“Estate planning” can be an intimidating term that implies that only wealthy people with vast estates need legal services to ensure what happens to that estate when they die. But in fact, people at various stages of life can benefit from working with an estate planning attorney, and it can be especially helpful for mourning survivors. Here are some of the things they can do.

Determine How the Estate Should Be Distributed

An estate planning lawyer can help people determine how they want their estate to be distributed when they’re gone. Part of the value of having experienced legal assistance is that the lawyer may have insights and past experiences that can be valuable to someone new to the process. They’ll have questions and raise concerns about different wishes and approaches.

Handle the Documentation

Estate planning involves a considerable amount of paperwork, some of which involves interacting with governmental agencies or courts. There can be requirements for the paperwork, including deadlines, and missing those can cause the process to slow and potentially be costlier. An experienced lawyer will be knowledgeable about Georgia estate laws and what needs to be done when ensuring that the planning process proceeds more smoothly and less stressfully.

Among the documents that estate planning attorneys work with are:

Wills. Wills are important legal documents that state how assets should be distributed after death. Often people think they can simply write up a brief statement of how they want things handled, but an attorney well versed in the intricacies of wills knows what pitfalls that approach can bring.

Trusts. Trusts can be complicated to set up, and many trusts are available with different purposes and outcomes. An attorney can analyze your estate and provide information and recommendations about what works best—or doesn’t work well.

Power of attorney. This vital document protects you if you become incapacitated while still alive. Planning and designating someone to be able to represent you and your financial interests protect you and your estate.

Advance Directive for Health Care. Also known as a living will, this document specifies what types of medical treatments you do or don’t want in case of a medical crisis. That can include things like feeding tubes, intubation, or other measures meant to prolong life, even if that life has little quality left. Because this can be a contentious family issue, having a legal document in place helps protect your rights.

Let Me Advise You

If you or someone you know is interested in beginning estate planning, call me at 770-285-5493 to begin the process.