Last Will and Testament

A Last Will and Testament is something that most people avoid doing, probably because it seems like such an unpleasant task. In fact, most people die without a will including people with multi-million dollar estates. This places an unfair and unnecessary burden on the family. It is unfortunate because a will is a very important benefit that someone can provide to their family. A will is not just a gift list of who gets what. A will is a way of structuring your affairs so that, if you are no longer living, certain things will happen the way you want them to happen.

  • If you die without a will, then your property will be divided according to a formula set by Georgia law.

The entire time spent on having a simple will prepared and executed is usually no more than an hour. An attorney will want to meet with you to get the needed information such as special bequests of property, and guardian and trustees for minor children. This meeting will probably not take more than a half hour. After the will is prepared, your attorney will make another appointment to review the will, answer any questions, and execute the will in the presence of two witnesses. The second appointment should be no more than a half hour. You will have enormous peace of mind knowing that you have relieved your family of one less burden in the event of your death.

In addition to the desired distribution of the estate, and will can also include:

  • Minor's Trust. If you have a minor child, it is usually advisable to put his or her share of an estate into a trust until the child is of an age when he or she can responsibly manage the money.
  • Charitable Trust. Many people would like to have the work that they accomplished during their lives continue to benefit others following their deaths. They can accomplish this goal by leaving parts of their estate to a charitable organization through a Charitable Trust.
  • Tax considerations. If the total value of your estate, including life insurance proceeds, exceeds the federal exemption limit, then the beneficiaries of your estate may be subject to estate tax. Estate tax can be reduced, and sometimes eliminated, through estate planning procedures. There is no need to attempt to avoid probate costs by not having a will. Georgia probate costs are low and procedures are simple. In fact, a will actually reduces probate expenses.