Three Marietta Georgia Estate Planning Myths: True or False

Three Marietta Georgia Estate Planning Myths: True or False

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Marietta Georgia estate planning lawyers eat, sleep, and breathe estate planning and see pretty much every kind of situation unfold. Clearly, individuals who have taken the time to create a solid estate plan nearly always fare better than those who do not. Still, there are a whole lot of myths and misunderstandings floating around that stop people from making the choice to protect their futures with an estate planning lawyer’s assistance.

In an effort to help as many people as possible, it is incredibly important to tackle these myths head-on and to debunk those that just aren’t true.

T or F:  Estate plans are just for those with lots of assets.

The answer is false. So many people end up unknowingly damaging their estates and hurting their heirs because they just don’t think they have “enough stuff” to justify an estate plan. This myth absolutely needs to be debunked!  As long as you own something, there will be a legal process in order to determine what to do with it after you die. This process (probate) is not only long and drawn out, but it also costs money! That money comes from the estate itself, meaning that those precious few assets you wanted to pass on could actually end up being sold in order to pay for probate and taxes. Fortunately, working with an estate planning lawyer ahead of time allows you the opportunity to protect your assets using whatever tools are appropriate for your situation.

T or F:  You don’t need an estate plan as long as your family knows your wishes.

The answer is false. There are a couple of problems that Marietta GA estate planning lawyers encounter with this line of thinking.  First, and probably most importantly, is that just because you and/or your family wants things to happen in a certain way, there’s no guarantee they will. Instead of your loved ones following your wishes, they will be forced to follow the laws of the state—even if these go completely against what you wanted. Additionally, everyone experiences grief differently, and even though your child or other loved one knows your preferences, he or she may find ways to subvert them for their own gain. The best way to avoid both of these kinds of drama is to work with an estate planning lawyer in Georgia who knows how to ensure that things go the way you want as a matter of law.

T or F:  Trust funds are for more than passing on money.

The answer is true. While we may have certain ideas about trust funds as a result of watching too many movies, a whole lot of people aren’t clear on what they can really do. For example, your Marietta Georgia estate planning attorney can help you set up a trust in order to limit the taxes your estate (and heirs) will have to pay later. They also provide you with a big say in how your heirs are able to use the money—do you want them to have free rein, to pay for an education, or to give the money to charity? These are just some of the ways trusts are often used.

Even if you don’t have a ton of assets, a skilled Marietta estate planning lawyer can help you create a roadmap that will be followed by both the courts and those you’ve left behind. From avoiding probate and excessive taxes to ensuring that your grandkids go to college, working with an estate planning lawyer in Marietta is the first step in protecting what you hold dear.


 

Want to learn more about estate planning myths? Did you know that when it comes to estate planning, there are 5 RIDICULOUS myths that could cause your plan to crumble and fall apart when your family needs it the most. Whether you already have an estate plan or you have ZERO documents in place, this report will help you identify common myths and mistakes so that you can FIX any problems, make the right decisions and properly safeguard the people and things you love.

BEFORE YOU GO ONE STEP FURTHER WITH YOUR PLANNING…. Download this free special report HERE.

An Atlanta Estates Attorney’s Advice Regarding Your Home

An Atlanta Estates Attorney’s Advice Regarding Your Home

An Atlanta Estates Attorney’s Advice Regarding Your HomeIt is clear to estates attorneys in Atlanta that the most valuable asset for many local residents is their homes.  First of all, there is no way to put a price on the emotional, historical, and personal value of your home.  From house shopping to paying the mortgage every month to having a safe place to live during your retirement, no dollar amount can be added up on a calculator.  That said, in these time of uncertainty, it’s more critical than ever to make sure the most valuable asset you own stays protected.

Revocable Trusts

A powerful tool that is commonly used for this purpose is the revocable trust.  This is created while you are still living and allows you to make changes.  The revocable trust gives you and your home a number of protections during your lifetime but also creates provisions for when you pass away.  For example, if you have created a revocable trust, once you die, it becomes unchangeable (“irrevocable”), ensuring that your wishes are carried out.  Also significant is the fact that it keeps your house out of the Fulton County or Cobb County probate process, saving money and the risk of the courts choosing to do something other than you would have liked.

Revocable trusts are relatively easy to set up with an estate attorney in Atlanta.  The cost varies, of course, but putting together all of the legal documentation usually costs less than a few thousand dollars and saves many times that much for the estate.  They are also very flexible, which means that you can have a lot of say in what becomes of the home you’ve treasured.

For example, you may wish to leave the property directly to a certain heir or group of heirs who will then be responsible for the costs associated with keeping and running the home.  On the other hand, you may choose to incorporate funding for the upkeep of the home.  Some people even choose to leave their home as a legacy to a certain organization for various purposes or to a group of family members to use as a vacation residence.

Options Provision for Your Revocable Trust

Another option that Atlanta estate attorneys see in practice is when a specific person is given the option to buy the home.  If this person declines, then the next potential family member is given the option.  The grantor can name as many people as he or she likes or can choose to have the home sold and the proceeds given to the charity of his or her choice.  When a family member exercises this option, however, it is typical for the home to be purchased at fair market value.

A good estate attorney in Atlanta will be able to help you create a revocable trust that gives you access to your home throughout your lifetime while setting up what will happen to it after your death.  By doing so, you may be able to avoid certain taxes which would apply, not to mention avoiding the significant costs associated with probate in Georgia.