Estate Planning Attorneys in Dalton, GA, Providing Families With Peace of Mind
Most individuals do not want to think about what will happen to their families after they are gone. It is unpleasant to consider what our family’s lives may be like after we pass away. Many individuals have the mistaken belief that their assets and other property will automatically be passed on to their relatives and next of kin. However, depending on your particular circumstances, which may not be the case, your family could have to pay a considerable amount of legal fees. At the same time, they will have to wait for your estate to be settled.
Proper estate planning ahead of time can significantly assist in protecting your loved ones after you pass away and assure that your final wishes are carried out. After you are gone, the last thing your family needs to worry about is legal issues related to the money or property you intended for them. Having your estate plan already prepared can give both you and your family the peace of mind that you need to enjoy your life and know that your family will be taken care of after you pass away.
What Happens if an Individual Dies Without a Will in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, if an individual dies without a will, their estate will be deemed “intestate.” The assets they leave behind will be distributed to the descendant’s heirs according to intestate succession. Intestate succession is the state of Georgia’s protocol for who is in line to inherit assets.
During the probate process, the court will appoint an administrator to ensure that all of the estate’s assets are distributed in accordance with intestate laws. If a surviving spouse or sole heir agrees, the state will grant them the legal authority to carry out the role of the estate administrator. However, the court may move to appoint an administrator to oversee the estate if there are multiple heirs.
The entire probate process can be lengthy and expensive depending on the nature and amount of assets that must be distributed to the proper heirs. One of the best ways to help your family avoid the time and expense of a lengthy probate process is to create a last will and testament that outlines your final wishes.
Can Probate Be Avoided in Georgia?
Probate in Georgia is a court-supervised legal process that oversees the distribution of a deceased individual’s estate. Generally, in most cases, the surviving spouse or another immediate family member will be given the legal authority to pay any debts or taxes owed by the estate as well as gather and distribute assets to the proper heirs.
One of the best ways to avoid probate in Georgia is to establish a revocable living trust. Establishing a trust allows you to place all your assets in the trust and name a beneficiary who will inherit the assets after your death. Another option is to make sure that you establish joint ownership of assets such as your home, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, or real estate property.
The state planning attorneys of The Cowan Law Firm, LLC are ready to advise you of the best options for your particular situation to assure that your assets and other items of value will go to your beneficiaries and heirs.
What is the Difference Between a Revocable and Irrevocable Trust?
Establishing a trust can be an excellent way to keep your assets safe and help your family members avoid probate after you pass away. Several options are available, but the two most popular are revocable or irrevocable trust.
A revocable trust can be altered or terminated at any time by the grantor, the individual who created the trust, as long as they are capable of doing so. In contrast, an irrevocable trust cannot be changed without obtaining a court order or the consent of all of the beneficiaries of the trust. Obviously, an irrevocable trust does not have the flexibility as that of a revocable trust. Nevertheless, an irrevocable trust is ideal for protecting assets from creditors or estate taxes.
The estate planning attorneys of The Cowan Law Firm, LLC, of Dalton, GA, can help you decide which trust is the correct option for you and your needs. We can review your individual situation and help create a trust that will benefit your loved ones after you pass away.
Do I Need to be Wealthy to Create an Estate Plan?
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be very wealthy or elderly to create an estate plan. Estate planning is an excellent resource that individuals may use to ensure that their families are provided for after their death. Contemplating life after we are gone is not pleasant for anyone to think about, but with proper planning, we can rest assured that our families will not have to endure months or even years of working through the probate process.
Our law firm offers a variety of different options to help with your estate planning needs, such as creating wills and trusts, as well as advising you of other options that you can do to protect your assets for your heirs. We will be happy to discuss your needs and address any concerns that you may have about protecting your family after you are gone.
Contact The Cowan Law Firm, LLC of Dalton, GA, by calling (706) 278-2099 to schedule a free consultation.
Probate isn’t always required in Georgia. It is necessary by law if the assets belonged solely to the deceased person with no named beneficiary or with the estate as the named beneficiary. If the assets were included in a revocable living trust, probate would not be necessary. Rather than provide multiple types of probate, the state of Georgia allows an estate to not go through probate as long as the heirs are in agreement with the distribution, if there was no will, and if the creditors agree to the plan for distribution.