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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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