With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a number of Georgia residents will find that they no longer have to worry about estate taxes. However, there are multiple estate plan aspects not related to taxes that they should re-examine to ensure a successful allocation of funds.
People in Georgia who want to bequeath money or other assets to their children need to consider their recipients' ability to handle money and other financial needs. Bequeathing money outright, even to an adult child who manages money well, could result in undesired results like creditors seizing cash or a divorce settlement sending part of the inheritance to a former spouse. Trusts offer an alternative vehicle for transferring wealth, and their provisions can protect assets in many situations.
When people in Georgia create an estate plan, they should make sure that their beneficiaries do not have debts that could cause them to lose an inheritance. Before distributing an inheritance, an executor is obligated to perform a child support search and find out if an heir has a child support judgment. The only higher priority over a lien of this nature is the estate's tax debts.
Georgia residents can implement certain estate planning strategies to take advantage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The legislation allows taxpayers to transfer an extraordinary sum of money without being assessed federal generation-skipping transfer, gift or estate taxes.
Georgia residents and others may be impacted by the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In addition to making changes to the personal and business tax code, it also affected estate tax law. For instance, individuals are allowed a federal estate tax exemption of $11.18 million. Married couples may be able to combine their individual exemptions for a total of $22.36 million.
Estate planning is important for any Georgia resident who has assets. An estate is anything that a person owned at the time of his or her death. If a person had debts or other liabilities, they would also be part of an estate. When an individual passes on, whatever is left over after liabilities have been accounted for is distributed to beneficiaries.
Many people living in Georgia have already completed their estate plans, which could include wills and advance directives. What they may not have done, however, is actually explained to their adult children what these documents contain.
With the rise in popularity and value of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, new questions have arisen for Georgia residents who want to get involved with these forms of digital investments. Backed up by blockchain technology and often characterized by anonymity, cryptocurrencies can hold great financial value. As they are personal property, it can be important to account for them during estate planning.
More so than perhaps any other kind of collection, an art collection is a reflection of its curator. His or her tastes, quirks, and, perhaps above all else, level of wealth are on display with the collected items themselves. Georgia is home to some impressive hoards of artistic gold—sometimes literally—but collectors here may make the same mistake as others: failing to do proper estate planning for the disposition of their art assets after death.
Ideally, Georgia residents will maintain their estate plans much like they would maintain their homes and cars. This means regularly reviewing them to ensure that it still meets their needs. Reviews should be done after major life events like a marriage or divorce. In light of recent tax changes, it may be a good idea for married couples to ask about their joint exemption. Married couples are now entitled to a $22.4 million federal estate tax exemption.