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WHAT TYPE OF GEORGIA ESTATE PLAN DO YOU NEED? EXPLORING WILLS AND LIVING TRUSTS

As an Atlanta, Georgia Estate Attorney, I am always interested in helping my clients develop an optimal estate plan that will effectively manage their assets. Many of my clients come to my office already convinced that they need a Georgia living trust versus a will. People perceive the Georgia probate process to be lengthy and costly process, in both time and money. This perception is oftentimes based on the probate process in general. It is true that many states have a probate process that is exceedingly expensive and complicated ( Florida would be one state I would put in this category). However, the probate process in the State of Georgia would not fall into the category of expensive and complicated when you are being represented by an experienced Atlanta, Georgia probate lawyer.

The attraction of a Georgia living trust is that the assets named in the trust are not considered part of the decedent’s estate and therefore do not go through probate. To the contrary, assets that are subject to a testamentary devise, bequeath, or bequest under the decedent’s will, would be part of the decedent’s estate and would go through probate. But as I advise my clients, probate can be an efficient and useful process. Wills should be structured properly with the aim of mitigating conflict between the parties involved. Conflict and the resulting mediation or litigation is what inevitably causes the Georgia probate process to potentially become expense and time consuming. Nevertheless, oftentimes a form of dispute resolution or estate litigation in probate court is necessary. Sometimes a will is the right option when a living trust is too expensive for the benefit it provides or if conflict is inevitable between heirs. What is more, one of the greatest benefits of the probate process, is the Georgia probate court’s supervision over all parties involved in the decedent’s estate administration. In fact, the estate lawyers in our Atlanta, Georgia probate Law Firm, which specialize in Georgia estate administration and litigation, have found probate court oversight extremely beneficial when there are contentious heirs and/or aggressive creditors.

Different from a written document like a will, a living trust is a legal framework into which assets are transferred. Assets in a living trust can include cash, bank accounts, investment accounts, stock, land, homes, vehicles, collectibles and any other personal property. The terms of the living trust spell out to whom the assets will be distributed upon death and because the assets are no longer in your name, but in the name of the trust, they will not have to go through probate to be distributed. Besides posthumous probate avoidance, another important advantage of a living trust comes into play if the individual becomes unable to manage independently due to sickness or disability. In this case, a previously named successor trustee can take over and handle certain matters pertaining to the living trust.

The naming of trustees is obviously critical when setting up a living trust. Many people name themselves as the sole trustee and also name a series of successor trustees (in case one or more named trustees are not able to serve when needed). Either a person or an institution can be named as successor trustee. Spouses setting up a living trust frequently name themselves as co-trustees, although any two adults can be co-trustees. One of the benefits of naming co-trustees is that upon the death, resignation, or incapacity of one of the co-trustees, the surviving co-trustee can continue to administer the trust. Ultimately, the law gives trustees the right to complete control over assets in a living trust. For this reason it is critical that only the most trustworthy people are named as trustees. It is important to remember, all Georgia trustees must adhere to rigorous fiduciary duties imposed under Georgia law, whether they are an individual or entity. This is the same Georgia fiduciary duty imposed upon executors, administrators, and personal representatives.

Please contact The Libby Law Firm so an experienced Atlanta, Georgia estate attorney can thoroughly evaluate your situation and make effective recommendations. You may reach us by calling Main Office at (404) 467-8611 .

Whether you are considering your Georgia estate planning options or have concerns about an ongoing or future probate proceeding, the Atlanta, Georgia estate lawyers at The Libby Law Firm are available to assist you in a variety of capacities. Serving metro-Atlanta and all of Georgia, our main office is located in Atlanta’s Buckhead region on Piedmont Road near the GA 400 Lenox Road/Buckhead Loop exit.

We also have a Cobb County office located in Marietta, Georgia. You can reach the Cobb County, Marietta, Georgia office by calling (770) 952-1008. Our Atlanta, Georgia and Marietta, Georgia estate attorneys are ready to assist you. You may send us a confidential message through our Web Site form to our Marietta and/or Atlanta office(s).

We also represent numerous clients who reside out-of-state, but have issues pending in Georgia probate courts. Our Firm is consciously set up with the latest technology to represent of out-of-state clients. Our Georgia attorneys and staff are also knowledgeable in representing clients from out-of-state and can save you many trips to the county probate courthouses of Georgia. We will take away any geographical disadvantage living outside of Georgia may cause you in any Georgia estate proceeding.

The Libby Law Firm has an extremely diverse clientele, which is comprised of clients located in over 30 states and numerous foreign countries. Our Firm’s offices have plenty of covered secure parking free of charge. Our Firm has an exceptional staff and experienced Atlanta,