When people think about dividing their assets among their loved ones when they die, they very often take for granted that anything that they leave as an inheritance will be divided equally among their children.

The largest obstacle to effective estate planning is procrastination.  Sitting down to prepare a Last Will and Testament is not at the top of anyone’s “this is a fun thing to do" list.  Yet death, like taxes is a certainty.

If the distribution of your property is important to you, you can use a will or a trust to give instructions about who gets what when you die.  If you die without a properly executed estate plan, state law will determine how the probate court will divide and distribute the things you own.  Of course, the state of Georgia’s estate plan won’t take your particular wishes into account. 

James Miskell, Attorney at Law

It’s that time of year again. Yes, it is New Year’s resolution time. Was estate planning one of your unfulfilled resolutions for 2014?  Is it on your “to-do” list for 2015?  Take the opportunity to get it done this year.

We all know that an estate plan is a matter of personal responsibility. Only you understand your family’s priorities well enough to make the proper decisions.  Legal and financial professionals are essential to understanding the best strategies, but the final decisions about what is right for your family can only be made by you. 

“Trick or treat” rings out every Halloween as kids go door to door hoping for their favorite candy. My kids love sorting the candy at the end of the night and finding surprises in their candy haul. Part of the fun and excitement of trick or treating is the uncertainty —you don’t know what you are going to get. Dying without estate planning is a lot like trick or treat for your surviving family members—you don’t know what they are going to get.

Making sure that a loved one with special needs has access to all the opportunities and services necessary for an enriching life can be costly and difficult to coordinate.