ESTATE PLANNING, WILLS, PROBATE

Learn more about estate planning, wills and probate.

Estate planning involves how you want your assets distributed after your death, and it is also a planning tool used to manage your assets and your health care while you are alive. Nearly everyone has an estate. It is your house, car, furniture, jewelry, savings, and checking accounts and everything you own. And as the saying goes, you can’t take it with you when you die.

Estate planning is for everyone, not just the wealthy.

A good plan will minimize the amount paid in taxes, court costs, and legal fees.

Regardless of how much wealth you have it will serve you throughout your life. Even those with a modest estate, a good plan will help insure the least amount will be paid out and more for your family, the ones who need it the most. Too many people don’t do it because they think they don’t own enough, or they aren’t old enough, or they just don’t want to think about it. Some just are not aware they should do it or who could help them.

A last will and testament and a living will and also a power of attorney will be a great relief to you and your family later in life. Health care decisions and Funeral arrangements are also part of planning the estate.

A revocable living trust is often times the most preferred because it can avoid probate and has the most privacy which is desired by families and also professionals. It can stop the court from interfering in your estate and is recognized in every state.

Proper planning will maximize the value of the estate and will reduce the taxes to be paid. An estate plan should be drafted by a skilled estate planning attorney. You will decide who receives your property when you die. If you do not direct what should be done with your belongings, the state will decide for you. You may not like what the state could decide.

Estate planning can be confusing, and many people fail to take action in this important matter. Consult your attorney for drafting your documents and answering any questions you may have. It is not difficult to do if you are guided by someone with experience.

Absolutely everyone should have a will. If you have minor children you definitely need a will in the unfortunate event that you and your spouse are both killed like in a car accident. Guardianship for your children should be set up by you and not the state.

A will does provide your instructions but does not avoid probate. All of your assets must go through your state’s probate and will likely take months or years to complete the process before your assets may be distributed to your loved ones.

A durable power of attorney is needed in case you are unable to take care of your affairs. This person will be able to take over for you in the event you are no longer able to get your affairs in order. If you neglect to have a durable power of attorney in place before this happens, you and your loved ones could be waiting for months if you must navigate through the court system.

For healthcare, a living will can give you the power to decide beforehand about surgeries, and if you want to be kept on life support. You can make the major decisions yourself about your own healthcare and how you want the final stages of your life to be. You should talk to your attorney about your options regarding a living will.

Planning your estate will help you with organizing your assets and titles. Does your family know where to find your financial information and life insurance policies? Do they know where your banking accounts are other documents they may need? Planning in advance of your death or incapacity will organize and make certain the deeds and titles are worded correctly for easier distribution to your family and loved ones. Having all your documents organized will be a great help for your heirs at the time of your death.

Estate planning is a continuous process

Estate planning is an ongoing process, not simply one-time event. Your should review your plans often to update any changes you would like to make and to keep up with the laws that may have changed in your residential state. You should reconsider your estate planning at the beginning of every year. Your experienced estate planning attorney in Georgia will be able to help advise you on any changes that you should know about concerning changing laws and taxes. Keeping your estate planning up to date will be a peace of mind to you and your family. Consider doing a plan now and don’t put it off until you retire or become ill or injured.