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Protecting beneficiaries in regard to wills and trusts

When a Georgia resident sits down to prepare his or her estate plan, passing down wealth to loved ones is often the top priority. In some cases, however, beneficiaries could actually be harmed by their inheritance. Part of the estate planning process should include examining how wills and trusts could have unintended negative consequences for loved ones.

For example, many parents want to hand down assets to their adult children through a will. The intention is to make life easier for their loved ones by providing financial support. In certain cases, however, access to a significant amount of money can be a negative outcome. For example, the opioid epidemic has placed many Americans in a great deal of danger.

Individuals struggling with addiction should probably not have unrestricted access to an inheritance. In such cases, a trust would be a far better option. A trust allows an individual to create guidelines for the conditions under which an inheritance is received. As an example, it's possible to give the trustee the ability to make decisions regarding disbursements to beneficiaries. Money could be used to cover the cost of rehab treatment or other health services, while avoiding ready access to large amounts of cash.

This issue underscores the importance of choosing a trusted individual to serve as a trustee. For those in Georgia who prefer wills, an estate planning attorney can explain the pros and cons of each option, and can also help structure a will that protects beneficiaries, even if only from themselves. At the end of the day, caring for loved ones is the reason Georgia residents create wills and trusts, and proper planning can help ensure that outcome is achieved.

Source: kiplinger.com, "10 Surprising (or Surprisingly Common) Estate Planning Mistakes", T. Eric Reich, May 22, 2018

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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.