Many people in Georgia have had the experience of being left out of a close family member's will. Though the situation can be unpleasant both emotionally and financially, there is usually not anything that can be done about. However, there are rare cases where a survivor may contest the latest will and have it rendered invalid.
Estate planning can raise tensions for families in Georgia, especially when blended families with stepparents and stepchildren are involved. Remarriage is perhaps more common than ever before, and people planning for the future may want to consider how they can best balance out the interests of their spouses and their children. This is especially true when two people marry later in life with their own grown children. Many people do not even make a basic will; they may expect to rely on intestate distribution. In other cases, people make a simple will leaving everything to their spouse.
Couples without children in Georgia and other states do not have the same concerns as couples with children when it comes to estate planning, but they still must plan ahead. They likely want their assets to go to charities or educational or religious institutions upon their death as opposed to them being divvied up by the state.
Georgia residents who wish to have more control over how their estates will be administered may choose to use trusts. Placing assets into trusts allows estates to avoid the probate process, but these benefits are only available if trusts are properly funded. When the grantor of the trust neglects to transfer all of their assets into the trust, a trust-based estate plan can be vulnerable. If there is no will in place, the assets that have not been transferred into the trust become probate assets. This means that the trustee will have no control over them, and they will be distributed according to state law.
There are many benefits to creating a will. For instance, a prepared estate owner in Georgia can avoid state intestacy laws that govern how property is distributed. A will also allows the creator to name a caregiver for a minor child or decide who gets to care for a pet.
Individuals in Georgia may need more than a will after they have children. Without a trust, a child may be able to inherit property directly after turning 18. Generally speaking, younger people have a hard time making prudent financial decisions. It can be tempting to use a windfall to take vacations or make other extravagant purchases. Those who have substance abuse issues may be tempted to use their inheritance to further their habits.
There are a variety of mistakes that people in Georgia and throughout the country make when creating an estate plan. One such error is to not have an estate plan at all. Creating a will allows a person to determine where his or her assets go after passing on. In many cases, a spouse only receives property that was jointly owned or otherwise titled with joint ownership rights.
Estate planning tends to be more straightforward under Georgia law when an individual only has physical assets. However, it is not uncommon for people today to have a variety of digital assets. These are almost anything that is stored on a server or accessed on a computer. Assets may include email accounts, bank accounts and brokerage accounts. They can also include a social media profile or a subscription to an e-commerce site.
Georgia residents have only fulfilled half of their estate planning responsibilities by drafting a will or other documents. Once these documents are created, it is vital for individuals to review them on a regular basis. For instance, when a person moves to another state, he or she could be bound by different probate laws. It is also possible that a spouse may be entitled to a greater share of assets in that new state.
Georgia fans of comics creator Stan Lee may be aware that near the end of his life, there was some controversy around his fortune and in his relationships with others. Lee said that $1.4 million was stolen from his bank accounts, in part to buy a condo. At one point, he made several accusations against his daughter in a notarized document that he later took back. He has also worked with several attorneys and business managers.