The Role of Georgia Wills and Trusts Lawyers When You Move to a New State

The Role of Georgia Wills and Trusts Lawyers When You Move to a New State

Georgia Wills and Trusts Lawyers

Trusts lawyers in Atlanta have the important job of helping their clients create a legacy that is compliant with a number of different laws.  For the most part, these laws will vary from state to state.  Some differences are minor, while others can impact the trust significantly.  Someone who already has established a trust in one state may very well want to at least review it with a trusts lawyer when relocating to another.

For example, if you have created a trust in Georgia but then move to Florida for retirement, it’s a good idea to meet with a trusts lawyer in your new city.  Likewise, someone moving from somewhere else in the U.S. to metro Atlanta should contact a Georgia trust lawyer to review the documents and potentially amend them to meet the law here.

Most often, when a trust is administered, it is done so under the laws of the state where the person resides.  This can get a little tricky if you have residences in two states—say, if you’re a “snowbird.”  In those situations, it’s best to work with trusts lawyers in both states.  The changes needed may be as small as a little wording, but they could also be more complicated.

There are some estate planning documents that should always be addressed with a trusts lawyer when moving to a new state.  Powers of attorney are vital for determining who can represent you should you become incapacitated, and those are administered under state law.  Powers of attorney drawn up by a trusts lawyer in Atlanta may be disregarded by the courts in another area.

A final consideration in the discussion of where to establish a trust is the tax implications.  By working with a good trusts lawyer, you can uncover which state may hold the best benefits for you, your estate, and your heirs.  It is possible to have trusts set up in more than one state, though the complexities of doing so are absolutely something that should be done with the guidance of a knowledgeable professional with plenty of experience in trusts administration.

To schedule an appointment for a complimentary Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session to help you review or create your estate plan, at one of our five metro Atlanta offices, we invite you to call 770-425-6060 to get started


 

 If you’d like to give your loved ones and yourself the gift of peace of mind, please call Steve at 770-425-6060 or 770-421-0808 or email him at steve@georgiaestateplan.com.

 

 

 

Atlanta Will Lawyer Says, “Make Sure Your Step Children are Cared for in Your Estate Planning”

Atlanta Will Lawyer Says, “Make Sure Your Step Children are Cared for in Your Estate Planning”

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For those who love their stepchildren as their own, it may come as a surprise that this bond isn’t enough when it comes to estate planning in Georgia.  Because of the laws of inheritance, stepchildren do not automatically inherit when a stepparent dies.

Let’s say you’re creating your estate plan, and you stipulate that your estate should be divided equally among your children.  The courts will typically only apply that to any biological children you may have, completely ignoring any claim from stepchildren.  In these cases, it’s nice to think that the biological children would share, but it’s definitely not a foregone conclusion.  Even if they did, there would be additional tax implications for all involved.

On the other hand, if you don’t have any biological children, your Atlanta will lawyer will tell you that your stepchildren will still not have any rights to your estate.  Instead, it would pass to your spouse, your parents, your siblings, or even your cousins, rather than to the young people you helped to raise.

Should you wish for your stepchildren to receive an inheritance, you must make your wishes clearly, and legally, known.  The most common way to do this would be to have a will lawyer in Atlanta draw up a will that outlines exactly what you want to happen with your estate.  The document will need to be witnessed, and your attorney may advise you to take other precautions to make sure the will holds up when the time comes.

Another approach to estate planning for stepchildren would be to create a trust that names them as the beneficiaries.  Trusts can be funded in a number of ways, such as with savings or assets; or they can be funded through life insurance.  Various accounts, such as bank accounts, insurance policies, or IRAs can also be left specifically to stepchildren as long as the stepchildren are named as beneficiaries.

Adopted children do not face the same difficulties as stepchildren, as they are treated just like biological children according to the laws of succession.  Children born outside of marriage may have to prove that they are descendents of the person who has passed away if there is no mention of them in a will.

Finally, this information should be kept in mind when your biological children are someone else’s stepchildren.  Should you get remarried and then pass away, your estate goes directly to your spouse, not your children.  When he or she passes, everything goes to his or her biological children.  If you haven’t worked with a will lawyer in Atlanta to prepare for this, your children’s inheritance would legally go to their stepsiblings.

Blended families are common, but the laws of succession are often misunderstood.  If you are a stepparent or your children have a stepparent, it is a good idea to talk to an Atlanta will lawyer to make sure everyone’s interests are considered.

Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer’s Special Advice for Women

Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer’s Special Advice for Women

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A good Atlanta estate planning attorney is going to help you take a lot of things into consideration when putting together your plan.  Various factors influence your estate planning after all:  finances, children, age…But what about your gender?  Is estate planning for women different from that for men?

Actually, there are some important things to keep in mind.

A Spouse’s Will Is Not Enough

Atlanta estate planning attorneys see again and again where a married couple believes that only one of them—usually a husband—needs to have a will.  This can cause a lot of problems in the long run, however.

  • Your family may not know your wishes, even if you think they do.
  • In times of grief, people aren’t always at their best and could resort to fighting over the estate.
  • If your spouse remarries, the new wife (and her children) could legally inherit your things.

These are just some of the scenarios estate planning attorneys see playing out when one partner is relying on the other’s will.

Women Need Powers of Attorney

Various types of powers of attorney are an important part of an estate plan, and this can be especially true for women.  The average woman’s lifespan is longer than a man’s, which means that she may be on her own near the end of her life.  With no spouse to make medical and financial decisions should she become incapacitated, it’s even more important to make sure appropriate appointees have been legally declared.

Updates are Needed When Marriage Status Changes

When one spouse has passed away, it is always a good idea to review the surviving spouse’s estate plan.  There are likely some changes that need to be made based on changes in income and other living circumstances.  A knowledgeable estate planning attorney in Atlanta will be able to help redefine the goals you and your spouse set in order to ensure you stay on track.

It’s also very important to meet with an estate planning lawyer after a divorce.  The details of the divorce can strongly impact your financial future, and the attorney will work to make sure you know and have access to what is rightfully yours.  Additionally, if you already have a will, you will want to change it to avoid the possibility of your ex being entitled to your estate or assets.

A Trust May Be a Good Choice

A mother wants to provide for her child in every way possible, and while trusts are something that are often associated with rich people, they are a great tool for just about anyone with heirs.  Talk with an estate planning attorney about why and how to go about creating a trust to help fund your children or grandchildren’s future should you not be around to help them.

There are plenty of other considerations that apply specifically to estate planning for women, and the best way to get all the information you need is to get together with a qualified, experienced attorney in Atlanta.  To schedule an appointment for a complimentary Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session at one of our metro Atlanta offices, we invite you to call 770-425-6060 to get started.


 If you’d like to give your loved ones and yourself the gift of peace of mind, please call Steve at 770-425-6060 or email him at steve@georgiaestateplan.com.

Do You Need a Cobb County Probate Attorney?

Do You Need a Cobb County Probate Attorney?

Maze of probate

 

In the state of Georgia, it’s not legally required for you to hire a probate lawyer after the passing of a loved one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.  For one thing, a Cobb County probate attorney will have a lot of insight into the process, which is something most folks just don’t have.  After all, the probate lawyer works with probate cases all the time, is up-to-date on the most current laws, and has a pretty good idea of how to streamline the process as much as possible.

Hiring a Marietta probate lawyer is a good idea for another reason, too:  If you do something wrong in the proceedings, the liability is on you.  Considering all the complicated paperwork, financial responsibilities and time-sensitive deadlines, a lot of folks just don’t want to take on that kind of responsibility.  Additionally, the person in charge of an estate (the Executor) is often dealing with his or her own grief and doesn’t want the additional stress of the job.

That said, plenty of estates can go through probate without a lawyer.  If all of the decedent’s assets can be transferred outside of probate, then a probate lawyer wouldn’t be necessary.  Cases like that might include assets that are held in joint tenancy, or those that have a named beneficiary, such as an insurance policy or retirement account.

It’s up to the individual in charge to determine if or when professional advice is needed.  Some circumstances where this might happen could include:

  • Family members threatening to contest a will
  • Business dealings that weren’t complete when the decedent passed away
  • The need for a guardian for a minor or disabled adult
  • A shortfall of assets to cover debts owed by the estate
  • There are complications with the taxes
  • Assets were not properly owned by an existing trust

If the situation isn’t overly complex, you may only need the Marietta probate attorney to consult with you or review a few documents.  A couple of hours of the attorney’s time might be all you need to ensure that you’ve got everything in proper order.  On the other hand, if things start looking particularly complicated, it’s a good idea to gather up all your materials and sit down with an experienced probate lawyer in Cobb County for your own protection and your family’s peace of mind.

 If you’d like to give your loved ones and yourself the gift of peace of mind, please call Steve at 770-425-6060 or email him at steve@georgiaestateplan.com.

For additional information on filing probate in Georgia, click here for Seven Steps to Handling Your Loved One’s Estate.