As a member of the law firm of Brannen, Searcy & Smith, LLP, my practice is focused on residential and commercial real estate closings (purchases and refinances), wills, trusts and estates, corporate entity formation, probate and construction law.
Real Estate Closings
I believe that every great realtor (and lender) MUST have a great closing attorney who is accessible all of the time. What does that really mean? It means that you must have a closing attorney that is a part of your TEAM who you can get in touch with essentially anytime. You should not be waiting 3 days or even 3 hours to receive a response to your email or a phone call. I look at every closing a realtor is working on like it’s the ONLY closing that realtor has (while I know that is usually not the case). That is the level of service that each of the realtors (and lenders) I work with should demand and most importantly deserve.
Trusts & Estates
At a minimum, every person should have a will, a financial power of attorney and a living will (otherwise known in Georgia as an Advanced Directive for Health Care). With some exceptions (i.e., special needs trusts, revocable (living) trusts, life insurance trusts, etc.), estate planning should NOT be expensive and should NOT take a long time to complete. What most people do not realize is that if you die without a will and with a spouse and children, your spouse does not get everything – in some instances your spouse will only get 1/3 of the assets in your name. Having a will also is very important if you have minor children because it will enable you to select who will serve as the guardians of your children and serve as the trustee responsible for managing the assets you leave to them.
Joel is a partner with the law firm, Brannen, Searcy & Smith, LLP. Joel’s practice is concentrated on residential real estate closings, trusts and estates, corporate and probate law. He is licensed in both Georgia and South Carolina, and is a graduate of The University of Georgia (B.A., cum laude) and The University of Memphis School of Law.
Joel was selected as the Best Lawyer in Savannah (Connect Savannah) in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. He was voted the Best Real Estate Lawyer and Overall Lawyer in 2018 and 2019 in the Savannah Morning News “Best of the Best” edition. In addition, he was selected as a Georgia Super Lawyer in 2017, 2018 and 2019 (this honor is awarded to no more than 5% of the lawyers in the State of Georgia) and a Georgia “Rising Star” from 2011-2015 (this honor is awarded to no more than 2.5% of the lawyers in the State of Georgia under the age of 40).
Before moving to Savannah in 2007 from Atlanta, Joel was as an associate with both a preeminent, international law firm with more than 1,000 attorneys, as well as a regional law firm with approximately 250 attorneys. At both firms, he primarily represented developers, general contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers in all areas of construction law.
The University of Georgia, A.B., cum laude, 1997
The University of Memphis, J.D., 2001
State Bar of Georgia
State Bar of South Carolina
American Bar Association
You can find Joel on Google+