When it comes to Estate Planning, our goal is to make sure our clients consider all their options, make the best decisions for themselves and their loved ones, and create a comprehensive plan that will suit their needs and help them find peace of mind. What do we mean by peace of mind?
For parents, it means finding peace in knowing that your children will have a plan in place to guide them through your final wishes. It will make the process of finalizing your estate less complicated. A comprehensive estate plan has the potential of avoiding probate – a process that can be long and expensive.
For parents of underaged children, an estate plan can establish future guardianship of your children, if you should pass before your children become adults.
For parents with disabled children, an estate plan can provide you with peace of mind in knowing that your special needs child will have a care plan in place for when you are no longer there to help.
For older adults, a comprehensive estate plan provides control and guidance. Control over how your estate is managed when you are no longer able to care for yourself. Guidance about your wishes to those who step in to manage your finances and healthcare, when you are no longer able to make decision on your own.
For married couples and singles, a comprehensive estate plan provides authority and privacy. It grants your spouse or a person you trust the power to make financial and healthcare decisions when you are unable to. It allows you to plan for funeral arrangements, pet guardianship, and asset distribution. A comprehensive estate plan can ensure that your assets are kept private during the settling of the estate.
Essential Tools in Estate Planning
Revocable Living Trust
A Revocable Living Trust is created while you are alive and enables you to control how and when your assets are distributed. A trust allows you to assign a trusted individual to control your assets, within the trust, when you are no longer able to.
A trust can ensure that your family will not endure a long and expensive probate process.
In Georgia, when a Will is probated, it happens in full view of the public. Meaning anyone has access to the details of the case through public records.
Trusts allow you to keep private who the beneficiaries are and the scale of your estate.
Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust allows you to outline how an inheritance should be distributed and establishes a care plan for a child or other beneficiary with special needs. It’s a plan that stays in place even after a child has turned 18 years old. It can guarantee the care of your special needs loved one and still allow them to retain certain government benefits.
Will and Pourover Will
A Will outlines how you want your legacy to be handled. It allows you to designate beneficiaries for your assets and assign guardians for your children under 18. You can also provide directions for funeral and burial arrangements.
Just like you can assign guardians for your underage kids in a Will, you can do the same for your pet(s). You can go a step further by creating a trust which will allow you to, not only assign a guardian for your pet, but include money to be used for their welfare as well.
A Pourover Will is created for those individuals with Trusts. At its most basic, a Pourover Will “pours” all assets that are not already in your trust, into the trust when you pass. This allows your assets to be fully protected by the living trust you have a in place.
Financial Power of Attorney
A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to assign someone you trust to make financial decisions on your behalf while you are still alive, but unable to make those decisions yourself.
In Georgia, a Power of Attorney influences who is assigned as your guardian/conservator, allowing a potential ward to control who can make decisions on their behalf.
Advance Directive for Health Care and HIPAA Authorization
An Advance Directive for Health Care allows you to assign a trusted individual to make medical decisions on your behalf, if you can’t. It also allows you to state your end-of-life preferences.
A HIPAA Authorization allows that trusted person to access your medical records; knowing your medical history enables them to make informed decisions for you.
Read about estate planning for our furry loved ones at Kiplinger