St. Simons Island Estate Planning Attorney Helps You Create a Legacy
Personalized, comprehensive estate plans in Georgia
Estate planning involves safeguarding the wealth you have acquired during your life and transferring that wealth to intended beneficiaries. Estate planning also allows you to set aside adequate funds to provide for your health and welfare as you face the challenges of old age. At Choate Harris P.C., our estate planning attorney takes a personal approach, handling discussions about end-of-life issues with the utmost sensitivity. Our estate planning attorney designs customized, comprehensive plans that thoroughly address your goals, providing the maximum protection for your wealth while building in contingencies for the unexpected.
Major elements of a comprehensive estate plan
Your estate plan can provide as much or as little protection as your estate requires. Many of our clients do well with a few basic documents, while those with complex assets require more extensive and highly detailed structures. Basic elements of an estate plan include:
- Last will and testament — A will not only enables you to give property to relatives, friends and charitable organizations but also lets you provide for the care of children and others with special needs. It also allows you to name an executor to manage your estate. Failure to execute a valid will creates a situation called intestacy, in which your property passes according to the laws of the state. Our attorney helps with drafting and executing enforceable wills addressed to carrying out your objectives.
- Trusts — A trust is a legal entity you create to hold assets during your lifetime and to pass them on to named beneficiaries at your death or upon other conditions. One of the advantages of a trust is that it avoids probate of the assets within its ownership. Trusts are flexible instruments that can be tailored to your needs. A trust can also live on after you pass, endowing charities and other intended beneficiaries.
- Healthcare directives — An advance healthcare directive, sometimes referred to as a living will, allows you to name a healthcare proxy and state your preferences for receiving or refusing possible life-saving medical intervention in extreme health emergencies when you are unable to make or communicate decisions yourself. The advance healthcare directive also allows you to express your preferences regarding burial or cremation, authorizing an autopsy, and organ and body donation.
- Power of attorney — This document allows you to transfer legal authority to someone you trust to manage your finances and other matters. A power of attorney can become effective as soon as you execute it or it can be designed to transfer authority as a result of some event, such as your mental incapacity. The power of attorney laws in Georgia changed significantly in 2017. If you have an older power of attorney, you should speak with our experienced estate planning attorney about whether an updated document is appropriate.
- Business succession — If you are a small business owner, you should have a plan for what happens to your interest when you eventually step down. Rather than simply selling your business, you can design a plan that allows someone of your choosing to assume control. Business succession that occurs smoothly over a certain period of time allows your customers and clients to get comfortable with new management, leading to greater business retention. A succession plan can also provide you with income during your retirement.
When you visit with our estate planning attorney, you’ll get personalized assistance and thorough answers to all your questions. Our goal is to design a plan that meets your needs now and well into the future.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney on St. Simons Island
Choate Harris P.C. provides comprehensive estate planning services for clients throughout the Glynn County area. Please call 912.324.5216 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Our St. Simons Island office is at 300 Main Street, just off Demere Road.