Acting on Your Behalf: Understanding Powers of Attorney in the State of Georgia

When illness or absence leaves us unable to make our own financial and/or health care decisions, a planning document known as a Power of Attorney can give an agent of our choosing the authority to step in and handle those matters on our behalf. You are not required to name a family member, so a Power of Attorney can grant your same-sex spouse rights that might otherwise be designated to blood relatives. In Read More

If a Close Relative Hasn’t Accepted Your Marriage, Should You Leave Them Anything? (The Cranky Uncle Problem)

"Friends," Tennessee Williams famously noted, "are God's way of apologizing to us for our families." We've all got that cranky uncle. In fact, our stories are so similar –the leather recliner, the favored drink, the phlegmatic jeremiads about "these kids today" – it sometimes feels as if we all share the same one. But for an increasing number LGBTQ families planning their estates, the cranky uncle has become Read More

When Love Wins (But Doesn’t Last)

Love won but the law still lags behind, and it presents a unique set of challenges to those gay couples who've decided to end their marriages. Divorce is hard enough for anyone to consider, but the plain fact is that anyone who has gone through a divorce really must give some thought to their estate planning. This is more true, not less, for LGBTQ families, because Georgia law still hasn't quite settled for Read More

Farmers’ Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes

Farmers know their profession entails a lot more than making a living; it's also about passing on a way of life; a family legacy, if you will.    Unfortunately, too often farmers fail to keep their estate plan up to date, and in doing so they place their legacy at serious risk. An outdated or inadequate estate plan can sometimes put their property, which is often the key to their legacy, Read More

There’s Nothing Half-baked About a Crummey Trust

According to a recent case in U.S. Tax Court, there is nothing wrong with using what are referred to as Crummey trusts as part of their estate plan, no matter what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says. See, a Crummey trust is a device used to huge tax-free transfers of large sums of money (In this case, as much as $1.6 million) without it affecting lifetime gift-tax exemptions. They were named Crummey because Read More

Same-Sex Married Couples Life Insurance Strategies

Sometime this year, the Supreme Court could very well change the whole same-sex marriage game, and rule that marriage equality is the law of the land. By then, it will have been about two years since they struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which opened the door, and pretty much forced states to accept all married couples equally. Other court rulings have opened up marriage in a total of 37 states, to the Read More

The Importance of Family Meetings to Estate Planning

One thing we in the estate planning business are always trying to do is to get families to speak to each other. Regardless of the issue, whether it's trusts or the will or end-of-life care, the entire family will be affected, so they should all have input into the process. For example, when you're talking to some parents about setting up trusts for their children, there's a good chance they'll be Read More

Talking to Aging Parents About Their Estate

Now that you've gotten your aging parents to talk about what they want to be done at the end of their life comes the hard part; talking about what they want to do toward the end, before they die but if they become incapacitated or ill, it's time to move that discussion in another direction. Again, it's really difficult to get some older people to talk about this stuff, but the discussion is only half Read More

Talking to Aging Parents About End of Life Issues

Most people truly love their parents, in part because they've done so much for us over many years. They took care of us when we were kids. They often helped us get through our first few years of adulthood, helped us get into our first house, and they even help us with the kids once in a while. It's a really good idea to thank our parents for everything they do for us, to be sure, but how do we do that? Read More

Same-Sex Spouses Shouldn’t Rely on Default Rules

Sometime between now and the end of its current term, the U.S. Supreme Court will make a ruling that could change  everything for millions of same-sex married couples nationwide, as well as thousands of couples waiting hopefully in Georgia and other red states, because they will rule on whether the Constitution requires states to allow and acknowledge  same-sex marriages.   When it comes Read More

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