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Cumming Georgia Estate Planning Law Blog

A difficult medical diagnosis may have some considering wills

Receiving bad news about one's health can be a substantial setback. It can also cause Georgia residents to feel the need to get their affairs in order, including those relating to their end-of-life wishes. Wills and other estate planning documents can help parties ensure that those wishes are known ahead of time, even if the prognosis is not dire.

If an individual receives a diagnosis of cancer, the information relating to the disease itself, how aggressive it is and other similar information could determine how urgent the need for estate planning is. Some parties may not need to get their affairs in order immediately if their prognoses indicate years of life left. However, the diagnosis could, nonetheless, spur the need to ensure that estate plans have been created.

Medicaid planning: Lawmakers considering options for seniors

People in their golden years often have increased needs for care. Though many can rely on their savings or on adult children for long-term care, there are many seniors in Georgia who do not have those options. They often have to rely on Medicaid to ensure that their needs are met. However, many state lawmakers are worried that the aging population may result in a strain on state budgets as society tries to find a way to care for increased numbers of senior citizens. Medicaid planning will be a vital part of dealing with this potential problem.

State representative John LaHood is concerned that since the current generation of Americans aged 65 and older had fewer children than their ancestors, there will be less means to care for that age group. He is worried that the problem will only compound itself over time, though he acknowledges the need for action right now. He pushed the Georgia House of Representatives to create a study committee to examine the issue and find a solution.

Blended families can benefit from wills, trusts and other steps

When two Georgia families join together through marriage, it can be a legally and financially complex process. It's not easy to join two lives together, and simply changing names and having accounts adjusted is not enough. Blended families will find it beneficial to take certain estate planning steps as well, including making sure wills are updated and trusts are drafted. 

In a blended family, existing wills should be updated. This may mean adding new beneficiaries or removing a former spouse's name from the documents. In some cases, a person who did not have a will may want to move forward with this process. While the future is unpredictable, a person can use a will to maintain a measure of control over his or her assets and property.

How to pass down your lake home to your heirs

As you bask on the deck of your Lake Lanier lake home this summer, you may start to wonder if your family will continue to enjoy it once you are gone. If you wish to keep your lake house in your family so future generations can use it, it is essential to include it in your estate plan

Failure to ensure a transfer of ownership of a lake home can lead to complications and family disagreements. Here are some top factors to consider when deciding how to pass down your vacation home. 

Security for the future through wills and estate planning tools

Thinking about the future is not easy. This is especially true if it involves making choices regarding medical care and what will happen to a person's estate after he or she passes away. Through specific estate planning tools, such as thoughtfully drafted wills, a person can make plans that give him or her confidence for the future. 

Many adults in Georgia do not believe the estate planning process is necessary for them. They think that since they are not wealthy or do not own extensive property, they do not need plans or more than a basic will. In reality, a strong estate plan can do much more than just outline how property is to be distributed. In fact, through careful planning, parents of minors can even designate people to care for minor children, should the parents unexpectedly pass away.

Care planning can ease the grief of family at a difficult time

The baby-boomer generation is quickly approaching retirement age in Georgia and there are certain issues that should be addressed as one embarks on care planning for one's own, or a loved one's, golden years. A central component of care planning should be an estate plan that takes a comprehensive approach to ensuring that a person's final wishes are successfully carried out. This is not necessarily limited to the disbursement of one's assets but can also encompass end-of-life plans and medical directives should one become physically or mentally incapacitated.

While wills are the documents people are often most familiar with, trusts are becoming more widely used in estate plans. A trust allows an estate to avoid probate, which can be costly and time-consuming. A trust also allows for an estate to be settled privately where a will going through probate court is a public document that is accessible to anyone.

The importance of proper care planning for everyone

It's not always easy to plan for the future, especially when it comes to making decisions that involve future medical needs. Georgia readers know there are certain steps they can take to maintain control over what happens to their estate after they pass away, but there are other steps readers would be wise to consider. Having an estate plan is important, but care planning is also a crucial step for adults. This allows for a person to outline and plan for potential health care and physical needs in the future. 

Care planning involves more than just setting aside money for a nursing home. Through his or her plan, a person can designate a person to act on his or her behalf in case of incapacitation. Advanced directives are important documents in this process, allowing a person to specify what type of care he or she would want in the future. A person can also refuse specific medical interventions, such as intubation.

New law may affect Medicaid planning

Seniors represent the fastest growing age group in Georgia and elsewhere as the baby boomer generation enters retirement years. Many in the population qualify for Medicaid. A new law that was recently signed by the governor of Georgia may impact how Medicaid planning is done.

The new law contains two waivers that could affect who in Georgia qualifies for Medicaid. One waiver could make it easier for seniors to qualify for Medicaid. One concern is that it will cause more people to enter into nursing homes that are already crowded and understaffed. There is also a concern that the waiver may make it more difficult for children and non-senior adults to qualify for Medicaid coverage.

Wills vs. trusts: Which one is right for you?

A lot of people hear about how they need to create a last will and testament while still of sound mind. However, wills are not right for everyone. There are many other estate planning documents available, and you may benefit more from a living trust. You can get different types of trusts, but they all work to protect your assets. 

No one document is inherently better than the other. It all comes down to what type of assets you own and how you wish to divide everything upon your passing. Before you continue estate planning, you should learn the basic differences between the two documents, so you know which one is best for your situation. 

Properly titled assets can make wills more effecitve

It's not always easy to make important decisions for the future, especially those regarding health care and finances. Through wills, trusts and other estate planning tools, a Georgia reader can look to the future with confidence. However, every person who has an existing estate plan would be wise to review his or her documents to ensure that important assets are properly titled. 

An asset that is not properly titled can result in that asset ending up with someone or somewhere other than intended. What many people do not understand is that wills only pertain to assets that are part of the probated estate. Assets not included in this category can be a bit more difficult, which is why it's important for a person to be intentional and specific about certain assets, such as a life insurance payout. 

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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.