If you’re like most people, it can be difficult to imagine a time when your family members and loved ones must pick up the pieces and move on with life without you. However, making specific and legally enforceable preparations now for that time can give you peace of mind that they will be taken care of and that this difficult transition will be made as easy as possible for them. Estate planning – the process of getting your affairs in order and making your wishes known – begins with hiring the right Georgia estate planning attorney. Here are four reasons why you should work with one, rather than trying to create an estate plan on your own!
1 ) Working With A Georgia Estate Planning Attorney Allows You To Easily Update And Access Your Estate Documents
Estate planning involves a lot of paperwork. When you pass away, or if you become incapacitated, your family members will rely on these documents for direction. When you establish a relationship with a Georgia estate planning lawyer, you can be assured that your documents are kept safe and available to you anytime you might need to reference them or update them. They will also be available to your family members when the time comes for them to access them – your family won’t have to sort through your files and undergo that stress while they are grieving.
Most people will need to update their estate planning documents at one time or another for various reasons. Making an estate plan and never verifying that it’s current or making changes can cause problems when you die. For example, what if you make an estate plan with your spouse as the beneficiary and then end up getting a divorce before you die? Irrelevant or outdated estate plans can cause significant problems for your family members.
Life changes and circumstances that usually warrant a second look at your estate plan include:
- A change in your marital status through marriage, divorce, or death
- Starting a family through birth or adoption
- Inheriting a large sum of money
- Purchasing property or real estate
- Opening or closing a business
- Filing for bankruptcy
If you are unsure if a life change might necessitate a change in your estate plan, you can always check in with your attorney to find out for sure.
2 ) Working With A Georgia Estate Planning Attorney Ensures Your Estate Plan Is Compliant With Federal And State Laws
Many people are tempted to avoid the perceived cost of hiring a lawyer to draft their most important legal documents, such as wills and trusts. They think that they can do that on their own by following advice and downloading templates they find online, but estate plans must closely adhere to both federal and Georgia laws to be enforceable.
If there are stipulations in your estate plan that aren’t in compliance with any of these laws, the court will have no choice but to invalidate your wishes. An unenforceable estate plan is about as effective as not having one at all; it may even cause more problems for your family than if you didn’t have one. While DIY estate planning kits can offer some guidance on federal and state laws, they generally don’t provide real-time updates to laws that might impact the enforceability of your plan.
By working with an experienced Georgia estate planning attorney, you can ensure this won’t happen. Your attorney can also keep you abreast of any changes to the law and how it might impact your estate plan. This will allow you to make any necessary changes and update your estate plan with the law in real time.
3 ) Working With A Georgia Estate Planning Attorney Gives You A Professional Legal Resource On Your Side
Estate planning attorneys attend school for several years and must pass a rigorous state bar exam to practice law. In addition, they must complete continuing education to keep up with changes in their industry. Their level of professional knowledge and experience simply can’t compete with a DIY estate planning kit.
Working with a live attorney allows you to customize your estate plan in ways you might not have known were possible otherwise and can provide many benefits. Your attorney will:
- Know which areas of your estate plan require special language
- Help you legally finalize your documents, so they are enforceable from here on out
- Ensure that all of your desires are honored by Georgia courts
Estate planning attorneys assist with the proper, legal, and most beneficial execution of your desires for your assets and your family’s life after your death, including the following:
- Your desires for medical care, such as who should make decisions for you if you become incapacitated, if you want to be on life support, or if you want CPR performed
- What happens to your pets if you become incapacitated or after your passing
- Your wishes concerning your burial and funeral, which can help alleviate burdens and decisions for your grieving family members when you pass on
- The distribution of your property and assets, such as retirement accounts, bank accounts, and trust funds which can go to your family members, toward the care of your pets, specific organizations, or anyone of your choosing
- The allocation of specific gifts or property such as your grandmother’s fine china, your wedding ring, an art collection, or an heirloom which gives you the right to choose specific people to receive the property
4 ) Working With A Georgia Estate Planning Attorney Helps You & Your Family Understand Your Documents
Estate planning is a complex, heavily regulated endeavor. Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult for the average person to understand what their estate plan will actually do practically. They often don’t comprehend their options or the legalese involved, and their family members don’t either. Down the road, this can lead to conflict and other avoidable problems. For example, if you didn’t hire a lawyer, you may have believed (and led your children to believe) that they would receive a certain inheritance, when really your estate plan didn’t protect that inheritance and left it depleted, or gave one child more power over the inheritance than the others.
The good news is that a reputable estate planning attorney can act as sort of a translator between the legal jargon and layperson’s terms. They can explain the laws and documentation in ways you and your family can easily understand. Your lawyer is also available to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have along the way. With this level of knowledge and understanding, you can make the best-informed choices for your family when planning for the future.
Call An Experienced Georgia Estate Planning Attorney Today
With nearly three decades of experience, Georgia estate planning attorney Jeff Fouts of Fouts Law Group knows the road ahead. He wants to help you start thinking about preparing for the future, protecting everything and everyone you love, and preserving a lasting legacy! We can simplify the way forward and create an estate plan that will give you and your loved ones peace of mind. As a registered investment advisor and published author, Mr. Fouts has a thorough knowledge of Georgia estate planning law that can give you an advantage. His compassionate legal guidance will make estate planning as uncomplicated and stress-free as possible!
No one is promised tomorrow – call today to schedule a free consultation!