Atlanta Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate

  Atlanta Wills and Trusts  
 

Practice Areas
(with definitions)


Will based estate plan

A Last Will and Testament is the very minimum of estate plans that every individual should have drawn up, regardless of estate size or family situation.  A will expresses your desires for your assets after you are gone.  Your personal representative probates your will in the probate court of your county of domicile, and distributes your assets according to your wishes.  If you die without a will, you die intestate, and the courts will ultimately distribute your estate in accordance with the laws of intestate succession in your state.  All probate records, including the assets included in an estate in probate, are public knowledge and can be accessed by anyone.


Trust based estate plan (RLT)

A Revocable Living Trust is a popular way to pass assets to loved ones without going through the probate process.  Using a Trust instead of a will as the cornerstone document of an estate plan allows the family to avoid the public process of probate and protects the privacy of family matters.  Any estate plan, no matter how complex or how simple, in order to be considered complete, requires financial powers of attorney, powers of attorney for health care, and in some states, a separate living will.  


Life Insurance Trust (ILIT)

An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust is a vehicle to house a life insurance policy, effectively removing it from your estate.  Most people know that life insurance proceeds paid to beneficiaries are not subject to income tax; however, many people are not aware that those same proceeds are subject to estate taxes.  Using the Life Insurance Trust reduces your overall estate size, allowing more of your estate to pass to your heirs estate tax free.


Charitable Trust (CRT)

A Charitable Remainder Trust is a statutory entity created by Section 664 of the Internal Revenue Code and can be extremely beneficial under the proper conditions.  If a family has estate tax issues, has highly appreciated property that would be subject to capital gains taxes, and desires a lifetime income stream that resembles a guaranteed pension, a Charitable Remainder Trust should be considered.  If it fits, the end result of using a Charitable Remainder Trust would be avoidance of the capital gain tax, avoidance of the estate tax, a guaranteed income stream for life, and an income tax deduction that can be used with current taxes.  This is one of the most popular planning devices for medium sized estates, because it provides many benefits to the family, and ultimately makes a significant contribution to a charity of the family’s choice.  A win-win situation.


Limited Liability Company (LLC)

A statutory entity that provides unique protections to the business and its owners.  Like the other types of business entities, the LLC has its own particular reasons for its existence.  The primary reason to use an LLC is that it affords “partners” protection against the acts of each other.


Corporation

A statutory entity that provides unique protections to the business and its owners.  Like the other types of business entities, the Corporation has its own particular reasons for its existence.  In addition to allowing certain types of deductions for owners, such as health insurance benefits, the primary reason to use a corporation is that it affords personal protection for the owners against business creditor’s attacks on personal assets.  An S-corporation adds some tax benefits in certain circumstances.


Family Limited Partnership (FLP)

This type of partnership can be useful for gifting within a family on a discounted basis, and is also used as an asset protection device.  As with other types of entities, it is useful under certain circumstances only, but if the circumstances fit, it can be very beneficial.


Asset Protection Trusts

Irrevocable trusts designed strictly for asset protection.