You definitely need a will if you own real property or have minor children. If you and your spouse die while your children are minors, someone will have to hold your property for them until they become adults. Someone will also have to be appointed by the court to raise them. A will is your only way to let the court know who you want to raise your children and to give reasons for your choice. If you live in the greater Birmingham, AL area, you need an experienced Birmingham will attorney to make sure your property is managed according to your wishes after you are gone.
Even if you don’t have children, a will is an important tool that lets you decide who will get your property when you die. If you should die without a will, your property will first be divided among your children and their living descendants. If you never had children, then your property will be divided among your parents and their descendants (your brothers and sisters and their children). If your parents are not living and you are an only child, your property will be divided among the living descendants of your grand-parents (cousins).
Many people would rather their estate go to someone other than a distant relative they may have never met such as a close friend or even various charities. The only way to accomplish this is through a will or trust.
Even if your estate is worth $26,000 or less, a will can help your heirs avoid administration fees and court costs by naming an executor and delegating his or her powers.
You can make a will as long as you are “of sound mind” (mentally competent). However, If you wait until you are in bad health, someone might be able to challenge your competency. You also run the risk that you could die before you execute the will.
Making a will today ensures that your wishes will be carried out. If at any time in the future you wish to change or revoke your will you may make a codicil to your existing will or execute a new will. In any case you should review your will anytime major changes occur in your life such as the birth of a child or grandchild, a marriage, divorce, etc.
All wills must be in writing and signed and dated by a person 18 years of age or older and who is of sound mind.The signature must witnessed by two adults. To make a will self proving, a notary should notarize the signatures of the witnesses and the person executing the will.
You should only trust an experienced licensed Alabama attorney to draft your will. Many people see offers of $99 wills from on-line providers but do not realize that they are not purchasing legal services. If your will should be defective and you purchased it from an on-line provider or copied it from a form in a book, your heirs will have no recourse against the providers of the service or form. You can’t sue a non-lawyer for legal malpractice.
If an attorney makes a mistake in your will, your heirs may be able to sue the attorney who drafted your will for malpractice. If you try to fill out a printed form or use an on-line service, your will may not contain the correct phrasing to avoid costs and to give your executor the powers he or she needs. A lawyer knows important questions to ask to make sure that your will meets all your needs. I offer estate planning packages for couples for as low as $500. For more information Click here.
A trust is a document that transfers legal ownership of property to a trustee who must hold and use the property for the benefit of another person or persons. Trusts are beneficial in a number of situations.
For instance, parents may want their estate preserved for their children until they reach a certain age. By leaving the property in trust to a trustee, the property is protected from a court appointed custodian using it in manners the grantor of the trust may not approve of.
Trusts can also be useful in preserving resources for future generations by limiting one generation to receiving only income from the trust and disbursing the principal to the next generation.
Trusts can also be useful in ensuring the care of family pets. For more information on pet trusts, Click Here.