Canton, GA Estate Planning Lawyers Providing Guidance on Wills, Probate, and More
Making an estate plan is one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones, but many people put it off or avoid it altogether because it requires thinking frankly about your mortality and legacy. For young people, this seems like it’s something far off in the future, so there’s no need to rush. And for older people, it can feel too uncomfortably close. At Georgia Wills, Trusts, and Probate Firm, LLC, our lawyers understand the emotional aspects of estate planning and can compassionately and tactfully guide you through the planning process so you can protect your loved ones, your assets, and yourself.
What Documents Are Involved in Estate Planning?
There are many parts to a solid estate plan and everyone may not require all of them for their situation. That is why it is important to consult with a lawyer to set up a plan which fits your goals and needs. One common part of almost every estate plan is drafting a will with named beneficiaries and designating an executor who will ensure your wishes are carried out regarding the division of your assets. If you have minor children, you should also designate a legal guardian for them in case both parents become incapacitated due to death or disability. Some people may wish to set up trusts or make donations to charity to reduce the estate taxes their family will need to pay. This can be especially beneficial for people who have high-value estates but may not be right for everyone. You can also plan your funeral or memorial arrangements and set aside money for them, so your loved ones do not have to worry about handling any of that while they are mourning. Many people also create a living will and a durable power of attorney to make certain their family can make medical and financial decisions for them if they are no longer capable of making them.
What Are Some Reasons for Creating an Estate Plan?
Each person may have different reasons for creating an estate plan, but probably the most common is the desire to keep your assets within your family after you are gone. As part of this, many people utilize estate planning to reduce the amount of taxes, fees, and paperwork involved for their heirs so they get the maximum amount of assets possible with the least amount of cost and hassle. Estate planning is important for individuals with large estates but can actually be the most impactful for those with much smaller estates. For these families, a long, expensive probate process caused by not having an estate plan in place could cause a financial catastrophe. A robust plan can protect your family from these financial losses.
An estate plan can also protect you and your family in other ways. If you designate guardians for your minor children, it can keep them safe with people you trust and prevent them from becoming wards of the state. By having documents such as a living will and a durable power of attorney, you can also protect your loved ones from having to go to court in order to get the legal right to make medical and financial decisions for you if you become unable to make these decisions yourself.
Will an Estate Plan Be Useful to You During Your Lifetime?
Some aspects of an estate plan, such as a will, only go into effect once you have passed away. However, there are other documents that you can create that have benefits for you and your loved ones during your lifetime. For example, when you draft a living will, you are giving a trusted person the legal power to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become injured or disabled to the point where you can no longer make those choices for yourself. In a living will, you may also specify what kind of end-of-life care you wish to receive. This can include a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order, which is an advanced directive that states that you do not want emergency resuscitative actions taken on your behalf, such as receiving CPR or being put on life-saving equipment. This allows your family to know your wishes, so they don’t have to make these difficult choices on their own if you become critically ill. You can also set up a durable power of attorney within your will to designate someone who can manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. This makes it easier for your family to care for you and also for their own needs if your financial support is key to your family’s well-being.
Why Should You Enlist the Help of a Local Lawyer to Assist You When Planning Your Estate?
Did you know that property must go through probate court in the county where it is located, regardless of where the owner lived? Or that some states require your executor to file your will with the probate court in 10 days, while others give you up to a month? A local lawyer has knowledge of facts like this and understands all the state-specific tax and estate laws. The lawyers at Georgia Wills, Trusts, and Probate Firm, LLC can give you guidance on how Georgia’s laws will impact your specific situation and will help you draft an estate plan to meet your goals. To schedule your strategy session, call us today at (770) 758-6832.