Austell, GA Estate Planning Lawyers Serving You With Advice to Meet Your Future Goals
Did you know that almost everyone has an estate? Your estate is made up of everything valuable that you own. It can include tangible items like your home, vehicles, and personal items but can also include other things like investments, bank accounts, and insurance policies. Estate planning is creating a strategy for how these items will be handled if you pass away or can no longer make or communicate decisions due to disability or other incapacitation. If you do not legally specify who you want to receive your estate, it is then left up to the state and the courts to decide. Most people would prefer to make these choices for themselves, so they create an estate plan to ensure that their wishes are carried out, and their families are taken care of. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Georgia Wills, Trusts, and Probate Firm, LLC can assist you with all of your estate planning needs. Call us today to set up a strategy session: (770) 758-6832.
Is Estate Planning Just Making a Will, or Is There More to It?
While drafting a will is one part of the estate planning process, there is much more to an estate plan than that. An estate plan is not limited to specifying how you would like your valuable items distributed. You can also include a living will to describe how you want to be taken care of medically in the case of severe injury or if you need end-of-life care. This removes the burden of making these choices from your family and ensures that you will be cared for according to your wishes. You can also give a trusted person power of attorney to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. You can even include instructions in your estate plan for your funeral or memorial services or how you would like your beloved pets to be cared for and set aside money for these things. An estate planning lawyer can assist you with all of these documents, no matter the size of your estate or what your goals are.
What Do You Need to Consider When Creating an Estate Plan?
Before you visit an estate planning lawyer, it’s helpful to have your important documents in order and have ideas about what you would like to do with your estate. Gathering titles to your property and vehicles, bringing records of your bank accounts and investments, and knowing your policy info for any life insurance you may have can make the process faster and easier once you are in the attorney’s office. Also, having a list of any particular personal items you wish to bequeath to any of your beneficiaries is useful.
You should consider what your goals are for your estate plan. Do you want to ensure that your family has the minimum amount of financial disruption if something happens to you? Are you concerned about them potentially having to pay a large amount of tax on your estate, and do you want to find strategies to reduce those taxes? Is it important to you to leave a lasting legacy in the form of charitable donations? Do you have minor children who you wish to name guardians for, in case of a tragedy where you and your spouse are unable to care for them? You don’t need to have an exact plan with all the details fleshed out, but knowing what outcomes are important to you can help an attorney make a personalized plan that fits your needs.
What Is Probate?
Often, when estate planning is mentioned, people think about probate. But what is probate? When a person dies, probate is the legal process of determining their assets and liabilities, paying the liabilities, and then distributing the remaining assets to their heirs. If there is a will present with a named executor, then the executor is the person who will file the will with the probate court and begin the process. Probate can be a long, expensive, and complicated process, especially in certain states, but it is typically much easier if the person leaves a valid will with named beneficiaries. There are also some estate planning options available for avoiding probate altogether, but they may not be suitable for all situations, so it’s important to consult an attorney to see what is right for your estate.
If a person dies without leaving a will they are considered to have died “intestate.” If this happens then the probate court decides how the estate will be distributed, using the state’s laws as a guide. This can significantly increase the amount of time required for the probate process, and during this time, the beneficiaries will not have access to the assets. It also increases the overall cost of the process. This could lead to financial emergencies for families if they were dependent on having those assets.
Why Should You Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer in Georgia?
Every state has different probate laws and tax codes. In order to create the most beneficial estate plan, a lawyer needs to understand these laws and how they impact your situation. Our lawyers at Georgia Wills, Trusts, and Probate Firm, LLC will listen to your needs and goals and apply our knowledge of Georgia law to draft a plan that fits you and provides your family with the peace of mind and protection they deserve. Call us today at (770) 758-6832 for an estate planning strategy session.