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trusts Archives

Estate planning when dealing with addiction

In 2016, there were more than 42,000 deaths related to opioid use, which was a 500 percent increase from 1999, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Georgia residents who are trying to create an estate plan may need to account for a loved one's addiction. This may be necessary to protect the best interests of the addict as well as the family.

Are trusts better than wills?

Trusts and wills are legal instruments used in Georgia for estate planning purposes. Neither one is better than the other. They are simply different. A will acts as a guide for handling a person's estate after he or she dies. For instance, a will might specify how to dispose of property and provide for the care of minor children.

Special needs trusts and estate planning

Parents of children with disabilities who are living in Georgia are often concerned about estate planning. If a person with a disability is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, getting additional income, even in the form of an estate bequest, could disrupt SSI payments and eligibility for Medicaid.

Estate planning and the "widowhood effect"

People in Georgia may find that the deaths of George and Barbara Bush prompt them to think about their own estate plans. Even though the Bushes were quite wealthy, lessons from their example could be useful to people of more modest means planning the future of their assets as well as those who want to manage the disbursement of significant estates. It is important to note that the Bushes died within eight months of one another. For long-time, older married couples, it is far from uncommon for the passing of one spouse to be followed shortly thereafter by the other. This phenomenon is even referred to as the "widowhood effect."

Conflicts with trustees

Georgia residents who are beneficiaries of trusts may have legal recourse if the trustee controlling fund access is uncooperative. It is important that beneficiaries are aware of their rights and of what steps to take if they are encountering difficulties with a trustee.

How silent trusts can help people plan

People in Georgia who are thinking about their future often are concerned with how best they can leave a legacy to their children or other loved ones. Many people opt to create trusts, as they allow property to pass outside of the probate system and can also provide significant tax benefits over the years. However, some worry that if their children know from an early age that a substantial trust fund will be waiting for them, they will be less motivated to achieve academically and in their careers.

Planning for educational gifts from an estate

Many estate owners in Georgia want to be able to support the education of children, grandchildren or future generations with their assets. When preparing for the future, there are a few different ways to include educational bequests as part of an estate plan. Trusts can provide different flexible options as well as the opportunity to create certain conditions for beneficiaries to access the funds.

Reasons a trust might need to be changed

People in Georgia who have trusts as part of their estate plan may want to periodically review those trusts to make sure they still fulfill their intended purpose. There are several reasons a trust may no longer work for an individual. One is that the trust was never created property in the first place. This can happen if an attorney does not understand a family's wishes and needs.

How to incorporate charity into an estate plan

Those who live in Georgia or any other state may want to give money to charity while alive or after passing. Charitable giving can be included in an estate plan, and the first step in doing so is to find a cause worth donating to. Individuals might want to consider giving to charities that they have donated to in the past when creating their plan. It could also be worthwhile to consider which issues are relevant to future generations.

Trusts, estates and tax reform

Georgia residents can include trusts in their estate plans to ensure that assets are distributed in a certain way. With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it is important that individuals who do use trusts are aware of how the trusts can be impacted.

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