Georgia residents who are thinking about buying a property overseas for either investment or retirement purposes should be aware that foreign real estate holdings are considered part of an individual's gross estate by the government. This means that the value of these holdings is included when federal estate taxes are calculated. Gross estates are made up of all of the assets owned at the time of death, and they may even include life insurance proceeds that have been paid to other beneficiaries.
As part of estate planning, an individual (called the grantor) may set up an irrevocable trust to grant tax advantages to his or her estate, and she or he may also confer other desirable benefits to beneficiaries named in the irrevocable trust.
Estate planning in Georgia can be a complicated process, especially if some beneficiaries have special needs. For heirs with developmental disabilities, there are specific trusts with appropriate wording that can prove useful. If the beneficiary has a problem with substance abuse, this may present a more nuanced situation that can't be solved with a traditional disability trust.
There are many elements of a well-developed estate plan, such as a will, medical directives and powers of attorney. However, Georgia residents should also strongly consider including a revocable trust.
Estate planning can be relatively simple or complex depending on a person's needs. At a minimum, Georgia residents will want to have a will. Without a will, the state will determine who gets guardianship of a child or who gets a decedent's assets. This may result in people from who the decedent was estranged receiving all or a portion of the estate.