Estate planning. The words alone frighten some people, while others may think it’s just for the very wealthy. The truth is that estate planning is important and applicable to all people, particularly families with young children. While there may not be a need for complicated tax planning strategies, most people -including parents of minor children - still need a solid estate plan to ensure that they have appropriately provided for their child or children should something happen to one or both parents.
Many people can adequately meet their estate planning goals through the use of three documents: a will (which includes a testamentary trust for minor-aged children where needed), a durable power of attorney, and a Georgia advance directive for health care. Of course, a simple plan doesn't work for everyone. For example, folks with a high net worth and with estates subject to the estate tax need more complex tax planning. Those with privacy concerns might wish to utilize revocable trusts and other tools to avoid probate. Similarly, folks with special-needs dependents might also need additional planning tools to provide for continuing care of their loved ones. But, for those folks without those other needs or considerations, they'll find that basic estate planning can be done relatively quickly, and at an affordable rate.
Proper planning brings many benefits: it helps avoid disputes over assets by making sure that a person's wishes are followed upon their death, it can help ensure that critical medical decisions are made pursuant to the person's wishes, and by the selected friend or family member when a person is not a able to make those decisions himself or herself, and it can help make sure that someone can pay the bills and manage the assets if someone is incapacitated or otherwise not able to handle their financial and other affairs.
Be sure to check out future posts in this category for more detailed information on wills, powers of attorney, and advance healthcare directives.