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Create your Alabama will confidently

A last will and testament can help ensure your children are cared for after you die. FindLaw has partnered with experienced attorneys to create last will and testament forms that you can quickly and easily complete from the comfort of your home. Our step-by-step process can help you create a will based on the laws in Alabama’s estate planning laws.

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Benefits of a will in Alabama

In Alabama, a will gives you the power to name the people who will receive your property and money after you die. If you die without a will, Alabama’s intestacy laws will determine who receives your assets. The state-specific intestate laws have strict rules that dictate who will receive your estate and may not meet up with your wishes. With our forms, you can decide what happens to your assets, tailor when beneficiaries can access their inheritance, and exclude individuals you wish to disinherit.

Jeff_Burtka_image

Written by:

Jeff Burtka, Esq.

Contributing Author

Reviewed by:

John Devendorf, Esq.

Contributing Author

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Last Will and Testament

For One Person

A do-it-yourself last will that’s easy to personalize.

$79
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Step-by-step guided process
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A last will and testament that’s customized to your wishes
Free changes and revisions to your will for up to one full year after purchase

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Estate Planning Package

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All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

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What’s included:
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Last will and testament
Health care directive
Power of attorney
Free HIPAA release form
A comprehensive plan — for less
Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

How It Works

It only takes minutes to control your future. Need help? Contact one of our directory attorneys.

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time.

Gather information

You will need a list of your assets, contact information for important people, and any wishes you want to be honored when you’re gone.

Complete your documents

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing.

Make it legal

Carefully follow the instructions provided in the form, which may include signing your documents in front of witnesses or a notary.

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Plan for your future with confidence

This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

  • Understand the essential estate planning tools

  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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How to get a will in Alabama

There are important steps to create a valid will in Alabama, including:

List your assets

Make a list of everything you own, including money in bank accounts, real estate, personal property, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies. This will help you know which assets will pass through your wills or through other means.

Items that are solely owned by you at the time of your death will pass through your will. Items in a trust, accounts with beneficiary designations, and items owned jointly will not go through probate unless they have some defect requiring court intervention.

Choose your beneficiaries

A beneficiary can be a person or an entity, such as a charitable organization. You can use a will to give different property to different beneficiaries. For example, you could pass along most of your money and property to family, a generous gift to a charity, and family heirlooms and sentimental items to family and close friends.

You also can disinherit relatives with a last will but ask an Alabama estate planning attorney for legal advice if you want to disinherit a spouse or child.

Choose a personal representative

The personal representative is an important role, and you should pick someone who is trustworthy and responsible. Also known as an executor, your personal representative will manage your assets during probate and will have a lot of authority over your estate. Your personal representative may have many duties, including:

  • Collecting, inventorying, and caring for your assets
  • Using estate assets to pay your estate’s debts and taxes
  • Distributing assets to your beneficiaries
  • Notifying creditors
  • Using estate assets to hire attorneys and accountants to assist with probate

Choose one or more successor personal representatives to serve if your first choice becomes unavailable. Speak with your first choice and successors before listing them in your will. Let them know what their responsibilities will be and make sure they are willing to serve.

Choose guardians for your minor children

In Alabama, you can use your will to name a guardian to raise your child and make decisions about their education, health care, and general welfare. They should be willing to raise your child in line with your values. This should be a person who cares about your children and will care for them as if they were their own.

Sign your will

After you fill out your form, you must execute your will in compliance with Alabama law. You must sign your will or have another person in your presence sign for you if you are unable. Two witnesses must sign your will as well. Your witnesses need to watch you sign the will, or you must acknowledge to them that the will or signature is yours.

You do not need a notary public, but it is a good idea to use one. If you use a notary public, you can create a self-proving will. A self-proved will can be admitted to probate without your witnesses giving testimony to the court. To make a self-proved will, you and your witnesses must sign affidavits attached to the will that state you are of sound mind, signing it freely, 18 years old or older, and not under undue influence. The notary will record that your affidavits were signed under oath.

Store your executed will in a safe place

It might be possible to probate a copy of a will, but it can be difficult to convince a court to accept a copy. If you want to ensure a court will follow your wishes, you must keep your original will safe. Common places to store important estate planning documents include:

  • A safe place in your home
  • An attorney’s office
  • A safety deposit box at a bank

You must tell your personal representative and trusted friends or family members where your will is stored. Otherwise, the probate court process could be delayed, or the court will have to use intestacy laws if your will is not located. If you use a safe deposit box, ask your bank how people will be able to access it after you die.

Review your will from time to time

It is a good idea to review your will every few years to make sure it still accomplishes your goals. You also should review it when the size of your family changes or your net worth changes. If you want to amend your will or have questions about your will, an Alabama estate planning attorney can help you.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if you:

  • Have a past divorce, blended family, or other complex family situation
  • Have a high-value estate
  • Own a business
  • Want to create a special needs trust
  • Want legal review of your completed will
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Frequently asked questions about Alabama wills

You can make a will without a lawyer. Using a will form from a reputable source and following the necessary steps to make a valid will is a simple way to make one on your own.

FindLaw is not a law firm, and the forms are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney. It often is a good idea to talk to a lawyer. If, for example, you have children with special needs, a blended family, or a high net worth, an Alabama estate planning attorney can help create the best estate plan for you.

A simple will likely will cost a few hundred dollars if you ask a lawyer to create it. If you need a more complex estate plan, you could pay a lot more. If you want an attorney to make it, you should contact a few estate planning law firms to ask their rates. The cost of a will depends on several factors, including:
  • Your family’s needs
  • Your net worth
  • The typical rate in your area
  • Whether the attorney charges a flat fee or an hourly rate

Using a will form service to create a legal document can be a great low-cost option. After completing the step-by-step process and having the will signed and notarized, you can have an Alabama last will and testament to protect your interests. Disclaimer: FindLaw is not a law firm, and the forms are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.

You may be able to find free will forms that are available online but use caution. Many free forms and will templates are not tailored to current Alabama state law. If it does not sufficiently comply with Alabama law, you may not have a valid will.

In Alabama, you change your will by executing an amendment to a will (called a codicil). You must sign a codicil in the same manner you would sign a will. Generally, you should use a codicil for small changes. If you are making several changes or a major change, it may be better to create a new will that expressly revokes your old will.

You can revoke a will by executing a new one that states it revokes all previous wills and codicils. You also can revoke a will by destroying it with the intent to revoke it. It is better to revoke a will in writing because destroying a will can lead to disputes in court about your intent.

Alabama does not allow holographic wills. Holographic wills are in the handwriting of the testator and signed by the testator without witnesses. However, a handwritten will executed with two witnesses is valid, assuming it otherwise complies with Alabama law. But a handwritten will can be more difficult to interpret and may be subject to legal challenges.

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