Many Georgia residents are currently thinking about estate planning or long-term care issues. Some are adult children who helping their aging parents get their documents squared away. Others are people who realize the importance of bringing such issues off the back burners of their minds to the forefront. It is never too soon to start, although there are several common mistakes that those developing plans will want to avoid, especially when naming a beneficiary.

It is critical to understand the various means for transferring assets to beneficiaries. Some people choose options that are payable upon death while others opt for living trusts. If not a single specific beneficiary is named, all assets will be processed in probate court. There is no guarantee that the person to whom the court transfers the assets would be the same person intended by an estate owner.

Another common mistake many estate owners make is to neglect to update their plans. For instance, a parent may designate each child as a beneficiary. However, if an additional child is born and no update is made, it might mean that a sibling is left out of an inheritance.

Georgia laws that oversee beneficiary issues may vary from other states. Most states’ laws are similar regarding designation of minors. If a minor age child is named as beneficiary of a life insurance or other policy, the monies will transfer to him or her at age 18 or 21. To avoid errors and to devise as solid a plan as possible, it is helpful to ask an experienced estate planning attorney for guidance.