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A University of Alabama Law School Clinical Program funded in part by West Alabama Regional Commission

Advance Health Care Decisions

Powers of Attorney

Wills, Trusts, Estates


Long Term Care Financing

Income Assistance

Nursing Home Issues

Other Consumer Issues:

Insurance (non-health)
Credit Cards
Identity Theft

A. Introduction

There are several ways of planning for distribution of the things you own (your estate) after your death. The most common is by having a will prepared and then executing it (signing it under the circumstances and in the manner prescribed by state law). Another common way of passing property at death is by holding it in joint tenancy with one or more other people. A third way is by establishing a trust, either in a will (“testamentary trust”) or during life.

Planning ahead allows you to make special provisions for disabled children and others with special needs; transfer property to beneficiaries quickly and simply; plan for incapacity; minimize expenses; ease the strain on your family; and to exercise control by selecting your personal representative, trustee, financial power of attorney, and health care proxy and health care power of attorney.

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