In my Atlanta estate law firm, our lawyers have a general rule in estate planning in Georgia is that every person should make a will. Unfortunately, it seems that the majority of the general public does not feel the same way and most people die without leaving a will expressing their last wishes. Many people think they don’t have anything to leave; but, more often than not, they are wrong. Some people think that you have to have children or be wealthy, suffering from a terminal disease, or elderly before it is time to make a will. There are even people who are afraid to sign a will and believe that it signifies a final act and others think that wills are written in stone and cannot be changed so they hold off making a will because they can’t decide how they would like to distribute their estate. It is a much better idea to have something in place and a will can be changed at any time. The execution of an individual’s will is a very emotional moment for some; but, if you keep in mind that it is a tool available to you to ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes, then perhaps you can see it as a tool to ensure peace of mind.
Even if you do not have any assets, you should have a will in place in the event of your death; after all, none of us know the exact circumstances that will occur to cause our death. You might win the lottery and die from the excitement. In that event you may go from owning nothing to being very wealthy and leaving a large estate. Should you die in an accident, your estate can be greatly increased by the proceeds of a wrongful death law suit.
Your will is also a vehicle by which you can name the persons or financial institutions you wish to act as the guardians of your minor children and conservators of their estates. You can determine the terms of any trusts that may be established for their benefit.
Without a properly executed will you cannot be sure that any wishes you may have regarding the distribution of your assets will be carried out. If you own an asset that requires probate through the court system in order for it to be distributed to someone, the asset will be distributed through the laws of distribution and descent. Any distributions to minor children will be distributed to a person or financial institution named by the court and your children will collect the entire amount of their trust at the time that they reach the age of majority, which in Georgia is eighteen years old.
There is an estate plan for everyone whether your estate is large or small. At The Libby Law Firm each individuals estate plan is crafted solely for their needs taking into consideration such things as comfortably providing for their family, distribution of their assets, and any tax consequences that might arise upon their death.