Estate planning is a bit like working out a budget for your household expenses or planning for the proverbial rainy day. If you’d like for your children or grandchildren to have an inheritance, or you want to clearly communicate certain directives about your medical care and finances in the event you are incapacitated, you may do so by consulting the estate planning attorneys at Miles Patterson Hansford Tallant, LLC.
It takes a modest amount of time and expense, but the benefits of estate planning are immeasurable. Most people are unaware of just how important it is until a loved one passes away without a will—and the estate goes into probate.
Or you may be faced with the difficult decisions involved in caring for that loved one who failed to adequately plan for their own frailty. Georgia law handles these issues in several ways - from "Advance Directives" to more formal Guardianships and Conservatorships. At Miles Patterson Hansford Tallant we have the experience, compassion, and capability to advise you on the proper course to take and to guide you through every step of protecting your loved ones, from age two to ninety-two.
What happens when there is no estate plan?
When someone dies without a will, the courts take care of the administration of his or her estate. An estate representative will inventory all assets, pay outstanding debts, pay taxes, and then distribute anything left over to the heirs.
It sounds simple enough, however, this scenario is a breeding ground for conflict among family members. If anyone is unhappy about the distribution of possessions, they may enter into probate litigation. However, probate litigation is almost always avoidable with good estate planning.
Protect Your Family With an Ounce of Prevention
Many people work for a lifetime to ensure there's something to pass on to their children when they die. That's just one aspect of estate planning, however. It is important to also leave instructions concerning your children if you should die while they are still young.
Consider the following:
While still in their late 20s, Gary and Pam consult an attorney and draw up a will. They have four children and mortgaged house in the suburbs.
While their children are in middle school and high school, Gary and Pam are killed in an interstate crash. In accordance with Gary and Pam's prior arrangements, Pam's sister and brother-and-law take in all four children; the family home is sold and the money easily covers the funeral, and the remainder - plus life insurance money - is divided into college funds for the kids. Pam's daughters inherit her grand piano and their grandmother's first-edition books. Gary's sons inherit his favorite rare film camera and their grandfather's military medals.
Charlie and Andrea are so busy with jobs and four kids that they never get around to drawing up a will.
When Charlie and Andrea are killed in a weekend speedboat accident, their friends are shocked and unsure of what to do. The kids go to four different foster homes while the state searches for someone to care for them. The bank forecloses on the house. Charlie's brother and sister-in-law inventory the house for valuables, which are sold to pay for the funeral, and the sentimental things are lost in the chaos.
Don't end up like Charlie and Andrea - consult with one of our estate planning attorneys to protect your loved ones now.
Georgia Wills - Trusts - Living Wills
Your attorney will assess your needs and create the right combination of documents to protect your loved ones in the darkest hours of their lives. Those documents may include:
- A simple will - Specifies your wishes concerning your family, possessions, or business in the event of your death
- A living will - Specifies your wishes about certain medical procedures in the event you are incapacitated
- Power of Attorney - Specifies someone to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so