A Legacy Plan uses basic estate planning documents, like wills and trusts, to craft comprehensive customized solutions that align with state laws in Georgia and North Carolina.
Wills protect your loved ones and assets after you pass away while ensuring that your final wishes are carried out. Regardless of the size of your estate or your age, devising a will now is critical for the future. A custom will-based legacy plan in Georgia or North Carolina may include the following:
- Appointing an executor and naming beneficiaries
- Appointing a guardian for minor children
- Setting up powers of attorneys to designate trusted individuals to make medical and financial decisions
- Enhancing Powers of Attorney to allow unlimited gifting for Medicaid Planning and the ability to create irrevocable trusts to protect assets when qualifying for Medicaid, SSI, Veterans Aid and Attendance, and other government benefits
- Developing advance medical directives or end-of-life directives
- Integrating a long-term care plan
- Distributing your various assets
- Setting up special needs trusts for special needs or disabled individuals on means-tested public benefits
- Modifying the terms of existing wills to allow for long-term care and special needs planning
The Law Office of Keith R. Miles, LLC is experienced at crafting comprehensive wills in Georgia and North Carolina. We provide our clients with customized solutions and personalized representation, discussing specific needs to minimize potential challenges they may face.
Legacy Planning with Trusts Can Accomplish More Than a Will
Trusts can be critical to your legacy plan. Not only does a trust transfer assets to individuals or organizations like a will, but it can be used to preserve family values and protect assets for the benefit of future generations. Trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable, depending on how much control you want over your assets.
Revocable Living Trusts (RLT)
The revocable living trust can replace a will to accomplish many estate planning goals. It is established during your lifetime and may be amended or revoked whenever necessary before your disability or death. Significant advantages of having an RLT include:
- Managing assets should you or a loved one become mentally or physically disabled, avoiding conservatorship proceedings
- Avoiding the costs and time delays of probate
- Reducing the chances of a successful will contest
- Maintaining privacy by avoiding public probate court
- Administering out-of-state assets without multiple state-specific proceedings
As the grantor and trustee of the trust, you remain in control of your assets. Specific assets are retitled and transferred to the trust. Because you maintain full control over your assets, there are no income, gift, or estate tax consequences.
If you become disabled or incapacitated due to an accident or illness, your designated successor trustee steps in to manage your financial affairs. Also, anyone you authorize with a durable power of attorney may transfer additional assets you own to the trust. Disability can only be determined by a physician.
The RLT becomes irrevocable when you die, meaning the terms can no longer be changed. A pour-over will transfers any outstanding probate assets to the RLT. Assets held in trust are then distributed as you’ve instructed. They may go directly to beneficiaries, or the trust may establish separate tax-savings sub-trusts for the benefit of a spouse or child.
An RLT becomes more important as you age, and the potential for incompetency or incapacity increases the need for asset management.
The Law Office of Keith R. Miles, LLC was founded in 2008 and serves clients throughout Georgia and North Carolina. The firm focuses on holistic legacy planning and elder law for individuals and families – both traditional and “blended.”
Because our clients may have minor children while also caring for aging parents, we handle complex elder law issues such as long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, and special needs planning.
Contact us to start your will- or trust-based legacy plan today!