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Creating trusts part of estate planning

There are many important things that the average person in Georgia wants to accomplish in his or her lifetime. While many of these relate to professional goals or personal relationships, some argue that one of the most important things a person can do to protect his or her family members following an unexpected tragedy is to go through the estate planning process. Parts of this process could include writing a will, establishing trusts and paying off debts.

When a person passes away, his or her estate typically goes through probate as part of the administration of the estate. A will determines how a person's assets will be distributed; without one, a judge is left to make a determination regarding distribution based upon state laws of intestacy. This could lead to beneficiaries that the deceased person would not have wanted, potentially excluding those that he or she would. Before assets can be distributed, however, all of the estate's debts must be paid. Ensuring that debts are already paid is one way to help smooth the probate process.

Many people choose to create a trust. Assets placed in a trust can avoid the probate process. Because the probate process is public, a trust can ensure privacy for beneficiaries. Additionally, avoiding probate can reduce the time it takes to distribute assets as probate can take an average of nine months to two years to complete.

It is difficult for some people in Georgia to face the prospect of their own death for a variety of reasons. However, going through the estate planning process, including the creation of trusts when applicable, can significantly ease the burden experienced by grieving loved ones. An estate plan can also potentially prevent a contentious battle among surviving family members.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "5 Ways To Plan Your Estate", Laiza King, July 11, 2016

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