When people in Georgia ponder how to provide for their loved ones after they pass away, they may think about making a will or preparing other key estate documents. However, many people do not take into account the changing digital reality of many assets. From investment accounts to cryptocurrency wallets, online access is critical to many significant financial assets. In addition, there are many other aspects of online identity, including email accounts and social media profiles, which can often be important to daily life and communication.
Many people in Georgia love the music of Aretha Franklin, known widely as the Queen of Soul. However, like many celebrities, she did not leave behind a clear estate plan to distribute her valuable assets among her family members. Franklin's experience may highlight the importance of estate planning to avoid a lengthy, costly probate process for loved ones left behind. After Franklin passed away in August 2018, news reports noted that she had not left behind a will. As a result, her estate has been in probate court since that time with family members disputing over the distribution of her substantial estate.
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.
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.
Georgia residents can likely benefit from sitting down with their families and discussing various estate plan topics. One of those topics may be related to how a parent intends to transfer his or her assets. However, broaching this topic may be difficult as many older Americans grew up in a time when discussing money was taboo. In fact, only 21 percent of parents polled by Ameriprise said that their children know how much they will receive.
According to recent research, 42 percent of the baby boomer generation doesn't have any kind of estate plan in place, despite the fact that the youngest boomers turn 55 in 2019. Among those who do have plans in Georgia and across the country, many have not updated them for years. Baby boomers have more wealth, approximately $30 trillion, than any other generation in the history of the United States. Passing that wealth on to the right people when they die might require more planning than other generations have needed.
Many baby boomers in Georgia have diligently worked hard to build their portfolios and amass a sizeable nest egg. Understandably, many of these same individuals have a desire to manage their family legacies. One study related to this topic found that nearly 70 percent of adults over 50 want to use their accumulated assets to invest in their children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, even the most well-organized baby boomers can't control the actions their millennial beneficiaries take or don't take.
People in Georgia who are fans of the Marvel superhero universe might think about their own estate plans following the death of Stan Lee, who was a publisher and chairman of Marvel Comics. He created the iconic characters of Spiderman, Captain America and the X-Men and amassed significant wealth over the course of his illustrious career. While it is not yet publicly known whether he left a will, Lee's passing raises estate planning questions that his fans would do well to answer themselves.
Pets can be a big part of your life. However, estate plans did not commonly include pets up until recent years.