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Creating an estate plan for the New Year

Georgia residents who do not have an estate plan might want to consider creating one in the new year. The first step is to review and make a list of all assets in the estate. If there are any issues with asset titles or other ownership problems, these should be resolved. One can then create a will or trusts and choose who will receive assets. Without these documents, those assets will be distributed based on state laws.

In addition, some assets are passed using beneficiary designations, and these should be reviewed and updated as well. Life insurance is one of those assets. An estate owner who does not have a policy might want to consider getting one. Payment from a life insurance policy can help support dependents. Long-term care and disability insurance can pay toward nursing care or replace income in case of a catastrophic accident or illness.

One may also want to consider creating a power of attorney for financial matters and a health care proxy. For help making these decisions, consider teaming up with a financial planner. In addition, it's important to discuss burial plans and other potential end-of-life issues with loved ones.

An attorney could help a client make various decisions about an estate plan, such as whether a trust might be useful. With a trust, an estate plan does not go through probate. Furthermore, a trust can be used to manage how a beneficiary receives distributions. For example, if there is a loved one who has special needs, a special needs trust can be created to help without disqualifying the person from government assistance.

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