The executor of an estate is the person chosen to represent the deceased individual through the probate process. Ideally, the party chosen to serve in this role will be responsible and trustworthy. This means that he or she will be responsive to the needs of other parties. Accountants, attorneys or banks can serve as an executor in addition to family members and friends.
The days and weeks following the passing of a loved one in Georgia can be difficult for those left behind. This is especially true when it comes to figuring out who gets certain cherished possessions, what happens with financial accounts and even funeral preferences. But with proper estate planning, all of these decisions can be made in advance and based entirely on what the estate owner had in mind. A common first step is to create a will. However, there are other aspects of estate planning that often go overlooked.
Georgia fans of renowned singer Aretha Franklin may be giving new thought to estate planning after the news that the 76-year-old star passed away without a will. She died in August after a long fight against pancreatic cancer, but it was discovered that she had never made a will. Her niece has filed with the probate court to be recognized as executor of the estate, and her four sons have also registered as interested parties before the court. However, because she did not have a will or other estate documents in place, her estate could take longer to process and come at a higher cost to her heirs.
When people in Georgia consider their plans for passing on their property in the future, they may frequently think about assets like real estate, bank accounts and investment funds. However, the developing interest in cryptocurrency highlights other types of digital assets that can require special attention during estate planning. People need to be able to pass on their cryptocurrency assets to their beneficiaries, but without a traditional bank structure, it can be easy for these major assets to be lost or abandoned rather than properly transferred.
Despite all the information available to them, some seniors neglect to write a will. It could be because they expect to live a lot longer or because they are so busy that it slips their minds. Whatever their reason for not putting their wishes in writing, there are some things a surviving child in Georgia could do to make sure their parent's assets are passed to the appropriate heirs.
Some people in Georgia who have been appointed executor of an estate or a person who is creating an estate plan might wonder what duties an executor is required to perform. First, the executor must locate the will and file it with the court. The executor also has to locate all of the assets belonging to the decedent. This may involve locating a safe deposit box and consulting financial institutions about accounts. Assets might include securities, real estate, personal effects and insurance policies.
People in Georgia may be wondering about the best way to handle their charitable giving through their estate planning after the changes to federal estate taxes implemented following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Historically, bequests to charities have been exempt from federal estate taxes, helping these philanthropic gifts to be even more appealing to donors whose heirs faced tax burdens on the remainder of their estate. As part of the changes to tax law, however, the individual exemption to estate taxes has doubled, from $5.49 million per person to $11.18 million.
For business owners in Georgia and across the United States, estate planning is particularly important. While wills and trusts are frequently considered in people's personal lives, in many cases, businesses do not receive the estate planning attention that they need to thrive after a principal's passing. Business estate planning can help to reduce estate taxes, deal with a sole proprietorship and transfer a business through a buy-sell agreement.
Estate disputes are not uncommon, particularly amongst blended families. Studies have found that families composed of a step parent and children from a previous marriage are more likely to face a dispute than a traditional, nuclear family.
Because people in Georgia want to ensure that their estates are distributed according to their wishes, they often put a great deal of thought into the creation of an estate plan. However, some potential beneficiaries are often unhappy with the contents of such a plan, causing complications with the estate administration and probate process. While it is not possible to prevent someone from challenging a plan, there are certain safeguards that can be put in place to prevent a challenge from being successful.