Navigating the realm of estate planning can be a daunting task, and you may find yourself on the fence about beginning the process or working with an attorney. Our firm has been operating for nearly 30 years, so we are able to tell you that, while it may be daunting, an estate plan is something that every family needs to have in place – not just the elderly, not just the wealthy…everyone! We can also tell you what you stand to gain by choosing to work with an experienced attorney: a comprehensive plan that is tailored to, and that aligns with, your unique financial situation, family dynamics, and future goals. Additionally, an attorney possesses the legal acumen to navigate complex laws, tax implications, and potential challenges associated with estate planning, leaving you, your family, and your legacy secure.
In this blog, we’ll explain the basics of estate planning, as well as offering you the three essential advantages of working with an Alabama attorney throughout the journey.
What Are The Components Of Estate Planning?
At its core, estate planning is a proactive approach to organizing your affairs and making important decisions that will protect both your assets and your loved ones in the event of your death or incapacitation. First, you’ll need to consider what assets – like money and property – you own, and how and to whom they will be transferred. This often involves creating legal documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and beneficiary designations.
Many people also choose to include healthcare directives in their estate plans, which express their wishes for medical treatment if they aren’t able to speak for themselves. Parents of minor children will need to choose the individual(s) they want to care for those children if they themselves are unable to, and be sure to compose a guardianship designation.
It is recommended to include the following in your estate plan:
- A will
- A trust, or a combinations of several trusts
- Power of attorney
- Advance healthcare directive (sometimes called a living will)
- Beneficiary designations
- Guardianship designations
- Letter of intent, and
- Business succession plan (if you own a business)
Here are the three reasons why working with an Alabama attorney to create your comprehensive estate plan is in your best interest:
Reason #1: Working With An Alabama Estate Planning Attorney Makes It Easier To Update And Access Your Legal Documents
A lot of paperwork goes into estate planning, and when you pass away or if you become incapacitated, your loved ones will depend on these documents to guide their decision making. Establishing a relationship with an Alabama estate planning attorney gives you peace of mind that your documents will be kept safe and that you can access them at any time. It is likely that you will need to update them at least once, if not more, in the years following. Leaving them in the careful hands of your attorney (rather than stuffed in a drawer somewhere) will ensure this can be easily done. There are several life changes that could warrant a review of your estate plan, such as:
- A change in your marital status through marriage, divorce, or death
- The addition of a child, grandchild, or other loved one to your family
- Inheriting a large sum of money
- The purchase of property or real estate
- The opening or closing of a business
- Filing for bankruptcy
Moreover, these vital documents will not only be kept safe for you, but for your family. There will come a time when they need to have them in order to carry out your wishes. You can rest assured that your family won’t have to stress over sorting through mounds of paperwork and files while they are mourning, as your estate planning attorney can easily produce them.
Reason #2: Working With An Alabama Estate Planning Attorney Ensures Your Estate Plan Is Compliant With Federal And State Laws
Creating a dynamic estate plan requires a comprehensive understanding of the legal frameworks that govern your estate at both the federal and state levels. An experienced attorney in Alabama brings functional knowledge of state-specific regulations which ensure that your documents will be found legally enforceable by a judge, so that your wishes and intentions can come to fruition.
Unfortunately, many Americans elect to create these important legal documents on their own, thinking they can avoid the perceived costs of hiring a lawyer. They may have started some online research and, as most of us do, fell victim to targeted ads for “DIY” estate planning kits. What the ads and websites won’t tell you (because they want your money) is that these generic documents are almost never in compliance with federal nor Alabama laws. A court will have no choice but to deem your wishes null and void, which essentially means you have no control over what happens next.
Don’t take the risk that this could happen to you and leave your family in a bind. A knowledgeable Alabama lawyer will guarantee that your documents align with the laws and also keep you up-to-date of any changes that might impact your estate plan.
Reason #3: Working With An Alabama Estate Planning Attorney Gives You The Support Of A Professional Legal Resource
One of the most worthwhile aspects of estate plans is that they are highly flexible, meaning they can be created in a way that accommodates nearly every goal you may have for your future and that of your family’s. When you work with a capable attorney who takes the time to get to know you and what you want to accomplish, you benefit from a tailored approach that is personalized to address your specific circumstances and objectives. This enhances the effectiveness and reliability of your estate plan, allowing you to maximize your savings and asset protection.
The Advantages Are Clear! Contact Our Seasoned South Alabama Estate Planning Attorney Today To Get Started
It is far too common for people to put off taking this important step, only to run out of time. We know you don’t want to leave your loved ones to sort through your affairs and play a guessing game over how you would have wanted them handled. The dedicated attorneys at The Ladd Firm have over 50 years of combined experience and can simplify this process for you and your family today. Call our office to learn more about our resources and how you can book a free phone consultation with a member of our team!