Looking for first class estate planning in Athens, Ga? At Prior, Daniel & Wiltshire, you can put over 60 years of experience to work for you. Call today to get the best estate planning attorney in Athens, Ga. who can handle all of your estate planning needs.
Hiring the best estate planning attorney in Athens
Even if you don’t have much cash in the bank or real estate to liquidate, it’s still important to clearly lay out your wishes with the help of an estate planner. With estate planning, you can decide where your assets will go, and you can take steps to minimize the tax burden your heirs will face. There are countless pitfalls you can fall victim to if you don’t have a professional guiding you, so it’s important to invest in professional estate planning.
The need for estate planning in Athens, GA is clear when you have real estate, stocks, bonds and other valuables. However, even people with small or modest estates will benefit from a professional’s assistance. If you have a car that’s paid for, then you have an estate. What if you have a few treasured pieces of jewelry and multiple heirs- do you want your children arguing over your few prized possessions and allowing the disagreement to harm their relationship? With a will drawn up as part of your estate planning in Athens, Ga., you can rest assured that your wishes will be honored and arguments avoided.
Without a will and proper estate planning in Athens, Ga., your entire estate may go into probate. At probate, a personal representative will receive all legal claims against the estate, pay the creditors and manage expenses. Heirs are identified by looking for blood heirs. The only way to leave part of your estate to a close family friend is to write up a will. If heirs cannot be located, then the estate typically becomes the property of the state. In the absence of a will, it is possible that everything in the estate will be liquidated with the proceeds being distributed between heirs according to state law. If you want to ensure that your heirs receive specific items and your final wishes followed, then you will have to enlist the services of an estate planning attorney in Athens, GA.
There are two certain things in this world – death and taxes. The tax code changes occasionally, and individual states have their own laws regarding estate taxes. People commonly think they can avoid estate taxes by giving their money and assets away to loved ones before their death, but this can backfire on you. There are fines imposed by the IRS for taking these actions without reporting them, and if you have to go into a nursing facility in the final years of your life, your heirs could wind up having to repay that money. If you are considering helping loved ones out with an early distribution of your estate, then it’s vital that you meet with an estate planning lawyer in Athens, GA to find out how to do the disbursement and what it could mean for your family in the future.
In addition to avoiding the pitfalls associated with early disbursements, we can help you minimize estate taxes on the state level. Trained lawyers who are experienced with the tax code in your state will help you avoid problems and make plans to ensure that your estate taxes are covered for your heirs.
When you think about estate planning in Athens, Ga. you probably have visions of sitting down with a lawyer when you are in your golden years. However, you should start thinking about your estate well before that happens. The fact is that you should make a will out as soon as you start buying valuable property like houses or cars. You should update your will when you get married, enter a civil union, get a divorce, have another child, move to another state, your financial position changes drastically or an heir, spouse or beneficiary dies. This means that your will is not something you can make once and forget about, but it is a constantly evolving document that should go through numerous updates and revisions over the course of your life.
Just as you don’t look forward to writing up a will, your heirs probably aren’t looking forward to discussing the estate with you. However, it’s better to keep them informed and avoid nasty battles between beneficiaries after your death. When you talk openly with your family about your estate and how you want it distributed, you can avoid problems afterwards. If they are not faced with unhappy surprises after your death, then they will be less likely to try disputing the will and turning it into a legal battle.
This is one reason why even people with small estates should still go through the estate planning process with an estate planning attorney in Athens, Ga. Whether you are young and healthy or in your twilight years, you should have someone named as a power of attorney in the event that you are incapacitated. This agent would be trusted to make medical decisions for you after a serious accident, and they would be responsible for managing your estate if you are unable to. This is a great responsibility, and it comes with a great deal of power. Experienced attorneys can help you draft a power of attorney that will clarify what this person is allowed to do and for how long.
You may know exactly how you want your estate handled and who will be your executor and power of attorney. However, it’s vital that this paperwork uses the right language to ensure that your wishes are honored. If the papers are not properly crafted, errors in beneficiary designations could lead to heirs being disinherited and left out of the will, financial payments for loved ones could be delayed and tax expenses and probate fees could be rise more than necessary.
Estate Planning Resources