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Cumming Georgia Estate Planning Law Blog

Some people have wills, but they may not have estate plans

There is significant benefit in planning for the future, even if a person does not have significant wealth or valuable assets. One of the most important aspects of taking this step is that it will provide security for loved ones and beneficiaries, but unfortunately, even people who do this may not have all of the protection they need. Many Georgia readers may have wills, but they may not have complete or up-to-date estate plans. 

Wills are the foundation of any good estate plan. They allow a person to outline his or her wishes for what will happen to personal property, and they can also allow a person to decide what type of health care he or she may want in case of incapacitation. They can provide a significant amount of protection and security, but for many people, they need more than only a will to have a complete estate plan that adequately addresses all of their needs.

Couples without kids still benefit from wills and other tools

A couple without children may not see the urgency or importance of estate planning, but in reality, this is important for everyone, regardless of whether there are kids. Through wills and other types of estate planning tools, it's possible to have a say over what happens to assets, property and savings. This is important for couples of all ages and income levels. 

If a person dies without a will and his or her spouse is no longer living, the court will decide what happens to that person's estate. Even if there are no children, it is likely that a Georgia resident has a preference regarding who will inherit his or her property. Additionally, estate planning tools also allow a person to decide what type of medical care is to be provided in the case of incapacitation or serious illness.

Wills and estate planning for family pets

There are certain steps that Georgia reader can take to protect his or her family. Drafting wills and developing a thorough estate plan is a way that a person can be certain that he or she has a say over what happens to property and assets in the future. Typically, estate plans specifically address the distribution of assets, but a person can also make plans that will outline the care of family pets.

For some families, pets are treated and loved like they are family members. There can be a lot of confusion and uncertainty about what to do with a beloved pet after an owner dies. Through certain estate planning steps, an owner can ensure that his or her animal goes to the right person and has the right care he or she needs. This can provide people with peace of mind and security regarding important members of the family.

3 signs of undue influence in an aging loved one’s estate plan

If you have an aging mother or father, encouraging your loved one to draft a comprehensive estate plan makes sense. After all, well-written estate plans often minimize disputes. They also honor your parent’s wishes. Of course, sometimes, someone exerts undue influence over the estate planning process. 

According to the National Center for State Courts, undue influence occurs when someone exploits trust, dependence or fear to control another’s decision-making or assets. Still, uncovering undue influence over elderly individuals can be challenging. Here are three warning signs: 

Why are people reluctant to write wills?

It's never easy to think about the future, especially when it comes to one's passing or incapacitation. Because of this difficulty and perhaps the assumption that estate planning is not necessary, Georgia readers may delay the process of writing their wills and other documents. In reality, not having a will can make things very difficult for loved ones and beneficiaries. 

Statistics indicate that as many as 60% of people die without a will. Younger people are more likely to delay the estate planning process because they assume their age, health status and perhaps income level makes this process unnecessary. This is a step that is beneficial for people of any wealth status, education level and age. Having even a basic will and testament can allow a person to decide what will happen to his or her wealth and assets after he or she passes, making things much simpler for beneficiaries. 

Disputes and handwritten wills complicating singer's estate

Drafting an estate plan can be a complicated endeavor. It often involves considering difficult interpersonal relationships, dealing with personal property and deciding who should get what assets. The process of drafting a clear, thoughtful estate plan can be especially difficult for a celebrity. Georgia readers can see that the importance of a clear estate plan is illustrated by the estate of Aretha Franklin, where multiple handwritten wills and disputing beneficiaries have resulted in lengthy court procedures. 

At this point, one of Ms. Franklin's son has asked the court to name him as the executor of the estate. He claims that the person currently handling this responsibility is not handling things in the right way. The executor has also negotiated business deals on behalf of the estate, something that the son alleges was not in that person's power to do.

An old president's example for drafting wills

George Washington was a great example in many areas, even in estate planning, and his influence is still relevant today. The first president provided an excellent example of the importance of a thorough will and being very specific when drafting an estate plan. Washington used his plan as a way to establish his legacy, maintain control over what happened to his estate and protect his family. Georgia readers can do the same with their wills and plans.

Estate planning is not an easy process. This is something that even Washington acknowledged. He mentioned that he took hours to deliberate and think about the choices he made. Drafting a will can be challenging, which is why it is helpful to think long term and consider what will work best for beneficiaries. Like Washington's will, a person can make his or her estate plan suit individual needs. 

Care planning can make certain life transitions easier

Georgia families who are taking care of an elderly loved one understand how difficult and expensive it can be to provide support and care to an aging individual. These families have first-hand experience with the importance of care planning. While it is not easy to think about these difficult life transitions, it can make things easier for loved ones and ease the stress associated with many end-of-life decisions.

Through advance care directives and other documents, a person can decide what type of care he or she wants at the end of life. This allows a person to have a say over what happens to his or her body, what type of medical treatments are wanted and who will make decisions on the individual's behalf. This can eliminate the need for a loved one to make difficult and potentially life-altering choices for loved ones who cannot speak for themselves.

Care planning for individuals with chronic illnesses

When a loved one has a chronic illness, it can impact the members of a Georgia family in significant ways. One of the most important steps to make sure that a sick family member has everything he or she needs is to move forward with the care planning process. Thinking ahead and planning for the future can reduce financial and legal complications down the road. 

Chronic illnesses are rather common. Some conditions are treatable, and people are able to live long and fulfilling lives while having a sickness. However, other types of conditions are not easily manageable, and they can be life-threatening or debilitating. A person will find it beneficial to have certain types of estate planning documents in place or to modify existing documents to suit the needs brought about by a newly diagnosed chronic illness.

Estate planning as a new parent

Having a child is a huge milestone for you and your spouse. It is exciting and intimidating all at once. Parenting brings many new opportunities, challenges and responsibilities in various factors of your life. As you embark on this new adventure, it is important not to neglect the importance of estate planning.

Even if you already have an estate plan, the birth of your child warrants a review and an update. You may also need to bring new documents into the fold. Here are some estate planning essentials to consider as a new parent.

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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.