There's a lot to know about Wills. You need to understand the difference between a Will and Living Will, how Wills should be executed, and how they can be modified, terminated, or challenged. You also need to understand the probate process and how that can affect the outcome of your estate planning goals.
Here, we provide general responses to some of the most common questions we receive from clients. To get more specific information and to either create or update a Will, contact our estate planning lawyer in Huntsville, Alabama. You can do so by filling out our online form or calling Segal & Segal, L.L.C. at 256-932-1295 to schedule a free initial consultation with our estate planning attorney in Huntsville, Alabama.
Who Should Have a Will?
Many people assume that only the wealthy need to have a Will. However, the truth is that many people, with and without great wealth, need to have a Will in case the unexpected occurs.
People who should have a Will include but are not limited to:
- Those who are married
- Those who have children
- Those who own assets
- Those who have a special needs family member
No matter the extent of your assets, having a will helps to define your final wishes regarding your estate.
When Should I Make a Will in Alabama?
A Will needs to be created and often updated when certain events occur:
- When you turn 18
- When you marry, divorce, or remarry
- When you have children
- When you start a business
- When you buy a home
Whenever you have a major life change, it is time to make or update your existing Will.
What Goes into a Will in Alabama?
A Will states who should inherit your assets when you die. If you have children, you can designate who you want to have custody of your children if you pass away. A Will also allows you to appoint an executor (known as a personal representative in some jurisdictions) for your estate. This person will be in charge of administering your estate according to the terms of your Will when you die.
What Should I Avoid in a Will?
There are certain things that are best dealt with through other means rather than a Will. Things that are not appropriate and should be avoided in a Will include:
- Retirement plan proceeds
- Life Insurance
- Living trust property
An estate planning attorney can advise you on the best way to handle these matters. Many of them can complement your Will and work well in an estate plan.
Can My Parents Leave Me Out of their Will?
Whether or not your parents are able to leave you out of their Will depends on which state you live in. Most states allow this to occur, while in others a parent must leave at least a token amount, such as $1, for the Will to be considered valid.
Can Someone Challenge My Will in Alabama after I Die?
There is always a possibility someone will challenge your Will after you pass away. Whether or not that challenge is successful is a different question. Some of the most common reasons Wills are challenged include:
- That the testator was under undue influence or lacked the capacity to make a Will
- That the Will is a fraud/forged
- That the Will lacks the formalities required to be valid, such as being signed and correctly witnessed
Having a lawyer help with the process of creating your Will can help prevent successful challenges.
Can I Make a Will without a Lawyer in Alabama?
It is possible to create a Will without the assistance of a lawyer. However, states can be very specific regarding what is required for a Will to be considered valid. If you create the Will on your own, and it does not meet the legal requirements for validity, it may not be enforceable.
How Much Does it Cost to Make a Will?
The cost of creating a will varies. It depends on your estate and whether you want additional estate planning tools, like trusts and advance directives. Many wills and trusts lawyers in Alabama charge a fixed rate for estate planning and other attorneys charge an hourly rate. You will want to know what is and is not included in either rates.
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer in Alabama Today
Do not procrastinate another day before starting an estate plan because your loved ones are too important. Wills are often an integral part of any estate plan, and keep in mind: it really does not matter how much your estate is worth. What matters is protecting your interests and securing your heirs' futures.
Contact Segal & Segal, L.L.C. today online or at 256-932-1295 to schedule a free initial consultation. Our estate planning attorney in Huntsville, Alabama will guide you through the process.
NOTICE: Unless our law firm has been formally retained to provide a formal opinion, anything contained in this article, including any accompanying attachments, is NOT to be construed as legal advice or tax advice nor is it sufficient to avoid tax related penalties. If you require legal advice, you should consult an attorney.
The Alabama State Bar requires the following language pursuant to Rule 7.2 of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct: "Any recoveries and testimonials herein are not an indication of future results. Every case is different, and regardless of what friends, family, or other individuals may say about what a case is worth, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances as they apply to the law. The valuation of a case depends on the facts, the injuries, the jurisdiction, the venue, the witnesses, the parties, and the testimony, among other factors. Furthermore, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.