The Least Expensive Peace of Mind Available
I recall a tragic event years ago when a long-time client’s mother passed away and my client came and presented me with a Last Will and Testament she executed before her death. As is my habit, I quickly scanned through the document to see if any significant irregularities could be found so I could advise my client as to the process, time frame and likely costs associated with submitting the will to the Probate Court and ushering him through the process of opening, managing and closing his Mother’s estate. Before I began my comments, I flipped to the end of the document to give a cursory review of the manner in which the document was executed when I noticed the document had been improperly (as per Alabama law) witnessed. Apparently, the Mother had worked through an on-line legal source which provided “form” documents to clients for, undoubtedly, a minimal fee. Sadly, I had to inform my client that the document his Mother had purchased was of no value in the State of Alabama.
It comes as a great surprise to most people that should they die in Alabama with a wife and living kids, their spouse does not automatically inherit all of their assets. Proper estate planning is vital to all persons who own real property, have minor children or who have assets which they would like to ensure are delivered to the persons or entities of their choosing. Guardianships and Trusts for the benefit of children are effectuated through a Last Will and Testament to ensure children are provided for should their parents pass away prior to their turning nineteen years of age.
Proper estate planning, through the use of an Advanced Directive, also ensures a person has determined what happens to them should they become terminally injured or permanently unconscious. I speak repeatedly to children who were required to make a decision as to the use of life-sustaining equipment for their parents. As advise all my clients, it makes no difference to me what a person’s decision related to such treatment might be, but I do feel the incapacitated person should make that decision for themselves and not force it upon their children.
Perhaps most surprisingly, proper simple estate planning (including a proper Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney and an Advanced Directive), can generally be accomplished for both a husband and wife for less than One Thousand and No/100 Dollars ($1,000). For less than One Thousand Dollars a couple can direct the distribution of their assets, provide for the care and well-being of their children, authorize a person to assist them with financial and medical decisions should the same become necessary and ensure their children are not forced to make decisions more appropriately made by themselves. It is truly the least expensive peace of mind available today.
To set up a free consultation to discuss your estate planning needs, please contact Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Watson, P.C. at 205.640.2000 We look forward to working with you to ensure your affairs are in order.
No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be provided by this law firm is greater than the legal services which would be provided by any other law firm.