It's easy to feel overwhelmed about the estate planning process. My goal is to help you understand your options so that you can put sound strategies in place to protect your future and that of those you love. Two of the most important components of an estate plan are wills and trusts. When I meet with you, I will assess your situation so that we can be sure we create an estate plan that best serves your family's needs.
What to Include in the Will
So, what should your will contain? Most people have a general sense of how important a will is, but they are unsure what elements to include in the will. Although everyone has slightly different needs and circumstances, a will will generally include these components:
- A will specifies where your property will go. This is what most people think of when they think of a last will & testament – a document that states who gets your property once you’ve passed away. Although most people leave their property to family members, others leave gifts to friends, charities, or sometimes even pets.
- Burial vs. Cremation. Wills commonly state whether the testator wants to be buried or cremated, and if the body is to be buried in a specific place or ashes sprinkled in a specific place. This information is also contained in the Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare.
- Guardians for minor children. This is one of the most important provisions in the will for parents of minor children – naming a person or a couple to raise their children for them if they are both gone.
When I meet with you, we will discuss your circumstances and your vision for your legacy. From there, we will create a will that addresses your specific goals.
The Benefits of Trusts
Some people would prefer that their beneficiaries not inherit everything at once, so the property may be set aside in a trust that’s described in the will. Although this is most commonly included in the wills of parents of minor children, trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, including to benefit special needs children or adults, to care for pets, to protect money for beneficiaries who may not be responsible with money, to provide for the education of grandchildren, to protect money for the benefit of children from a previous marriage, and many other circumstances. In general, trusts are a great way of reducing taxes and ensuring that your financial assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes.