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Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer

Atlanta is one of the largest cities in the nation and has long been hailed as the economic and cultural center of the South. Located mostly in Fulton County (spilling over just a bit into DeKalb), the city itself is home to nearly 475,000 people. However, the entire metropolitan area is home to more than 5.7 million people, making it the ninth-largest metropolis in the United States.

Atlanta estate planning lawyer signing paperwork

Visitors and locals alike can find nearly anything they need in Atlanta, from historic sites to arts and entertainment to excellent neighborhoods in which to raise a family. Whether you’re a transplant to Atlanta or a born-and-raised native, making sure your future is secure is paramount. Fouts Law Group is here to help you do just that. Our Atlanta estate planning lawyers can help you create a will, protect your assets and much more.

Estate planning law is as ever-changing as the Buckhead skyline, and our attorneys adapt with it. Together, we can create a plan to protect your future for years to come. Download our FREE estate planning worksheet and give us a call today at (678) 242-8344 to get started.

No Estate Too Big or Small

It’s a popular misconception that you only need to protect your assets if you have a great amount of wealth. The truth is, anything you want passed down to future generations should be listed in a will. It could be something as small as heirloom jewelry or as big as a seven-digit bank account. No matter what comprises your estate, our experienced attorneys can help you create a will or trust to protect it.

It’s also never too early to begin protecting — and growing — your wealth. Creating a will early in your career can ensure you can still take care of your family, should the worst happen. Our affiliated sister firm Retirement Planning Specialists, LLC can help you grow your wealth by assisting in the selection of investment accounts and retirement plans. Together, we can help ensure your assets are protected now and for years to come.

Types of Estate Plans

It’s not exactly shocking to discover that the majority of people in the country don’t have a plan in place for their assets upon their passing, but it’s disheartening. People don’t like to think about their death and planning for how their money, real estate and other holdings will be disbursed after their demise since it can seem frightening and stressful.

As Atlanta estate planning attorneys, we know that the turmoil a family can experience if there is no plan in place is often more stressful. We also know that with online products that allow people to create these documents themselves aren’t always what they are cut out to be. Estate planning is a complex process that is best undertaken with the assistance of an expert.

In essence, one of the worst mistakes people make when attempting to create an estate plan on their own is choosing a product that is wrong for them or doesn’t completely meet their needs. Here are the five general types of plans you have to choose from.

1. Spend It All

This isn’t as much of a plan as it is a way of life. People who utilize this strategy are the type that think “you can’t take it with you.” Maybe they don’t have children. Perhaps there is no family to leave anything to. The basis of this plan is to spend every last dollar. If we are being realistic, no one ever does this. People are afraid of running out of money and rightly so.

It certainly sounds like an excellent way to leave this world — having fun right up until the last minute and spending everything you have without thought. Fun isn’t reality though, and it would take an incredibly intricate plan to be able to spend your very last dollar on your very last day.

2. Dying Intestate

Think of this one as a “term” rather than a “plan.” Dying intestate means that you pass away and have no plan in place at all. Here’s what you need to know: If you didn’t take the time to create an estate plan, Georgia is more than happy to create one for you.

There is very little doubt that you don’t want the government to decide how your assets will be divided and who will be responsible for paying what taxes.

3. Simple Will

A simple will is common among married persons. It’s fairly basic and easy to create. Everything that belongs to you is passed on to your spouse when you die.

When your spouse passes away, everything is passed onto the children, if you have any.

4. Revocable Living Trust

In most cases, a revocable living trust is set up in a similar way to a simple will. You leave everything to your spouse and then to your children. People often choose revocable living trusts because they believe probate will be avoided.

Like any plan, there are drawbacks to a revocable living trust — aside from not necessarily avoiding probate. Let’s look at an example:

You have adult children who don’t get along. They’ve not spoken to one another in years due to bitter animosity. You leave half of your estate to one and half to the other. They both believe they deserve more. Your children will have longer to contest the trust than they would have had to contest a simple will. While this certainly won’t happen in every case, it is something to consider.

5. Comprehensive Estate Plan

Your estate consists of more than what is in your bank account. It includes all of the property you own upon your death: real estate, stocks, securities, bank accounts, insurance policies, and personal property. Some people believe that they won’t need to worry about what will happen to all of these things while they are young, but we never know what life will throw at us. It’s never too early, or too late, to speak with an estate planning lawyer about creating a plan.

Here is what a comprehensive estate plan can do for you:

  • Determine which family members you wish to name as beneficiaries.
  • Ensure that your property is transferred as soon as possible to those people upon your death.
  • Reduce the amount of taxes your beneficiaries are required to pay or will be paid out of your estate before it is divided.
  • Avoid probate by putting certain planning devices into place.
  • Determine what you would like to happen at the end of your life.
  • Pay for funeral and burial expenses.

Putting a Priority on Your Health

Protecting your assets is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s just as important to have a plan in place should you ever become incapacitated. In this sort of situation, it person who has power of attorney will make important decisions on your behalf. These decisions include health care, finances and other issues. Fouts Law Group can help you create the right documentation so you know your wishes will be followed, even if you can’t express them at the time.

Our attorneys can also assist in planning for other life events, such as moving into a nursing home. Though Medicaid will help pay for senior care, improperly filed paperwork and other problems could force you to pay out of pocket for nursing home living. We can help you create a plan to find the right nursing home for your needs and make sure you get the most from Medicaid assistance when the time comes.

At Fouts Law Group, our estate planning attorneys in Atlanta can help you create a multi-faceted plan to protect your assets and your health in nearly any circumstance. Call us today at (678) 242-8344 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Absolutely. Some people think they can get by without a will, simply because they don’t think they have enough assets to actually make a will worthwhile. The fact is, though, that people who die without wills leave behind estates that are considered intestate. That leaves those people with no way to exercise any control over how assets are distributed. In addition, not making out a will could deprive you of a vital tool that can be used to name a guardian for any minor children you leave behind. You’ll also be waiving your opportunity to name your own estate executor.
Intestate estates are simply those estates where there is no will to manage distribution of assets. In such an instance, the Georgia intestate laws come into play, and determine the formula used to determine which state-recognized heirs receive a set portion of your estate. The important thing to note here is that you will lose out on your right to have a say in who gets your estate assets.
That depends. If your will complies with the execution requirements found in Georgia state law, then that will document is perfectly valid in Georgia. Naturally, that means the will must have been properly signed and the signing was witnessed by two witnesses. However, it is important to understand that it also depends on how the will was written. If your Iowa will document makes liberal use of references to that Iowa’s state laws, for example, that could complicate issues. One way to prevent problems arising from an out-of-state will is to consult with a Georgia estate planning attorney to ensure that your plan documents are all able to accomplish your goals.
Probate might be one of the scariest words in the English language – but it shouldn’t be. The fact is that probate is an important part of settling estates in the modern era. Probate court is necessary for identifying assets when you die, locating creditors, paying valid outstanding bills that you might have left behind, and distributing assets in accordance with your express wishes or state law (in cases where no will was found). In addition, probate court provides a means for validating the will – thus providing an important safeguard against inheritance fraud and other nefarious actions.
Not alone. As a general rule, assets are subject to probate whenever there is no other legal means for them to change ownership after death. Thus, bank accounts are subject to probate if there is no transfer-on-death provision in the account that allows it to transfer ownership when you die. Other assets are evaluated in the same way. That, of course, means that a life insurance policy that has named beneficiaries does not need to be probated since the payout is already designated for a specific person.
That’s up to you, of course – but they can be extremely helpful for a wide variety of goals. Still, you should understand why you want a trust before you decide to get one. If you just want a trust to avoid probate – and that is one of the most common reasons people cite these days, then you may want to consult with an attorney and review whether or not you even need to worry about probate. In many instances, small estates can be resolved without any probate court involvement.
There are many instances, however, in which a trust can be beneficial. If you have children from another marriage in the past, a trust can help to prevent complications with a will when you die. And, of course, if you have substantial assets, different types of trusts can provide benefits ranging from asset protection to effective distribution of assets and even Medicaid planning.
Yes. While you should have at least a basic will in place – and may want a trust as well, those documents won’t resolve all of your problems. If you think that long-term care might be in your future, then your estate planning should incorporate elements of elder law planning as well, with things like Medicaid planning to ensure that you can pay for that care when you need it. You should also be concerned about possible incapacity in the future.
Get your financial power of attorney and health care power of attorney in order so that you have someone ready to make monetary and health decisions about you if you ever lose the ability to do so on your own. Consider transfer-on-death provisions for various accounts and properties to limit the assets subject to probate. Take stock of everything in your estate and review your plan at least once a year.
That’s the easiest question of all, and one that we’re glad you asked! The Fouts Law Group, LLC is always available to help Georgia residents with their most pressing questions about estate planning. We do more than just answer those questions, however. Our experts can evaluate your current financial state, review with you your goals and dreams, and help you develop powerful and effective estate plan strategies that can help you reach your objectives. With our assistance, you can enjoy a plan that enables you to leave behind the legacy you’ve always dreamed of providing for your loved ones. To learn more, call us at (678) 242-8344 or contact us online today.

Jeff Fouts

Here when you need help most

Yesterday’s estate planning services are designed for a world that no longer exists. Presently, we are living longer and our institutions, costs, and laws that dictate what will happen to you, your money and your family are vastly different from what they once were.

From financial planning and asset protection, health issues, or even helping a loved one maintain control of their life, Jeff Fouts creates solutions designed to hold up in court today and the road ahead.

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Practice Areas

Asset Protection

Assistance with the protection of personal and business wealth.

Estate Planning Service

Estate Planning service to clients who care about there legacy.

Financial Planning

Financial planning help at all phases of personal wealth building.

InCapacity Planning

Advice in understanding what is involved in a incapacity planning.

Probate

Provide legal assistance during the process of probate.

Special Needs Planning

Represents caregivers and guardians of individuals with disabilities.

Tax Planning

Help with financial plan,asset protection ,incapacity plan, etc.

Trust Administration

Fouts Law Group,LLC provide assistance with medical planning.

Hear what some of our happy clients have to say

We are very satisfied with this company and their personnel. Very, very professional.
Alice H., August 18, 2016

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Jeff Fouts creates solutions designed to hold
up in court today and the road ahead.

(678) 242-8344