Savannah Trust Lawyer Says, “Plan Now To Avoid Becoming A Burden Later”

Savannah trust lawyers help all sorts of people deal with the subject no one wants to talk about—what happens after you die. When your loved ones are grieving, it can be hard to devote proper time and energy to the details of your funeral and post-mortem affairs. If you plan some of this in advance, your children can be sure to respect your wishes, while also having the time they need to grieve.

One important issue to discuss with your children is how you want your body to be handled after death. Do you want to be cremated or buried? Do you want a large headstone, or something simple? If you are cremated, do you want to be in an urn or interred at a cemetery? Would you like a religious service, and if so, what kind? It may seem obvious to you what you would like, but sometimes your children may not know, and may end up fighting at a time they should be coming together to mourn.

Many people pre-pay their funeral expenses, so it is important to let your children know if you have. Trust lawyers in Savannah have witnessed times where there was a plot paid for, but the children didn’t know, and so paid for another!

What about your obituary? Trust lawyers in Savannah see cases where relatives are angry because the children got the details wrong in the paper. If you pre-write your own obituary, you can make sure that all of the details are correct, and that it says precisely what you want it to. It can be humorous, serious, or a little of both; if you write it, you control the message.

Have you written a will? You’d be surprised by how many fights happen once a parent passes away. If you want your mother’s china to go to one child and your father’s tools to go to another, be sure to put this in writing. Better yet, have your children over to talk about what each one may want when you are gone. It’s awkward, yes, but by finding this out and detailing it in your will, you can save a lot of fighting after the funeral.

What about a living will? This is one of the best uses of an estate planning lawyer. You need to have, in writing, what you would like to happen in the event that you are ill. Do you want to be resuscitated? How much intervention do you want? Do you want to be left on life support? Fights over this can divide a family, so knowing in advance what you want, and having it be on a legal document, can make things so much easier in a time of need.

Part of a Savannah trust lawyer’s job is to help your children to suffer as little as possible once you pass away. In order to make this happen, however, you need to be sure that they know what your wishes are for your funeral, for your assets, and for your body in ill health. By writing all of this down ahead of time, you can save everyone grief at a time when they need the space to mourn.

Savannah Estate Lawyer: How Long Does Your Will Need to Be in Georgia?

Any estate lawyer in Savannah will tell you that every person needs a will. Sure, the wealthy may have more assets to distribute, but pretty much everyone still needs to have their last wishes laid out in a legal document.

Even if it is just to keep the peace within your family, a will is necessary. If you want a specific item to go to a specific person, you need to have this in your will or else the laws in Georgia may allow someone else, such as a parent or sibling, the right to that item if he or she doesn’t care to respect your wishes. But how long does the will need to be?

Estate lawyers in Savannah will tell you that the answer is, “however long it takes.” In order to be legally binding, a will needs to have certain attributes. Once all of these are contained in the document, the will is by definition, “long enough.” So, what does your last will and testament need to include?

  • The will needs to state that it is, in fact, your will. You can’t just say that in the event of your death you want all of your assets to go to your cousin. The document should say this, of course, but written into the document must be wording that specifically names this document as your will.
  • Your will must list an executor. The executor is the person who is in charge of making sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
  • The will should state where any property should go, and when, in the event of your death. It can be left as a lump gift, or can be divided in small increments, but it needs to list where the assets will be going.

Of course, that isn’t all that makes a will legally binding. Laws vary from state to state, but pretty much everywhere there are a few givens that you can count on:

  • You must be at least age 18, or otherwise legally responsible for your own property and affairs.
  • You must be of sound mind, and able to make legal decisions about your property and interests. Estate lawyers in Savannah will tell you that if there is any reason to think you may not be legally able to make your own decisions, a will can be contested.

To make sure that your will isn’t contested, you should have witnesses sign the document, and also consider having it notarized. Estate lawyers in Savannah feel that the additional small fee for a notary is well worth the peace of mind you will have knowing that your will is unlikely to be successfully contested, as this person can state with assurance that you were, in fact, of sound mind when you signed the document.

How long a will needs to be really depends on the amount of property you wish to detail in the will itself. Otherwise, as long as it states that it is a will, and the executor is named, it can be as long or short as you want it to be. Estate lawyers in Savannah have seen wills that are a single paragraph, even; it’s all about how detailed you wish to make it.

When Does a Power of Attorney End in Georgia?

Georgia estate lawyers are forever advising clients on the importance of powers of attorney. These documents can be used to name the person in charge of making another’s medical decisions, or even to take care of someone’s finances in his or her stead. There are a number of great reasons to employ the power of attorney in order to protect yourself, your property, and your loved ones.

There are a lot of legal ins-and-outs when it comes to these powers of attorney, which means they can be a bit confusing. A good estate lawyer in Savannah will work with clients to ensure they have all of the pertinent information to make decisions and create the types of powers of attorney that will best serve their purposes.

One aspect that doesn’t always get a lot of consideration is how long a power of attorney lasts. For example, when you give someone the right to make your medical decisions for you, is there a time limit? Does that power ever revert to the courts? What if you gave your ex-spouse power of attorney and don’t want him or her to have it anymore?

There are actually several ways in which a power of attorney can end, and your Savannah estate lawyer will likely go over them all with you and help make sure you have contingency plans in place to avoid unwanted consequences.

Your Death: Any powers of attorney that were given during your life end when you die. There have been cases where the agent was unaware of the death and continued to act in his or her capacity. These actions were considered invalid.

Revocation of the Document: You are allowed to revoke the power of attorney or to otherwise change it during your lifetime, as long as you are of sound mind. This can be a relief for those who can foresee a possible change in circumstances later.

The Agent’s Death: If the person named in the power of attorney has passed away, there is obviously no one to fulfill that role. For this reason, you and your estate lawyer in Savannah will likely name an alternate. In some cases, you may even be able to allow the alternate agent to choose a different person to take on the role.

Court Order: While uncommon, it is possible for a power of attorney to be ruled invalid by a judge. This would usually only happen if it could be proven that you were of unsound mind or had been unduly influenced or the victim of fraud.

Probably the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to how a power of attorney ends is that you have quite a bit of control. You are able to revoke an agent, and would likely want to do so in cases where an ex-spouse was named, or the original agent somehow became an inappropriate choice. As long as you are acting with sound mind, and preferably with the assistance of a reputable estate planning lawyer in Savannah, there is very little chance that a disgruntled family member would later get your decision invalidated.