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Estate Planning Attorneys In Atlanta

Without the best Atlanta estate planning lawyers, you risk:

  • Your spouse losing control of the estate.
  • Creditors targeting your children’s inheritance.
  • Litigators coming after the inheritance.
  • The government choosing who gets what.
  • The government assigning an executor.

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Estate Planning Attorneys In Atlanta: Everything You Need To Know

Are you looking for estate planning lawyers in Atlanta?

Or maybe you’re wondering if you even need an Atlanta estate planning attorney.

Either way, we’re going to cover:

Let’s dig in.

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What Is Estate Planning In Atlanta?

What is estate planning?

Estate planning determines who receives your assets when you die.

It also determines who handles managing the distribution of your estate.

Proper estate planning ensures your family receives your estate with minimized:

  • estate taxes
  • gift taxes
  • income taxes
  • and other taxes
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What Does An Atlanta Estate Planning Law Firm Do?

An estate planning law firm understands numerous practice areas.

And they provide several different legal services like:

  • elder law
  • estate administration
  • tax planning and tax law (or they have partnerships that help you)
  • asset protection
  • estate law (obviously)
  • probate administration

Atlanta estate planning lawyers guide you through estate planning and give you legal advice.

They also will guide your family through the probate process.

This is where the client relationship is very important.

We can guide you through multiple stages of your estate plan and strategy.

Estate planning lawyers in Atlanta understand how your estate will be:

  • inventoried
  • appraised and valued
  • distributed to the heirs
  • taxed

Atlanta estate law practices will also help you with estate planning tasks like:

  • creating a Georgia last will and testament
  • choosing your beneficiaries
  • creating the appropriate Georgia power of attorneys
  • finding ways to reduce and avoid estate taxes
  • finding ways to avoid the probate process
  • setting up trusts for your family
  • avoiding estate litigation
  • avoiding will contests from beneficiaries
Who Needs Estate Planning - What Is Estate Planning - Estate Planning Attorneys - Estate Planning Lawyers - Trust Lawyers

Who Needs Estate Planning In Atlanta?

Who can benefit from estate planning in Atlanta?

Literally, everyone needs estate planning. 

Some common reasons a person would need an estate plan are:

  • They have assets to pass to people (bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, real estate, etc.)
  • Asset protection to protect the estate from estate litigation.
  • They have children that need a guardian named.
  • They want to minimize the probate process and the government’s involvement in it.
  • They want to reduce taxes on their assets with tax planning.
  • Business succession plans that also follow business laws (for family or partnerships).
  • Name an executor for estate administration (distribution of the estate).
  • Setting up funeral arrangements for themselves or a loved one.
  • Using elder law to set up caretakers, Medicaid, special needs, etc.
  • Creating or updating beneficiaries on life insurance, IRAs, and 401ks.

Why Is Estate Planning In Atlanta Important?

Estate planning is important because estate plans protect:

  • the beneficiaries of the estate by keeping your estate out of the court system
  • children by naming a guardian so they don’t end up in foster care
  • special needs children who need a conservatorship
  • heirs from massive tax losses on their inheritance
  • loved ones who need long-term care

Experienced Atlanta estate planning attorneys protect your family from government involvement in your estate.

They also increase the amount of money that you’re able to pass down by reducing taxes.

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What Estate Planning Documents You Need?

You’re probably wondering what estate planning legal documents you need? 

Most people only think about a last will and testament in Atlanta for their estate plans.

A will is the most common estate planning document that you need. 

But a will may not be ALL that you need to make sure your estate goes to the right beneficiaries. 

And without the government getting involved in your estate’s distribution.

Here are the estate planning documents you need that your Atlanta estate planning law firm will give you.

Last Will And Testament In Atlanta

A will is a written document that lists how you’d like your belongings distributed after you’re gone.

If you want your nephew to have your coin collection, you can put that in your will.

Living Trusts In Atlanta

With a trust in Georgia, you can put your assets into a living trust for your benefit while you’re still living.

Upon your death, your belongings go to the person you name in the trust.

When you do this, you will not need your estate to pass through probate court.

Medicaid Trusts

A Medicaid trust helps plan for the health care of a loved one or yourself.

Medicaid has an asset limit for you to qualify for this service.

The Medicaid asset limit is $2,000 for a single person.

And $3,000 for a married couple.

Meaning that you cannot own more than $2,000 – $3,000 and qualify for Medicaid.

Our estate planning law firm in Atlanta can set up a Medicaid trust for you and a loved one.

When your assets get placed in these trusts, the trust takes ownership of them.

And there are no assets in your name anymore.

Which allows you to qualify for Medicaid.

Durable Power Of Attorney

A durable power of attorney in Georgia is handy if you become incapacitated and can’t make decisions for yourself.

A durable power of attorney in Georgia can appoint someone to make decisions for you.

Healthcare Power Of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney in Georgia is commonly referred to as an advanced care directive.

A healthcare power of attorney in Georgia gives someone else the authority to make decisions about your healthcare due to your incapacity.

Your Georgia estate planning attorneys will set this up for you. 

They will make sure that your healthcare directive follows your direction. 

This keeps doctors from making medical decisions for you. 

For example, you may have religious beliefs that the doctors will not follow unless there is a healthcare power of attorney in place. 

Beneficiary Designations

Some assets can bypass a will or trust altogether if you designate a beneficiary.

These include assets like life insurance and 401k plans.

Otherwise, the court may decide who inherits all those funds.

So, how much does estate planning cost? 

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How Much Do Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyers Cost?

Atlanta estate planning lawyers’ estate planning costs fall into two categories:

  1. flat fee estate planning costs, or;
  2. billable hours for estate planning costs

Read More: How Much Does A Will Cost In Georgia?

Flat Fee Estate Planning Costs

Atlanta estate planning attorneys will charge flat fees for simple estate planning services.

Your Atlanta estate planning attorneys will be able to assess whether your estate plan fits into a flat fee structure. 

They will look at your financial status, family situation, and any special considerations and know what planning tools you will need.

For the average person, Georgia estate planning attorneys will charge a flat fee for the estate plan. 

A flat fee estate plan includes the most common estate planning documents like:

  • a simple will
  • power of attorney for finances and property
  • a power of attorney for healthcare decisions
  • a living will outlining end of life decisions
  • an appointment of guardianship for parents

The only reason that an Atlanta estate planning attorney would charge you by the hour is if you have a complex estate. 

Hourly Estate Planning Costs​

Atlanta estate planning attorneys will charge you by the hour if your estate planning requires:

  • extra sophistication in planning (businesses, multiple trusts, corporations, etc.)
  • time coordinating with other professionals (i.e., financial planners)

Sometimes your estate planning attorney cannot reasonably predict how much effort your estate planning will require.

In this case, they will charge you by the hour for the estate planning. 

When your estate planning attorney charges by the hour, they will ask you to pay a retainer fee.

If they don’t work as long as they thought they would, they will refund you a portion of your retainer fee. 

Next, let’s talk about what happens if you die without a will. 

What Happens If You Die Without A Will - Dying Without A Will - What Happens If You Don't Have A Will

What Happens If You Die Without A Will?

When it comes to what happens if you die without a will, there are three categories to look at:

  • your money (i.e., retirement accounts, bank accounts, debts, etc.)
  • your children (who gets them)
  • estate taxes (your spouse losing their marital deduction

You will need to hire a probate attorney to manage your estate.

Dying Without A Will And Your Money

When you die without a will, your estate gets split up per intestacy laws. 

This means that the courts will determine who gets what, regardless of what you wanted to happen. 

This requires your estate to go through probate court in the Atlanta area. 

The probate courts will pick someone to be the executor of the estate. 

This can be a loved one like a spouse, child, or even a third party person. 

Let’s look at Georgia’s intestacy laws. 

If you have a spouse and children, they will split your assets 50/50. 

Your spouse would get 50% and your children would split the remaining 50%. 

If you’re like my grandma, then you’d like your spouse to keep 100% so they don’t run out of money. 

The disclaimer is that you’d need an estate plan to make this happen. 

Dying Without A Will And Your Children

When you die without a will, the courts decide what to do with your children.

The judge will determine who gets guardianship based on the best interests of the child. 

But, most likely, the judge won’t give guardianship to the person of your choice. 

And if the judge feels like there are no good options, your child could end up in the foster care system.

Dying Without A Will And Your Taxes

A Georgia estate planning attorney will make sure your family pays the least amount of estate taxes. 

Under Federal law, your estate is taxed by 40 percent if it’s worth over $11.58 million.

Anything under that amount is generally exempt from federal taxes.

State taxes are an entirely different story.

Especially if you pass away before writing a will. 

Why Hiring The Right Atlanta Estate Planning Attorneys Matters

You want peace of mind knowing that your family is set up.

You don’t want your kids going into the foster system if something happens to you.

You don’t want the state to decide how to distribute your estate.

You don’t want your heirs to lose half of their inheritance to unnecessary taxes.

You don’t want family members who are disowned to get your assets.

You don’t want your estate to get stuck in probate for 12+ months.

Fill out the form below for a free consultation with one of our super lawyers.

We will set your estate plan up for you correctly so you don’t have to worry about ANY of this.

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