Estate Planning

Protecting the Future of All Georgia Families

A well-drafted estate plan is one of the greatest gifts you can give your family. It protects their financial well-being, provides for the future care of any minor children, reduces the risk of disputes, and in general protects your loved ones from the financial and legal consequences of your passing.

The estate planning attorneys at the Scriber Law Group, LLC can help you put together a comprehensive Georgia estate plan that will accomplish the following:

  • Ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes
  • Minimize the expensive, time-consuming, and complex probate process
  • Prevent family conflict
  • Protect your estate from unethical trustees or administrators

Though we are privileged to work with all families, we specialize in providing insightful and empathetic support to clients with more precise and challenging estate planning needs. They include:

  • Members of the LGBT community: We are committed to securing the rights of LGBT couples, who are now considered married under federal law. We can guide you through the potential pitfalls of Georgia estate planning, protecting the interests of your significant other and any children you may have.
  • Current and former government employees: We provide estate plans that address both military and civilian retirement plans, veterans’ benefits, disability benefits, and other occupation-specific issues.
  • Real estate investors: We help clients deal with the unique asset protection, tax, and title issues surrounding the ownership of numerous commercial and/or residential properties, minimizing your exposure to legal liability and aligning your investments to your larger estate plan.
  • Both start-up and high-growth business owners: We help clients navigate the legal issues surrounding the launch of a startup and help plan for the unique estate planning, succession, asset protection, and tax issues involved in the launch and operation of a high-growth business.

Regardless of your personal or professional circumstances, we can help you assemble an estate plan that accomplishes your goals with minimal time and stress.

Trusts

A Trust is a legal arrangement where one party, the Trustee, holds an asset for the benefit of another party, the Beneficiary. The asset is placed in the Trust by the Grantor (also called a Settlor).

Benefits of a Trust include:

  • Precise control over your wealth and estate
  • Easier management of complicated situations such as blended families
  • Protection of assets from creditors or other individuals who might otherwise have a claim to the property

Finally, you can spare your family the time, expense, and potential conflict of probate. A Trust enables a relatively simple, non-public transfer of your wealth according to your wishes and desires. While you may lose control of assets transferred into the trust, this drawback is considered minimal when compared to benefits such as lower taxes, asset protection from creditors, and/or additional estate planning security.

Wills

The core of any estate plan, a valid Georgia Will allows you to determine who receives your personal property and real estate as well as who will care for your children if you pass away while they are still minors. With a Will in place, you can rest assured that everybody you care about will be taken care of after you die.

If you pass without leaving a Will, your estate will be distributed according to Georgia laws of intestacy and the outcome will probably not be what you intended. Guardianship of your children will be determined by a family court if their other parent is deceased as well. It’s a distressing scenario full of unknowns that a Will can help prevent.

Other benefits of a will include:

  • Ability to name an Executor who can manage your estate without having to petition the probate court
  • Creation of Trusts that protect minors, those with special needs, and those who need protection from creditors
  • Creation of life estates that give a spouse or other designated person use of estate property for their life before it is distributed to children and/or other beneficiaries
  • Reduction of federal estate taxes

Under Georgia law, you can leave your property to any person or organization of your choice, an important advantage if you are a member of a nontraditional family.

Power of Attorney

A Georgia Power of Attorney allows you to designate a person, known as your Agent or Attorney-in-fact, to handle your financial affairs and make financial decisions on your behalf should you lose the ability to do so. There are two primary types:

  • A general Power of Attorney gives your agent broad legal authority over your affairs
  • A special Power of Attorney limits the powers of your agent to only a few situations

Typical powers granted to the Agent include the following:

  • Transacting any and every kind of business
  • Making, signing, and executing any contracts, deeds, checks, stock powers, etc.
  • Acting on your behalf with respect to any property owned by you at any time and any of your rights or obligations

At Scriber Law Group, LLC, we include a Georgia Power of Attorney in our estate planning package. We can also draft one for you separately. In either instance, we will ensure that your Agent only has the powers you want them to have for the period of time that will best accomplish your goals.

Advance Directives for Healthcare

The Georgia Advance Directives for Healthcare is a document that allows Georgians to choose the medical decisions they want made in case they are incapacitated and unable to make those decisions for themselves.

These decisions include:

  • The types of treatments desired
  • Whether to withhold life support and outside nutrition
  • What is to be done with your remains

You can choose anyone to be your healthcare Agent. There is no requirement that this responsibility go to a relative. For unmarried couples, designating your life partner or significant other as your Agent is a way to make sure that person is in charge or actively involved in making healthcare decisions instead of your biological family.

Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples/Nontraditional Families

The needs of LGBT families in Georgia are particularly complex and the need for a well-drafted estate plan is almost required. As a member of the community and an experienced practitioner, Stephen Scriber can handle these unique needs with honesty, integrity, and sensitivity.

In 2004, Georgia voters passed Amendment 1, preventing the state from recognizing or performing same-sex marriages or civil unions. However, in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages as valid in the state they were performed. Amendment 1 was then overturned and became invalid law. This means that same-sex couples can receive protection from the federal government in areas such as:

  • Social Security
  • Immigration
  • Federal Income, Gift, and Estate Taxes
  • Veteran’s spousal benefits

Even still, same-sex couples in Georgia face specific state legal issues if they are not married. Therefore, same-sex couples need to take added steps to protect their families. Scriber Law Group, LLC can help you prepare vital legal documents to secure your loved ones’ futures and determine who makes the key legal, medical, and financial decisions for you should you lose the capacity to do so on your own or pass away.

We also prepare solid estate planning packages for nontraditional Georgia families such as single parents, blended families, and cohabiting couples. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call 404-850-9334 or contact us here.

Please also visit our FAQ section for more information.

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