Tips for creating an estate plan

Georgia residents who do not have an estate plan may want to consider creating one. Estate plans are not just for wealthy people nor are they only about distributing assets to heirs. They are also about being prepared in case of incapacity, among other things.

A living will and a power of attorney may both be important estate planning documents. The former deals with a person's wishes for end-of-life care, and the latter deals with financial matters when the person is still alive but unable to make those decisions due to being incapacitated. More than one person might be named as agent under a power of attorney. For example, a person might want to choose a family member and an attorney or two family members. Another consideration might be long-term care insurance so that medical or nursing home costs do not deplete a person's estate.

People might also consider whether a trust would work better for their purposes than a will. In addition to avoiding the costs and time of probate, a trust may help shield an estate from taxes. Trusts have become increasingly popular although they may not be the right choice in every situation.

Estate planning can be a complex process, and the help of an attorney might be advisable. Estate planning also requires precise legal language, and people may not know what kind of options are available to them before they speak with an attorney. For example, if they want to leave assets to a relative who is irresponsible with money, they can create a trust that only provides money to the beneficiary at certain intervals or after certain milestones have been reached. People might also want to discuss their family dynamics with the attorney to decide how they might best structure their estate plan.

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