With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a number of Georgia residents will find that they no longer have to worry about estate taxes. However, there are multiple estate plan aspects not related to taxes that they should re-examine to ensure a successful allocation of funds.

A will is likely to be the main tool used to relay one’s intentions about their estate. The provisions of a will can be used to specify if beneficiaries should receive their inheritances outright or if the assets are to be placed into an existing trust or a trust created per the execution of the will. Testamentary trusts, or trusts that are created according to the provisions of a will, can contain provisions that detail at what age beneficiaries should receive their assets.

Every estate plan should also specify who will be managing the affairs of the deceased. The executor, which could be a person or an institution, will be responsible for locating all of the liabilities and assets associated with an estate. The executor will also guide the estate through the probate process, distribute the assets according to the wishes of the deceased and handle any administrative and tax filings for the estate. Testamentary trusts will be administered by the trustee assigned to them.

An estate planning attorney may advise clients on how to create a tailored estate plan that can protect financial assets for beneficiaries. The lawyer could recommend certain actions to help reduce estate taxes and evade the probate process. Clients may also be advised of the appropriate types of wills and trusts to use.

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