Attention Georgia elders: Avoid these estate planning pitfalls

Georgia elders often have a lot on their minds as they transition to assisted living care or make plans to organize the legal documents that will provide for their heirs and beneficiaries once they themselves have died. While some people try to avoid discussions about mortality, others realize that the estate planning process is, for the most part, an integral part of life that needs to be addressed in order to help loved ones avoid certain problems down the line. There are several avoidable errors that elders can address as they enter the long-term care planning process, which often includes execution of estate plans.

If an elder has been meticulous about compiling and storing important documents regarding bank accounts, retirement fund information, medical records and other long-term care paperwork but has not provided heirs verbal or physical access to the information, things may get a bit confusing when the time comes to administer an estate. In fact, problems may even arise sooner if, for instance, an adult child believes there is an advance directive in place but has no idea where it is. This is why it is always a good idea to sit down with heirs ahead of time to talk about such matters.

Another error that often occurs regarding revocable trusts is that people fail to fund the trusts or have not properly titled them. If this happens, the assets intended for the trust may wind up entangled in the very probate process the estate owner was hoping to avoid. A critical factor toward preventing such problems is to make sure to rename pertinent assets in the name of the trust.

The estate planning process is a single issue among many that are often part of planning with respect to long-term care. An experienced Georgia attorney who is well-versed in elder law is a great resource to have on hand. An attorney can help avoid estate plan pitfalls and also provide ongoing support regarding any legal problems that may arise.

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