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Estate Planning

Fulmer, May and Stuckey is a law firm based in Birmingham, Alabama who offer a comprehensive range of estate planning services. 

We’ll represent you to ensure that your guidelines for what you leave behind are followed. 

We’ll handle all aspects of planning and preparation for you. That includes any documentation such as trusts, wills, conservatorships, guardianships, advance directives for healthcare and powers of attorney. 

We can guide you throughout the process to ensure all decisions you make are done legally and clearly to help secure your estate and appoint beneficiaries and heirs.

At Fulmer, May and Stuckey we have the experience you need to aid, guide and counsel in tax and estate planning. 

We’ll help you get the care you deserve later in life, along with assessing the value of your estate.

This includes considering and calculating aspects such as asset protection, gifting, incapacity and special needs planning, probate and elder law. 

Our hard-working attorneys will manage your estate so that when you pass, if there are any contests to the details or rules pertaining to your estate, we will defend your estate, and of course, your final wishes.

What Do You Need? – Our Birmingham Attorneys Can Help you Decide

There are various measures that you can take and options you can choose from when you’re estate planning. 

It really comes down to the type of assets you own, and then deciding if a trust or a will is in the best interests of your loved ones. 

Our Alabama estate planning law team will look at the assets you hold and identify the best action you should take in formulating a tailored estate plan for your individual needs.

What is An Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a measure that you can take before your passing. It ensures that your assets are managed for you. 

It normally encompasses a will and a trust along with beneficiary designations, healthcare directives and powers of attorney.

Different Types of Legal Documents Included in an Estate

To give you a clear idea of what legal documents and declarations may be required for your estate when planning it, we are going to briefly discuss the main options.

What is a Will?

You may have heard the term many times and even think you have a pretty good idea what a will is. However, more often than not there are certain aspects of a will you may not be aware of, so let us explain.

A will is essentially an important and legally binding document outlining who aquires your assets and property once you have passed away.

In the document, an executor/legal representative will be appointed to make sure the stipulations and requirements of your will are carried out fully.

Wills allow you to pass your assets on to relatives and close friends, but this is only applied to probate property.

Non-probate property is not included. Non-probate property includes jointly owned property, life insurance, property that has the IRS or another organization as a beneficiary, and also trusts.

If you do not have any non-probate property, a will may be all you need.

However, if you want to ensure any non-probate property is handled appropriately, a trust may be your best option.

What is a Trust?

A trust is what is known as a fiduciary arrangement that exists to enable a trustee/third party to hold and manage the assets of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. 

It also helps your family to avoid the lengthy and expensive process of probate (involved in establishing the validity of a will).

A trust is particularly necessary when your estate is of high value, and is also a great way to avoid or at the very least reduce tax applied to your estate. As taxes aren’t something you would ever want your loved ones to deal with after your passing.

Take as an example an A-B Trust. This type of joint trust is set up by a couple and involves both parties placing some or all their assets into the trust.

Then, an appropriate individual is named as the beneficiary. (Neither members of the couple can be named as the final beneficiary, even if only one dies.)

Fulmer, May and Stuckey can help you determine if an A-B trust is really what you need or if you could benefit from an alternative type of trust. 

A trust is put in place to give you the peace of mind you need before you pass away. 

Establishing a trust during estate planning ensures that your estate will be free from interference from family members, a divorced spouse or creditors.

This way, any assets held by the trust will go exactly where you have outlined that they should go.

Why You Need a Healthcare Directive

Another important part of estate planning is including a healthcare directive. This is also referred to as a living will.

A living will is a legal document that outlines the steps to be taken in the event that an individual is unable to make their own decisions. 

This means that a doctor won’t need to give your family members the responsibility of making those tough decisions.

If you’re looking for Alabama estate planning attorneys, you’ve come to the right place. 

Whether it’s a full estate plan, a trust, a will or all three, we can help you make the best decision going forward.

Contact us today to find out more about our estate planning services.

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