Some people in Georgia may delay their estate planning because the subject can be a little scary. After all, estate planning requires a person to face two unpleasant topics: death and taxes. While estate planning may not be fun, a person who dies with no estate plan may end up leaving their family members with obligations that are much scarier than writing a detailed will.
When a person dies without a will, the person’s family members will have to go through probate court. The probate process can take a long time, cost a lot of money and lead to disputes among family members. If an estate goes into probate, the court will determine how assets are divided based on rigid state laws, not the wishes of the deceased person. The court will also choose an executor if the deceased person never named one in a will.
A person who wants to leave their family members with clear instructions about who gets what should first take the time to inventory their belongings. It’s important to track down all of the paperwork associated with real estate, cars, retirement plans, insurance policies and investments. While a person is making an inventory of their assets, they should also make sure that all of the beneficiary designations on their financial accounts reflect their current wishes.
An estate planning attorney may be able to help an individual inventory all of their assets and write a detailed will. In some cases, an attorney might also help a person protect some of their assets from estate taxes by placing them in a trust. If a person does not have an estate executor, an attorney may help the person choose an institutional executor.