Laws regarding last wills and testaments vary from one state to the next. In Alabama, the estates of people who do not have a valid will at the time of their death are distributed following “intestacy laws.” Intestacy laws generally give money and property to the spouse and children first.
What happens if you’re not married and don’t have children? Your parents and grandchildren are next. Then it’s your siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, nieces/nephews. If you don’t have any family, the state takes possession of your money and property.
Your parents need to have a valid will drawn up to ensure their money and property go to the person they wish. They’re ready to save money and want to use a DIY will they’ve found online. Is that a good idea in Alabama or is it better to see an elder law attorney?
Laws Regarding Alabama Wills
A handwritten or DIY will is legal in Alabama, but there are rules regarding how it is legalized. The testator (the person who is stating how he/she wants possessions divided) has to sign it in the presence of at least two witnesses. Those witnesses sign after they’ve witnessed the testator signing it or have ensured the testator acknowledges that it was his/her signature on the will.
Testators must be 18 or older. They also must be of “sound mind,” which can pose issues if someone creates a will after being medically diagnosed with something like Alzheimer’s disease. The testator must also not be facing undue influence or constraint when drawing up and signing the will. Alabama code (Section 43-8-132) provides the verbiage that must be used.
The people who witness the signing must also meet the state’s requirements. Witnesses must be “competent.” This is one area where it can get tricky. The testator may feel the witness is competent, but a family member who doesn’t inherit anything could argue the fact and create issues.
These are just some of the laws regarding the drafting and signing of a last will and testament. Avoid all of this by taking your parents to an attorney’s office and avoid relying on a DIY will.
Why It’s Best to Have a Will Drawn Up By an Elder Law Attorney
If there is any risk of relatives contesting your will, you need to have an attorney draw up a will that is difficult to contest. For some people, they may want their spouse or an adult child to get nothing. When you hire a lawyer, who specializes in elder law, provisions follow the law, which makes it difficult to fight the validity.
Consult an elder law attorney. It gives your parents peace of mind that their will is completed legally, correctly, and follows their wishes. Schedule a consultation to get started.
If you or a loved need assistance with a Will in Centerpoint, AL contact Nolan Elder Law & Estate Planning today. (205) 390-0101