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How to Structure an Estate Plan

Creating a well-structured estate plan is essential to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are taken care of. Estate planning matters because it allows you to decide how your assets will be distributed after your passing. It can also help you minimize taxes and avoid legal complications. Without a proper plan, the laws of your state will dictate how your assets are distributed, which may not align with your wishes.

Note: If you want to brush up on the basics of Georgia estate planning (Wills, Probate, Power of Attorney, Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts and Advanced Healthcare Directives) take a look at these free ebooks.

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The Last Will and Testament

The Last Will and Testament is a legal document specifying who receives your assets and who will be the guardian of your children if necessary.

The Revocable Living Trust

Consider establishing a Revocable Living Trust. A Revocable Living Trust allows you to manage and distribute assets, even after your passing.

The Power of Attorney

You should also establish a Power of Attorney. A power of attorney allows you to designate someone to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf if you're unable.

Naming Beneficiaries

One of the biggest areas of mistakes I see is in establishing beneficiaries. Name beneficiaries where possible to ensure your assets like life insurance and retirement accounts go to the right individuals.

Naming a Guardian

If you have minor children, you need to consider a Guardian for those children. Decide who will care for your minor children if you can't.

The Advance Directive for Health Care

Finally, you should have an Advance Directive for Health Care. This is a sister document to the Power of Attorney and it outlines your medical care preferences in case you cannot make decisions.

How to create your estate plan

The First thing to do is to Identify Your Assets. This may seem easy, but you should list all of your assets, including real estate, investments, and personal belongings.

Second, as we talked about earlier that you should name beneficiaries when you can on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. But, this step involves determining who the beneficiaries of your estate are going to be. You should determine who will inherit your assets and in what proportions.

Third, it's time to choose an Executor or a Successor Trustee. This is the person who will be handling your affairs after you pass away. They are called an Executor on the Will side and a Successor Trustee for those of you with a Revocable Living Trust. You should select someone you trust to carry out your wishes.

Now, it's time to draft all of these documents. You should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to create your will, trusts, and other necessary documents. Don't try to do these things yourself. Trying to do these things yourself is like trying to pull your own tooth. You might be able to do it, but you'll be much happier if you let a professional do it.

Finally, make sure you review and edit your estate plan as necessary. The biggest mistake I see clients make is they put their estate plan into a drawer and let 10 years go by. So much changes in that time that the estate plan doesn't do what you originally intended for it to do. Make sure you regularly review and update your estate plan as circumstances change.

Professional Guidance

Remember, it's crucial to seek professional guidance. Estate planning can be complex, and an experienced estate planning attorney can help you navigate the process, ensuring your plan is legally sound and tax-efficient.

Estate planning is a vital part of securing your family's financial future and ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Don't procrastinate, start working on your estate plan today to provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Our Farrell Law Firm estate planning attorney and staff can assist with creating a wide range of trusts designed uniquely to serve your needs. The Farrell Law Firm represents clients in Marietta, East Cobb, Kennesaw, Smyrna, Atlanta, Roswell, Rome, Athens, Columbus, Macon, and across the state of Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas.

Questions About Georgia Trusts? Contact Lawyer John Farrell at (678) 809-4922 or Connect Online.

At the Farrell Law Firm, PC, we represent Georgia residents in Marietta, Kennesaw, Acworth, Atlanta, Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Austell, Powder Springs, Clarkdale, Ball Ground, Canton, Holly Springs, Lebanon, Cartersville, Calhoun, Waleska, Woodstock, Alpharetta, Fairburn, Palmetto, Red Oak, Roswell, Dallas, Hiram, Dunwoody, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Cumming, Cobb County, Cherokee County, Bartow County, Fulton County, Douglas County, Gwinnett County, and Paulding County.