winston salem business lawyer

Why You Need a Go-to Law Office for your Winston Salem Business

You may think that your Winston Salem business doesn’t need to hire a lawyer unless you get into some legal trouble. However, you will save time and money by having a go-to law office from the get-go as you grow your business.

As much as you hope to never need them after you establish your business, it’s important to have a trusting relationship with a local, Winston Salem law firm in the unfortunate circumstance that you may need them.

Owning and running a business is a complex feat which includes a lot of legalese. Rather than always spending hours upon hours trying to translate all this on your own when it comes up, trust in a law firm you’ve built a relationship with to handle it for you with little input on your part.

Still not convinced you should sign on for a relationship with a Winston Salem lawyer? Just imagine all of the scenarios that could be streamlined when setting up your business if you had a lawyer at your side:

  • Picking a name for your business or reserving a domain name for a website
  • Applying for licenses, permits, and an employee identification number
  • Setting up contracts with employees and clients
  • Completing IRS forms
  • Choosing a legal structure under which to operate your business

If you choose to wait until a lawsuit arises to hire a lawyer, you will certainly end up shelling out more money than if you had hired a lawyer from the start.

In addition, it is important to develop a relationship with a law firm. By choosing a Winston-Salem firm that will walk with you every step of the way, from start-up to success, you can be sure that your legal back is being watched and no detail will fall through the cracks.

To learn more about how we can be your go-to law office, contact Surratt & Thompson, PLLC. From startups to corporations, we are prepared to offer the most comprehensive business and corporate legal services to help your business thrive.

Emotional Legal Battle Consolation

How To Support Your Loved One in the Midst of a Legal Battle

Divorce, physical assault, mental abuse, custody battles, claims of defamation. These are all types of legal battles that involve two parties almost always in opposition of one another. They are so often ugly, angry and emotional. We don’t wish any of the above on anyone, yet we know they occur.

We also know that it can be difficult standing on the sideline, watching someone you love go through something so heart-wrenching and painful as they seek justice or fight to keep others from being harmed. How can you even begin to support someone going through something so difficult?

Apples and Oranges

Many of us have family members or friends that have been through divorces, ugly custody hearings, or similar legal proceedings. That doesn’t, however, make us all experts on divorce, ugly custody hearings, or similar legal proceedings. It’s easy to draw comparisons between two cases and try to offer comfort because ‘your cousin went through a divorce and won full custody,’ however no two cases play out the same. Judges are different, individuals involved are different and often state laws are different.

Support through ‘comparisons’ is rarely helpful. Remember: each case is made up of individuals making no two cases alike.

Emotional Legal Battle Consolation

Support Their Decisions

Difficult decisions are often made amidst legal battles, usually under the careful guidance of a legal professional. You might not always agree with those decisions, however, your friend/relative needs you to support those decisions. Legal battles are often settled by coming to a mutual agreement between two parties. It might feel like your loved one has ‘lost,’ and you might even feel frustrated with the outcome, but that is when they need you in their corner the most. Trust in them and back them all the way.

Stay Neutral

This, above all else, feels impossible. You want to side with your loved one, cheering them on to victory! ‘Victory,’ however, is often not the end goal. It’s justice or reparation, possibly a favorable parenting agreement that works well for both parents. It’s alright to take sides, but try to keep neutral and level-headed when discussing the legal battle. They are hurting, angry, frustrated, sad – any number of emotions and don’t need any fuel added to the fire. They need a friend and calming influence.

Don’t Be An Expert

The internet is a wonderful, vast and dangerous landscape, filled with misinformation and opinion. Don’t take it upon yourself to solve their case for them by delving into the deep web. Each state, county, even city handles all manner of cases differently and someone from California offering legal tips on a message board for abused mothers won’t be much help to someone going through a divorce in North Carolina.

Just like you should avoid cancer diagnoses on WebMD, you shouldn’t try to become an attorney in an attempt to help your loved one.


What your loved one needs more than anything else, more than an expert, more than a protector, is someone to hear them. Just listen. Don’t judge, don’t offer unsolicited advice. Just love them and listen as they go through this hard time.

Often our intentions are pure and we only want to help. Often we end up doing the opposite. Be there for your loved one and support them emotionally. Let us handle the ugly, gritty court battles. Your work is, at the end of the day, far more important and impactful than even ours.

Qualify for Medicaid

Qualifying Your Parent for Medicaid Assistance with Long-Term Care

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program designed to help people with low incomes and limited assets pay for health care. In most cases, for eligible patients, Medicaid will cover the cost of a nursing home but not an assisted living facility. The laws governing Medicaid eligibility vary from state to state, even from county to county, and change frequently. An attorney who works with elder law can advise on a particular location’s requirements, as can a state’s Medical Assistance Office or Area Agency on Aging.

Some general guidelines apply. To qualify for Medicaid assistance with long-term care, a patient must meet basic Medicaid requirement, they must:

  • be 65 or older
  • covered by U.S. citizenship or immigration laws
  • have a social security number
  • be a resident of the applicable state

They must also meet rather complex functional and financial requirements.

Functional Requirements

A medical specialist can determine the patient’s needs and capabilities, usually focusing on what are known as Activities for Daily Living, which include eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, walking/mobility, and continence. After the patient’s ability to perform these tasks is decided, the specialist will make a determination about the need for long-term care.

Qualify for Medicaid

Financial Requirements

Determining the specific financial requirements for Medicaid eligibility is complicated, to say the least. A patient must use up virtually all of their “countable assets” before they qualify. These assets include savings, retirement accounts, and most cash-value insurance balances. Certain “uncountable assets” can be retained. These include a home used as a primary residence, a car, burial arrangements, life insurance with a face value of less than $1500, and certain trusts.

Although some assets can be switched to the “uncountable” column before the need for Medicaid arises, this must be done well in advance—usually at least five years—so they don’t fall into what’s called a “look-back period.” An attorney specializing in estate planning or elder law can offer invaluable advice on handling assets in a wise manner, like our attorneys here at Surratt & Thompson in Winston Salem.

Assets held jointly with or belonging to a spouse further complicate matters. These are often included in the “countable assets” category, although most states have laws in place to prevent a spouse living independently from a Medicaid recipient from becoming indigent. A calculation to determine such a spouse’s Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) is used to provide necessary support.

In many cases, an “estate recovery” program will expect that Medicaid be reimbursed for payments using proceeds from the sale of a house after the recipient had died (except if the spouse is still living there). Many times, estate recovery comes as a surprise to children dealing with the administration of a deceased parent’s estate. If you find yourself in this situation, you can learn more about your next steps in our post What Do I Do When Mom (or Dad) Dies? or by calling our offices for more legal guidance.

Qualify for Medicaid

The Best Advice?

Plan for nursing home care well before it’s needed, if at all possible. And to help you navigate the complexities of Medicaid eligibility, seek expert assistance.

The experience attorneys of Surratt & Thompson are available to help you and offer services in Forsyth and Davie County, as well as other counties in the area. Give our Winston Salem office a call today to discuss your legal needs.