Alabama Estate Planning: What Are Some Issues I Need To Think About?

Alabama Estate Planning:  What Are Some Issues I Need To Think About?

estate planningNo one particularly likes thinking about Alabama Estate Planning.

It can be tough contemplating our own mortality or getting to where we can’t make our own decisions, and most of us avoid doing so.

We sometimes think if we just ignore it, it will not be a problem.

Or we will get to it “someday” and you know how those “somedays” seem to never actually arrive?

But then something will happen that cause us to ponder on “what will happen if I’m disabled or incapacitated or if I die?”

Or maybe we have the birth of a grandchild.

Maybe an upcoming retirement, or a friend who “is just our age” passes away and we see the added burden on the spouse or children when there was not a proper estate plan.

Regardless of the reason, it can often be an overwhelming and stressful to think about what will happen to your spouse?

What will happen to your children?

After all, you have worked your entire life to build your estate (your “stuff”) for your family, so how will it be carried on without you?

There is a process to creating an Alabama Estate Plan.

The word “Plan” gives us insight — we need to “do” Alabama Estate Planning.

Planning helps us figure out where we are right now and where we are trying to get to.

Once we have the starting place and ending place, then we can create the roadmap to get from here to there.

Think of using your GPS on your phone — you have to figure out your current location first.  Then you figure out where you want to go and magically the route appears for you.

That’s what we do.

When we sit down (in person or by phone or video chat) we need to go over a number of items.

Some clients walk in and know, or think they know, exactly what they need.

They may be right or they may not be.

Same as when you go in to meet with a doctor and you “know” what you need.

Maybe you are right or maybe there is something you are not thinking about.

I know I have thought I knew the answer to things outside my area of expertise.

Then I learn something else and I say “Oh, I didn’t think of that!”

Unless you want “estate planning by word processing” — and if you do, we can’t help you as that is not what we do — you need to discuss these issues with us so you know the best course of action for you and your family.

  • Choosing a will or trust (and what is the difference anyway?)
  • Estate tax questions (should I be worried about what Congress and the President are doing?)
  • Protecting children’s inheritance from a divorced spouse (you know, the son in law who is a jerk and thinks it is great he has rich “in laws” who will set him up for life when they die?)
  • College education costs for grandchildren (the costs are still going up at a staggering rate)
  • Probate (is it expensive and how do I avoid or minimize probate?)
  • How to pay for long term care (why should I care about Alabama Medicaid or VA Aid and Attendance benefits?)
  • Choosing the right trustee (should it be your spouse, children, CPA, or the Bank?)
  • Avoiding family conflict (how do I do my best to avoid my children fighting each other or fighting with my second wife/husband when I pass away?)

Getting Started

Getting anywhere is easier when you know where you’re going.

Here’s our goal for you:  we provide you a roadmap to guide you along the planning process.

In its most simple form, your planning process will take you through the following steps:

  • Meet with me for a personal family wealth consultation. It is during this time that we look over your assets, liabilities, long term care needs and options, and any existing estate-planning documents that you have in place.
  • Design your custom plan. This is where we achieve the majority of your new plan design, ensuring that your assets and loved ones are protected in the way that is consistent with your desires.
  • Maintain and update your plan. When you work with me, we have an affordable family protection plan where you can rest easy knowing that you can call us to let us know about changes in your life and we can update your documents without you having to pay any additional money.  It is much easier, and cost effective, to get your plan done right and then make minor adjustments than to make no changes until a major change is needed or even worse to wait too long to make changes.

Ultimately, we want to make sure that the estate plan you have is uniquely your own.

Is a will or living trust right for you? Should you have both?

Who will administer your estate?

Who are the trustees?

How do I protect my children’s inheritance without harming them in the process?

There are so many ways to design the plan you envision and that is right for you.

When you are ready, before that “someday” that never seems to come, give us a call at 205-879-2447 or you can fill out the contact form here.

We will get with you so we can discuss your situation and options.

We’ll have the meeting in a comfortable, relaxed way where you can make the right decisions for you and your family.

We look forward to talking with you!

Have a great day.

-John G. Watts

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