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Wills, Trusts, Probate and More
The Tallant Law Firm has provided Georgians in Metro Atlanta and all other areas of the state with Estate Planning Services since 1980. Our goal is to provide understandable and clear advice with real compassion for you and your family. .
A will is an essential legal tool, yet the majority of us defer this delicate and often stressful issue, sometimes indefinitely. But drafting your will with the help of a qualified estate planning attorney can be a simple and straightforward process. A will is the foundation of your estate plan and under current current estate tax laws, the disposition of a small or moderately-sized estate can typically be handled with a simple will.
Everyone benefits from the protection of a will, even a person with a small estate. A will is much more than an disposition of assets. A will is your final voice, a way to elect who will carry out your wishes, who will take care of your children, a minor's inheritance, and the disposition of family heirlooms.
The Tallant Law Firm will help you determine whether your estate planning needs should include tax planning and how your unique circumstances can be addressed with tools such as bypass trusts, disclaimer trusts, contingent trusts and special needs trusts. Additionally, if large enough, your estate may justify the need for family limited partnerships, life insurance trusts or a regular gifting plan to take advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion.
A will gives your wishes the authority of law and streamlines the probate process for your loved ones. Leaving behind an estate (regardless of size) without a will renders the probate process both more involved and more costly. Without a will, the Georgia Law will determine who gets your property. Having a valid and well-drafted will can protect your estate from unintended and unwanted problems and avoid misunderstandings which may result in litigation among your heirs.
Many estate plans require the incorporation of some type of trust to be incorporated into your estate plan to further protect your interests and effectively pass on your assets to those you love. It's important to note that these are complex legal instruments and that in order for them to be effective, you should consult a qualified estate planning lawyer who can thoroughly explain them to you and advise you on how they can serve your specific needs.
Bear in mind that every trust is a single component in your estate plan and should only be used in tandem with a basic will, powers of attorney and an advanced directive. All of these tools work together to build a solid plan that can (1) ensure your property is in the right hands — either during your lifetime or upon your death, (2) guarantee that your money and property is used for the purposes you intended, (3) potentially save your estate a significant amount in estate taxes, and (4) ensure your loved one qualifies or continues to receive public assistance monies for which they become eligible.
Powers of Attorney and Medical Directives
Advanced planning for our elder years is critical because without the proper legal instruments, if you become incapacitated, a court may determine that you need a guardian and appoint someone you may not have chosen yourself. Plus, the associated costs, bond premiums and on-going fees would be paid from your assets at the court's discretion. Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid that difficult and expensive process and plan for the management of your property and your emergency medical care should you become unable to do so for yourself. These include Statutory Durable Powers of Attorney, Georgia Advance Directives for Health Care, and Appointment of HIPPA Personal Representatives.
Probate & Estate Administration
Probate and estate administration is the process by which a person's estate is settled after death. It involves proving that a will is valid, identifying and inventorying the person's assets, clearing the estate of debts and taxes, and distributing the property as the will (or state law, if there is no will) directs. Although probate can be complex and time-consuming, with careful estate planning you can ensure that the necessary legal process is as efficient as possible.
Disputes can often arise in the administration of a trust or a probate estate, especially when there are substantial amounts of money involved or when family conflict is present. These disputes can arise between beneficiaries, between a trustee or other fiduciary and beneficiaries, or from third parties. The Tallant Law Firm can help resolve these disputes using informal means, saving clients valuable time and money and enabling them to avoid unwanted attention. When litigation proves unavoidable, our experienced trust and estates litigation expertise will prosecute and defend client interests, both before the courts and in arbitration.