To some people the word “Estate” seems like a term only applicable to the wealthy, but most people know that any and all of your assets under Georgia law qualify as your estate. Even if you have one asset of significant value, such as a home or a car or some other piece of property you want to leave to friends or family, creating an estate plan is a fantastic idea. An estate plan ensures proper handling of your assets after you pass away and can no longer make decisions regarding them. The article below details the biggest pitfalls one should avoid when creating one.
Mistakes to Avoid when Creating a Georgia Estate Plan
Not having an estate plan.
Without an estate plan, after one’s passing, courts decide how your assets are distributed. Your own intentions are left completely out of the picture, and what you would’ve done with your own property is irrelevant. Creating an estate plan avoids that kind of injustice. 56% of American parents have a will or living trust document in place, meaning, if something terrible and unexpected happens, 44% of American families would be in both a devastating emotional AND financial situation. Avoid the financial mess; create an estate plan.
Procrastination regarding an estate plan.
People view the possibility of their passing as something so distant into the future that, to most people, there’s no reason to think about creating an estate plan. However, putting things off to the last minute isn’t very effective when your last minute is your actual “last minute.” Start your estate plan today; begin planning for the future with an experienced Georgia estate planning attorney.
Gifting your children large gifts.
It seems tempting to put your child’s name in your will, but gifts worth more than $14,000 (like a house or an expensive car) are taxed. It’s certainly the smarter decision to gift your children through things like inheritance plans.
Not gifting enough.
Since gifts up to $14,000 are non-taxable, in order to maximize the amount monetary value of the assets you leave behind, be sure to gift small assets to different important people in your life. Your generosity is maximized when you diversify how you gift your assets.
Choosing the wrong Executor or Trustee.
While it seems like choosing your child or spouse to be the person handling your state is the best option, it may be worth it to think about choosing someone who isn’t as personally invested in the assets or connected to the people receiving the assets. They may approach the situation with less bias than others, executing your estate plan the way you actually intended. Even worse is picking co-trustees. While picking more than one executor may seem like a good idea, even if people agree on 99% of issues, that 1% is going to cause strife when the time comes.
Creating an Estate Plan without the legal guidance or an experienced attorney.
This is one of the easiest, most common mistakes one makes when creating an estate plan. While yes, you are technically permitted to create a legal estate plan without the legal guidance of an attorney, creating a plan for your assets can become highly complicated, and in most cases, paying for legal advice from an attorney can end up saving you thousands of dollars in the end, when your assets are divided up the exact way you intended, without any surprises from the legal system.
Setting Up, then Letting Up.
Creating your estate plan is only the first step to ensuring the future success of your assets, but things can change. Relationships are dynamic, and one’s feelings can change. Maybe your best friend from college did recklessly totaled your car years after you included him in your estate plan; would you still want to gift him part of your estate? You want your assets to be left behind to the people you would’ve intended, so it’s necessary to periodically update your will.
Failure to plan for surprises.
Imagine your child is in a shaky spot in the relationship with his or her spouse at the time, and later on, your child and the spouse decide to divorce each other. You wouldn’t want to leave a part of your estate to your ex-son-in-law. Creating provisions with the help of a legal advisor to plan for these special cases is an important aspect of a solid estate plan.
How to obtain experienced legal help in Georgia.
Please note: estate plans have different constraints and regulations depending on the U.S. state in which you’re currently residing. This article is written with an emphasis on Georgia. It is always recommended to have an attorney present when dealing with estate plans and other legal matters.
Most people put creating an estate plan at the last spot of their financial checklist, but before you know it, you could be another victim of procrastination. Don’t fall into mistake #6; acquire personalized, expert legal and financial advice by calling 770-709-1247 and having a helpful discussion with one of our highly experienced attorneys today.