Do I Need Estate Planning?
Estate planning is essentially arranging for your own care, if needed, and for the eventual distribution of your wealth to your loved ones. It includes selecting and empowering fiduciaries to carry out your wishes. A properly prepared estate plan will allow your loved ones to confidently carry out your financial and health care wishes if you become incapacitated, without the need for court proceedings or court oversight. It will also allow you to pass your property as you desire, select guardians to care for and raise your minor children after your death, and reduce the effects of “death” taxes, such as estate or inheritance taxes, which may apply.
Every individual in Georgia has an estate plan by default. This is because, if you don’t have a Will in place at your death, state law determines how your assets will be distributed. Your failure to make an estate plan can result in financial hardship or devastation for the loved ones who survive you, since assets may pass in an undesirable manner, and since the effects of income and estate taxes can be potentially severe. A qualified Georgia estate planning attorney can help you structure your assets and your legal documents so that your desired beneficiaries receive your assets in the way you want them to, while minimizing any costs, hassles and taxes.
The Essentials of Estate Planning
Most people have distinct preferences about decisions that will one day be made about their personal care, living conditions, and assets. No single template can cover those bases as carefully or thoroughly as your Georgia estate, will, and trust attorney can. There are certain legal documents everyone should have in place to protect themselves, their family, and their future. They are:
- A Will
- An Advance Directive for Health Care
- A Power of Attorney
- A Revocable Living Trust (Not for Everyone)
Aside from these core essentials, we also recommend that you prepare an Ethical Will and a Letter of Instructions to solidify your estate plans.
The standardized “cookie-cutter” versions of these documents that you find on the Internet can be laden with errors and the omission of desirable provisions, requiring more cost and hassles to eventually implement (at a minimum) or helping create a very costly and destructive post-death dispute (at worst).
Proper estate planning is a complex process that should never be done with fill-in-the-blank templates. Our friendly, caring service and patient, thorough explanations empower our clients with the knowledge they need to make the best choices for themselves and their families, and our years of experience and training allow us to prepare documents which will carry out our clients’ wishes effectively, with as few hassles as possible.