Marietta Estate Planning Lawyer FAQs
Why Should I Choose You for My Estate Planning?
- I focus my practice exclusively on estate planning and probate, which makes it easier for me to stay abreast of changes and developments in the law.
- For most of my services, I will give a price quote up front rather than charging hourly.
- My prices are more reasonable than most other estate planning attorneys I’ve encountered.
- I deliver prompt service and strive to make my clients happy. In fact, I have never had a client complain about my work.
- I genuinely enjoy helping people plan their estates, and it shows in the quality of my work.
Why Should I Plan My Estate?
- If you don’t, the state of Georgia will plan it for you. State law determines who will inherit your property, no matter what your relationships are with those people. A will can make sure your property goes to whom you want, when you want, the way you want.
- To name a guardian for your minor children.
- To decide when and how your heirs will receive your estate. Without planning, your children or other young heirs could be left with unfettered control of a sizeable estate.
- To let others know of your decisions regarding life support and to name someone to carry out your healthcare wishes.
- To name an executor-the person who will handle the distribution of your property upon your death.
- To name someone to handle your finances in the event you become unable to do so.
- To save your heirs time, legal fees, and taxes in settling your affairs.
- To reduce estate taxes.
- To send a message to your loved ones that you care enough to protect them.
What Documents Do I Need?
For most people, I recommend three basic documents:
- A will. A will directs where your property goes upon your death, and can include trusts for your spouse and/or children.
- A power of attorney. A power of attorney allows a person you choose to handle your financial affairs if you become unable to do so.
- Georgia advance directive for health care. The Georgia advance directive for healthcare allows a person you choose to make decisions related to your health care if you become unable to do so, and directs your doctors regarding your healthcare wishes in the event that no one is serving under your power of attorney for healthcare matters.
Obviously, there are situations where other documents are needed, such as a living trust or a special needs trust, but the vast majority of my clients only need these three documents.
How Does It Work?
First, you will complete an inventory that gives me the relevant information I need to plan your estate. After you complete the inventory, we will set up a meeting or telephone appointment to discuss any questions you have regarding your estate plan.
After our first meeting, I will send you drafts of your documents. After you’ve looked over them and approved them or suggested changes, I will assist you with signing the final copies.
As a busy wife and mother, I know that time is precious. I work hard to make the process as quick and easy as possible for my clients.
What Do I Need To Think About to Get Started?
Typically, one of the hardest parts of getting an estate plan done is making important decisions about your loved ones, property, healthcare matters, and other issues. In order to complete the estate planning process, most people will need to decide:
- Who should serve as guardians for minor children?
- How you wish your property to be divided?
- Who should serve as executor? (the person who administers the estate according to your directions)
- Who should serve as trustee of property left to minors?
- Who should make your health care decisions if you become unable to do so?
- Who should handle your financial affairs if you become unable to do so?
Why Should I Use You Instead of an Online Legal Company?
I can’t absolutely say that you would not get a perfectly fine estate plan from an online legal company. I have seen documents prepared by an online company that did exactly what the testator wished. However, I have also seen wills prepared with will kits that weren’t even legal. In addition, rarely do I see a client that does not require at least some custom drafting that most online legal companies are not set up to do.
In addition, using an online legal company does not save much money. For a will package comparable to mine, legalzoom.com charges individuals $273 (as of 2009), versus $350 for my will package. Legalzoom.com charges a married couple $548 (as of 2009) for a will package comparable to mine, which costs $600. If you use an online legal company, you will have to line up witnesses and a notary, and no one will be available to answer questions that inevitably arise during the signing.
If you are interested in saving money by drafting your own documents online, I urge you to consider my will review package. For a discounted rate, I can review the documents you’ve prepared yourself and let you know if they’re legal and accomplish your wishes. If not, the fee can be credited against new documents. I can also travel to your home or office (metro Atlanta area only) and assist you with notarizing and signing the documents for an additional fee.
Do I Have to Live in the Metro Atlanta Area to Use Your Services?
You must be a Georgia resident to use my estate planning services. However, if you want me to assist you with signing your documents or need assistance with probate, you must live in the metro Atlanta area.