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Asset Management

Who Needs an Estate Plan or Will?

Do you own a house? A life insurance plan? A family heirloom? Then you need an estate plan or a will. If you own assets of any kind – no matter how small it may seem to you – know that you have an estate and therefore need an estate plan. Creating an estate plan is also especially important if you have a family or are planning to have one, and want to ensure that they will be taken care of.

Information for Residents

Which Estate Planning Documents Do I Need in Georgia?

Recent changes in Georgia and federal laws present new opportunities to take care of the ones you love, but these new laws also create possible hiccups in your previous estate plans. Here’s what you should know.



Wills

A formal, legal will directs the distribution of your assets as you see fit. Wills can be used to appoint a guardian for minor children and establish who will handle the administration of your estate.



Powers of Attorney

Also known as a “durable financial power of attorney,” this allows you to nominate someone to handle your finances if you’re unable to do so. These can alleviate the need to appoint a legal guardian.



Health Care Directives

Here, a living will or medical power of attorney is called an Advance Directive for Health Care. It appoints someone to make decisions when you cannot and establishes your medical treatment preferences.



HIPAA Authorizations

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 provides for medical data privacy. You must legally authorize individuals to have access to your records so providers are able to share information.



Standby Guardian Designations

A designation of Standby Guardian allows you to appoint someone with legal authority to care for your child in case of an emergency during your lifetime when you cannot care for them yourself.



Trusts

Trusts help manage how and when your assets and property are distributed. There are many types of trusts, some of which are free standing and some of which are included within your will.

Decision Management

Why Should I Start Planning Now?

Nobody wants to think about handing over the reins if they’re incapacitated, but planning for that possibility can save your family tremendous stress and heartache. Sometimes, your family has to make that life-saving decision or honor your life-ending-plans, no matter how painful. Having a written, legal plan in place makes those difficult times a little easier.

Family First Focus

How Do I Know Where to Start?

Every family should have a plan tailored to their unique and specific needs. Whether you are looking to write your first will, modify an existing one, draft an advance directive for health care (living will), start the process of probate, or address any other estate planning issue, Siedentopf Law is here to help.



Is a handwritten will valid with no witness?

A handwritten will is called a “holographic will” and it is NOT valid in Georgia. The issue is not the method of putting your wishes to paper – it doesn’t matter who puts the words down or whether they are typed or handwritten. It’s whether or not it was witnessed and signed. In Georgia, a will is only valid if there are two witnesses who have signed it.



Do I need a notary for my will?

A notary is not necessary for a will in Georgia if there are two witnesses who have signed it – it will still be viewed as valid. However, it can make enforcing it more efficient. A notarized will with a special affidavit and two witnesses is called a “self-proving will.” Witnesses will not be required to testify in court that the signatures are theirs.