Alabama Estate Planning Questions & Answers

Q: I am the executor of my mother's will. I am in the process of having it probated (waiting on 1 waiver)

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Nov 26, 2018
Jack T. Carney's answer
The answer to your question depends on the particular facts of your situation. The issue will be whether those accounts became assets of the estate or assets of your sister at your mother's death. As Executor you will have the power and maybe even the obligation to research that issue and determine if those accounts are more properly titled in the estate. As your attorney probably told you, you do not need her waiver to become Executor (the process is just more cumbersome without it)....

Q: What is the penalty for liquidating decedents assets and distributing them according to the will w/out going through pr

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Nov 15, 2018
Frank Truncali's answer
The problems you could have by not probating the will would be related to changing the legal ownership of certain types of assets or dealing with an heir who believes the will distribution was not handled properly. If there is any real estate in the name of the deceased, probating may be necessary. Also, if they had any deposit or investment accounts with no co-owner or named beneficiary, then probate would be necessary. Additionally, probate gives creditors a specific amount of time to make...

Q: dad died. Had will with children equal beneficiaries. Recently married. No mention her in will. How is property divided?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Oct 29, 2018
Shane Michael Oncale's answer
This question is more proper under the heading "Estate" or "Wills and Estates" than it is under Family Law but regardless the answer to your question is not as simple as you make it out to be. You will have to sit down with an attorney to make several determinations. Under Alabama law a spouse who is left out of a will may still claim the homestead exemption, exempt property and family allowance. In addition a spouse in such a situation has 6 months from the death or 6 months from the...

Q: Estate go to wife of person who died?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Sep 5, 2018
Frank Truncali's answer
As long as a beneficiary in a will (Chuck) survives more than five days after the death of the testator (Bill), then Chuck's interest would go into his estate. As surviving spouse it should go to you first. That is the general rule. One exception would be if Chuck had specific language in his will as to how long his beneficiaries should live after his death.

Q: My husband has a house in his name only that he purchased before were married.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Sep 3, 2018
Jack T. Carney's answer
You would be entitled to inherit the house if your husband designated you as the beneficiary in his valid Last Will and Testament (or added you to the deed). If he died without a Will, then Alabama law directs that one-half of the assets in his name pass to his spouse and one-half pass to his children. In family situations such as yours careful and thoughtful estate planning is so important. It can truly help prevent a disaster down the line.

Q: My brother and I inherited some land from my father when he died in his will. It was to be divided equally between us.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Alabama on
Answered on Aug 19, 2018
Mr. James Parrish Coleman's answer
IF your father'swill was probated and the land was deeded to you and your brother, you are tenants in common in the land, in all likely-hood. Read the deed that was executed when the estate was closed. What does it say? Was an estate even opened? If not, the will is not effective. How long ago did your father die? More than 5 years ago? If so, the will cannot now be made effective. You need to talk to a Probate lawyer in your county.

Q: Can the witnesses of the will be girlfriend and mother

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Alabama on
Answered on Aug 18, 2018
Jack T. Carney's answer
In Alabama a witness to a Will may be a relative or beneficiary under the Will. The applicable law is found at Ala. Code section 43-8-134, which states:

(a) Any person generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will.

(b) A will or any provision thereof is not invalid because the will is signed by an interested witness.

Q: What are the range of legal fees to have an Alabama "Survivorship Deed and Will processed legally?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Alabama on
Answered on Aug 7, 2018
Jack T. Carney's answer
An attorney cannot really provide a fee range until learning a lot more about the situation. Most attorneys would bill hourly for their work, which is a pretty fair method for all parties. It can be difficult to obtain pro bono assistance for estate matters (as there are assets), but if your income is low and the assets are not liquid, you may qualify for a legal assistance program. In the Birmingham area we have Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham (https://vlpbirmingham.org). You may have a...

Q: My Aunt passed away 3 days before signing her will to leave everything to me her niece. Next of kin is her brother.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Alabama on
Answered on Aug 2, 2018
Jack T. Carney's answer
I am not quite sure I understand the exact specifics of your situation, but if you have a valid Last Will and Testament that names you as the beneficiary of an estate, then it really does not matter what any one says about it, you would be the beneficiary. However, the Will must be "proved" to be the valid Last Will and Testament of the deceased and that proving process is what we call "probate." It sounds like you really need to speak to an attorney to see if you need to take any additional...

Q: My son's father isn't on the birth certificate. Im having my will drawn up. Can my son be left to my sister in my will.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Jul 27, 2018
Mr. James Parrish Coleman's answer
You can't "leave" a child to someone. You can express a preference on who would have custody of the child in the event of your death. The person who would have a priority over the person you choose would be the father of the child. The only way you can prevent that is to terminate his parental rights.

Q: If you remarry in Alabama who do you leave your house to? Your new spouse or your kids from a previous marriage?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Jul 24, 2018
Jack T. Carney's answer
The basic answer is that a person may leave their home to the beneficiary of their choice, be it a new spouse or children from a previous marriage. However, when a person remarries and does not have a prenuptial agreement, the surviving spouse will have certain rights in the estate of the deceased. It is important to have an awareness of these default rights when planning an estate. For example:

1. A surviving spouse can remain in the home during the course of the administration...

Q: mother passed: house w/ mortgage, land, CD's a insurance policies no beneficiary. no will, do I petition probate?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Alabama on
Answered on Jul 18, 2018
Jack T. Carney's answer
I cannot speak to your specific situation without reviewing the deed, account information, etc. In general when a person dies and their name is the only name on an asset (such as the deed or a CD) and further where there is no beneficiary named, then a probate is required in order to transfer title to those assets. If there was a co-owner or a payable on death beneficiary, then there would be no assets in the deceased's name and probate would not be needed. The basic function of probate is...

Q: My mother is in Alabama and in poor health, she has a will leaving all property to me

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Jul 6, 2018
Mr. James Parrish Coleman's answer
There is no way I can answer that question without knowing whose name is on the deed to the house. If her name only is on the deed, and there is a valid will devising it to you, you will inherit the house. If there is no will, then the house would be inherited by her children and her spouse in equal shares --- after the debts and expenses of the estate were paid. If the deed is a joint tenancy with the husband with a right of survivorship in the house, the house would be his on her death. Now,...

Q: Agreement in front of witnesses to buy $350 item. "Check in the mail". Now refuses to pay but keeping the item.

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts and Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Jun 22, 2018
Mr. James Parrish Coleman's answer
The husband owned the stuff after she died. He died and now it belongs to his heirs. What county are you in?

Q: If my spouse removes me as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy, will I be notified? I'm in the state of Alabama

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Jun 13, 2018
Jack T. Carney's answer
There are a lot of facts that would be important to have before someone can give you a specific answer (such as: are you going through a divorce, is there any legal requirement that your spouse name you as a beneficiary, etc). Generally speaking however, I cannot think of any mechanism whereby a beneficiary would receive notice of a change to a policy. The owner of the policy has complete control over the beneficiaries. If you were by chance the owner, then you may receive confirmation of the...

Q: Can my husband and I give our son a house that we own. Do we just sign the deed over to him without tax problems?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Alabama on
Answered on May 16, 2018
Eric Steven Day's answer
You can sign over your house to your son, however, I would look into doing it in a few ways. If you sign the deed over to your son this can be considered a gift. You as individuals are allowed to give a gift in the amount of $14,000 each to anybody throughout the year tax-free. So you and your husband could give up to $14,000 each (a total of $28,000) of value in the house before ever having to file with the IRS for the transaction. But assuming the equity in the house is greater than...

Q: My father is deceased and we got a letter to pay his land/home taxes. His wife is MIA. How do I take over the estate?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Probate for Alabama on
Answered on May 8, 2018
Kristine Jones' answer
You should contact a property law attorney (preferably where the house is located) and she/he can help you figure out about the mortgage/deed issue. If they can't help you with probate matters, then you would need a probate attorney to open his estate. Best of luck!

Q: How do we cash a check with 2 names on it after one has died?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Banking for Alabama on
Answered on May 8, 2018
Kristine Jones' answer
Depends on if the check says "and," "or," or it's silent as to one of those.

Q: I’m executive of moms will. She lives in Missouri and I live in Alabama. I need to know what’s involved?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on May 8, 2018
Jack T. Carney's answer
I cannot tell by your question whether your mother is still alive, but will assume that she is as she "lives in Missouri." The good news is that nothing is required of you until your mother's death. A Last Will and Testament has no legal significance until death. Even at that time, it must be presented to and approved by a probate court in order to grant the Executor power to administer the estate. The Executor or person in possession of an original Will has an obligation to present it to a...

Q: If my estranged mom dies people do not have a way to notify me. What happens. Is there a way to find out if she has wil

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Alabama on
Answered on Apr 10, 2018
Jack T. Carney's answer
I am sorry about your difficult past and situation. If you are still her legal heir (next of kin) and assuming those rights have not been severed, then you would legally be entitled to notice of any Will filing. If she dies without a Will, you may be entitled to all or a portion of her estate (depending on whether she has other heirs). There is no way for you to find out about a Will or plans while she is alive (unless you ask her). The best thing that you could do would be to find out when...

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