Brought to you by: Community Partner Holliman & Holliman, www.bradfordholliman.com
Two major new chapters of life are newly graduated seniors heading off to college and mature seniors retiring and downsizing their homes to retirement communities or even assisted living. Both new chapters need a fresh look at estate plans.
Late Teens. For the late teen heading off to college for the first time, a healthcare and durable power of attorney is critical. Students who go to college in other states may suddenly become adults legally meaning that parents have less authority to handle medical emergencies or finances. For example, Alabama’s age of majority is 19 while Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana’s age of majority is 18, and Mississippi’s age is 21. If a college student’s parents have been serving as custodians of a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) account, their custodial role ends when the student becomes a legal adult. The student now has complete control of the account. A durable power of attorney authorizes parents to continue directing investments and expenditures on behalf of their student. A will is also advisable unless the parents want their student’s assets to revert to them if the student were to die intestate (with no will). For example, one adult college student set up his will naming his younger brother as the beneficiary of his “college account.”
Mature Seniors. If mature seniors have moved to Alabama from another state (and many do!), a local estate planning attorney can advise them about key differences in estate law. Pension beneficiaries should be checked, and new addresses provided to the former employers. An old estate plan should be cleaned up eliminating guardianship terms for minor children who are now fully grown. All beneficiaries, trustees, and executors should be verified and updated. Although Alabama does not require an executor to be an Alabama resident, an executor who lives near you is usually best. Terms relating to incapacity should define who will serve as either trustee or personal representative, keeping in mind who is qualified and nearby. When mature seniors set up new accounts, careful thought should be given to the beneficiaries so that it aligns with the rest of their estate plans.
New chapters of life are exciting and sometimes scary, but a good estate planning attorney can make sure that your legal affairs are in order to address the new chapter… and that offers peace of mind.
-Melanie B. Holliman, JD
Partner at Holliman & Holliman, LLC
No representation is made that the quality of the legal service to be performed is greater than the quality of service performed by other lawyers.