Estate planning is just one of the legal questions we’re asked about. It is needed for even the less exciting families. In fact everyone, from the wealthiest of people to the young professional just starting out in life, benefit from a properly crafted estate plan. Estate planning can be used to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of an estate to maximize the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. The most basic documents involved in a proper estate plan are last wills and testaments, powers of attorney and advance directives for health care.
In order for a last will and testament to be valid in the State of Georgia, it must be properly prepared, signed and witnessed in accordance with the law. Knowing you have a will that conforms to all legal requirements can give you peace of mind by ensuring you know who will receive your assets upon your death and that a responsible individual, hand-picked by you, will be in charge of handling your estate. If you have minor children, you can determine who would become their legal guardian in the event of your death. Although all of life’s uncertainties cannot be planned for, having a will allows you to rest assured that your loved ones will not be left without a plan in dealing with the affairs of your estate.
Trusts can be used for a variety of reasons in an estate plan. From safeguarding the inheritance of a minor or incapacitated family member to avoiding estate tax in large estates or avoiding over-reaching potential creditors of a family member, there are many reasons why establishing a trust might make sense for you. However, trust law is very complex, and the Law Offices of G. Alan Dodson, LLC has over seventeen years of experience in creating and administering trusts.
In preparing any plan, please remember that it has been our experience that the number one cause of litigation is a poor choice of fiduciary. A fiduciary, in its simplest terms, is someone who manages OPM (other people’s money), and includes executors, administrators, trustees, conservators and agents under a power of attorney. You need to leave emotion out of the decision making process, and name a fiduciary who is honest, financially responsible, works in a business-like manner and can dedicate the amount of time necessary to efficiently perform his or her duties. These criteria typically eliminate nine out of ten people you know.