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Is a will enough to simplify estate administration?

Whether Georgia residents are considering creating an estate plan or already have, it may be beneficial to consider whether only having a last will and testament is the right choice. Without a doubt, a will is an essential part of most estate plans, but it may not be the only, or best, way to make estate administration as easy on surviving family members as possible. It may be worth the time and effort to consider taking additional steps to ensure that their wishes are followed without placing any unnecessary burdens on the rest of the family.

Relying on the probate court to distribute a Georgia resident's assets could keep heirs from receiving a full inheritance. It may also be months before any distributions are made, which could jeopardize the financial stability of surviving family members in the meantime. A trust may help alleviate these issues.

Not only can a trust provide its beneficiaries with immediate access to much needed financial support and assets, but it can also provide its creator, or grantor, with the opportunity to make decisions regarding how distributions are made and when. The assets in the trust do not go through probate, which also provides more privacy for everyone involved. A trust may also shield its assets from the grantor's and the beneficiary's creditors.

These are just a few of the things that a trust can do to help make estate administration less complex for the family members left behind after a loved one's death. Understanding what would make this process as easy for them as possible may not be a simple task. Those with questions regarding the best way to provide for their families after death and to make the process go as smoothly as possible may benefit from discussing the matter with a Georgia estate-planning attorney.

Source: Forbes, "7 Big Estate Planning Mistakes -- Part 1", Bob Carlson, Feb. 21, 2018

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