Estate planning law is a comprehensive, wide-ranging legal field that covers many aspects involving protecting and distributing someone’s assets and property after their death. This can include a variety of planning mechanisms, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other legal documents and court filings to ensure the deceased person’s wishes are followed through.
Who Benefits from Working with an Estate Planning Lawyer?
Sometimes people think that only the wealthy need estate planning, people who have myriad assets in terms of financial accounts and property. But that’s not the case. Anyone who has any kind of asset they’d like to protect for their heirs, whether it’s a single-family home or a retirement account, should consider getting professional advice and assistance putting their plans into place. An experienced estate planning lawyer will have insight into things that need to be considered that the layperson hasn’t thought of. That can prevent disaster down the road.
What Happens When No Estate Planning Is Done?
If no planning is done and someone dies without a basic will (known as dying intestate), the probate court will step in and determine how and to whom it will distribute its assets. Neither the deceased nor those who would have been heirs in a will control how this happens.
In Georgia, there are laws that determine how the estate is distributed if it’s intestate. First, any outstanding debts and bills are paid. Once accomplished, any remaining assets will be divvied up to family members in order of immediacy. Surviving spouses and children take priority, with parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins eligible after the spouses and children.
If there are no remaining family members, the remaining assets go to the state. So if someone wants to leave a good friend or neighbor something from their estate but dies intestate, the friend or neighbor is out of luck.
Let Me Advise You
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about estate planning, call me at 770-889-3911.