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Tips for improving an estate plan

Many Georgia adults may lack estate plans, and many of those who do have them could improve them. It is not uncommon for people to have no estate plan or to have an insufficient estate plan whether they are very wealthy or have few assets. Incorporating charitable giving is one way an estate plan can be improved, particularly for wealthy individuals. A charitable remainder annuity trust can provide money for a loved one until their death and then pass what is left to the charity.

Every estate plan should be reviewed periodically, and it can be particularly important to review beneficiary designations. Assets such as retirement accounts are passed using beneficiary designations, but these documents may be forgotten when someone goes through a major life change. This could mean that after the divorce or the birth of a child, the beneficiary designation is out of date, and the asset could pass to an ex-spouse, or a child could be left out. Life insurance is also passed using a beneficiary designation, and it can be an important addition to an estate plan to cover expenses and lost income.

Some people may also want to consider a trust as well. A revocable trust is sufficient for many people. However, an irrevocable trust, while more complex, can offer protection from creditors.

There are a number of other elements of an estate plan people should take into account. For example, they may need to appoint an executor. This should be someone who is trustworthy and organized, but the person does not need to be an expert in the law or finance. An attorney can assist with estate administration and probate. People may also want to consider preparation in case they become incapacitated. This preparation might include powers of attorney and health care advance directives.

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