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Estate Planning

Marietta Estate Planning Lawyer Serving All of Metro Atlanta and Georgia

Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. It is for anyone who has people they love and things they care about. Every adult in Georgia needs, at a minimum the following legal documents as part of a comprehensive estate plan:

  1. A will
  2. An advance directive for health care
  3. A financial power of attorney

In your will, you name an executor, the person assigned to carry out your wishes, and describe who you want to give your property to after your death. If you have minor children, your will also names the people you want to raise your children to adulthood, or their guardians. If you want the money you leave behind for your children to go to them at an age later than when they become adults at age 18, you should also consider creating either a testamentary trust in your will, or having a revocable living trusts instead.

Many people think that a will avoids probate, but it does not. A will must go through the probate process to pass the property to the people you have name, after all of your creditors are notified of your death and are paid out of your assets.

An advance directive for health care allows you to make end of life decisions formerly set out in a living will, so you can express what sort of medical care you want to receive or do not want to receive in case you are ever in a persistent vegetative state or have a terminal illness. It also allows you to name a health care agent to carry out or make decisions about your medical care if you cannot communicate your wishes at the time.

A financial power of attorney allows you to name an agent called an attorney-in-fact to manage your financial affairs, either immediately as a matter of convenience or spring into existence in the future in the event of your incapacity.

Experienced and Trustworthy Cobb County Wills And Trust Attorney

There are only three choices in estate planning:

  1. The state's plan, also called the “do nothing” plan or intestacy.
  2. Will-based planning
  3. Living trust-based planning

Intestacy follows a statutory “one size fits all” plan. The personal representative, referred to here as the administrator, is often required to post a bond.

A will-based plan follows the wishes and directions of the testator. The personal representative under a will is called the executor and the will typically waives any requirement of a bond .

A living trust-based plan avoids probate as long as all of the assets are properly funded or transferred to the trust.