Revocable trusts are often an important part of estate plans in Georgia because, among other advantages, they avoid the cost, publicity and delay of the probate process. During the life of the person who makes the trust, called the settlor, it allows for the estate to be managed with or without a third party. When the settlor dies, a revocable trust can act as a substitute for a will by providing direction as to the disposition of property.
People in Georgia should consider family dynamics carefully during the estate planning process. This includes thinking ahead as to what they would prefer to happen if a child divorces and remarries. For example, if this occurs, assets left to the child could end up going to that child's stepchildren. A trust could prevent this from happening.
Georgia residents can use a power of attorney to give a trusted person or entity the authority to make financial decisions on their behalf should become unexpectedly incapacitated. If there is no power of attorney in place, their family will have to involve the courts, which can be costly, time-consuming and burdensome during a time at which they are likely to be emotionally strained.
It sometimes seems like a minor point to name the beneficiary when people in Georgia are setting up their individual retirement accounts. While individuals may not think it's important in the moment, failing to name a beneficiary or naming the wrong one is one of the biggest estate planning mistakes a person can make. The reason is that the family of the IRA owner can go through unnecessary stress or face unnecessary costs when there are beneficiary mistakes.
Procrastination often results when people in Georgia think about end-of-life planning. Concerns about how family members will react to final wishes about the distribution of an estate also encourage the temptation to delay writing wills or setting up trusts. A survey of 130 financial advisers found that 77 percent of them considered the navigation of family dynamics to be the hardest part about estate planning.
In the modern world, more and more assets are becoming digitized. From photo albums and record collections to stocks and cryptocurrencies, estate plans need to account for the digital sphere if they are going to meet the goals of families in Georgia. Managing digital assets in an estate plan can be challenging for a few reasons. Not only can they be hard to find, but they may require a password or some type of digital signature to access. Ownership rights are also not always clearly defined.
Some Georgia residents may not realize that estate and financial planning go hand in hand. For example, many may believe that estate planning only makes sense if someone has financial assets to leave behind. These individuals may opt to engage in personal financial planning long before outlining their estates or making end-of-life decisions.
Georgia residents often delay the necessary process of creating a will. Either due to uncertainty regarding beneficiaries, general procrastination or an unwillingness to confront one's mortality, doing what should be done often remains undone. When estate owners finally realize the importance of having a will in place, they will need to consider the importance of choosing the right executor.
Poor estate planning can often lead to unintended consequences for loved ones, including family conflicts. One of the first steps a Georgia estate owner can take in order to make this less likely is choosing the right executor.
Anyone in Georgia not aware of the many potential benefits of being proactive with estate planning can learn a lesson from the Queen of Soul. Soon after Aretha Franklin passed away after losing her battle with pancreatic cancer, it was reported that she left no will or trust in place to help determine what will happen to her estimated $80 million estate. All four of the late singer's sons have since stepped up as interested parties.