Top Tuscumbia, AL Estate Planning Lawyers Near You

Estate Planning Lawyers | Florence Office | Serving Tuscumbia, AL

201 S Court Street, Suite 725, Florence, AL 35630

Estate Planning Lawyers | Tuscumbia Office

PO Box 496, Tuscumbia, AL 35674-0496

Tuscumbia Estate Planning Information

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  • Ample Experience Attorneys must meet stringent qualifications and prove they practice in the area of law they’re verified in.
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Wills and Trusts

Wills and Trusts are powerful estate planning documents that allow you to name beneficiaries and provide instructions on how your assets should be distributed to them after you pass away or become incapacitated. Wills are validated in probate court (also known as a surrogate’s court) and can contain burial instructions, funeral arrangements, and more. Trusts can allow you to avoid probate court altogether by naming trustees to distribute your estate in place of a court or judge.

Powers of Attorney (POAs)

Power of attorney documents allow you to name third parties to tend to your affairs during your lifetime. For example, a financial power of attorney allows you to designate a trusted individual or company to manage your bank accounts, stock brokerage accounts, and other finances. A power of attorney can be limited or durable depending on whether you would like to specify how long it lasts and to what extent, or whether you intend for it to be permanent and unconditional. It can also allow a third-party designee to manage your real estate and other tangible and intangible properties.

Living Wills and Healthcare/Medical Directives

Living Wills and/or Healthcare Directives relate to medical treatment during your lifetime, especially during incapacitation. For example, you can name a loved one to make life-and-death decisions for you, including whether to pull to plug or to accept medical treatment or surgery from a doctor or hospital on your behalf. These types of estate planning documents, like powers of attorney, are only effective during your lifetime.

How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?

An estate planning attorney may provide a free consultation, and subsequent work may be performed on a flat fee or hourly basis. The total cost of these services will depend on the complexity of your estate and the extent of documents that you need to have prepared. For instance, if you don’t own much property and only intend to create a simple will to dispose of small personal assets and provide for funeral instructions, your cost may not exceed a few hundred dollars. A more complex will combined with a trust, can run into thousands of dollars, depending on your needs. Other documents, such as powers of attorney or medical directives, can be prepared on a flat-fee basis. However, hourly fees can vary depending on an attorney’s years of experience.

How an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help

Because state law and individual circumstances are unique, hiring an estate planning attorney is advised especially if you own substantial assets and want to properly plan your future (and your family’s future) accordingly. An estate planning lawyer can help you decide which kinds of documents are right for you; a law firm can also guide you toward the best legal strategies to use to minimize your estate taxes and provide the most for your future beneficiaries.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is the process through which you make known your wishes for what you want to happen to your assets upon your death (commonly done through a last will and testament). Estate planning also involves stating your wishes for your health care through power of attorney declarations and advanced directives. In short, it allows you to maintain control of your health care and estate.

How much does estate planning cost?

There are do-it-yourself documents available online that allow you to create your own will, advance directive, and power of attorney declaration. Going this route will be cheaper than using an attorney in the present. However, it is good to work on an estate plan with your attorney to ensure you are going through the process correctly and addressing details you haven’t thought of. If you are worried about cost, you can discuss that with attorneys at your initial consultations as you shop around.

What estate planning documents do you need?

Every estate plan should include a last will and testament or establish a trust. This will allow you to state how you wish to distribute your assets to beneficiaries upon your death. A power of attorney declaration will name someone you trust to handle your health care and/or financial decisions if you are ever unable to. An advanced directive (also known as a living will) will state your wishes for any care you want to receive if you are unable to make those decisions at the time. This is useful when it comes to end-of-life care or if you ever need life-saving care because of an accident or illness.

Who needs estate planning?

Everyone needs estate planning, and if you are 18, it is never too early to start thinking about your plan! While we all want to live a long, full life, accidents and illnesses happen. And having a plan in place will go a long way in protecting your wishes.

Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney

  • How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
  • How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
  • What is the likely outcome for my case?

In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.

The Importance of a Good Consultation

The goal of an initial consultation is to find an attorney you are comfortable working with and someone who can help you understand your options under the law. Seek to understand the relevant legal experience the attorney brings to your case. While it is not realistic to expect an attorney to resolve your legal issue during an initial consultation, you should gain a level of comfort with his/her ability to do so. A good consultation can clarify issues, raise pertinent questions and considerations for your case, and help you make an informed decision towards resolving your legal issue.

How will an attorney charge me?

A reputable attorney will be very upfront about how he/she will charge you. The three most common fee structures that attorneys use to charge for their services are:

  • Bill by the hour
  • Contingent fee agreement
  • Flat fee agreement

Depending on your specific legal situation, it’s possible that only one type of fee structure is available. For instance, criminal defense attorneys almost always bill by the hour. In a flat fee arrangement, an attorney accepts a one-time payment to help you resolve your issue. With a contingent fee agreement, the client pays little to nothing upfront and the attorney receives a percentage of the money recovered if you win your case.

Common legal terms explained

Plaintiff – a person or party who brings a lawsuit against another person(s) or party/parties in a court of law. Private persons or parties can only file suit in civil court.

Judgment – A decision of the court. Also known as a decree or order. Judgments handed down by the court are usually binding on the parties before the court.

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