Roswell Estate Planning Lawyers Providing Clients With Tools and Strategies to Preserve Their Legacy
Estate planning is an important step everyone should consider taking. It does not matter if you have only a handful of assets or have a high net worth and a complex estate—planning for the future is not about the size of your assets, it is about ensuring your loved ones will have what they need when you are no longer around to provide for them. It is also about planning for your retirement years and unforeseen events, such as incapacitation, ensuring you receive proper care without compromising the integrity of your estate.
What Should I Include in My Estate Plans to Make Sure My Wishes Are Respected?
We recommend that our clients have a living will, healthcare directive, and power of attorney. These documents work together to express your wishes for the type of medical treatment you wish to receive, if you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated. It also assigns someone—usually a spouse or close relative—to speak on your behalf and make healthcare and financial decisions for you.
Your estate plans should also include a will, and in some cases, a living trust. These work in different ways to determine who your beneficiaries are and in what manner your assets should be distributed to them. A will is only activated after you die, while a trust needs to be funded and actively managed during your lifetime. All of these documents can work together to protect your wishes while you are still alive but unable to speak for yourself (in case of incapacitation, for example), as well as after your death.
What Happens if You Die Without a Will in Georgia?
If you die without a will, your estate will be subject to Georgia’s intestate laws. While that sounds intimidating, it means the state will follow a set of guidelines to identify your beneficiaries and will determine how your assets will be divided. Assets that are jointly owned or have a named beneficiary do not need to go through intestate probate.
The decedent’s assets will be divided in different ways, depending on whether the person was married and had any children. If the decedent was married with children, the surviving spouse receives ⅓ of the assets, and the remainder is divided among the children. If there were no children, the surviving spouse receives all of the assets. If the deceased person had children but was not married, then the children will receive all of the assets. Surviving parents will receive the assets, if the decedent had no spouse or children. In case the decedent had no spouse, descendants or surviving parents, then any living siblings will share the assets. The court will make an effort to keep going down the family tree until a next-of-kin can be identified as a living beneficiary. It is always best to have a will drafted out to spare your loved ones from a complicated and time-consuming intestate probate process.
How Can My Estate Plans Protect My Assets from Medicaid?
Another important advantage of having a complete set of estate plans in place is the ability to plan ahead for long-term care for yourself or a spouse. Without a plan, it is hard to know whether you will have the financial ability to pay for rehabilitation or nursing home care. Poor planning means Medicaid repayments can wipe out your life savings or worse—require your surviving loved ones to sell the family home. If you or a loved one have enough reason to believe you will require long-term nursing home care, it is best not to wait and start planning now.
How Can Oren Ross & Associates Help Me?
It is in your best interest to consult an Estate Planning Attorney in Atlanta to maximize your eligibility for government benefits while reducing the financial liability on your estate, so you can be sure you will receive the care you need and still have enough assets left to pass on to your heirs. Oren Ross & Associates can help you and your family with every aspect of estate planning—from wills and trusts to long-term care planning and special needs planning. Contact us at (678) 250-4281 to get started.