There are many options available to you when you are crafting an estate plan in Alabama, as well as many aspects of your personal estate to consider when you create the plan. You have to think about having enough funds to pay your final income tax and other debts while being able to leave your children, grandchildren, and other loved ones something so they can be set up for success later in life. There are other, more immediate concerns, like communicating the medical care you wish to receive in the event you cannot make personal decisions for yourself. 

Two common estate-planning documents utilized by Alabamians are Wills and trusts. This blog will give you a general idea on what these two forms can and cannot do for you, as well as information on different types of Wills and trusts. 

Overview of Wills

The Last Will and Testament is arguably the most well-known estate-planning document. This document is, essentially, an instructional document that divides your property and assets to the people you wish to leave them to. It names a personal representative, called an executor, whose job it is to settle your estate according to your wishes laid out in the Will.

While a Will does not completely avoid probate court (legal system for which most estates must pass through before being settled), there are certain provisions you may add to limit the amount of time your estate must spend in probate. In addition to a last Will and testament, you may craft a living Will, which can dictate the use of some decisions related to your end-of-life care. 

Overview of Trusts

If you want your beneficiaries and loved ones to be able to completely avoid probate court after your death, you may want to consider using a trust. A trust is, essentially, a location where you  can put any property or assets you would like so they can be easily managed by your trustee when you pass. Because the trust itself is the owner of the items in your estate, it does not need to pass through probate. 

Unlike Wills, trusts are categorized as revocable or irrevocable. Irrevocable trusts may not be altered during your lifetime, but revocable trusts may. Trusts, more so than Wills, require active management. One thing trusts cannot provide for is naming guardians for your minor children; this requires a Will.

Conclusion

Adults who are of sound mind and have the appropriate number of witnesses available to verify your signature may draft an estate plan, but it is imperative to seek the guidance of a knowledgeable Alabama estate-planning attorney to make sure it achieves your goals. Call the Law Office of Tanika L. Finney today at 334-603-1353 to begin crafting an estate plan that works for you.