In recent years estate planning has become the forefront of legal services at the Law Firm of Cartron and Jacobs, LLC. Our firm represents estates, both large and small, in cases with and without a will.
We are sensitive and experienced with will contest procedures, guardianships and a variety of other probate matters. Our experienced counsel prepares:
My husband and I don't have a lot of assets. Do we still need a will?
Yes. Estate planning is vitally important even when you don't think you have many assets. In fact, many clients who state they don't have a large estate actually have more than they think they do when you consider your home, your life insurance, your retirement accounts and personal property.
A will is an instrument that says what you want to do with your assets upon your death. If you die without a will, then the assets are distributed according to Alabama law. A will is extremely important if you have minor children so that the assets can be properly placed into a trust until they are adults.
Trusts are also helpful to minimize gift and estate taxes.
What is a living will?
A living will is a legal document that a person executes to make their wishes known regarding life-prolonging medical treatments. It can also be referred to as an advance directive or health care proxy.
What is the purpose of a durable power of attorney?
The purpose of a durable power of attorney is to give another person the authorization to act for you in the event you are unable to do so.
The term "durable" allows the attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf even in the event of your physical or mental incapacity, unlike a general power of attorney which can be considered as nullified in the event you lose capacity.
A "springing" power is contained within the durable power of attorney which limits its authority until such time as a determination is made that you are physically or mentally unable to handle your day to day affairs.
Does every estate require to be probated?
Not always. The necessity for the probation of an estate is very case specific, and legal advice should always be sought to determine whether a loved one's estate should be probated.
Last will and testaments
Power of attorneys
Living wills and health care proxies