How Probate Laws Work in Alabama

If you recently lost a loved one, you may be wondering about their estate and how it will be divided up. The probate process will take care of the division of the estate, but you need to understand how it works if you live in Alabama. Laws vary in every state with requirements and deadlines. You must follow those restrictions for the process to be completed correctly.

Probate is the legal method for ensuring that the wishes of the deceased person are followed if there was a will or that the state laws are obeyed if no will exists.

Is Probate Required in Alabama?

Probate is necessary in Alabama except when the property passes straight to another person. However, you have the possibility of a small estate probate, which is simpler than the full probate process. The small estate act allows for the heir to receive the assets if the value of the estate is not more than $25,000, notice of the estate was published for one week, and all expenses have been paid or arrangements made.

How Do You Avoid Probate in Alabama?

You can avoid having an estate go to probate if all assets are placed in a living trust. Any assets that pass directly to a beneficiary need not go through probate to transfer the ownership because it happens automatically. This type of asset includes life insurance policies with a named beneficiary.

How Much Does an Executor Get Paid in Alabama?

The fee for the executor of an estate cannot be more than two-and-a-half percent of the estate’s value and of the disbursements. The court may allow more compensation if it required extraordinary service from the executor. Payment must be approved by the court unless it is directly stipulated in the will. The fee will be paid out of the estate.

Can an Executor of an Estate in Alabama Be Compensated?

The executor of an estate in Alabama is allowed what is termed in the Code as reasonable compensation. Factors to determine what may be considered reasonable include the level of skill needed to handle the estate, the difficulty of the estate, the typical or customary fee for this county, the amount of the estate and the results, the nature of the relationship with the deceased person and length of that relationship as well as the reputation and experience of the executor.

How Long Does Probate Take in Alabama?

The length of time for the probate process to be completed will vary based on several factors. For instance, a small estate will take less time than one that must go through the formal probate process. If anyone contests any part of the will, it causes delays that prevents the executor from moving forward with the distribution.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Alabama?

Not all estates will need to go through probate. If you hire an attorney, you can place your assets in a living trust. Your beneficiaries who are named in the trust would receive the assets with no need for probate. If certain major assets, such as the family home, are owned jointly by spouses, the surviving spouse becomes the sole owner of the asset.

Does a Will Have to Be Probated in Alabama?

Yes, a will must be probated in Alabama. The will is filed with the court to ensure that the correct procedures are followed according to the wishes of the deceased. You have up to five years to file the will, and the estate may go through the small estate process or a formal probate, depending on the size of the estate.

Settling an Estate in Alabama

Probate in Alabama is similar to what happens in any other state. Certain processes must be followed to ensure the estate is handled according to the wishes of the deceased.

It is important to note that there will be fees associated with filing and completing probate. If there is not enough money in liquid assets to pay the fees or other debts, the executor will be responsible for selling other assets with the court’s approval.

How Long Do You Have to File Probate After Death in Alabama?

According to Alabama Probate Code, probate must be filed within five years after the death of the owner of the estate. It may be filed by the person named as executor in the will or anyone named in the will or who has a financial interest in the estate. The will must be filed in the county where the person lived at the time of their death. If they lived out of state, it must be filed in the county where they owned property or assets.

Probate Court in Alabama

Each county has a probate court and judge that acts in estates of those who lived in the county at the time of their deaths. You can visit the website of the county probate court to find more information on filing, exempt property and other important details, which may affect your process.

Probate Code in Alabama

Alabama has developed its own probate code, which is Section 43 Chapter 8. This entire chapter lays out the requirements and process for filing and completing probate. You can also find more details about probate at each county’s website, which will tell you information about filing and other details.