Additional Resources/FAQs



Committed To Addressing Your Concerns

We look forward to helping you through your elder law and estate planning legal issues, but we know that during this personal time you may want to investigate your case and your potential legal options online as well. Please find below some of the questions our clients commonly ask and our responses to those questions.

Why should I hire an elder law attorney?

An elder law attorney can advise you on all aspects of caring for yourself, your spouse, your parents or your grandparents. This legal counsel can uncover elder law issues you may not be aware of:

  • Trusts and special needs trusts
  • Benefits and investment advice
  • Guardianships
  • Powers of attorney
  • Living wills and advance care directives
  • Senior care management

An experienced Georgia elder lawyer can assist you in determining the issues that apply to your loved one’s situation and the possible care, tax, insurance and benefit solutions.

What are some common long-term care mistakes and how can I avoid them?

Long-term health care plans are important preparations for the future. Unfortunately there are many pitfalls that thwart execution of these plans, and it is frequently too late to make the proper adjustments to rectify the situation. Some common mistakes include the following:

  • Assuming ineligibility for Medicare and Medicaid because of assets or current residence in a nursing home or care facility
  • Making drastic adjustments to qualify for Medicaid, Medicare or veteran’s benefits, including selling or donating significant assets to reduce net value
  • Assuming an estate plan covers long-term care arrangements

Contacting J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C., can provide you with the legal advice you need to successfully retain the benefits and arrangements necessary for your loved one’s long-term care.

What are the top estate planning mistakes and how can I avoid them?

Creating an estate plan is a thorough process, and while you can modify it to suit your changing financial or familial circumstances, errors can still arise. Here are some of the top mistakes people make regarding their legacies:

  • Failing to make a legally valid estate plan. Wills and trusts can be challenged and litigated if your wishes aren’t clear or are not in line with your state’s requirements.
  • Overlooking some details. Not including some of your assets in your estate plan or assuming your family members can peacefully decide what property goes to whom can result in will litigation and a bitter battle among your loved ones.
  • Choosing the wrong personal representatives. Not everyone is capable of directing your estate through the probate process and responsibly satisfying tax, payment and distribution requirements.

The best solution is to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer in your area. Your attorney knows the law, the courts and — as long as you are open and straightforward — all assets of your estate. J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C., can help you make the decisions that define your legacy.

Is it necessary for a lawyer to draft my will?

While it may seem straightforward for you to draft your will yourself, personally drafted wills tend to be incomplete and are, therefore, invalid under state law. An attorney familiar with Georgia laws can draft a legally valid will.

What happens if someone dies without a will?

State law uses a default will for anyone who dies without one. Typically, the spouse and children of the person who died take the property. If there are no spouse and no children, the decedent’s parents take the property, followed by siblings, grandparents and children of the grandparents. If no close relation can be found, the property eventually belongs to the state. Note, though, that as part of the probate process, the decedent’s creditors can lay claim to the property after certain allowances for the spouse and children.

What are the duties and obligations of an executor or personal representative?

The executor or personal representative follows state law to wrap up the decedent’s affairs, including the following:

  • Giving the proper notices to proper parties
  • Collecting the decedent’s property
  • Receiving claims against the estate
  • Paying valid claims and disputing others
  • Distributing estate property according to the will or state law

Selling estate property to cover debts or allow for proper distribution may also be necessary.

Where can I find more information on my legal issues?

Georgia provides an array of resources and services to assist those facing matters of law. While our law office is always prepared to help clients, we understand you may want to see all the information available to you online as well. Please allow us to help you get started with the following online legal resources:

Gainesville Estate Planning And Elder Law Firm

Difficult decisions lie ahead, but experienced, approachable legal counsel can guide you through every step of your matters involving elder law, estate planning and special needs law. Call the Gainesville and Young Harris law firm of J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C., at 866-253-6994 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation.