Estate planning goes hand-in-hand with estate administration

Most Georgia residents should have an estate plan in place. In reality, many do not. This is often due to the fact that people make the mistake of overlooking their assets simply due to the fact that they may not believe they have anything of value. As a result, individuals rarely ever give a second thought to estate planning; as a result, after they die and the process of estate administration begins, there may be very little to work with for the loved ones involved. This can quickly lead to complications or misunderstandings as to who is going to get what. 

With very few exceptions, almost everyone has an estate. The bottom line is that if an individual owns something of value that he or she wants to pass on to someone after death, that individual actually has an estate. It makes sense to create an estate plan unique to one's circumstances. If no will or trust exists when an individual passes away in Georgia, state law will dictate how any assets left behind are to be distributed. 

What's included in an estate plan? Generally speaking, it encompasses how assets shall be distributed after one's death but also addresses what is to occur should the individual become incapacitated at any point prior to death. A properly planned estate helps pave the way for a complication-free estate administration after the individual's death. Whether a will and/or trust is used, an understanding of current tax law, including gift and estate tax issues, will be essential.

Whether in Goergia or another state, the more planning that goes into something, the easier it is to execute. To begin the process, certain documents must be collected and a basic understanding of how estate planning and estate administration works will be helpful. Individuals interested in getting started on planning their estate typically choose to consult an attorney experienced in handling these issues.

Source:, "Understanding the basics of estate planning", Constance J. Fontaine, July 1, 2016

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