Although Estate Plans vary in size and complexity, a basic Estate Plan will generally include the following, each of which is discussed below:
Will (or a Will substitute, such as a Revocable Living Trust)
Financial Power of Attorney
Advance Directive for Health Care
Your Will is your opportunity to direct what will happen to your property after your death and to appoint a trusted Executor who will probate your Will and carry out your wishes. If you want, you can include in your Will instructions to your Executor regarding burial, cremation, and funeral arrangements. Your Will can also provide that certain beneficiaries, such as minors or disabled individuals, will receive their inheritance in trust rather than outright.
Financial Powers of Attorney
A durable financial Power of Attorney allows you to designate a trusted Agent to handle your financial affairs. “Durable” means that the Power of Attorney will remain in effect even if you are incapacitated in the future. You can choose to make your Power of Attorney effective: (i) on the date you sign it; or (ii) only after the occurrence of a specified event, such as your doctor certifying that you are no longer able to manage your own finances.
The standard Georgia Power of Attorney is very basic. It gives your Agent the powers necessary to handle common financial transactions, but it does not contain the broad powers that could be needed in the future to create and implement a Long Term Care Plan to help you get the care you need while maximizing the amount of assets preserved for your family. It is for this reason that most Elder Law attorneys include in their Powers of Attorney additional powers designed to facilitate future Long Term Care Planning and asset protection.
Advance Directives for Health Care
An Advance Directive for Health Care allows you to designate a trusted Health Care Agent to make your health care decisions if you are unable to. You can also specify which types of treatment you do and don’t want to receive. Georgia law contains a model Advance Directive for Health Care, but individuals can use a different form if they prefer. We provide all of our Estate Planning clients with a free one-year membership in DocuBank to ensure that their Advance Directives will be readily available to health care providers in case of emergency.