the Revolutionary and Republican periods.
Honors: Colonial Dames Essay Award
Activities: Graduate Teaching Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant
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Gordon College
B.A. (1984) | Economics & History
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Wrote economics thesis on the impact of land-use regulations on housing markets (which became one of my practice areas in law) and a history thesis on John F. Kennedy's effectiveness as chief executive.
Honors: Honor Society in Economics
Activities: Student Union President
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Professional Associations
Environmental Law Section of State Bar of Georgia
Chairman
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Activities: Served as officer for four years and then as chairman. Organized annual conference and edited publications.
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Publications
Articles & Publications
A Predictive Framework for the Effectiveness of International Criminal Tribunals
34 VAND. J. TRANSNAT’L L. 405 (2001)
Speaking Engagements
"Handling Ethical Issues in Engineering and Surveying Practice", Legal Issues for Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors, Birmingham, AL
HalfMoon Education, Inc.
Discussed the ethics code for engineers and its practical applications.
"Land Use Law", Legal Issues for Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors, Birmingham, AL
HalfMoon Education, Inc.
Explained how zoning law works and how you can get in trouble when requesting or making land-use decisions.
"Take a Comprehensive Look at Land Use Law", Land Use Law: Current Issues in Subdivision, Annexation, & Zoning, Birmingham, AL
National Business Institute
"Stay On Top of Environmental Considerations", Land Use Law: Current Issues in Subdivision, Annexation, & Zoning, Birmingham, AL
National Business Institute
Explained how zoning law works and how you can get in trouble when requesting or making land-use decisions.
"Zoning Concerns and Planning Issues", Legal Issues Involving Local Governments, Birmingham, AL
National Business Institute
Explained how zoning law works and how you can get in trouble when requesting or making land-use decisions.
Websites & Blogs
Website
James B. Griffin, LLC Main Site
Videos
Sometimes you have to take on a case because it's the right thing to do... Birmingham Attorney James B Griffin Gives Back

Sometimes you have to take on a case because it's the right thing to do...

Introduction video Birmingham Estate Planning Attorney James B. Griffin

Introduction video

From an appearance on Fox 6's LawCall, March 22, 2015 Who is Birmingham Attorney James B. Griffin

From an appearance on Fox 6's LawCall, March 22, 2015

You can learn much from reading about estate planning on the web, and even download forms, but most of us rightly hesitate to sign a legal document not prepared specifically for you by a lawyer you trust. Can You Prepare Your Own Will in Alabama Without a Lawyer? - Online Will, DIY Will Preparation

You can learn much from reading about estate planning on the web, and even download forms, but most of us rightly hesitate to sign a legal document not prepared specifically for you by a lawyer you trust.

Count your blessings and develop a plan to pass them on to selected loved ones with the least cost, trouble, and conflict. What is Comprehensive Estate Planning in Alabama?

Count your blessings and develop a plan to pass them on to selected loved ones with the least cost, trouble, and conflict.

How do parents of minor children prepare for the remote but terrible possibility of the children becoming orphans?  What can good estate planning do? What Is The Toughest Question To Answer in Alabama Estate Planning?

How do parents of minor children prepare for the remote but terrible possibility of the children becoming orphans? What can good estate planning do?

You don't have to be wealthy.  There are many good reasons people make trusts for those they love. Do I Need A Trust? Alabama Trusts and Estates Attorney

You don't have to be wealthy. There are many good reasons people make trusts for those they love.

Working from home. Contract reviews etc. Do You Need an Attorney to Review a Contract? Sometimes You Need a Lawyer

Working from home. Contract reviews etc.

Medical doctors and estate planning ... Estate Planning for Medical Doctors. Doctors need a different kind of estate-planning lawyer...

Medical doctors and estate planning ...

Executory Trusts- in case you and your spouse both die suddenly. Executory Trust Overview by Attorney James B. Griffin

Executory Trusts- in case you and your spouse both die suddenly.

Specific needs of physicians in their estate plans... What are the specific estate-planning needs of medical doctors and physicians?

Specific needs of physicians in their estate plans...

What do you do when someone passes away without a will? What Do You Do When Mother or Father Passes Away in Alabama Without a Will

What do you do when someone passes away without a will?

Thinking about uncertainty.... Write a Will! Why do I need to write a Will? Uncertainty, that's why! Cut down on uncertainty and risk.

Thinking about uncertainty.... Write a Will!

Legal Answers
18 Questions Answered
Q. Am I at risk of losing a house I inherited when I have no insurance in my name and mortgage is not in my name ?
A: Your late husband's house is what the lender calls "collateral." Your late husband's insurer calls him the "insured," not you. By keeping up the payments on the mortgage and the insurance, neither the lender nor the insurance will likely pay attention to you for a while. If your house burns down, however, your insurer might deny coverage to you because the coverage has been in the name of a long-deceased person.

Somewhere in the small print of that long insurance policy, it likely says that if the policy holder dies, the heirs or the estate must revise and reestablish the policy within so many days. Likewise, somewhere in the mortgage documents, it is likely written that the borrower or the borrower's heir has a duty to inform the lender of any transfer of title or death of the owner; there is also likely a clause in the mortgage giving the lender the right to foreclose if the borrower- by death, failure to insure properly, failure to maintain properly, code violations, or illegal/risky behaviors- poses a threat to the lender's collateral.

I once had a client who lived in her late father's house. She paid the lender and the insurer, but one day she received notice of cancellation by her insurer because because the home needed to be her name. In that case, we had to open an estate, transfer the house by deed from the client as administrator of her father's estate to herself as heir, and insure the house in her name. Otherwise, her father's mortgage lender would have sent her a notice of foreclosure.

The insurance very likely needs to be in your name, and perhaps the mortgage too.
... Read More
Q. Can I bury my husband's ashes on my land? Hueytown, Al.
A: I would add that burial grounds are a special type of land use under Alabama law; cemeteries have their own sections of the Alabama Code. The burial of cremated remains by itself might not create a "cemetery" as defined under Alabama law, but if you if you put up burial markers, fences, etc. on private land, you might be backing into regulation by the state. As Mr. Arrasmith noted, cities, counties, and subdivisions also regulate the burying of human remains. I once represented an outer suburban county, once very rural, which had more than 300 little cemeteries in it, mostly with just a few graves. If you wanted a building permit, you had to delineate the grave sites. Messing with a grave is a big NO-NO. Do your homework! ... Read More
Q. Mom died without a Will. She has a home with a mortgage and a car.
A: That vehicle, if titled solely in the name of the decedent, is the estate's property. If you are personal representative, you are responsible to the estate, the court, the creditors, and the heirs to reclaim lost property. When there is no will, your duty to and supervision by the probate court intensifies, and you must play by the rules. Do you have a lawyer? If not, you need one if the estate's property was taken by one of the heirs.

Have you filed inventory? If so, did you report the existence and loss of the vehicle? If not, you need to discuss with your attorney the best way to report the loss, ask for a status conference or hearing, and, if necessary, serve legal process on your sibling to force him or her to show up in court and defend the taking of the vehicle.

Don't just hope this problem goes away by itself. Work with an experienced attorney and get this problem fixed.
... Read More
View More Answers
Contact & Map
James B. Griffin, LLC
8331 Madison Blvd, Suite 200A
Madison, AL 35758
Telephone: (256) 542-1955
Cell: (205) 873-2113
Notice: By Appointment Only. We do teleconferencing if requested. Call me. If I cannot help you myself, I will try to refer you to someone who can.
James B. Griffin, LLC
Birmingham
6 Office Park Circle, Suite 215
Birmingham, AL 35223
Telephone: (205) 502-2199
Cell: (205) 873-2113
Notice: By appointment only. Free consultation by telephone or teleconferencing. Call me. If I cannot help you myself, I will try to point you to one who can.