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Essential estate planning steps for parents and heirs

Discussions of inheritance between parents and children can often be uncomfortable, generally because it inherently involves a dialogue concerning a parent's death. However, in order to ensure that possessions are distributed to intended heirs, benefactor's wishes are carried out properly and the family remains financially sound, these discussions need to occur. Those in Georgia may be interested in a few steps to take in order to ensure that legal documents protect against protracted legal battles, especially if unscrupulous agents enter into the picture.

One of the first suggestions is for families to organize emergency information. This can include lists of phone numbers and physicians, but should also include information about lawyers, financial advisors, storage rentals, bank accounts and other digital assets. Secondly, though this may be one of the first things that people consider, creating a will and perhaps a trust can ensure that wishes and desires are spelled out as clearly as possible in case of sudden death or incapacitation. During this process, the attorney assisting in this process will most likely suggest designating a durable power of attorney, who will be authorized to make legal decisions. Without this, courts or a party designated by the courts may end up making legal decisions.

Additionally, preparing an advance medical directive will ensure that your end-of-life decisions are carried out as desired. This will also keep your loved ones from having to make these decisions on your behalf during what is an extremely emotional time. Having frank discussions with your children or significant others about financial and other affairs before something happens can help ensure plans run as smoothly as possible in the event of an unexpected health issue.

These conversations are never easy. However, most in Georgia who want to determine and record their plans for the future discuss their situations with an attorney who is experienced in the creation of wills and other end-of-life directives. An attorney can assist in discussions with heirs, and help create the necessary documents to ensure a person's wishes are carried out.

Source:, "Essential Estate Planning for You and Your Parents", Terri Hull and Jon Hull, Oct. 12, 2016

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