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Cumming Georgia Estate Planning Law Blog

Misconceptions about wills and estate planning can cause problems

Estate planning is a smart way to plan for the future, but many in Georgia misunderstand various aspects of this process. Wills, trusts and other estate planning documents can allow a person to plan for his or her own health care in the future, as well as decide how to divide and distribute assets. It is also possible to outline plans for charitable giving, the care of a special needs loved one and much more. 

One of the most common misconceptions that people believe about the estate planning process is that it is something only necessary for the rich. In reality, people of all income levels can benefit from this type of protection and planning. People also often mistakenly believe that they do not need to do anything after their will is drafted. In reality, it's smart to regularly review and update estate plans after life changes, changes in tax laws and other circumstances. 

Retirement planning should include care planning as well

It's not always easy to make long-term plans. The future is unpredictable, and it can be complicated to plan for various different types of contingencies and scenarios. As part of retirement planning, a person would be wise to also include care planning as part of that process. Planning for a potential disability or long-term medical needs is a critical part of any solid retirement plan. 

Georgia families may find themselves at a loss in the event that a loved one experiences a medical emergency or needs long-term care. By including this as part of a retirement plan, a person can maintain more control over what happens. This can also shield loved ones from having to make difficult plans or come up with emergency funds to pay for health care. 

Revisiting wills and other estate planning documents

A person can make many estate planning mistakes that can lead to complications down the road, including failing to have a plan in place and failing to update a will after certain types of life changes. Life is ever-changing, and this means that, in a sense, wills and other estate planning documents are ever-changing as well. Significant life events often mean that it is wise for a Georgia reader to go back and assess where adjustments may be necessary.

One less-recognized reason for changing estate plans are changes in tax laws. If it has been a while since a person drafted his or her original plan, it may be necessary to look back and see how benefits, estate taxes and penalties have changed. Another common reason why it is necessary to go back and look at estate plans is when there is a death in the family, a divorce, a remarriage or new beneficiaries are born. 

Guardianship vs. conservatorship with your aging parent

As your parents get older, you may start to develop some concerns about their ability to make decisions. Individuals who suffer from dementia may spark an even greater worry in their loved ones, especially when you consider the number of significant choices one makes towards the end of his or her life.

In the state of Georgia, you do have the option of pursuing guardianship and conservatorship for your mother or father. These two terms sound similar, but they are actually quite different.

Wills and other estate planning steps for singles

Because of their marital status, single adults often overlook the importance of estate planning. Even without a spouse and kids, there are still many reasons why planning for the future is a smart step. Through wills and other documents, Georgia singles can plan for the type of care they may want and make other decisions that could be pertinent down the road. 

One of the smartest steps a person can take to start the estate planning process is to draft a will. This document ensures that a person has the final say over what will happen to his or her assets and money, but a person can benefit from even more protection. One way to get this is to draft a living will. Different from a regular will, a living will allows someone to decide on what type of health care he or she may want if unable to consent or express wishes.

Considerations for women when drafting wills and estate plans

The point of an estate plan is to have a plan in place that outlines what a person wants to happen to his or her estate after passing away. It can also include plans for medical care and support a person may need in case of a debilitating injury or illness in the future. Every person's needs are different, but when drafting wills and other estate planning documents, there are often differences between what men and women should consider.

For instance, women often live longer than men do. If the woman remarries or does not have her own estate plan in place, it can lead to financial complications in the future. She would be wise to consider planning for nursing home care and other needs she or her Georgia family may have. A strong estate plan can also protect the interests of the wife if she has to care for her husband or he needs long-term care.

Addressing valuable assets in wills and estate planning documents

It is not always easy to plan for the future and make decisions that could impact a family's financial future. However, estate planning is an important step, particularly for those who have valuable assets and other things they have specific plans for after their passing. Through carefully drafted wills and other estate planning measures, a person can ensure that his or wishes for specific assets are honored. 

One important step is to ensure that valuable assets are specifically mentioned in a will, as well as specific instructions regarding who should get it and how it should transfer from one person's possession to another. A person preparing an estate plan should try to carefully catalog and track these particularly important or valuable assets so that they do not become lost. Lost assets can cause complications for a Georgia family trying to settle a loved one's estate.

Medicaid planning requires knowledge of the system

Anyone approaching the age of 65 understands there are few options for paying for long-term care if he or she should need it. Unfortunately, the chances of needing long-term care are high. In fact, at age 65, one has a 70 percent chance of requiring this kind of support at some point in the future, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is why Medicaid planning is an essential part of preparing for one's golden years.

Unless one has significant savings or long-term care insurance, Medicaid is the only option for paying for nursing care as one ages. The laws in every state may vary, so seeking the advice of a Georgia attorney is a good way to obtain the most current and relevant information about long-term planning. However, the general rules for qualifying for Medicaid include a severe limitation on the amount of assets one may own. For many, this may mean giving away their assets or spending them down, but not within five years before applying for Medicaid.

Types of special-needs trusts available in Georgia

Taking care of someone with disabilities or special needs requires extensive consideration in certain cases. One of those instances is to ensure proper care when you or a primary caregiver is not around.

special-needs trust may be beneficial for such care. There are a few different options for you to consider.

Man sentenced in elder abuse case

Most people here in Georgia recognize how important it is to create a will to ensure that their final wishes are honored. However, many are unaware that a will is just one part of a complete estate plan. Estate planning can include a living will, directives for end-of-life care and/or a power of attorney. It is important that people communicate with family members to ensure that their estate plan is handled by a trustworthy party, whether that person is a family member or a designated professional. This is what one family is dealing with after a man was sentenced to two years in jail for charges relating to elder abuse of their older family member.

Authorities say that the convicted man defrauded a senior citizen after he attempted to assist the victim with finding a long-term care facility to live in. The victim was undergoing chemotherapy for stage 3 lymphoma and died almost a year ago. Two years prior to that, officials say that the man convinced the victim to sign the deed of his home over to him. They also allege that the man got the senior citizen to give him power of attorney, enabling the man to access the senior's finances.

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At Hodges Law Firm, we handle a wide range of legal issues for clients throughout the Atlanta area, including elder law, estate planning, probate, Medicaid planning and protection, asset protection, litigation, and business law and services. We are knowledgeable in the law and understand the real life implications of legal actions.