Alabama Wills, Trust, and Probate
It can be upsetting to contemplate planning for your own incapacity or demise. However, it is important to construct an estate plan that provides for your family and other loved ones. Several documents may make up an estate plan, such as a will, power of attorney, trust, healthcare surrogate designation, and/or advanced care directive.
Make sure to update your estate plan often and in particular when major changes happen that alter your life or your family situation (i.e.-marriage, divorce, birth, death, retirement, special needs). Talk to an Alabama estate planning lawyer whenever you revise or update your estate plan.
Your will must be drafted precisely to meet the Alabama legal requirements for wills. If you fail to meet Alabama’s legal requirements, your money and property may not be dispensed exactly as you would like. For a proper will in Alabama, you will need:
Changing a Will in Alabama
In Alabama, to modify your will, you should attach a codicil (amendment) to the will. Alternatively, you may write a new will that either partially or entirely revokes your old will. Physical destruction of the old will is also a possibility.
However you decide to change or revoke your will, you must be sure that the new document meets Alabama will formalities and requirements. Talk to an Alabama will attorney about revoking or altering your will to make sure all the applicable requirements have been met.
Alabama trusts present an opportunity to use a flexible, confidential vehicle to dispense your assets after your death. Trusts are flexible in part because they can be established for many different purposes: education, inter vivos, life insurance, special needs, revocable, irrevocable and a variety of others. In addition, trusts can save you money on estate taxes and allow you to skirt the probate process.
Because trusts offer such variety, they can be quite complicated to construct. As such, you should hire an Alabama trusts lawyer to ensure that the resulting trust is structured in the best way possible for you.
Your property will be admitted to probate after your death in Alabama. If you do not leave a will, or if there is property unaccounted for in the will, interested parties may ask the court to decide who receives the property and in what amount. When a deceased does not leave a will and his property is dispensed through intestate succession (according to the degree of blood relationship to the deceased), any party who may have an interest in the property may petition the court to rule on the distribution of the deceased’s property.
You can prevent your estate from passing through formal probate procedures if your estate is worth $25,000 or less. This means that you may have a shortened estate administration period.
The following blood relationships are significant in determining who will inherit through intestate succession laws (non-exclusive):
Completing your will does not mean that people cannot challenge your will or petition the court to determine its validity. So, you are advised to request counsel from an Alabama probate lawyer about any concerns you may have about your will.
Alabama Statutes, Title 43 – Wills and Deceaseds’ Estates