Estate administration problems arise with no will or estate plan

Many Georgia residents hope to provide for their children and family after their own deaths. In order for estate administration to take place smoothly, an estate plan must be written and put in place to ensure that the individual creating the plan will be able to control who benefits from the estate. An estate plan also makes it much easier for an individual's surviving -- and grieving -- family to handle the decedent's estate, provided it is not only written down but professionally planned.

While estate planning is often associated with the wealthy, financial advisors say that most Americans can benefit from it. They also stress that the earlier an individual starts, the better. One of the most basic parts of an estate plan is a person's will, which, according to data, over half of Americans forgo. This results in the state court deciding who will get the decedent's assets and, in the event of children, who will be responsible for caring for them.

What does this mean exactly? For example, if someone has an unmarried partner or perhaps a favorite charity but never wrote a will, that person's assets won't end up with either the unmarried partner or the charity. Often, the state court will send the assets to the individual's closest blood relatives, regardless if this was the decedent's first choice or not.

Another element of estate planning that is often overlooked is updating the beneficiaries on a person's financial assets -- these include his or her retirement accounts, life insurance policies and 401(k) plans. Also, regular bank accounts should have the beneficiaries listed on a payable-on-death form (POD) which banks can supply. Individuals typically consult experienced Georgia estate planning attorneys in order to learn more about how they can ensure that the above-mentioned aspects of their estate can be properly planned so that in the event of their death the process of estate administration can go as smoothly as possible.

Source: CNBC, "No will or estate plan? Big problem for you and your heirs", Sarah O'Brien, Aug. 9, 2016

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