Estate planning is important for any Georgia resident who has assets. An estate is anything that a person owned at the time of his or her death. If a person had debts or other liabilities, they would also be part of an estate. When an individual passes on, whatever is left over after liabilities have been accounted for is distributed to beneficiaries.

In some cases, this means going through the probate process. It is also possible to transfer assets through beneficiary designations or by the use of a trust. Beneficiary designations are commonly used on assets such as bank or retirement accounts. A revocable living trust is the most common type of trust, and it allows a person to act as trustee, which means that he or she can change it at will.

It is also possible to create an irrevocable trust. This variety cannot be changed by the grantor alone, and a third-party must act as the trustee. An irrevocable trust owns the assets, which means that it’s responsible for any taxes owed on revenue it generates. Charitable trusts are ideal for those who are worried about their legacies. While alive, an individual benefits from income generated by an asset. When the individual dies, the asset is then gifted to a charity.

Taking the time to handle estate planning today could make it easier to maintain control over how assets are distributed. In some cases, this may mean putting a child’s inheritance in a trust. Estate holders can also take other steps that might help to avoid probate. Those who aren’t worried about probate could still benefit by creating a will. Doing so may ensure that certain assets are given to an intended beneficiary as opposed to being distributed according to state law.

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