A trust is just one of the legal documents that Georgia residents should include in their estate plan. It is a legal agreement in which a trustee agrees to receive, safeguard and manage the assets provided by a settlor. The trustee also agrees to handle the assets in a manner that complies with the settlor's instructions and to properly distribute any income and principal from the trust.
Georgia residents may be tempted to create an estate plan on their own. While it may save time and money today, it may cause problems transferring assets or meeting other goals in the future. In many cases, estate planning errors cannot be remedied without court approval after a person dies. Therefore, beneficiaries may have to spend time and money obtaining what the deceased individual intended for them to have.
One of the many estate planning mistakes that Georgia residents should avoid is designating minors as direct beneficiaries. People under the age of 18 cannot receive assets from an estate directly. It will be necessary to appoint a guardian who can hold and maintain the assets on behalf of the minor. A custodian or trustee for minor beneficiaries can be named in a will in order to avoid time and costs of a guardianship.
Despite having a will or trust and other important estate planning documents in place, some people in Georgia may neglect to leave behind the passwords that allow loved ones to access online accounts and such hardware as phones and tablets. If the spouse who dies is the one who has primarily dealt with the finances and other practical issues, such as repairs, this can create additional difficulties for people at a vulnerable time.
When many people consider getting their end-of-life affairs in order, the issue of whether their will is up to date or it's finally time to make a will come to the forefront. While in some instances, the term 'will" is generically used for all of one's estate planning documents, many Georgia residents have a will and nothing else. Although a will may be legally effective at accomplishing a number of its maker's intentions, a trust can often provide broader and more expansive protections.
One of the most important aspects of estate planning in Georgia is ensuring that a will is completed and signed by all the necessary parties. Signing more than one copy of a will is possible. This may seem like a good idea if the creator wants multiple loved ones to have access to the will. However, estate planning professionals generally argue against this practice.
Sometimes, a person who has been appointed executor of a Georgia testator's will may face a challenge to the document. There is a limited time period in which to mount a challenge, but as long as that parameter is observed, the executor must then take a series of steps in response.
Many Georgia estate planners note the value that trusts bring to estate administration. A client working closely with an experienced estate planning attorney can realize multiple benefits from trust creation, including these:
Georgia residents are good at procrastinating when it comes to estate planning. After all, planning for one's death isn't the most pleasant thing to do. Some people dread it so much that they tell themselves lies in order to postpone the process. For instance, someone might convince him or herself that planning for his or her death will cause it to happen. Although everyone will die at some point, it isn't necessarily because they executed a will.
Some people in Georgia who are creating an estate plan might want to consider using a trust. A trust can offer a number of benefits, including protecting assets in case of a divorce or against creditors. Shares from a family business can be placed in a trust where they can provide income to beneficiaries without giving them voting rights. Instead, the trustee has voting rights, and this can prevent beneficiaries from voting only in their own self-interest.