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.

What to Expect from Estate Planning in Atlanta, Part IV

What to Expect from Estate Planning in Atlanta, Part IV

happy family in park 3

 

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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Atlanta Estate Planning Attorney Asks: Do You Know How to Manage Your Inheritance?

Atlanta Estate Planning Attorney Asks: Do You Know How to Manage Your Inheritance?

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Receiving an inheritance is both an honor and a responsibility, and Atlanta estate planning attorneys constantly see individuals who are just not ready to take that on appropriately. Unlike items of sentimental value, such as jewelry or family heirlooms, a financial inheritance was likely meant to be used toward your own monetary goals. The temptation to simply spend away an inheritance as “bonus” money can be strong, but there are a whole lot of very practical means by which to manage the funds for your own future.

When you receive an inheritance, you should look at how it fits into your overall financial plan. Are you saving for a particular purchase, working toward paying off debt, or building a retirement fund for yourself? These are all potential uses for the money which has been left to you.  You should also be aware that inheriting the funds may have tax implications. Your Atlanta estate planning attorney will be able to guide you when it comes to ways of reinvesting or living off of the inheritance in order to minimize the amount of taxes you will need to pay.

The types of inheritance you receive can certainly vary, with stocks, bonds, bank accounts, and insurance benefits all being possibilities. The different types of sources and dispersal of funds may be governed by certain rules or laws. For example, many people are surprised when their Atlanta trusts and estates attorney tells them they can have a limited amount of time to withdraw funds from an inherited retirement account, like a 401(k), 403 (b), or and IRA. The rules and regulations won’t be the same for every type of account, but if you don’t find out what they are, you can end up paying a lot of penalties and fines out of the money you’ve inherited.

There may also be times when you feel you don’t need the money as much as another beneficiary and are willing to forego your share. This might be for altruistic reasons or simply to protect your own tax situation.  In this case, you can work with your Atlanta estate planning attorney to properly disclaim your inheritance. Doing something along these lines can allow the money to “flow” through you and to another beneficiary, possibly even one of your own children.

When it comes to managing your inheritance, there can be many complications to work through, and one of the best ways to minimize confusion is to work with a qualified and experienced Atlanta estates attorney. Remember, the type of inheritance, your future goals, your tax situation, and even whether or not you “need” the inheritance will all come into play when determining what is the best route for you to take.

Our attorneys are ready to answer your questions and assist you with the implementation of your financial goals. To schedule a complimentary Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session with the mention of this article, simply call our office at 770-425-6060 or email us at steve@georgiafamilylaw.com.

Including Your Service Providers In Your Estate Plan | Atlanta Will and Trust Lawyers

Including Your Service Providers In Your Estate Plan | Atlanta Will and Trust Lawyers

Atlanta Estate Planning Takes a Team

 

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.

Household Providers

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

• Gardening

• House keepers

• Heating/Cooling system maintenance

• Heating oil delivery

• House sitters

• Pest control

• Pool or spa maintenance

• Utilities

• 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:

• Chiropractor

• Counselor

• Dentist

• Massage therapist

• Ophthalmologist

• Physical therapist

• Primary care physician

• Psychiatrist

• Specialists

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

• Hairdresser

• Home care provider

• Meal preparation

• Transportation

• Tutors

Additional Information

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.

What to Expect from Estate Planning In Atlanta, Part III

What to Expect from Estate Planning In Atlanta, Part III

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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