Working with an Atlanta Estate Planning Attorney to Secure Your Children’s Financial Future

Working with an Atlanta Estate Planning Attorney to Secure Your Children’s Financial Future


Working with an Atlanta Estate Planning Attorney to Secure Your Children’s Financial FutureOne of the most important aspects of estate planning in Atlanta is the overall effect it will have on an individual or couple’s children.  Whether these are minor children who will need a guardian or adult children who are already on their own, the need for financial planning exists.  A good estate planning attorney in Atlanta can help you determine what needs there are and how best to go about meeting them.  It’s possible that creating a revocable living trust will be the right path for you.

When working with an Atlanta estate planning attorney to determine if you should create a living trust for your children, you will need to determine the answers to several imperative questions.  The first one most people ask is “how much?”  How much money will you be leaving for your children?  If you are leaving a considerable amount (say more than $100,000), or if you have very specific intentions for the money, then your Atlanta estate planning lawyer may advise you to put the money into a trust.

The trust itself can give you the opportunity to really outline how you want the money to be used.  This can be helpful in ensuring that your children have the opportunities that you intend to provide.  Money may be set aside for the purpose of a college education, with stipulations that it is not to be used for other purposes (like a new car or a wedding, for example).  For minor children, this type of control may seem even more important, as the money in the trust can be designated for basic necessities such as food, medical care, and clothing.  This discourages a guardian from mishandling the funds.

Another question to ask regarding a trust has to do with when you want the funds to be dispersed.  Some people choose to defer the funds for a set number of years or until their child reach a specific age.  This can be advantageous because very young people may not yet possess the maturity and life experience to handle a large sum of money well.  Access to a trust at a young age can also impede the child’s drive to pursue his or her own pursuits.  An estate planning attorney can offer guidance in how other parents have chosen to deal with these concerns.

There are a lot of considerations to be made during the Atlanta estate planning process.  A good Atlanta estate planning lawyer will help to identify which issues are the most pertinent for your particular situation and will then offer suggestions and solutions to any obstacles or concerns you may be facing.  Estate planning professionals understand the importance of using wills, trusts, and other tools in order to provide financial security for the next generation.

Michael Jackson’s Will Filed with Court Today

As a Marietta and Atlanta GA estate planning attorney and blogger on estate planning topics for several years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know many similar estate planning lawyers throughout the country. One of them, my colleague David Shulman of the South Florida Estate Planning Law Blog, has posted an excellent, concise and very timely discussion of, and a link to, the Last Will and Testament of Michael Jackson.

As I have posted before on my Georgia Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning and Probate Blog, we can show you a will after someone's death because it is a public record. Unlike many, however, as David points out, Mr. Jackson in this Will appears to have done it right: he had a trust (a private document) set up to hold his assets and this will transferred any property not otherwise ownedd by the trust but which was owned in the singer's individual name, to the trust, to be administered and distributed in accordance with the instructions left in the trust document. David's post continues below.


Here is the link to Michael Jackson’s Last Will and Testament.

The will is what’s known as a “pour-over” will.  In other words, instead of the will itself disposing of all of his assets directly, it instead transfers all of his assets to the “MICHAEL JACKSON FAMILY TRUST” as amended and restated on March 22, 2002.  The terms of his revocable trust will govern the disposition of his property.  I assume that most of the assets will remain in trust for his children and their children, with significant distributions to other family members and charities.

However, I don’t know.  I’m only assuming.

A will is public and is filed with the court.  A trust is not.  There is no obligation to disclose the terms of the trust to the public.  Certain beneficiaries are entitled to copies of the trust however, and it’s possible that one of them might leak it at some later point in time.

The executors of the will [. . .] are John Branca, John McClain, and Barry Siegel.  Their primary responsibility will be to transfer the estate’s assets, that is the assets that were not already owned by the trust, to the trust.  The successor trustee (whoever that might be) is then responsible for managing the trust estate.

He did nominate his mother, Katherine Jackson as the guardians of his minor children.  In the event of the death, inability, or refusal to act of Katherine Jackson, he nominates, believe it or not, Diana Ross!

Those are the only details now.  It’s a short five page will.  Unless there is a subsequent will, or the trust somehow becomes public, this is all the information that will be public.

I’m actually impressed.  It seems that as irresponsible of a person as he was, he might have actually done this correctly.  [Compare this to the outcome of] Anna Nicole Smith.

SOURCE FOR POST: South Florida Estate Planning Law Blog

Do Your College Age Children Have Healthcare Directives? DO YOU?

Dreamstime_1583806 We should all protect our families and our assets with legal documents like wills and trusts, but what are our essential needs and what can we do on our own to save on legal fees? Family financial and legal expert, Alexis Martin Neely, is the author of "Wear Clean Underwear: A Fast, Fun, Friendly and Essential Guide to Legal Planning," and shared some valuable advice in an appearance this week on View From the Bay on KGO in San Francisco.

Alexis is the founder of the estate planning law firm of Martin Neely & Associates in Southern California, as well as the Family Wealth Planning Institute, a nationwide cadre of Personal Family Lawyers guiding parents to make the best legal decisions throughout life and being there for loved ones afterward.

She says everyone over 18 needs an Advance Health Care Directive & Durable Power of Attorney. If you have assets, you should also have a Will & a Living Trust. If you have minor children, you should also have a Kids Protection Plan.

She raised a great point that many parents don’t think about (I didn’t!);  both of my older kids are in college  – go watch the show to find out the important legal documents that all young adults need to have in place.

During the segment Alexis shares what legal documents you must have in place for you, and your kids! At the end, listen as she explains, what you should look for and the questions you should ask when searching for the perfect attorney to handle your family planning for a lifetime.

If you have college age kids, like I do, this is a VERY TIMELY and IMPORTANT topic. Make sure BOTH you and your adult kids have these important documents in place to avoid problems in the event they are injured or incapacitated.

Before you send them back to school, make sure these documents are in place!

If you have prepared these documents in the past, be sure to have them reviewed for compliance with HIPAA laws! Our office can help you with those needs, as well as the Kids Protection Plan, Wills and Living Trusts. If we can help you with these things, please contact us at 770.425.6060 or

Should You Make a Run on the Bank? How the Indy Mac Bank Collapse Affects You

Alexis_4 The following article is by author and Family Wealth Planning Institute founder Alexis Martin Neely:

First of all, let me start by stating this as loudly and clearly as I possibly can. DO NOT PANIC!

If you are an IndyMac depositor, there is no need for you to line up at the bank as many others have done and demand the return of your money. This is a pure waste of your time and only contributes to the unnecessary drama and fear-mongering happening out there.

IndyMac bank has been put under the control of the federal government and deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (or FDIC).You should read this from the FDIC to IndyMac depositors to determine what you will need to do to submit a claim for your funds.

As long as you had less than $100,000 in the bank, all of your deposits should be fully covered by the FDIC insurance. In some cases, like if you have a properly drafted and funding living trust, you may qualify for even more insurance coverage.

This is exactly the type of situation where you want to contact your Personal Family  Lawyer™ to make sure you’ve done everything right to maximize the protection of your assets.

In fact, Personal Family  Lawyers™ throughout the country are providing trust reviews for a limited number of non-customers at no charge. Contact your local Personal Family  Lawyer™  to determine whether you can get on the calendar for a free FDIC-coverage review of your estate plan.

There’s no need for you to start withdrawing deposits from other banking institutions either. Your mattress is NOT the safest place for your money.

Here’s what you should do to make sure your money is as safe as possible.

1. Use the FDIC online calculator to determine the amount of insurance coverage on your accounts. If you need help with this (it is a bit complicated), contact your personal lawyer for guidance.
2. Maximize your FDIC insurance coverage! A properly drafted and funded trust can get you a whole lot more insurance coverage than an account owned in your name.
3. If you have more than $100,000 in cash accounts, talk with your personal lawyer about how you can protect the excess in case your bank fails too.

More than anything, do not panic. Be proactive and get the information you need to be smart. And, don’t act from fear.


In Georgia, contact Stephen M. Worrall, your neighborhood Personal Family  Lawyer™ in Marietta and metropolitan Atlanta, at 770.425.6060 or email him at