If you haven’t created your estate plan or if it’s been a while since you have and you need to update it, please make the New Year the time you get it done and give a gift of love to the people you love the most and the gift of peace of mind to yourself! Call us at 770.425.6060 and let us help you help your family.
This is the second in a series of articles on what to expect when you work with your Atlanta will and trust lawyer. Each article will cover several of the topics that you will need to consider to make a plan that works for your needs.
Our last article looked at several things you will need to consider and prepare when working with your will and trust lawyer in Atlanta. Today’s article continues on with additional considerations that are generally important upon death.
- Wills and Trusts: Estate planning lawyers are focused on helping you craft just the right kinds of wills and trusts for your needs. (And, no, trusts are not just for super-rich people.) These documents will be used to explain your wishes for what is to happen with your assets when you die and will be used to protect your estate or heirs from paying unnecessary taxes on what you are leaving behind.
- Funeral Arrangements: Your Atlanta will and trust lawyer will likely encourage you to make funeral arrangements as part of the planning process. Planning for one’s own funeral isn’t always the most enjoyable task (although some folks do find it cathartic). On the other hand, taking care of arrangements in advance takes a big burden off of your family and friends and helps to ensure that things happen the way you would have wanted.
- Organ Donation: Medical science has progressed to the point where many organs and tissues of deceased individuals can be used to give the living a new lease on life. Your Atlanta will and trust lawyer can go over these possibilities with you and help you put the proper documentation in order if organ or tissue donation is something you want to do.
- Obituary: Oftentimes, an obituary is written by a close friend or relative after someone has passed away. You can actually write your own in advance, saving them from doing so during their grief and making sure that you get to highlight the events and achievements from your life that were most important to you. Keep in mind that obituaries are not typically published for free, so your estate plan may also set aside some money to pay for the placement of the piece.
- Health Care Directives: Your health care directives are an incredibly important part of working with a will and trust lawyer in Atlanta, and you need to be sure that they’re not only in order, but also available to those who need them. These documents will include information on your choices about medical treatment, as well as end-of-life decisions that you have already made.
By working with a reputable will and trust lawyer in Atlanta, you can make sure that all of these areas are considered and that they fall under the laws and codes of Georgia. For more information or help getting started, please feel free to call our office at 770-425-6060 to schedule a complimentary Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session ($750 value) with the mention of this article.
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This is the first in a series of articles on what to expect when you work with your Atlanta estate planning lawyer. Each article will cover several of the topics that you will need to consider to make a plan that works for your needs.
Estate planning lawyers in Atlanta, as well as around the country, have slightly different approaches when working with clients. These approaches need to be tailored to your personal needs, as well as to the estate planning laws of the state. That said, there are some typical things that you will likely want to cover in your plan, and your lawyer will help you determine which are important for you. Today’s article focuses on items that will be helpful should you pass away, but are also important should you become temporarily incapacitated.
- Biographical Information: Estate planning lawyers in Atlanta Your estate plan should include biographical information that will make it easier for your executor and others to follow through on your wishes following your death or incapacity. In addition to information about your family members, you will want to include where to find important documents like your birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, and death certificates of those who have preceded you in death but will still weigh in to the decisions that need to be made. (For example, if you have an inheritance from a parent that needs to be considered.)
- Dependents: Your estate planning in Atlanta obviously needs to take your children and other dependents into consideration. As well as including basic information such as names and locations, you will also want to be sure that you have legal guardians named for minor children or adult children with special needs. It’s also a good idea to include information about others who rely on you, such as children you watch or adults for whom you provide care, as other arrangements will have to be made immediately so as not to disrupt their care.
- Animals: Whether you have pets or livestock, their care needs to be considered when you undertake your estate planning. Should you become incapacitated or pass away, how will these animals be cared for immediately? This can be a simple agreement with someone to feed and care take your pets while you are unable, or it may be a more formal arrangement for how to deal with livestock that are a part of your estate.
- Employment: Your estate plan should include information about your current employment situation. You want your family to be able to contact your employer about what is going on. Additionally, your employer may have benefits that go into effect based on your death or incapacitation, so it is important for those making decisions to have access to these benefits to care for you or your estate.
- Financial Power of Attorney: When you are incapacitated, it is unlikely that you will be able to manage your finances. Having a durable power of attorney means that you are giving someone else permission to take care of expenses for you. They might use this power of attorney to pay your bills, manage investments, and even to take care of medical expenses.
There are many, many topics that you will want and need to cover with your estate planning attorney in Atlanta and knowing what they are in advance can help you to use your time efficiently, as well as have an idea ahead of time of the kinds of choices you’ll want to make.
To get started creating a solid estate plan that protects your assets, wishes and the people you love, we encourage you to contact our Atlanta estate planning law firm at 770-425-6060 and ask to schedule a free Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session with the mention of this article.
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We are fast approaching the holidays, when travel is the busiest and careful planning is necessary to nab the best airfare or book that New Year’s beach cottage before it slips away. One thing that is probably not on your travel to-do list is estate planning, but it should be so you can travel with peace of mind.
Here are some tips to pack away your worries before you board that flight:
Complete your estate plan. If you’ve been putting it off, now is the time to complete your estate plan. If money is a consideration, then start with those the most important items: a will, power of attorney and advance health care directives.
Update an existing estate plan. Has something changed in your life since you last updated your estate plan? A birth, a death, a marriage, a divorce? Each of these triggers your need to update your estate plan.
Establish guardianship for minor children. If you have ever gotten a nagging fear about what would happen to your children if something were to happen to you, then use that fear to follow through on naming a guardian for raising your minor children. If you have young kids, there is never an excuse for you to neglect this important step.
Review beneficiaries. Beneficiaries of your retirement accounts, life insurance and other assets must be kept current or your assets will not pass to them upon your death. If you have minor children, you will need to set up a trust and name the trust as beneficiary so your assets can pass without court intervention.
Review/update incapacity documents. Two very important health care documents – a durable power of attorney for health care and a HIPPA Authorization – will determine who can make medical decisions for you and who has access to your medical records in case of incapacity. Be sure you have these documents before you travel and that the person/people named are still valid.
Review/update insurance. Does your life insurance coverage still meet your family’s needs? If not, it is time to update your insurance policy before you hit the road.
In addition, you need to be sure you have an organized file of all your accounts and estate planning documents and you need to tell your family where they can locate the file if and when it becomes necessary.
The time to create a plan that spells out how you will pass on your values, beliefs and your money to your children is now. You can begin by calling our Atlanta estate planning law office today at 770-425-6060 to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Georgia Family Legacy Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next three people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this blog post.
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