What is Estate Planning?
When someone passes away, his or her property must somehow pass to another person. In Georgia, any competent adult has the right to choose the manner in which his or her assets are distributed after his or her passing. (The main exception to this general rule involves what is called a spousal right of election which disallows the complete disinheritance of a spouse.) A proper estate plan also involves strategies to minimize potential estate taxes and settlement costs as well as to coordinate what would happen with your home, your investments, your business, your life insurance, your employee benefits (such as a 401K plan), and other property in the event of death or disability.
On the personal side, a good estate plan should include directions to carry out your wishes regarding health care matters, so that if you ever are unable to give the directions yourself, someone you know and trust would do that for you, and know when you would want them to authorize extraordinary measures and when you would prefer they pull the plug.
What People Are Saying
“Mr. Black took an extraordinary amount of time and preparation with my husband and myself to prepare our Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, and Advance Directive. I compared prices for the same services and feel that I was given a very fair fee for the work that was done for us. I would highly recommend Paul Black.”
“After talking with Paul, I knew exactly what I needed to do. He has been with me the whole way from getting her diagnosed with dementia, to helping with all of the legal paperwork and consolidating the finances (after having to find all of them first!) and getting her moved into an assisted living home where she is getting topnotch care. If you need a responsive and caring lawyer, hire Paul!!”
“Paul does an excellent job of making a connection with his clients. He becomes invested in meeting the needs of his clients. He is helpful, friendly and has lots of knowledge about trusts, wills, etc. It is easy to get in touch with Paul and he makes a point of staying in touch with you. Great experience all the way around.”
Why is it Important to Establish an Estate Plan?
What Does My Estate Include?
Your estate is simply everything that you own, anywhere in the world, including:
- Your home or any other real estate that you own
- Any interests you may have in any business
- Your share of any joint accounts
- The full value of your retirement accounts
- Any life insurance policies that you own
- Any property owned by a trust, over which you have a significant control
How Do I Name a Guardian for My Children?
If you have children under the age of eighteen, you should designate a person or persons to be appointed guardian(s) over their person and property. Of course, if a surviving parent lives with the minor children (and has custody over them) he or she automatically continues to remain their sole guardian. This is true despite the fact that others may be named as the guardian in your estate planning documents. You should name at least one alternate guardian in case the primary guardian cannot serve or is not appointed by the court.
Awards & Associations
Paul has been named a SuperLawyers “Rising Star” in the area of Estate Planning and as a member of Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine. He is also a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.