Most Georgia residents do not really like to think about their own mortality or life going on without them -- only about 45 percent of American adults have documents related to estate planning. However, the reality of the matter is that an incapacity to make decisions or death does indeed strike eventually, which results in many families being caught off guard and thoroughly unprepared for the decisions that come with estate administration. That's why taking the time now to understand such things as a wealth transfer plan is essential in having a thorough understanding of one's estate.
A wealth transfer plan is a set of both decisions and actions that will be taken by an individual in order to prepare his or her heirs for their inheritance. It also seeks to maintain the family's harmony, as discussing one's inheritance with an heir is usually much easier over coffee than after a funeral. A plan like this also seeks to empower the family to make smarter decisions about what it is that they are inheriting.
Some of the basics of a wealth transfer plan include the communication of an individual's financial values and goals for the family, as well as being very transparent about intentions and time frames for the transfer of the inheritance to both heirs and beneficiaries. This way, everything can be out in the open during the time the individual is still alive, in order dispel any hard feelings that the family would have to deal with eventually when the individual is gone. Additionally, introducing an individual's family members to his or her team of advisors so that the advisors can help to address any and all questions they might have and can continue the relationship when the individual is gone is essential.
When someone dies without having either a trust or a will, the state of Georgia has laws that will determine where -- or to whom -- one's assets will go when it comes time for estate administration. However, this may not be what someone had necessarily wanted. To keep their family from being exposed to the expenses of courts, not receiving what they had intended for them or a great deal of other things, many choose to consult an attorney experienced with estate administration law who can present them with all of the opportunities and options available to them.
Source: forbes.com, "The Difference Between Having An Estate Plan And A Wealth Transfer Plan", Michael Chamberlain, July 18, 2016