Recent news of the death of Prince, the pop megastar, hit the internet within hours of the musician’s passing. Among various articles and stories that shared his lifetime achievements, were those that mentioned the fact that he died without a last will and testament. Others in Georgia or elsewhere in the nation may be familiar with the estate administration difficulties that can arise when a will is not in place or an estate has not otherwise been properly planned.
Those named as beneficiaries, fiduciaries, trustees, and/or guardians often face a complicated estate administration process. Many people mistakenly believe their estate plans are in order, only to have family members meet with a number of legal problems upon their deaths. Issues regarding division of assets after a second marriage took place before death, or whether certain assets pass by will or through joint titling, beneficiary designations and trusts are other common areas of concern.
Examining one’s assets to determine how they are titled is one means of preparing a plan so as to minimize potential stress during the administration process. Making sure that lists of beneficiaries for retirement funds and insurance policies are updated is also advisable. In addition, carefully drafting and executing health care directives or other plans should a subsequent incapacitation occur, and keeping such information updated as lifestyle changes take place, is crucial toward helping family members avoid contention and stress further down the line.
In short, careful and thorough estate planning often leads to less legal difficulties in the estate administration process. However, anyone with questions or concerns about his or her duties to an estate may address those matters by contacting a probate and estate administration attorney in the area. An attorney would be able to offer clarification and resources to help anyone facing issues regarding specific duties in the administration of a Georgia estate.
Source: dailylocal.com, “Retitling assets can change the estate plan”, Janet M. Colliton, May 16, 2016