People in Georgia who are creating an estate plan may not think they need anything more than a will. However, there are several types of assets that are passed down using a beneficiary designation and not a will. Among those are annuities, life insurance policies, accounts that are payable or transferable on death, and IRAs.
Beneficiary designations should be reviewed after major family events to be certain they remain current. However, a form beneficiary designation might not be sufficient for an IRA. The lack of succession planning could create family problems. Furthermore, there are other possibilities for the IRA besides simply passing the asset down to a family member that can create wealth across generations.
People are not required to use the standard beneficiary designation form. It is possible to create a custom one, and this can be as detailed as the will. It may address the issue of contingent beneficiaries and plans for any number of scenarios that could arise.
One reason people might want to work with an attorney on estate planning is that the attorney may able to explain any aspects of the process with which they are unfamiliar. For example, in addition to not taking beneficiary designations into account, they might not have considered planning in case of becoming incapacitated. Documents such as living wills and powers of attorney may be needed for this type of planning. Discussing both plans for end-of-life care and the estate plan itself with loved ones can also be helpful. This helps prepare relatives and friends for how assets will be distributed and may help them understand the rationale behind it. This may also reduce the likelihood of post-death conflict between family members. All documents should be reviewed regularly as assets and family situations change.