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Carrollton, GA
Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate Planning Lawyer in Carrollton, GA

Lawyer In Carrollton, Ga

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Don't let your probate or estate planning needs be left to chance. Attorney Julie C. Moore has extensive experience in these areas of law and is committed to meeting your legal needs. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation with an Estate Planning Lawyer in Carrollton, GA.

Estate Planning Services in Carrollton, Georgia

A good estate plan should outline your intentions and protect your dependents. You should consult with an experienced Georgia estate planning attorney. The Law Office of Julie C. Moore offers the estate services you need.

Attorney Julie C. Moore has experience in complicated estates and stands ready to assist even the most sophisticated, high-net-worth clients.

Our attorneys will help you determine the best will, trust, or other estate planning tool to suit your needs, then draft clear, legally sound documents to protect your best interests, including:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Charitable planning
  • Powers of attorney
  • Advance medical directives
  • Business succession planning
  • Estate and gift taxation
  • Family partnerships
  • And more

Why Should I Establish an Estate Plan?

Sadly, many people from all backgrounds don't accomplish proper estate planning because they believe they do not have enough assets. If a couple has children, they may assume the children can divide their assets themselves. However, if you do not make proper estate planning arrangements for addressing your assets and affairs upon your death, the state's intestacy laws will take over. In many cases, the state may distribute your assets in a way you would not have wanted.

A public, court-supervised probate process will be triggered if you pass away without an estate plan. Probate is an expensive legal hearing that prolongs the process of beneficiaries receiving the deceased's assets.

In the worst case, if your Georgia estate planning isn't properly established, your family may be torn apart by members of your family fighting over who will be able to decide how your affairs should be handled. A family feud over a modest sum of money or an heirloom is not uncommon.

A blended family is one in which one or both spouses enter a marriage with children from prior relationships. These situations often have conflicting interests that they can handle through Georgia estate planning, including the possibility of conflicts between the current spouse's interests and those of the former spouse's children.

In Georgia, for example, without a Will, Georgia law awards 2/3 of the estate to the deceased's children from a previous marriage, whether they are full-grown adults who make a good living or whether the current spouse needs those assets. It is wise to avoid an unexpected or unwanted outcome with good Georgia estate planning.

What Does an Estate Include?

Even though many people believe that estate planning is just for the wealthy, this is not true. It is not necessary to be rich to benefit from Georgia estate planning. Ensuring your wishes are carried out in case of death or incapacity is the most critical element of estate planning.

A person's estate is all of their property and assets, including.

  • Your life insurance policy
  • The house you live in and any other real estate you own
  • Your entire retirement fund
  • An interest in any business you own
  • The share you have in any joint account
  • Trust properties over which you have significant control

What are the 4 Estate Planning Essentials in Carrollton, Georgia?

If you become disabled or pass away, implementing an estate plan will ensure your friends and loved ones are provided for. This process will be made as smooth and stress-free as possible by using the following four legal documents.

1. Last Will and Testament

An individual's will is a legal document that specifies how their assets will be distributed after death. Additionally, you may designate a guardian for minor children with this form. Personal representatives, also known as executors of wills, assist in distributing an individual's property according to their final wishes.

2. Revocable Living Trust

Revocable living trusts enable you to plan the division of your assets while you are alive without your family and friends going through a probate process. By selecting this option, you can determine who will inherit what assets after you pass away. You will also avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process if you place your assets in a living trust.

You can establish a trust, designate a trustee who will manage your assets, and choose beneficiaries. Then, when the trustee dies, assets are transferred directly to beneficiaries without probate. You can easily plan everything while still keeping ownership of the trust by doing so.

3. Durable Power of Attorney 

In the event of your disability, a person can act on your behalf using this document. Financial transactions, real estate transactions, and other legal matters can all be handled through a power of attorney. The Durable Power of Attorney forms may go into effect immediately or at a specific future date; however, this power ends upon the principal's death. When you become incapacitated without a Power of Attorney, a court may appoint a "conservator" or decide what happens to your assets.

4. Advance Directive for Health Care

Using this form, a person can list their health care preferences in detail. Families, doctors, and hospitals are notified of the person's wishes - and it is only used if they are not capable of communicating. If a power of attorney is not designated, the court may appoint a guardian.

An individual can stay in control of their financial, legal, and medical decisions by securing these three documents. Ensure that you review and update these key documents regularly, especially following a major life event or change in residency. Call Carrollton Estate Attorney Julie C. Moore at 770-456-4333 for more information about these essential estate planning documents and schedule your appointment.

Decide on Who Will Inherit Your Personal Property

What is the benefit of including separate, written documents with one's will? When working on their estate plans, many individuals include a Personal Property Memorandum - a list of the goods they own and whom they would like to inherit (or not inherit).

It is the perfect time to assess your personal property and decide who would benefit from your belongings if you were to get organized or work on your estate plan. First, prepare a list of your significant items like furniture and vehicles and sentimental items like photo albums and childhood toys. Think about what you'd like to sell, donate, or give to your friends and family.

Communicate Your Wishes to Your Loved Ones

As you mentally review your possessions, consider reaching out to your family and friends to ask if they are interested in anything. You may have an item in your home that is particularly special to them. It is a good idea to share your wishes directly with your family once you decide what to do with your possessions.

It is common for objects in a person's estate to be sentimental and to have an emotional connection to them. So before passing down household items to the next generation, it is a good idea to discuss with your loved ones what you would like to leave them and why. In addition, your loved ones and friends should know that your estate plan is meant to keep the family together, rather than causing rifts over personal property.

Updated Georgia Law on Wills

Now, adding lists of who inherits your property can be included in your will but can be changed without completely re-doing the entire will. House Bill 865 was passed in June 2020 by the Georgia Legislature. The law went into effect in January 2021. In part, the new law states, "The writing may be referred to as one to be in existence at the time of the testator's death; it may be prepared before or after the execution of the will; it may be altered by the testator after its preparation, provided that it is signed and dated on the date of such alteration(OCGA § 53-4-5).

This means a written document may be included in your will, as long as the will identifies and describes it appropriately. It can also be added when the will is being executed. It is also possible to update the document later without executing a new will.

Guardianships and Conservatorships for the Mentally or Physically Disabled

Over the past few years, life expectancy has increased. Due to this, families are increasingly concerned about estate planning, including issues relating to the mental or physical incapacity of their elderly loved ones. With the rise of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, the need for guardianships and conservatorships is even more common. 

In some cases, a simple power of attorney can suffice for a family. However, there are other times when a court must appoint a guardian or conservator.

Our attorneys understand that dealing with a family member suffering from any form of incompetence or disability is emotionally painful, particularly when they cannot understand their limitations. In that respect, our attorneys can help develop an estate plan to handle the challenges families face every day. Our goal is to minimize the emotional strain placed on the family and maximize quality of life.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer in Carrollton Today

Your legal property may end up in probate if you don't have a proper estate plan. Fortunately, our skilled estate lawyers in Carrollton can guide you throughout the process. Contact us at the Law Office of Julie C. Moore to schedule a consultation today!

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