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A will could simplify estate administration for family members

Most Georgia residents have heard that they need a will, yet only about 50 percent of Americans have one. Reasons for this vary, but some of the most popular seem to be that individuals do not want to discuss their own demise, have not found the time or believe that they are too young to worry about it. The problem is that no one knows exactly when he or she may pass away, and leaving family members without some instructions regarding the distribution of property could unnecessarily complicate the estate administration process.

Dying without a will or trust means that the court must follow Georgia's laws of intestacy. Whatever the decedent may have preferred no longer matters. The court will distribute his or her property in accordance with those laws. In addition, a will designates someone to serve as the executor of the estate, but without a will, family members will need to petition the court to appoint someone to serve in this capacity.

Having a will is useful, but depending on the circumstances, a trust may provide better protection for an individual's assets. Not only will the assets in the trust not go through probate, but they may also not be counted toward the decedent's taxable estate. Each individual will need to review his or her unique circumstances in order to determine the best estate plan possible.

This task could be made simpler by enlisting the aid of an attorney who handles estate planning and estate administration matters. He or she can review the circumstances, listen to an individual's wishes and devise a plan that meets as many of that person's goals as possible. It may not be a comfortable experience, but surviving family members would thank you for making the process easier on them during their time of grief.

Source:, "Importance of writing a will: How much work and trouble do you want to leave behind?", Meaghan St. Pierre, July 12, 2017

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