While it is common for many Georgia residents to immediately think of assets when considering an estate plan, it is important to remember that the plan will include members of the family as well. Loved ones can play various roles in a plan, and it would be an error for those starting the estate planning process to overlook the specific ways their family could participate in the plan. As a result, taking the time to think about the roles of family members is wise.
It may surprise some individuals to know that an estate plan can include more than just instructions on who gets what pieces of property. While that is certainly an important aspect to planning, parties can also name guardians for their children, state who they want to act on their behalf if they become incapacitated, decide who should handle the closing of the estate and more. Because appointing people to these roles is not something to take lightly, making a list from the beginning may be a good place to start.
Some ways to ensure that parties do not overlook the importance of their loved ones during planning could include:
- Making a list of everyone a person wants to include in his or her estate plan, which could include a spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, close friends and other applicable parties
- Making a shorter list of candidates for important roles, such as power of attorney agent, executor, guardian and more
- Thinking about what each person should receive, which could include an amount of funds from the estate, a specific asset or other property
- Discussing the goals, intended appointments and asset distribution with those family members to ensure everyone understands
Though estate planning is certainly a personal journey, Georgia residents may find it useful to include their loved ones in that journey. In the end, the decisions are ultimately up to the individual, but having everyone on the same page could prevent confusion or contention later. Parties who are ready to start making appointments and creating formal documents may want to consider obtaining professional legal assistance.