Estate Planning Lawyers in Daphne, Alabama
Regardless of your income level or age, an estate plan is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones and to ensure that your wishes are honored after you are gone. The trusted estate planning attorneys at Stone Crosby, P.C. have more than 100 years of experience handling all aspects of estate planning, administration, and litigation on behalf of clients throughout Daphney, AL.
If you want to protect your legacy and your loved ones, we can help. Whatever your unique situation, the estate planning lawyers at Stone Crosby, P.C. will custom tailor a solution that meets your specific needs in a confidential and sensitive environment. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.
What is Estate Planning?
When many people hear the term “estate planning,” they think of it as something only wealthy people do. This is far from the truth. If you are an adult in Alabama, you can benefit from an estate plan. Your “estate” includes everything from your checking account, your vehicle, and even the contents of your home.
Your estate plan not only ensures that your assets go to the right people, but it also prevents disputes. After a death, families need time to heal, and a proper estate plan can give them that space without having to deal with disputes over assets. Estate plans can outline your wishes for important decisions, such as medical and financial choices, as well as who will look after your children if you pass away while they are still young.
Protecting Your Interests With an Estate Plan in Alabama
There are many legal strategies involved in estate planning. Our law firm never employs one-size-fits-all solutions and takes pride in drafting a plan that meets each client’s specific needs and objectives. Some of the common elements of an estate plan that will protect your financial interests and deliver peace of mind include:
Your Last Will and Testament
Your last will and testament should be a primary part of a comprehensive estate plan. In Alabama, a person that dies without a will is said to have died “intestate,” and the state’s laws will determine how and to whom the deceased’s assets are distributed.
Our law firm helps clients create valid wills that declare how an estate should be settled after a person passes. The will also details who is to carry out your wishes, which is referred to as the executor. Finally, your estate planning attorney can make modifications to your will as your life circumstances or wishes change over the years.
Trusts come in many forms, and they serve a variety of legal, investment, tax planning, and personal purposes. In most cases, assets owned in a revocable living trust will pass directly to the trust beneficiaries upon the death of the trust maker without the requirement for probate. Some trusts can also be used to protect property from creditors and deliver tax advantages to both the beneficiary and the trust-maker. Trusts can be complex, so we recommend reaching out to our estate planning attorneys to discuss your options.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal instrument that gives another person the legal right to do certain things on your behalf. A power of attorney can be specific or incredibly broad. A Durable Power of Attorney is a common instrument that transfers control of certain financial matters or property should the principal need assistance. You can use a durable power of attorney to allow someone to pay your bills and a Health Care Power of Attorney to give someone control over your health care decisions.
An advance directive is a document that allows you to communicate your specific personal and medical care choices should you later be unable to communicate those decisions. You can specify whether you want measures taken to prolong your life as well as designate a person to access your medical information. Without this document, health care providers might make these choices on your behalf or refuse to communicate with a loved one.
Probate and Estate Administration Attorneys
Probate is the court-supervised process of administering the estate of a person according to that person’s instructions or the laws of the state if there was no will. It includes the payment of any of the deceased’s debts or encumbrances and the distribution of assets to those entitled to them.
When a person passes away in Alabama, the first question to ask is whether they had a will. Probate is longer and more costly if there was no will, but the administration process is similar. Our experienced estate planning attorneys have opened, administered, and closed many estates throughout the years. We can provide your family with guidance throughout the probate process as well as help you plan to make the process more seamless for your loved ones when you pass.
When You Need Estate Litigation Assistance
Estate planning and litigation are separate matters, but our law firm has years of experience representing clients involved in estate-related disputes. Sometimes parties to an estate (trustees, executors, personal representatives, spouses, guardians, relatives, etc.) unethically or unlawfully carry out their care or fiduciary responsibilities as defined in an estate plan. Other times, a party might want to contest a will or establish inheritance rights.
Our estate litigation team understands that these can be emotional experiences. We approach every such case with a combination of diligence and compassion as we work towards a resolution. While we treat all parties with respect, we aggressively represent our clients’ interests as we seek answers and the best result possible.
Contact an Experienced Baldwin County, AL Estate Planning Attorney
You are never too young to begin planning for the future or the unexpected. Whether you know how you would like to handle your estate or need guidance throughout the process, we promise to provide the compassionate and personalized assistance you deserve.
For experienced estate planning representation throughout Baldwin County, Alabama, call one of our offices or contact us online to schedule a one-on-one meeting with one of our attorneys. We provide strategic legal counsel to families and individuals in estate planning and probate matters.