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Estate planning in Alabama: Dying without a plan

Planning in life is often essential. But planning for death is equally as important, especially when it comes to family members and loved ones. Dying in Alabama without definitive estate planning can make family members' grief even more stressful when they learn they've been left with the burden of having a loved one's estate go through intestate succession.

The purpose of such succession is to ascertain how the deceased likely would have written his or her estate plan and will. But, it is basically a guess and the deceased person may have chosen otherwise. When a person dies intestate, or without having a will, there is no way to know for certain what his or her final wishes would have been. Intestate doesn't take into consideration family members' needs or circumstances.

A Uniform Probate Code gives the courts a place to start. That is usually with a surviving spouse who may be entitled to all the estate of a deceased partner. If there is no surviving spouse, the court will look to other relatives and then on to descendants based upon a statutory scheme. 

Estate planning can get rather complicated and confusing. Alabama residents who wish to plan their estates, but don't know where to begin or who may feel intimidated, may wish to consider getting legal counsel. A lawyer is in a position to explain the ramifications of dying without having a will and a comprehensive estate plan. An attorney who is experienced in estate planning may be able to allay some fears that might be associated with writing a will and preparing for unforeseen events.

Source: findlaw.com, "Understanding Intestacy: If You Die Without an Estate Plan", Accessed on April 13, 2018

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