Elder Law
 &
Special Needs Planning


( 706 )  310 - 1242

 

Q1.      Do I need a Will?                     Only if you want to control how your property will pass up on your death.

 If you own real estate, have minor children, or have a blended family, you definitely need a Last Will and Testament.  Anyone who does not have a valid will, is leaving their estate according to the Georgia Intestacy plan.

The Georgia Intestacy statute will give equal shares to the surviving spouse and each surviving child – but the surviving spouse will inherit no less than one-third of the probate estate. Therefore, if you die without a will and leave behind two children and one spouse, your probate estate will be equally divided among them. If you die without a will and leave behind four children and one spouse, your spouse will inherit one-third of your probate estate and two-thirds of your probate estate will be divided equally among your four children.

If a surviving child is a minor, the Court will require a Conservator be appointed for that child to manage that child’s inheritance until he or she turns 18. 

If your child is an adult, but receiving means-tested governmental assistance and inherits more than the resource limit, (currently $2,000.) their benefits will terminate.

Another problem that may arise with intestacy is that a minor child could inherit a portion of your home, depending on how it is titled. If your surviving spouse cannot afford to maintain the property, and needs to sell, the transaction will need to be approved by the minor’s Conservator – which could slow down the sale of your home and increase the expenses borne by your surviving spouse.

Q2.      How long does my Will last?

While a valid will remains valid, it should be reviewed every few years to determine if any changes should be made. If you have changed marital status, residency, had a significant change in finances, or increased your family size, you should have your documents reviewed by an Attorney. Also, if any of your children are no longer minors, or have been determined to have a disability by Social Security, you should have your estate plan documents reviewed by an attorney familiar with estate planning or special needs planning.

 Q3.      What is a Financial Power of Attorney?

A financial power of attorney names an agent to speak on your behalf should you no longer be able to manage your financial affairs.  Special language is required to make the power of attorney “durable” which means it will remain effective after you have lost capacity.  A power of attorney is only valid while the principal is alive and terminates upon your death.

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