Cobb County Will Lawyers: How to Handle the Disposition of Your Remains

Cobb County Will Lawyers: How to Handle the Disposition of Your Remains

Funeral planning is not a pleasant experience, especially when you’re pre-planning your own. But Cobb County will lawyers stress that it’s important to have your wishes in writing for after you pass away, since you won’t be around to let anyone know what you want done once you’re gone.

Do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you want a traditional funeral or a celebration of life gathering? Is there a certain person who you know will carry out your wishes when you’re gone? These are important questions that you should have answers to, and more importantly, questions that your loved ones should know the answers to as well.

Cobb County will lawyers often find that clients believe funeral instructions come as part of their Last Will and Testament – but this is not generally the case. A Last Will and Testament can direct how your assets and property are distributed and who should be named as guardians of your underage children, if necessary, but it will not typically direct what should be done with your body after you pass away or how your funeral arrangements should be handled.

In order to do this, you will need a Disposition of Remains – this document allows you to state what you would like done with your body after you’ve passed away, what type of funeral, if any, you’d like to have, and who should be contacted in the event of your death. You can make this document as detailed as you’d like, and unless there are unforeseen circumstances, your wishes will most likely be carried out.

For example, singer David Bowie wished that his remains would be flown to Bali after his death so that they may be cremated in a Buddhist ritual. Unfortunately, this could not be done for logistical reasons – which Bowie prepared for. Instead, his body was cremated and his ashes were scattered in Bali, which Bowie requested in the event that his remains could not be cremated on the island.

In addition, Cobb County will lawyers warn that extraordinary or outlandish disposition wishes, such as scattering ashes at Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride, cannot be legally enforced. It’s important to keep a realistic view of what should happen after you pass away, as well as to make sure that you are not putting your loved ones in a tight spot between carrying out your wishes and possibly breaking the law. A Cobb County will lawyer can give you guidance as to what type of conditions may or may not be enforceable in your documented Disposition of Remains.

If you have any questions about the Disposition of Remains, or you want to review your estate plan to make sure that your wishes have the best chance of being carried out, please contact us at 770-425-6060 to set up a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session at no charge ($600 value).

Cobb County Will and Trust Lawyer Answers, “Will My Inheritance Be Taxed?”

Cobb County Will and Trust Lawyer Answers, “Will My Inheritance Be Taxed?”

When the subject of inheritance is being discussed, people almost always ask this question to their Will and Trust lawyer in Cobb County Here’s what you need to know about how you might be taxed on an inheritance.

Income Taxes

The IRS expects you to report every source of income. This leads many to believe that they will have to claim an inheritance when they file their annual returns. Good news! An inheritance is not counted as part of your income for tax purposes.

Capital Gains Tax

The capital gains tax kicks in any time a gain is achieved. So, if you buy a dilapidated house to renovate with plans to immediately sell it, the amount of money over the original purchase price would be subject to the capital gains tax.

Inherited assets that appreciated during the life of the benefactor would get a step-up basis. This means that the value of the inherited asset would be subject to capital gains tax from when you inherited them. Good news! You would not be responsible for the gains that took place during the life of the person who left them to you. The key here is to understand that if you do realize a gain in the future, you will be responsible for the capital gains tax from the moment you acquired the asset.

Death Taxes

A spouse can transfer unlimited assets to their spouse tax-free.  However, there is a federal estate tax that will be applicable to anyone else. Asset transfers that exceed $5.45 million are subject to the estate tax.

One positive I can report is that here in Georgia we do not have a state-specific tax.

So, there you go. You should now have a good idea about whether the money you plan to leave your loved ones will be taxed. The good news is that there are legal methods for reducing your tax burden if you are subject to them. We invite you to call our Cobb County Will and Trust attorneys at 770-425-6060 to schedule an appointment where we can help you create an estate tax plan that best meets your needs.

The Role of Georgia Wills and Trusts Lawyers When You Move to a New State

Georgia Wills and Trusts Lawyers

Trusts lawyers in Atlanta have the important job of helping their clients create a legacy that is compliant with a number of different laws.  For the most part, these laws will vary from state to state.  Some differences are minor, while others can impact the trust significantly.  Someone who already has established a trust in one state may very well want to at least review it with a trusts lawyer when relocating to another.

For example, if you have created a trust in Georgia but then move to Florida for retirement, it’s a good idea to meet with a trusts lawyer in your new city.  Likewise, someone moving from somewhere else in the U.S. to metro Atlanta should contact a Georgia trust lawyer to review the documents and potentially amend them to meet the law here.

Most often, when a trust is administered, it is done so under the laws of the state where the person resides.  This can get a little tricky if you have residences in two states—say, if you’re a “snowbird.”  In those situations, it’s best to work with trusts lawyers in both states.  The changes needed may be as small as a little wording, but they could also be more complicated.

There are some estate planning documents that should always be addressed with a trusts lawyer when moving to a new state.  Powers of attorney are vital for determining who can represent you should you become incapacitated, and those are administered under state law.  Powers of attorney drawn up by a trusts lawyer in Atlanta may be disregarded by the courts in another area.

A final consideration in the discussion of where to establish a trust is the tax implications.  By working with a good trusts lawyer, you can uncover which state may hold the best benefits for you, your estate, and your heirs.  It is possible to have trusts set up in more than one state, though the complexities of doing so are absolutely something that should be done with the guidance of a knowledgeable professional with plenty of experience in trusts administration.

To schedule an appointment for a complimentary Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session to help you review or create your estate plan, at one of our five metro Atlanta offices, we invite you to call 770-425-6060 to get started


 

 If you’d like to give your loved ones and yourself the gift of peace of mind, please call Steve at 770-425-6060 or 770-421-0808 or email him at steve@georgiaestateplan.com.

 

 

 

Can Your Children’s Spouses Inherit from You? | Marietta GA Will and Trust Lawyer

mother daughter troubled marriageWill and trust lawyers in Marietta see plenty of situations where parents who love their children are not entirely in love with their children’s spouses.  This can make the estate planning process a little tricky, because the spouse can add tension and stir up drama that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.  While some people include their sons-and-daughters-in-law in the planning process, it’s not all that unusual to leave them out.

For the most part, the son-in-law or daughter-in-law isn’t even mentioned in the will.  They don’t really even have any legal standing to inherit from the parent unless they are specifically named.  So, the parent would name his or her own child, but not the child’s spouse.  If the adult child was no longer living, the property would probably end up being inherited by the grandchildren, rather than the spouse.

That’s not to say that a child’s spouse couldn’t end up with an inheritance.  If the parents were to leave assets to the adult child and then the adult child passed away, his or her property would likely go to the spouse, and that includes what was inherited from the parents.  One would hope that this property would eventually be passed on to the grandchildren (assuming there are grandchildren), but this is not a given, as the spouse would have the legal right to do whatever he or she wanted with it.  In fact, if the spouse remarried, his or her new spouse would be the legal choice to inherit any property that was left behind, including that which was inherited this way.

So, can a Marietta will and trust lawyer keep your child’s spouse out of your plan entirely?  Yes!  You can work with your attorney to develop an inheritance trust that will protect any money you leave your kids from divorce, lawsuits, and creditors and keeps your money in the family.

Creating an estate plan can be emotional and having the additional drama of a difficult personality certainly won’t help matters any.  On the other hand, you may absolutely adore your son-or-daughter-in-law and want to make sure that they are taken care of by your estate.  In those cases, you will want to make sure that your Marietta GA estate planning lawyer specifically mentions them and what they are inheriting for your own peace of mind.

Keeping Your Wills and Trusts Updated | Marietta GA Estate Planning Lawyer

 

 


another happy familyIt’s always a great feeling when a new client meets with a wills and trusts attorney in Marietta to get started on his or her estate planning.  Every day, people in Marietta recognize the importance of putting a plan into place to prepare for their own futures as well as those of their heirs.  Wills and trusts are two very important tools that the client and lawyer can create to protect that future.  As important as that initial meeting is, however, there is still a need to follow up regularly to keep your wills and trusts updated and reflective of your current situation.

There are some times when it is obvious that your wills and trusts should be updated, but there are other times that are easier to overlook.

Major Life Changes

When there is a major change in your life, it’s time to call your Marietta wills and trusts lawyer.  These types of changes, such as a marriage, divorce, or birth of a child may dramatically affect who you want to name as beneficiaries.

Health situations are also another big indicator that it’s time to update your wills and trusts.  Medical care can be incredibly expensive, and you may need to rearrange your plans to accommodate the costs.  If dealing with a terminal illness or potentially life-threatening treatment, it also makes sense to ensure that your plans reflect your wishes.

Many Purchases Should Trigger Updates

Wills and trusts lawyers are able to help clients lay out a plan based on what the client has at the time.  When your situation changes through major purchases (or sales) of real estate or other valuable assets, you should update your estate plan to reflect those changes.  You want to ensure that the asset is included in your will or protected by your trust.

Purchases of, or changes in insurance policies, will likely also lead to a call to your Marietta attorney.  These purchases will affect what you have to leave behind and will need to be reflected in your estate plan.

Annual Review

While you may not need to make changes with your Marietta wills and trusts attorney every year, it’s still a good idea to do an annual review of all your estate planning materials.  In addition to refreshing yourself on what is there, your lawyer will also be able to advise you on any laws that have recently changed that might affect decisions you’d previously made.  Just reading over the documents may be enough to notice a change that needs to be made.  Not only does this give you an opportunity to make sure your plans still fit your needs, but by keeping them up-to-date, you are strengthening your will against being invalidated later.  After all, if you’ve worked with an attorney to keep the wills and trusts fresh and in accordance with the most recent life changes, they are likely to reflect your true intentions.

What to Expect from Estate Planning in Atlanta, Part IV

happy family in park 3

 

This is the fourth in a series of articles on what to expect when you work with your Atlanta estate planning lawyer.  Each article will cover several of the topics that you will need to consider to make a plan that works for your needs.

In this series, we have covered estate planning considerations for incapacitation and death, and for the most part, they’ve been the more commonly thought-of items.  Yet, there are some other ideas that you will want to discuss with your estate planning lawyer in Atlanta, including:

  1. Service Providers:  In your estate plan, you may want to include a section regarding your service providers.  Everything from doctors and dentists to property managers and babysitters could be included here.  This gives your loved ones the opportunity to contact these service providers to let them know you won’t be working with them any longer, to clear up any outstanding bills, and to make sure that you don’t continue being billed for a service you no longer use.  This might be especially important if you have service providers who are automatically paid from your bank account.
  2. Memberships:  Memberships and subscriptions are an area that is really easy to overlook, and as mentioned above, they can cost your estate!  Belonging to a gym, country club, or other kind of organization might call for dues to be taken directly from your bank account, and without knowledge to end your contract, your executor and family members won’t even realize they need to discontinue your memberships or subscriptions.
  3. Credit Cards and Other Debts: Having a list of credit cards and other debts makes it easier for those left behind to follow up.  They’ll want to cancel various accounts, as well as to get totals owed in order to make sure your legal obligations are taken care of before the estate is distributed.  Estate planning lawyers in Georgia are familiar with the laws of the state and can guide you on what is expected.
  4. Keys and Passwords: Most of us have areas in our lives that are somehow secured from others.  In the case of your death or incapacitation, you may need to be sure that others have access to these areas.  For example, you wouldn’t want to share your online banking password with just anyone, but if someone needs that information to go with their power of attorney, it needs to be accessible.  Keys to safe deposit boxes, passwords to accounts, and even the code to your home security system should all be kept somewhere that they can be accessed if necessary.
  5. Personal Letters:  The personal letter part of estate planning is really up to an individual.  Some people choose to write special letters that loved ones can keep as mementos.  This is a time to share your feelings, offer forgiveness if you haven’t done so in life, or to just let those around you know that you love them.

There are a whole lot of facets to estate planning, and a good estate planning lawyer in Atlanta will be able to help you go over all of these aspects and many more to determine what you need to include in your estate plan.

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