Cumming Georgia Legal Blog

John Singleton's estate up in the air until will is filed

Georgia fans of the late film director John Singleton may be surprised to know that there may be some estate issues complicating things for the loved ones he left behind. Singleton, who died in April 2019 at the age of 51, reportedly had a will that was already prepared prior to his death. The director's mother is in possession of this document and plans to file it.

There are reports that the "Boyz n the Hood" director's mother handled her son's business matters, so it's expected that she's the likely executor of the will. According to previous reports, Singleton has children who aren't thrilled with his mother's desire to be named the conservator of his assets. The director's daughter has reportedly accused her grandmother of attempting to keep the children out of Singleton's post-death financial matters.

The pros and cons of buying a home in the exurbs

Exurbs were hit hard during the housing crisis, including in Georgia. Sale prices in these less-densely populated communities around the country fell 31 percent from their 2007 peak as compared to urban areas, which saw a drop of 24 percent. While prices in urban areas recovered by 2015 and are now 22% higher than they were before the recession, exurb prices took an extra two years to recover and are now only 7% higher.

These lower post-recovery prices help to explain the current popularity of exurbs. Even though commuting can often be a nightmare for many residents, homeowners can better afford larger yards with trees and extra space for outdoor activities. Additionally, many exurbs are strategically located so that only a short drive is necessary to purchase staples.

Is Mediation Right For Your Case?

Mediation is a way of resolving legal disputes outside of the courtroom. If both parties agree to mediation, neither must appear in court. The mediator serves as a facilitator of the negotiations, offering legal information so that the parties can reach an agreement on their disputes.

Benefits of mediation

What to do when behind on a mortgage

Homeowners in Georgia may experience difficulty making payments on their mortgages. At this point, it may make sense to sell the home and get out from the expensive home loan. The good news is that an individual can generally sell the home even if he or she is behind on the mortgage. As long as the lender hasn't foreclosed on the home, the current owner can still attempt to sell and use the proceeds to satisfy the loan balance.

Generally speaking, selling a home is easier when a homeowner has positive equity. This means that the home is worth more than what he or she owes on the mortgage. Selling a home is generally better for a person's credit compared to a foreclosure. This is often true even if a person goes through the process of a short sale. In some cases, a credit score can drop by as many as 300 points after a foreclosure occurs.

Changes to taxes on gross estates

When a person dies in Georgia or another state, the sum of their possessions both in and outside the United States is subject to estate taxes. These possessions, known as their gross estate, don't just include physical property. Bank accounts, investments, annuities and even unaccounted for gifts are subject to estate taxes. If the total amount of these assets is greater than the federal estate tax exemption, the executor of the estate is required to file form 706. This may even be true even if no taxes are owed.

In 2017, the exemption for the estate tax changed: It was raised from $5.49 million per person, $10.98 million for a married couple, to $11.18 million per person or $22.36 million for a married couple. This estate tax generally applies to citizens and legal residents of the United States. In some circumstances, nonresidents may be required to pay estate taxes as well.

Housing market is finally looking up for buyers

In recent years, sellers have generally had the upper hand in the housing market in Georgia and many other parts of the country. However, 2019 is shaping up to be a year in which buyers may be gaining back some leverage. According to Redfin, only 13 percent of homes had multiple offers made on them in January.

According to an economist from the National Association of Realtors, mortgage interest rates are likely to stay under 5 percent for much of 2019. Lower interest rates may enable buyers to save hundreds compared to if they had purchased a home in 2018 where rates peaked at over 5 percent. As the housing market eases, buyers may have more choice than they have had in recent years.

Would you like to donate part of your estate to charity?

If you would like to leave a gift for a good cause in your estate, it can be difficult to know where to start. Certain methods of giving have tax benefits and some might require complicated steps for an estate executor. However, with careful planning you can make your gift a reality.

Why all adults need an estate plan

More than half of all adults lack an estate plan, according to the AARP. Some people in Georgia may think they do not need a plan because they have few assets or no family. However, one function of an estate plan is appointing agents to handle any legal or financial matters in case incapacitation becomes an issue. This could be important for people at all income levels.

Another vital estate planning document is a living will, which can outline a person's wishes for end-of-life health care. It's also important to consider powers of attorney, which can appoint agents to make financial and health care decisions if the grantor is not able.

Everyone needs an estate plan

There is a common misperception among many that estate planning is a sophisticated process that wealthy people use to make sure their surviving spouse, children, and future generations will be taken care of. And while it is certainly true that the larger and more complex an estate is, the greater potential benefit can be derived from careful and prudent planning, it is also true that every Georgia resident should explore the various estate planning tools to understand how they can work for the individual's specific needs.

The first issue to consider is what happens if a person does nothing concerning estate planning and dies intestate. Legal experts can explain that each state has laws that provide for a distribution of the assets of a person who dies without a will or trust. These laws do not consider what the deceased may have wanted. For example, if a person with no spouse or children were to die intestate, his or her estate would go to some distant relative rather than the close friend or charity the deceased may have preferred.

Common issues encountered during a home purchase

Georgia residents who are about to close on a home purchase shouldn't feel comfortable until the transaction is official. This is because there are many issues that could arise before that happens. For instance, the bank might only agree to lend up to the home's appraised value. In some cases, this can be less than what the seller wants for the property. The bank may also refuse to pay for a home if there are problems with a mortgage application.

For example, a lender may think that a buyer has attempted to commit fraud or has made other significant errors. Even if the lender is willing to fund a home purchase, there may be other problems that can prevent a closing from taking place. If an inspection reveals major issues, the sale may be canceled. Pest infestations, cracks in the foundation and electrical problems are common problems an inspection may reveal.

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Boling Rice LLC
207 Pirkle Ferry Road
Cumming, GA 30040

Phone: 770-887-3162
Fax: 770-844-6602
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