What Are Trusts?

Living trusts are generally used to leave property and other assets that would normally pass via probate (execution) of a will.  They are often setup to either avoid the probate process or for tax purposes.  Other trusts are used for special circumstances, such as when a disabled child must be cared for after your death, to ensure that certain assets are used to pay college tuition, or to protect your assets from an untrustworthy beneficiary (or their creditors).

Who Should Have a Trust?

Like wills, every adult with assets of any substance should have a will or a trust-will combination.

Should I Have a Will or a Trust-Will Combination?

I generally do not recommend that individuals use a living trust-will combination simply to avoid probate.  The probate process is not as complex in Georgia as it once was – in fact, it is a very simple process for the majority of people.  The State Bar of Georgia endorses use of a will over a living trust.  However, there are some things a trust can do that a will cannot – and vice versa.  Once we have an initial interview with you to see what your desires are, we can help you decide if a combination of living trust and will is going to help you accomplish your goals or if a simple will is sufficient.

Why Should I Hire an Attorney?

While there are plenty of self-help options available for low prices, each one will require a certain level of comfort with the subject matter – and as a general rule, the cheaper the option, the more research and work you will have to do yourself.  Continuing education courses on this subject are littered with recent cases showing that the courts are bound by the letter of the law, not the intent of the parties.  For example, a recent case where a mother named every item in her estate and left them all to her son then inherited more property before dying was not found to have also left the new property to her son.  In virtually every one of these cases, a well-drafted will would have avoided the problems that led to property going to the wrong person, expensive taxes being paid, and expensive litigation between family members emptying the coffers of the estate.

Fees for our firm to help plan your estate are only slightly higher than many of the do-it-yourself sites; additionally, we can offer more services than many self-help sites can offer due to their do-it-yourself nature.  Just a few hundred dollars extra pays for peace of mind about documents that will be very critical in your family’s future – and that few hundred dollars could save you and your family thousands (if not more) in taxes and/or future litigation fees.

If you would like to find out more information, please contact us for a free consultation today.