Georgia residents might hesitate to create an estate plan because they do not want to think about mortality. However, an estate plan serves two important purposes. In addition to detailing how people want their assets distributed, it also makes preparations in case they become incapacitated and cannot manage their financial or health care issues.
Both of these can be accomplished by naming a trusted person as agent under a power of attorney. A living will can address the type of life-saving procedures a person wishes to have administered or withheld.
If a person dies without a will, the state will decide who gets the assets, and this may not always reflect a person's wishes. A will can also be used to appoint a guardian for minor children. Careful estate planning may be particularly important for people in second or later marriages who have children from previous relationships to ensure that all children and the current spouse receive the intended assets.
The first step for a person creating an estate plan is to inventory assets. These may include real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts and other items. A person might also want to consider creating a living trust since the property placed in this will be distributed more quickly to beneficiaries.
One important consideration in creating an estate plan is to make sure that any beneficiary designations align with the will or trust. These are the documents that a person creates to allow assets such as retirement accounts to pass to beneficiaries. Since they override the instructions in a will or trust it is important that they be kept up to date. Otherwise, these assets could be left to former spouses, or children born later might be left out.