In Gulf Shores, Alabama, "estate planning" refers to the process by which a person makes arrangements related to their property after their death. It can (and should) also include personal issues that might come up immediately before and after a person's death.
The drafting of a will, which simply states what you wish to be done with your property after death, is usually one of the most essential parts of an estate plan. Of course, it's rarely the only one. There are many other things you might want to include, depending on your objectives.
Besides a will, a quality estate plan will contain a living will, which gives your doctors and relatives directions regarding your healthcare in the event that you become incapacitated, funeral arrangements, and instructions on organ donations.
Most notably, an estate plan should give instructions on the care of your minor children. It should lay out who is to take custody of them, and, if possible, leave them a large sum of money to assist with this care. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the people who you want to take custody of your children, to make sure they can actually take on such responsibility.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Gulf Shores, Alabama?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some basic considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
If you are young and unmarried, estate planning likely doesn't need to be on your radar, unless you are very ill, independently wealthy, or perhaps if you work in a very hazardous job, such as the military.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Gulf Shores, Alabama is absolutely crucial: adults who are not married, but have a life partner who they'd like to provide for in the event of death. There are many rights that automatically attach with marriage, such as the right to inherit if a spouse dies without a will, the right to make medical decisions for the other spouse if they become incapacitated, etc. If you and your partner are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to get married, you will have to take several steps to secure these rights, such as authorizing power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
If you are elderly, and have a large amount of assets in Gulf Shores, Alabama, estate planning may be more essential at this stage of your life than any other. While estate planning deals with some morbid and unpleasant subjects (requiring us to confront the reality of our own mortality), it is crucial if you wish to live your life secure in the knowledge that your loved ones will be provided for to the extent that your assets allow.
Do I Need a Gulf Shores, Alabama Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a perplexing process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Gulf Shores, Alabama who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.