Estate Planning for Young Families in Georgia

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Posted on February 23, 2024

Though estate planning is commonly considered something that only older individuals need to think about, young families in Georgia also benefit from having an estate plan in place. Simply, estate planning is the process of making a plan for how your assets will be treated after you pass away or become incapacitated. Speaking to an experienced Atlanta estate planning attorney in Atlanta can help you start planning for the future of your loved ones. Here are some things to consider when estate planning for young families in Georgia.

Choosing a Guardian

One of the most important decisions that parents with minor children need to make is choosing a guardian for their children. The guardian will be responsible for your children if you pass away before your children turn 18. There are many factors to consider when choosing a guardian, including your and your children’s relationship with that person, their values and parenting style, and their age, health, and financial situation. It is important to discuss your decision with the potential guardian and obtain their agreement to serve in this role.

Writing a Will

A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your assets will be distributed after you pass away. It is important to have a will in place to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Without a will, Georgia intestacy laws will determine how your assets are distributed, which may not be what you would have wanted.

Establishing a Trust

In addition to a will, a trust can also be useful for young families. A trust allows you to transfer assets to a trustee who will manage the assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. One of the most common trusts is a revocable living trust. There are many benefits to using a revocable living trust as a young family. A trust can be especially useful if you have minor children, as it can provide for their care and education until they reach adulthood. A revocable living trust can also ease the burden of managing your assets if you become incapacitated.

Updating Beneficiary Designations

It is important to regularly review and update your beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts. This ensures your assets go to the intended beneficiaries and avoids the probate process. 

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This can include financial decisions, medical decisions, or both. It’s important to have powers of attorney in place to ensure that your wishes are respected if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Spouses commonly list each other as their first power of attorney, though it is wise to list successor powers of attorney in case your spouse is unable or unwilling to serve.

Long-Term Care Planning

Long-term care planning is another important consideration for young families. This can include setting up a trust or purchasing long-term care insurance to ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of in the event of a serious illness or disability.

Digital Estate Planning

Your estate plan should consider everything you own – real property, personal property, and digital property. Digital property can include your social media accounts, email accounts, and online financial accounts. It’s important to have a plan for how these assets will be managed after you pass away. It is also important to ensure your estate planning documents provide for access to these accounts so that they may be managed according to your wishes.

Considerations Description
Choosing a Guardian Selecting someone to care for minor children in the event of parental death, considering factors like relationship, values, and age.
Writing a Will Documenting asset distribution preferences to ensure they align with wishes, avoiding intestacy laws’ default distribution.
Establishing a Trust Transferring assets to a trustee for beneficiaries, offering benefits like asset management and probate avoidance.
Updating Beneficiaries Reviewing and revising beneficiary designations to ensure assets reach intended recipients, bypassing probate.
Powers of Attorney Appointing decision-makers for financial and medical matters in case of incapacitation, ensuring preferences are respected.
Long-Term Care Planning Securing care through trusts or insurance to address potential health needs, providing peace of mind for individuals and families.
Digital Estate Planning Planning for the management of digital assets after death, including social media, email, and financial accounts.

What is the Best Age to Start Planning for an Estate?

When it comes to estate planning, timing is everything. The ideal age to start planning is 18—when you become a legal adult. This might seem unnecessarily early for many, but with adulthood comes the responsibility of managing your own financial, healthcare, and legal affairs.

Establishing an estate plan at this age ensures that your preferences are documented and clear, should the unforeseen occur. Additionally, as you navigate life’s milestones, your estate plan will serve as a living document that reflects your current circumstances and wishes.

Here are pivotal moments when estate planning should either be initiated or updated:

  • Upon Opening a Savings Account: Designate beneficiaries for your funds early on.
  • After Buying Property: Protect your real estate investments with an estate plan.
  • When Getting Married or Remarried: Secure your assets and wishes as a couple.
  • Before Traveling Extensively: Ensure your affairs are in order before prolonged trips.
  • At the Birth of Each Child: Assign guardianship and outline provisions for their future.
  • Upon Receiving an Inheritance: Update your plan to incorporate new assets.
  • After a Divorce: Revise your estate plan to reflect your solo status and intentions.
  • With New Grandchildren: Adjust your will or trusts to include additional family members.

Life can be unpredictable, and having an estate plan in place provides peace of mind that your affairs will be handled according to your desires, regardless of your age. Our skilled Atlanta estate planning attorney at Trace Brooks Law can assist in creating and updating your estate plan, allowing it to evolve along with your life’s journey. The best age to start planning for an estate is now, securing your legacy and the well-being of your loved ones for the future.

Estate planning is important for young families in Georgia to ensure that their wishes are respected and their loved ones are taken care of in the event of their passing. Contact an experienced Atlanta Estate Planning Attorney at Trace Brooks Law to discuss the estate plan that is right for you and your family.

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