When people in Georgia begin to think about the future of their families, it may be time to consider estate planning more seriously. Making a plan for one’s estate can be important for people at all levels of wealth; whether one is leaving behind substantial assets or a small sum, establishing a clear plan can help to protect oneself and provide peace of mind for one’s loved ones.

The purpose of an estate plan is to create the necessary documents to arrange for the management of a person’s assets through their life and after death. In addition, it can include creating key documents to help a person address medical and financial needs in the case of incapacity.

Despite the importance of estate planning, however, many Americans do not have the key documents they need. One study shows that 55 percent of people across the country do not have a will, the most basic estate planning document that provides for the distribution of a person’s assets after their death. For people who die without a will, they lose the chance to make choices about the future of their assets. Instead, state intestacy laws will make that choice for them; in addition, their estate may be tied up in probate court for some time and can accumulate various types of fees and costs.

Making a plan can not only help avoid excessive costs, but it can also help to manage concerns about taxes and assist beneficiaries in receiving the estate more quickly. Non-probate transfers, including trusts, life insurance and jointly owned property, might be used effectively to pass on key assets. An estate planning attorney may be able to draw up these important documents and provide critical guidance in establishing a plan that reflects a person’s wishes for the future while safeguarding their property from waste and unnecessary fees.