Will and estate lawyers in metro Atlanta are charged with a number of tasks when it comes to wealth management, retirement planning, and setting up wills and trusts. For the most part, clients are concerned with their money and other assets, which makes sense. After all, no one really wants to pay more taxes than are necessary, and it’s important to pass on family money and heirlooms.
All of these tasks are essential, but there are other ways in which you may want to utilize your Atlanta will and estate lawyer’s expertise. Many people are now choosing to add “intangible assets” to their estate plans. These are items that may not have any monetary value but that can help to truly build a legacy.
Intangible assets such as personal letters you’ve written to loved ones, a recorded family history, or other types of messages can become a part of your estate’s trust, with the lawyer delivering them at the appropriate times. This idea can be especially interesting to someone facing a terminal illness earlier in life. A young mother, for example, could create a video of herself giving her children advice and then have those videos delivered after her death when her children meet certain milestones in their own lives such as graduation, marriage, or becoming parents themselves.
While there is no dollar amount attached to intangible assets, they can become some of the most treasured parts of your estate. Just because you can’t be there for a grandchild’s big day doesn’t mean you can’t offer your love and support, to share your pride and happiness, to offer advice and guidance.
Here are some of the things that Atlanta will and estate lawyers have seen left as intangible assets:
- Annual birthday cards or recorded greetings
- Congratulations on life events
- Stories from the deceased’s life (oral or written)
- The deceased reading bed-time stories to kids or grandkids
- Handwritten cards or letters
- Life lessons that should be passed down
- Video instructions of how to do something (make a favorite recipe, for example)
You may also be interested in creating a video will. Your Atlanta estate planning lawyer will want to make sure you have everything written down according to state and other laws, but there is no reason that you cannot make a recording of yourself reading the will, perhaps even adding in the reasons for your decisions or the hopes you have for your beneficiaries.
A video will serves another purpose, too, as it can be used to show that you were competent when you made your will. Estate planning lawyers do have to occasionally deal with family members and others challenging a will, so your video reading could be an important way to ensure that your wishes really are followed. Whether you are looking to develop intangible assets or to create a video will, your Atlanta will and estate lawyer is a great resource in how to get it done properly.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the fourth 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.
In this series, we have covered estate planning considerations for incapacitation and death, and for the most part, they’ve been the more commonly thought-of items. Yet, there are some other ideas that you will want to discuss with your estate planning lawyer in Atlanta, including:
- Service Providers: In your estate plan, you may want to include a section regarding your service providers. Everything from doctors and dentists to property managers and babysitters could be included here. This gives your loved ones the opportunity to contact these service providers to let them know you won’t be working with them any longer, to clear up any outstanding bills, and to make sure that you don’t continue being billed for a service you no longer use. This might be especially important if you have service providers who are automatically paid from your bank account.
- Memberships: Memberships and subscriptions are an area that is really easy to overlook, and as mentioned above, they can cost your estate! Belonging to a gym, country club, or other kind of organization might call for dues to be taken directly from your bank account, and without knowledge to end your contract, your executor and family members won’t even realize they need to discontinue your memberships or subscriptions.
- Credit Cards and Other Debts: Having a list of credit cards and other debts makes it easier for those left behind to follow up. They’ll want to cancel various accounts, as well as to get totals owed in order to make sure your legal obligations are taken care of before the estate is distributed. Estate planning lawyers in Georgia are familiar with the laws of the state and can guide you on what is expected.
- Keys and Passwords: Most of us have areas in our lives that are somehow secured from others. In the case of your death or incapacitation, you may need to be sure that others have access to these areas. For example, you wouldn’t want to share your online banking password with just anyone, but if someone needs that information to go with their power of attorney, it needs to be accessible. Keys to safe deposit boxes, passwords to accounts, and even the code to your home security system should all be kept somewhere that they can be accessed if necessary.
- Personal Letters: The personal letter part of estate planning is really up to an individual. Some people choose to write special letters that loved ones can keep as mementos. This is a time to share your feelings, offer forgiveness if you haven’t done so in life, or to just let those around you know that you love them.
There are a whole lot of facets to estate planning, and a good estate planning lawyer in Atlanta will be able to help you go over all of these aspects and many more to determine what you need to include in your estate plan.
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An Atlanta will and trust lawyer’s job is to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row so that if you become incapacitated or die, your loved ones will now how to manage your estate and follow your wishes. Laws in Georgia vary from those found around the country, which is why you want to work with an attorney who is skilled in understanding your specific needs. One area that should be considered is your service providers.
“Service providers” covers a wide range of individuals involved in your life. Should you be unable to communicate with them, you want to ensure that your trustee, executor, guardian, or other responsible person is able to communicate with them on your behalf. Having them all listed in one place will make this job much more manageable.
This list should include all of the people or companies that you deal with when it comes to the maintenance of your home. If you are incapacitated, your home will need to continue to function in your absence, and your representative will need to be able to contact these people to make sure things keep running smoothly. In other cases, whether you are deceased or incapacitated, there are certain services that you may no longer need, and the person in charge needs to be able to contact the service providers and cancel with them.
Some examples of household providers that you will want to list might include:
• Computer support
• Food or water delivery
• House keepers
• Heating/Cooling system maintenance
• Heating oil delivery
• House sitters
• Pest control
• Pool or spa maintenance
• Vehicle maintenance
Basically, anything that you have performed on a regular basis should be noted, along with contact and payment information.
Medical Service Providers
You should also provide your Atlanta will and trust lawyer with contacts for your medical service providers. This information could be very valuable should you need medical attention but be unable to reach out to these providers on your own. Additionally, if you have standing appointments with these providers, it will be helpful to have them canceled so you don’t accrue charges for service you’re not using.
Some of the medical service providers you may want to include on your list are:
• Massage therapist
• Physical therapist
• Primary care physician
Personal Service Providers
There are other types of regular services that you may use, and you’ll want to include these as well for the same reasons already mentioned.
Some personal service providers to keep in mind for inclusion:
• Childcare provider
• Home care provider
• Meal preparation
Along with the contact information for these service providers, it’s a good idea to make notes about when they are expected, and you may even want to include service agreements and contracts. For example, if you have a standing arrangement to have your sprinkler system blown out each fall, make a note of that.
Your Atlanta will and trust lawyer may not include all of this information directly in your estate plan, but he or she will want to be able to make a note of where it can be located when the need arises.
It really does take a village sometimes ….We are happy to consult with your financial planner, accountant, or other professional to make sure you get the best estate plan possible. 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.
This is the third in a series of articles on what to expect when you work with your Atlanta, Georgia, 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.
In the previous two editions of this series, we looked at some of the items an estate planning lawyer in Atlanta GA will want you to consider in preparing for your incapacitation or death. These are some of the more typical items that you will want to highlight. In addition, of course, your attorney will work with you on how to manage your assets in your estate plan. There are several areas of consideration, some of which will include:
- Retirement Plans and Pensions: Should you pass away, your retirement plan or pension will pay out to your beneficiaries. To ensure that this happens the way you intend, you’ll want to work with your Atlanta estate planning lawyer to determine its value and how you envision it being used. Do you want the money to go directly to your spouse? Will it be used to fund some sort of trust for your children? Perhaps you want to leave it to a nonprofit organization? Each of these choices has different ramifications, and you will need to look into how your retirement plan is set up.
- Insurance: There are so many kinds of insurance policies, but the ones most often thought about during the estate planning process are life insurance and annuities. Again, you will want to determine the beneficiary or beneficiaries of your policy. It’s also a good idea to keep up to date on what your policy offers, as term life policies will expire at a certain age.
- Bank and Other Accounts: As with your retirement and insurance policies, you may choose to name a beneficiary on these accounts. On the other hand, you may choose to have someone who manages the funds for specific purposes. Your Atlanta estate planning lawyer will help you create a list of these accounts with directions on what should happen to them.
- Real Estate: From your personal residence to income property, you need to have a plan in place for what is to become of these assets after your death. There are a variety of tax implications that come with passing on real estate or even selling it, so an Atlanta estate planning lawyer will be able to help you develop a plan that will benefit your estate according to state laws.
- Taxes: As you likely know, there are a variety of taxes that come along with the inheritance process. You may not be aware, however, that there is still a need to pay taxes on assets after your death and before they are bequeathed. Your estate plan needs to be set up in a way that can provide for these taxes. Likewise, your regular income and other taxes will need to be paid up to your death, so having all of your current documents in order will help the executor of your estate to comply with Georgia state and federal laws.
So far, this series of estate planning articles has covered some distinct areas of planning. Our last piece will hold a few tips on other considerations that you may want to keep in mind when working with your estate planning lawyer in Atlanta, 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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