Summary: In Siedentopf Law’s latest blog, we describe some common estate planning mistakes (no will, not planning for incapacity, not updating your beneficiary designations, trying to tackle the complicated documents and procedures yourself) and how to prevent them.
There are several mistakes that people commonly make when it comes to estate planning. The good news is that these mistakes are easily avoidable; saving you time, money and unnecessary stress. In Siedentopf Law’s latest blog, we will examine these errors and explain how to make sure you are prepared for the unexpected.
Dying Without A Will In Place
Having a defined plan for your estate is important, as dying without one can create a nightmare for those left behind. For instance, if your property is not left to the beneficiary or beneficiaries of your choosing, Georgia law will determine who manages and inherits that property. Family members may be forced to spend their time and money to prove their relationship to you and any claim on your property. Also, if you pass away without a will in place, your assets could end up with people who you did not want to inherit them. For more on this topic, you can watch our video What happens if a person dies without a will in place?.
Just as important as having a will in place is the appointment of someone to manage your health and other personal affairs in the event you become disabled or otherwise incapacitated. Designating medical decisionmakers and a power of attorney best ensures that your wishes are being carried out. Planning for the unthinkable can make difficult times a little easier. If you do not select these representatives, Georgia courts will make those selections for you – and there is a possibility the courts will choose someone that you might not have wanted.
Many do not realize that they will do not control the transfer of certain financials and accounts upon death, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and even some bank accounts. It is important to take this into consideration when developing your estate plan. Once you have named the appropriate beneficiaries for these assets, it is also a good idea to review and update these beneficiary designations to make sure they reflect your current wishes and family status. You should check designations after major life events such as marriage, births, divorce, or death of loved ones. Georgia law does not automatically revoke beneficiary designations upon divorce, as some states do. For more on this topic, you can read our blog The Importance of Revisiting Your Beneficiary Designations.
Trying to D-I-Y Important Documents
Do-It-Yourself projects may be a good idea for the home but not so much when it comes to determining what happens to your estate. Proper estate planning is much more than printing forms from the Internet or handwriting a document, it is knowing how to draft and execute the proper documents to legally ensure your wishes are carried out. For example, if a will is not properly executed (in writing, signed, witnessed), the document is not valid. The absolute best way to have peace of mind about your final wishes is to consult with an estate planning attorney. For more on this topic, you can read our blog Why Should I Hire An Estate Planning Attorney.
If you have additional questions about estate planning or probate or would like to set up an appointment with Atlanta estate planning and probate attorney Sarah Siedentopf, visit our website EstateLawAtlanta.com or call us at (404) 736 – 6066.
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