What should be in your will

A well-crafted will includes a list of assets, a competent executor to take care of matters, and the designation of a guardian for surviving minor children.

Surviving family members may not need to deal with taxes, probate and unresolved financial issues if a person in Georgia writes a will. Even so, Forbes Magazine reports that more than half of Americans do not have a will when they die. This has the potential to create conflict for the survivors while they are trying to deal with the grief of the loss. Similarly, those who do sit down with an attorney and draft a will, but fail to update it when circumstances change may be setting up their surviving family for just as much confusion and legal trouble as those who never draft one in the first place.

Who gets what

The allotment of a person’s worldly goods may be the first thing most people associate with a will, and US News verifies that failure to designate beneficiaries can result in some devastating consequences for those who are left behind. Instead of being taken care of, they may end up struggling financially while the state takes over the distribution of assets.

A person who is drafting a will may benefit from creating an itemized list of accounts, including pensions, 401ks, stocks and other investments, as well as bank accounts. Any sources of income that may continue to accumulate assets posthumously should also be identified and included.

Who administers the estate

AARP points out that professional executors or trustees are often a good choice, particularly if there is a large estate to oversee. Someone who wants to choose a friend or relative may benefit from considering that person’s ability to manage money. This does not have to involve experience dealing with large amounts if the executor named is the type to seek professional assistance when there are issues he or she does not know how to deal with.

Who raises minor children

The death of one or both parents is likely to be traumatic for children, but when there is no legal guardian named, they may also be facing conflict about where they will live. Relatives often have strong feelings about who will raise the children, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the ultimate decision is up to a judge.

The person who becomes the legal guardian does not have to be the one who manages the assets that are designated to take care of a child. Particularly in cases where there is a significant inheritance, parents often choose a trustee to oversee the child’s financial health.

An experienced attorney who is familiar with estate planning laws, including those specific to Georgia, may be able to assist those who are ready to ensure that their loved ones are protected after their death, and that their assets will be allocated according to their wishes.