Why Do People Generally Avoid Or Delay Setting Up An Estate Plan?
It’s been my experience that people view estate planning as important but not urgent. They want to put their estate plan together, just not today. For most people, it’s easier to put it out of mind rather than think about their death or the death of someone they love.
We assume that there is always more time to do it. It is one of those things where you can easily say, “I will do it next week.” In all likelihood, nothing happens that week so they push it off to the next week and then next week. It is always very easy to it put off once and then get lulled into a continual procrastination on it.
What ends up motivating a lot of people to get started is when they confront their mortality. It might because someone they know has died. It might be because they have a new child and realize that they want the child to be taken care of if something were to happen. It might be due to a major life event like a marriage, divorce, or retirement that causes people to reevaluate their lives and the legacy they want to leave.
My goal is to talk with people before that point, but the human mindset does not always want to deal with talking about final planning. I understand this, but postponing it does not make it any less important. More dangerously, it leaves your loved ones unprotected if something unexpected were to happen.
How Often Should People Check Up On Or Modify Or Maintain Their Estate Plan?
The main trigger to review, check up on, or modify your estate plan is a major life event. Those are things that are significant enough to involve some sort of ceremony or celebration. Examples include getting married or having a new child. It’s important to remember that certain major life events such as having all your children turn eighteen, getting divorced, or getting remarried can have a dramatic effect on an existing estate plan. Those major events always necessitate looking at that estate plan with your lawyer.
Barring those major events, I suggest doing reviewing the plan every year, and at the most every two years. You can time it to a major event like an election day. Maybe every election day, you look at your plan to see if anything has changed and then contact your lawyer. Use that meeting to ask questions about your plan that you have and address any changes to be made.
What Are The Asset Protection Laws In Georgia?
In layman’s terms, asset protection is planning designed to protect assets from creditor claims or judgments. If a client is in a business that is prone to lawsuits or is in a position where creditor claims or judgements are possible in the future, it is very important that avenues of asset protection are explored.
We can also broaden out the term asset protection to include protection from specific people. For example, if a person were to lose their mental capacity, it would be very important to protect their assets from people looking to take advantage of the situation and enrich themselves.
Under Georgia law, it is very possible to set aside and protect certain assets to be held for the benefit of a specific person, like a child. Further, we can preserve assets for people facing incapacity or having to go into long-term care by planning early and aggressively. By doing this, we can often shield estates from judgments and liens that are expected to be imposed for certain types of government assistance, care, and liens might be placed related to estate debts or healthcare that might come down the road.
How Long Does It Take On Average To Create An Estate Plan?
The necessary length of time varies broadly based on the individuals involved. Generally, however, from the time someone steps into my office, usually about a month or so passes until the documents are signed. For a particular person’s case, it may take more or less time. The process involves having an information session where we sit down and talk all the things that you want to accomplish through your estate plan. I put together a custom proposal about how to proceed. Once the client approves the plan, we draft copies of the documents for them to review. We schedule a follow up meeting, often by phone, to review the drafts and make revisions. At that point, we are ready to sign.
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