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.
A last will and testament can be a basic document that states who inherits the estate owner’s assets. In addition, wills and trusts can be used to pass on assets to charities or heirs. Furthermore, a parent can name a guardian for minor children in the will.
Wealthier people can use estate planning to reduce transfer taxes for heirs. Speaking of heirs, it’s important to keep them in the loop about estate planning. Regular communication about family finances can prepare the next generation to be responsible for the wealth.
There are other options available for heirs who are unprepared or unable to handle an inheritance. For example, what is sometimes called a “spendthrift trust” can be established to manage payments to an irresponsible loved one. These distributions could be paid at certain intervals, or a trustee might decide when to make them. With a special needs trust, a family member with special needs could receive support without jeopardizing access to government benefits. An attorney could help a client decided which types of trusts or other documents may be best for an estate plan.