About Us

In its simplest terms, a last will and testament is like a business contract except it
involves the distribution of a person’s assets among his or loved ones at death. However,
unlike most business contracts where all parties typically have a seat at the table, the
beneficiaries generally do not. And, unlike a business contract where the parties usually
come together from an arm’s length business perspective, your family members do not.
They have a history, and the client, typically the parent, will not be around to resolve any
family differences. That role would be filled by the courts for the more exciting families.
Our firm thus encourages our clients to acknowledge the realities of their family
situations to help us create a practical estate plan for them that addresses their objectives
in a smart and efficient manner, one that is most likely to minimize or avoid family
conflict as well as unnecessary and costly procedural hurdles or taxes.

Estate planning, however, 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, benefits
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, financial powers of attorney, and advance directives for
health care.

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 oversee 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 anticipated, having a valid 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 utilized for a variety of reasons as part of an estate plan. From safeguarding
the inheritance of a minor or incapacitated family member to avoiding estate tax in larger
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
complex, and it has been our experience that trust planning is over-prescribed. You
should resort to trust planning in Georgia only when anticipating the need for damage
control. The Law Office of G. Alan Dodson, LLC has ample experience drafting,
administering, litigating, modifying, and dissolving trusts.

In preparing any estate plan, please remember that it has been our experience that the
primary 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 should
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 fiduciary duties. These criteria typically
eliminate most people you know.