Probate & Estates Attorneys in Alabama
Probate & Estates Attorneys in Alabama
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Probate Attorneys in Alabama
The Last Will and Testament is the legal document by which the author identifies those individuals (or charities) that are to receive their property and possessions upon their death. According to Alabama law, Wills don’t legally have to be probated, but they should be probated if you want them to have legal authority. The testator (i.e., the person who wrote the Will) usually appoints a personal representative (i.e., the executor) in the Will to handle their affairs after their death. After the testator dies, the personal representative should go to the Probate Court in the county where the testator lived at the time of their death with the Will.
They should request a letter of administration (also called letters testamentary). Then the personal representative should begin collecting all the testator’s assets. Oftentimes a testator will prepare an asset inventory to include with their Will. This is especially useful if the personal representative did not have intimate knowledge of the testator’s assets.
Some assets do not have to go through probate and our probate attorneys in Alabama can tell you which ones. Assets that do not have to go through the probate process are those that automatically pass to someone else at the testator’s death. Examples include life insurance, some retirement, and certain other financial accounts. Assets that typically are considered part of the probate estate are bank accounts in the testator’s name, real estate owned by the testator, vehicles, and home furnishings. A shorthand rule of thumb is, if it has a designated beneficiary assigned to it, the asset does not usually have to go through probate. If the asset does not have an assigned beneficiary, it usually does have to go through probate.
Once the estate is opened it must remain open for six months to allow creditors of the estate to submit claims. This means the estate cannot be closed in less than six months, with eight to ten months being more the typical time frame. Probating an estate can be done without an attorney but having a Birmingham probate attorney help with your estate administration can speed up the process by getting the paperwork correct the first time and could potentially save you thousands if the process is mishandled and creditors get involved. Call today for a quote, but the retainers typically can depend on the size and complexity of the estate.
Other than administering estates, probate courts are also used to appoint guardians and conservators over individuals and change the names of minors and adults. Property Deeds are also recorded in Probate Courts and our property deed attorneys regularly prepare quitclaim and other deeds for people so they can record their property transfers. Our probate attorneys in Alabama also help people create an LLC and other corporate entities which sometimes are recorded through the Probate Court.
Alabama Property Deeds
Most people know that property deeds in Alabama are the legal instrument that you need in order to record possession of real property (land and homes). They are typically executed and recorded in the Probate Court in the county where the property is located.
But there are actually several different kinds of deeds and which one you use in a property transaction can depend on what is being traded, the terms of the agreement, the preferences of the parties, and other considerations. There are four major types of deeds used today: the General Warranty Deed, the Special Warranty Deed, the Bargain and Sale Deed, and the Quitclaim Deed. Call our local probate attorneys in Alabama today if you have questions about which type of property deed in Alabama would work best in your situation.
Wills & Estate Planning
Our Alabama estate planning attorneys are currently charging a flat attorney’s fee to prepare your last will and testament for you and your family. We prepare your will and counsel you on how best to set up your estate through planning and the use of various estate documents. If you require a Trust or other additional documentation such as Power of Attorneys or Living Wills then that would likely incur additional costs as well, but we can fashion a proper estate plan at our consultation together.
Name Changes in Alabama
In Alabama, name changes are handled through the Probate Court. We can file your Petition for Name Change paperwork and go to the hearing with you, if necessary to ensure it is ordered by the Judge. Our name change lawyers are currently charging a flat fee to handle getting your name changed in Alabama, so you don’t have to worry about any issues with getting it done.
Conservatorships & Guardianships
If you need to be able to make financial or health related decisions for someone else and do not have a power of attorney already signed and executed on behalf of that individual stating this then you would have to go through the local Probate Court where they reside to get such decision-making power. To get a guardianship over an elderly parent or other relative, you have to petition the local probate court to get it started. A guardianship is used to make all decisions for someone, and a conservatorship is used to make all financial decisions for someone. Once either one is filed, the judge will appoint guardian ad litem (GAL) to make a recommendation to the judge and make the decision at a final hearing. To get the process started give us a call today!
LLC & Corporate Attorneys
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a very flexible form of business entity and our LLC attorneys in Alabama can help you get one started. Because of the flexibility of its structure, the LLC has become the most popular way to legally create a business in Alabama. Some of the benefits of an LLC are that it offers limited personal liability to its owners (called members), it can be taxed as a corporation or as a partnership, it can be member-managed or manager-managed, and it can have multiple classes of ownership. Setting up an LLC in Alabama is a relatively easy process. Our LLC attorneys in Alabama can help you create your company and file the proper paperwork with the State of Alabama.
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