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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.

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