Do I Need a Will in Georgia?

The short answer is YES.

Everyone needs some element of estate planning or a Will. You may believe that estate management and planning are reserved for the wealthy, yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Planning for the end of your or a loved one's life entails more than simply writing a will or trust; it involves having you consider what will happen to your money, possessions, and possibly even your children or pets when you pass away.

After all, you've spent your whole life amassing your assets, whether you are young or old. In addition, if you have children, you absolutely should have a plan for their care and guardianship in the tragic event that something should happen to you. Therefore, taking the time with an Estate Planning attorney to determine what will happen to them once you are gone is the smart thing to do. 

Unfortunately, many individuals have this erroneous idea when estate planning is, in fact, critical for everyone. In its simplest form, estate planning is the act of determining who will inherit your property or take care of your dependants upon your death. Money, assets, and dependants are some of the most critical elements to consider when structuring an estate following the death of a loved one, which is why working with a lawyer like Julie C. Moore of Villa Rica, GA, can be very beneficial.

What Does Estate Administration Entail?

Did you know that the act of settling a departed relative's estate is commonly referred to as estate administration? Estate planning is a necessary component of every family's future and should be undertaken by everybody. Generally, a comprehensive inventory may assist you in keeping track of what is essential during the process. Additionally, an accurate list of accessible assets and accounts is vital before completing the estate.

The primary goal of estate planning is to divide the deceased's assets and pay all outstanding payments and debts during the process. Then, after obligations and taxes are settled, the remaining assets will be distributed to the intended beneficiaries following the terms of your will or trust.

This is obviously a highly emotional time for the family, which we fully understand. Our legal staff is trained to show the utmost compassion and sensitivity in these instances and has aided many families through this emotional process. We can assist you in navigating this procedure and settling the estate of a loved one while still honoring their intentions. Our goal is to keep the estate administration on schedule and ensure everyone believes it was handled fairly and appropriately. 

4 Tips to Simplify the Estate Planning Process

The estate planning process enables you to express your intentions regarding who should inherit your assets, handle your estate, and serve as guardian of your minor children upon your death or your wishes regarding any beloved pets. Additionally, it will indicate your desires for life-sustaining medical decisions and let you address other financial and medical care concerns while you are still alive, but if you are unable to communicate these wishes. This process may seem like a lot, but by following the checklist of four items below, you can streamline your estate-related paperwork quickly:

1. A last Will and Testament

A Last Will and Testament directs the allocation of any items that must be probated and identifies who will inherit your assets.

Probate is the legal term for the procedure through which a Last Will and Testament are authenticated in court. If there is no will, Georgia state law will govern how your assets will be allocated and who may be appointed to administer the estate by the court. Leaving it up to the State of Georgia instead of formally documenting your wishes means that your estate may be handled in a way that you would not want. Once the court chooses an administrator, the personal representative or executor/executrix becomes the estate's legal representative.

Following appointment by the court, the personal representative is supposed to notify all identified creditors of the estate. Following that, an assessment of the estate's property will be completed, including real estate, stocks, bonds, commercial interests, and other valuables. Finally, the legal guardian determines the validity of creditors' claims and pays any outstanding debts that the estate has.

After obtaining the assistance of an expert estate planning professional, you should establish if a Will is sufficient or if you need the extra step of Living Trust preparation as well. Living trusts may be used in the same way as a will to transfer assets, assist in avoiding probate, and solve estate tax difficulties. In addition, they can be beneficial in certain family situations.

2. Powers of Attorney

An element of estate planning is establishing a strategy for what will happen if you become disabled or otherwise unable to manage your affairs even while alive. Without the need for guardianship, Powers of Attorney can appoint someone to manage your assets, make legal choices on your behalf, and collaborate with physicians to make medical decisions even if you are alive but unable to communicate. A Power of Attorney will also let you specify whether the individual should act on your account immediately or only after you are no longer capable of making decisions.

3. Advance Directive (Living Will)

An Advance Directive, also referred to as a Living Will, is a legal document. It permits you to declare your wishes for life-sustaining treatments such as CPR or ventilator usage, artificially administered food and drink, and other final decisions in the case that you are unable to make or express such decisions for yourself. As with a will, you should verify that your instructions are readily available to responsible persons if they become necessary.

4. Beneficiary Appointments

Contractual provisions govern some asset transfers. For illustration purposes, the proceeds of life insurance, annuity contracts, IRA funds, and pensions will be paid to the beneficiary specified on the contract's recipient forms. Contract assets often pass regardless of the contents of your will or the often-complicated inheritance process. Therefore, it is critical to synchronize beneficiary names in contracts with will provisions to ensure they function in unison. 

If you have any questions about any of these terms, it is best to consult an estate planning specialist like Julie C. Moore in Villa Rica, GA. If you've already established a sound basis for your estate plan, the very next step is to decide if you require extensive estate planning. A skilled estate planning lawyer like Julie C. Moore of Villa Rica, GA, can incorporate comprehensive planning into the current project.

Additionally, circumstances in your life may have changed. For example, suppose you've recently married or separated, had or adopted kids, bought or sold a business, retired, migrated across the state or nation, or lost a mate. In that case, you should contact legal counsel since any one of these life changes can directly impact your estate plan. In addition, estate and gift tax regulations evolve and change, and these modifications will also affect your overall estate plan and the tax liability your heirs could face. Therefore, consulting a certified professional estate attorney like Julie C. Moore in Villa Rica, GA, to periodically review and amend your estate plan as needed is a wise decision.

The issues we mentioned above are just a few of the often asked questions we hear when working with clients on their estate administration. However, you can be confident that we will address all of these worries and any others you might have about settling your or your loved one's estates. If you have additional questions, we invite you to call us at (770) 456-4333 to schedule a consultation on any estate-related concerns that you may have.

Julie C. Moore is here to help guide you and make this process as simple as possible for you. Call Villa Rica Attorney Julie C. Moore immediately at (770) 456-4333 for an in-depth response to all of your Estate Planning and Administration questions and assistance in obtaining the information you desire.