Face it—there is a long list of things you know you should do, that you just haven’t gotten around to yet. Losing that pesky ten pounds from Christmas (1994), fixing the drip under the faucet, or cleaning out the garage.
Knowing that you should do something is a far cry from actually doing it. Sometimes you need a little extra motivation to push you to do something that you’ve known all along needed to be done.
Allow me to be your estate planning personal trainer for a moment. No, I’m not going to come over at the crack of dawn for morning calisthenics. But like a personal trainer, I’m going to help you accomplish something you know you need to get done anyway, your estate planning.
What would happen to your estate if you died today, without any planning? The answer depends heavily on what you own and how you own it. But you may not know that the State of Alabama has a nice little estate plan just for you tucked away in the Code of Alabama.
Known as the law of intestate succession, it sets out who inherits what based upon your familial relationships. The primary distinction is whether you are married or not at the time of your death. If you are, then your surviving spouse gets a portion of the estate based upon whether you have any surviving parents, children or grandchildren. Your spouse may get as little as the first $50,000 plus 50% of the balance, or as much as 100% of your estate.
After your spouse’s share (if any) is calculated, then you determine what the other heirs of your estate will receive. If you have surviving children, they generally inherit equal shares. If any of your children dies before you, then their children (your grandchildren) generally step into their shoes and divide their parent’s share. If you have no surviving descendants, then your parents inherit. And on and on.
The point is that the law makes some assumptions about who you would want to inherit your assets if you die without a will. These assumptions may not reflect anything close to your actual wishes.
So, get up off the couch, stretch out your signing fingers, and get to work on your estate plan. Just like training for a 10k starts with a few steps, getting your affairs in order starts with taking a look at your family and your assets. If you need a little push to get it done, we’re here to help you to the finish line.