estate planning Archives

What a successor trustee does for an estate

It isn't uncommon for Georgia residents to name successor trustees. When an individual either dies or becomes incapacitated, the successor trustee may be called upon to administer the trust. A successor trustee may need to obtain a letter from a physician that proves a living person is no longer able to manage his or her affairs. If the settlor has died, the new trustee will need to obtain a death certificate before assuming authority over the trust.

What to know about wills and trusts

There are many key differences between a will and a trust that a Georgia resident should know about. A will allows for assets to be transferred after a person passes away. It may also stipulate that other events take place after an individual passes. Wills are generally subject to probate, which is a public process in which they are verified and accepted by a judge. As the language of the document is available to the public, any interested party can learn more about a deceased person's financial situation.

There are two ways to fund a living trust

Living trusts can be effective as estate planning instruments and as property management or tax reduction tools. In order to have value, though, a Georgia living trust must be funded with assets. It can be somewhat complicated to transfer assets into a living trust. Generally speaking, there are two ways to do it: via a title transfer during life or via a pour-over will after death.

"Knives Out" film reflects real estate planning challenges

People in Georgia have been enjoying the hit film "Knives Out," featuring well-known stars and a fun mystery plot. At the same time, the film has raised questions for many about estate planning, as the plot of the film revolves around the death of an elderly man who changed his will shortly before. While the film is entirely fictional, some of the concepts raised by the characters involve real issues that can affect estate planning for everyone. In "Knives Out," one dramatic scene involves the dead patriarch's will being read out by an estate attorney; in real life, there is no "reading of the will." Instead, the document is presented to a probate court.

Two-thirds of Americans do not have health care directives

A study performed in 2017 revealed that about two-thirds of Americans are missing an important estate planning document. Georgia residents may be interested in learning about a health care directive and why it is so important that individuals have one.

Multiple trusts aren't always worth having

In Georgia and most other states, it is generally not possible to create more than one will at a time. When a second will is created, the first one is usually invalidated. However, it is possible to have more than one trust at a time, but individuals must decide if it is necessary to have multiple trusts. Technically, a trust is simply amended whenever an individual decides to make changes to it.

Estate plans that disinherit spouses or children

Most Georgia residents who put an estate plan into place do so to ensure that their loved ones will be provided for when they pass away, but this is not always the case. Not all family relationships are warm and loving, and there are situations where individuals would prefer to pass their assets to charitable organizations or friends rather than their spouses and children.

What to consider when making an estate plan

Georgia residents and others may ask an attorney or another professional for help creating an estate plan. However, it is critical that they understand the details of the plan well enough to explain to others. The structure of a plan will depend on a variety of factors unique to the person who is creating it. Those who have life insurance policies or other assets that come with beneficiary designations should review those designations regularly.

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