In previous generations, the typical American family consisted of a married wife and husband living at home with their biological children. However, only about 35% of couples in Georgia and throughout the country today are what would fall under that category of a "traditional family." Therefore, it will likely be necessary for most people to have estate plans that look different than the ones that their parents or grandparents put together.
Georgia residents who have put off drafting an estate plan may now be thinking about taking action due to the estate tax reforms being proposed by several leading political figures. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both support slashing exemptions to pay for programs that would expand health care, forgive student loan debt and fund infrastructure projects, which has prompted many people who do not think of themselves as rich to start worrying about estate taxes.
Parents of special needs children in Georgia and throughout the country face a variety of obstacles raising their sons and daughters. One of the challenges that they face is ensuring that there is enough money or other resources to provide the care that they need. It is not uncommon for special needs individuals to rely on Medicaid or other government programs to provide some of those resources. However, there are income or asset restrictions that participants in those programs need to abide by.
Individuals may be able to benefit from having both wills and trusts in their estate plan. However, it is important for Georgia residents and others to understand the key differences between the two estate planning tools. If an asset is controlled by a will, it will have be distributed under the guidance of a probate judge. If an asset is controlled by a trust, there is no need to go through probate.
Georgia is not one of the states that has adopted the Uniform Trust Code. However, a person who is creating a revocable trust with contingent beneficiaries should still be aware that those contingent beneficiaries may have rights in some circumstances. Traditionally, revocable trusts have been used to allow the settlor, or creator, to keep control of the property in the trust. However, this might not always be the case.
For many Georgia residents, their pets are their closest companions in life. Therefore, it makes sense for owners to be concerned with the care their pets will receive after they pass away. People want to provide for their children, other loved ones and even favorite charities, but pets have a special vulnerability. After all, they cannot provide for themselves or even express their needs. People may ask others if they are willing to look after their beloved pets after death, but these kinds of verbal promises are most frequently unenforceable.
Estate planning is not a particularly fun topic, so many people put off thinking about it. However, estate planning should not be rushed. It is a broad category that could encompass many aspects of one's life. Here are a few considerations Georgia residents might have when creating an estate plan.
An individual retirement account is a popular retirement-saving tool for adults in Georgia. Choosing a trust as an IRA beneficiary can yield several benefits. However, before an estate owner can designate a trust as the beneficiary to their IRA, they should be aware of the requirements for doing so.
Anyone in Georgia should create an estate plan, but people with chronic diseases or those approaching advanced age have an urgent need to document their wishes. A quarter of people ages 65 to 74 must grapple with the effects of chronic diseases. Half of the people age 85 or older experience cognitive impairment. People should strive to complete their estate planning documents, especially those necessary for medical care, while they are physically and mentally able to consider their decisions.
About half the marriages in Georgia and around the country end in divorce, which means that blended families are extremely common. Divorced spouses who remarry should revisit their estate plans regularly because failing to do so can have dire consequences. Disputes between heirs are often contentious, but they may be particularly bitter when children from multiple marriages are involved.