“What is a will?” - How is is part of an estate plan?
my name is Bill Miller, I am an Estate Planning and Elder Law attorney in Anniston, Alabama. My partner, Bruce Adams, and I handle estate planning, probate, asset protection and other elder law matters.
One FAQ that I get asked is “What is a will?”
Most people have heard of a will (last will and testament), but often people are not exactly sure what it is used for. I get people all the time that will say, “Well, my mother is still alive, but she is not competent, but her will gives me the authority to do ___________. It does not matter.
One of the most important things you remember about a will is that it does not go into effect until you pass away. A will in Alabama has no legal impact while you are still alive.
A will is a document you draw up, that tells the world what you want done with your assets when you die. You say who you want to leave your jewelry to, who do you want to leave your bank account to, who do you want to leave the rest of your assets to when you die.
In the will you will also name what they call executor, or an executrix, which is the person who would take the will to the probate court and make sure that it is processed. However, the most important part of the will is determining who it is you want to get your assets. If you pass away without a will as part of your estate plan, the State of Alabama will decide what happens to your assets.
It is your choice; you can either have a will and an Alabama estate plan in place OR you can go by the State of Alabama’s plan, which usually probably is not what you want.
To learn more about estate planning, how to avoid probate and make it easy on your family if something happens to you, click the link to receive a copy of our book on The Basics of Estate Planning in Alabama or visit events.adamsmillerlaw.com/Workshops.html to register for one of our free estate planning workshops or simply call us at 256 251-2137.