In Opelika, 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 encompass 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 typically one of the most critical 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.
A will is rarely the only aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. Most persons have quite strong preferences about their end-of-life care, especially when, and under what circumstances, they would want to be taken off life support, if that every happens. These wishes should be made in writing, and discussed with family. Additionally, preferences on organ donation and funeral arrangements should also be made clear.
Perhaps most vitally, your estate plan should make arrangements for the care and custody of your minor children, if you have any. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the person you intend to take custody of the children beforehand, to ensure that they are able and willing to provide proper care.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Opelika, Alabama?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some typical considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
Unmarried young adults usually don't think much about estate planning. In most cases, this is fine. Unless you are extremely sick or have an unusually large amount of assets, estate planning is not something to really worry about at this point in your life.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Opelika, Alabama is absolutely necessary: 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 various steps to secure these rights, such as granting power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
There is another considerable group of people who would benefit from having a good Opelika, Alabama estate plan: the elderly and those with a lot of money really need to consider making a comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible. While this necessarily includes facing some uncomfortable realities, it is critical and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Opelika, Alabama Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Opelika, Alabama can involve some convoluted legal and financial issues, it is necessary to undertake this task with the guidance of an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning.