One of the many documents a trust attorney in the Savannah area will encourage clients to put together is a living will. In Georgia, we use a document called the Georgia Advanced Directive for Healthcare. These documents have been considered incredibly important in both the legal and medical fields for 40+ years. A living will provides you with the opportunity to make your medical wishes known should you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions at the time. A living will often considers things like whether or not you want to be on life support and how you feel about doctors taking “extraordinary” measures to prolong your life. [Read more…] about Ask a Savannah Trust Attorney: How Good is Your Living Will?
If you’ve already met with your Savannah estate planning attorney to put together your wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other long-term plans, then congratulations! You’ve taken a really important step toward being prepared for the future and making things easier on your family and friends should you pass away or become unable to make decisions for yourself.
In order to ensure that your estate plans still fit your needs, you should review them at the beginning of every year. There are certain life changes that can have a huge overall effect on your estate planning, so taking the time to accommodate those changes now will save a significant amount of difficulty later. Have you experienced any of the following in the last year (or longer, if you haven’t updated your plans in a while)? If so, you’ll want to set up a time to chat with your Savannah wills and trusts attorney right away.
- Did you experience a change in marital status? If you were married, divorced, or widowed in the previous year, then you will need to update your estate plans to reflect this. It may be necessary to change beneficiaries. Most people who go through a divorce will want to change their wills, trusts, and other important documents to remove the former spouse’s name. In the case of a new marriage, the new spouse will likely be added. If you have been widowed, this may change how your inheritance will be dispersed.
- Did you become a parent? Whether you gave birth to a child, adopted, or became a step parent in the last year, it makes sense to change your estate plans to reflect this change. Remember that you may want to change the beneficiaries listed on insurance policies and bank accounts, as well as to name guardians and possibly set up trusts to care for your child’s future should you be unable to do so personally.
- Have you changed jobs or retired? Your retirement plans and 401Ks may be affected by the change in employment status. Your Savannah estate planning attorney can offer you advice on whether to roll over an existing plan or to start a new one, as well as how to deal with dispersal if it is time for your to start drawing on your retirement or pension plan.
- Have you sold or purchased property? There are specific laws that pertain to the inheritance of property, as well as the taxes involved. Adding or removing property from your existing estate plan can help to avoid unnecessary taxes and to protect your heirs’ interests in the property.
There are a number of changes which can impact your estate plan. By working with a qualified Savannah attorney, you can help to clarify what needs to be done to keep yourself on track and on target for your estate planning goals.
Estate planning, with or without a lawyer, can be a little overwhelming. For an estate planning attorney in Savannah, there are plenty of questions which come up again and again. Take a look at the list below, and maybe you’ll get some of yours answered:
An Advance Directive is a way for you to share with your loved ones your wishes regarding life support and end of life medical care. The short answer is that if you are an adult over the age of eighteen, yes, you need an Advance Directive. Questions about end of life medical care are very important today because of the ability of medical technology to prolong life and because of high profile court cases involving comatose or dying patients. In order to control your medical treatment in such a situation you must record your preferences in advance. Advance directives are documents written in advance of serious illness which state your choices about medical treatment and can name someone to make choices about your medical treatment if you become unable to. Advance directives allow you to make legally valid decisions about future medical treatment. [Read more…] about What is an Advance Directive and Why Would I Need One?
Smith Barid, along with national, state and community organizations, is participating in a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making—an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). [Read more…] about Get Involved in National Healthcare Decisions Day