It is extremely important for every adult to have a Will. With it, you can decide the distribution of your property, name a guardian for your children, leave property to friends or charities – and perhaps most importantly – make your wishes known. By working with a Georgia trust and estates lawyer, you can limit the tough decisions your family members and friends will have to make. A dedicated business law attorney can help you give your loved ones this gift they they go through a trying time.
At Sparks Law, our team of legal professionals will be glad to help you get your essential trust and estate documents in order. The process is simple – we’ll sit down together and discuss your property, family situation, and your intended distributions. Then our office will draft the Will and accompanying documents. We will keep a signed copy in our files in case there is ever any question.
In addition to a Will, trusts can also be a beneficial tool in the estate planning process. You may wish to set up a revocable or living trust that will hold certain assets during your lifetime. You can disperse them to beneficiaries as you determine, revoke the trust, or modify it. Upon your death, the trust becomes irrevocable.
Irrevocable trusts own the assets you, as the grantor, assign to it. These trusts cannot be modified once created. The experienced lawyers at Sparks Law can draft trust documents compliant with Georgia law to secure an effective inheritance plan for you and your beneficiaries. Our Alpharetta attorneys can also help oversee a smooth transition of an estate from the drafting of documents to the distribution of assets.
Wills are not restricted to older adults, and a testator can be as young as 14 in Georgia. All testators must be competent to authorize a Will and cannot have been unduly influenced by someone else. Under Georgia Code § 53-4-20, all Wills must be in writing. Even handwritten Wills are acceptable. Although some states permit Wills to be audio-recorded or videotaped, Georgia does not.
Testators must sign Wills in a way that is known to represent them to authenticate the Will. This can be a signature, a nickname, or an ‘X’ if the person is illiterate. If physically incapable of signing, testators can authorize someone else to sign in their presence.
Wills must also be witnessed by two competent people 14 or older and in the presence of the testator. Even if a Will is in writing, it will be invalid if two witnesses do not sign it. Georgia does not require Wills to be notarized, although this may be helpful for the probate process. Consult an Alpharetta lawyer to learn more about the nuances of estate planning in Georgia, including drafting a Will and accompanying documents.
The administration of an estate is simpler if a witnessed Will is in place, as the mission of the Georgia Probate Court is to ensure a decedent’s wishes are met. Having these wishes in writing cuts down on time-consuming disagreements between potential beneficiaries.
Even with a Will, there are still some potentially time-consuming steps in the administration process, such as sending notices to creditors, keeping bills current, paying taxes, identifying property to be disbursed, and possibly converting assets. Eventually, the property will be distributed, and the estate closed with the Probate Court. Executing estate transfer documents such as Wills and Trusts makes the process easier for bereaved beneficiaries. A dedicated trust and estates attorney could help draft these documents for families in Georgia.
While it’s not a pleasant thing to think about, clients who work with a Georgia trust and estates lawyer always feel better when they leave with Will in hand. Life is exciting and there is a lot for you to accomplish – get your Will done so you can get back to living it, knowing that your family and friends will be protected.