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Powers of Attorney
Healthcare Directives
Last Will & Testament
Revocable Living Trusts
Asset Protection Trusts
"Blended" Family Planning
Young Family Planning
Special Needs Planning

Think. Differently. About Everything You've Been Taught About Estate Planning.

Learn How The Right Estate Planning Can Protect Your Family & Your Estate.

At our firm, we help clients achieve better results with forward thinking about their estate, asset protection, tax & financial planning.

It's About More Than Just "Who Gets What" When You're Gone. Estate Planning is Even More About What Happens While You're Still Here.


If you don’t have an estate plan, the State has one for you. But you probably won’t like it.

Schedule a Free Consult or Get A Free Analysis of Your Estate Planning Needs:

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What is Estate Planning?

Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, nearly everyone does. Your estate is comprised of everything you own— your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and something in common—you can’t take it with you when you die. When that happens—and it is a “when” and not an “if”—you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about.

To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You will, of course, want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs.
That is estate planning—making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die. However, good estate planning is much more than that.

Your Estate Plan Should Do The Following: 

  • Include instructions for passing your values (religion, education, hard work, etc.) in addition to your valuables. 
  • Include instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die.
  • Protect you & your estate from the devastating effects of long term care costs
  • Name a guardian and an inheritance manager for minor children.
  • Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.

  • Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.
  • Provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
  • Include life insurance to provide for your family at your death, disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work due to illness or injury, and long-term care insurance to help pay for your care in case of an extended illness or injury.
  • Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death.
  • Minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees.
  • Be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations (and laws) change over your lifetime.

Durable Powers of Attorney:

A General Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters is important if you earn any income or own any property. Completing this document will allow someone you trust to step in and act on your behalf should you become unable. Having a GDPOA in place will allow the practical tasks of day-to-day life to be managed: paying your bills, communicating with the insurance company and even fixing the roof!


Guide to Durable Powers of Attorney

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Advanced Directives for Health Care:

Completing a Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare is critical for anyone over age 18. This document allows you to appoint a person you trust to make healthcare decisions for you should you become unable. It also provides options for more detailed advance care planning such as resuscitation, feeding tubes and antibiotics.


Download our Guide to Advanced Directives for Healthcare

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Questions about Wills? Do I Need a Will or a Trust?

What Does a Will Do?

A Will is the legal document that allows you to distribute your property to those you choose. A Will allows you to designate beneficiaries to receive specific items from your estate, and other beneficiaries to receive everything else. For example, if you want your house, your car, or your antique pet rock collection to go to a certain person or organization, you designate that person or organization as the beneficiary.

Who is in Charge? What is an Executor?

Who's going to make sure that your antique thimble collection goes to the proper person? Who is gong to make sure your actual wishes are followed?

The executor of your Will. The executor is the person you designate to carry out your wishes.

A Will Can Name Guardians for Minor Children

A Will also gives parents of minor children the chance to nominate a guardian. The court makes the final decision when appointing a guardian for your children after your death, but the court will usually accept your nomination. A guardian’s legal responsibility is to provide for your child’s physical welfare.

Too Many People Don’t Plan . . . Families Pay the Price.

Individuals put off estate planning because they think they don’t own enough, they’re not old enough, they’re busy, think they have plenty of time, they’re confused and don’t know who can help them, or they just don’t want to think it. Then, when something happens to them, their families have to pick up the pieces.

Estate Planning Basics Booklet

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What is a Trust? Do I Need a Will or a Trust?

What Does a Living Trust Do?

A Will comes into play only after you die, but a living trust can actually start benefiting you while you are still alive. A living trust is a trust established during your lifetime. Some are revocable & some are irrevocable, both of which allows for you to make varying degrees of changes, depending on your goals. You will transfer substantially all of your property into your living trust during your lifetime, and any omitted assets can be transferred into the trust at the time of death through the use of a simple Pour-over Will. You should always make a Pour-over Will at the time that you establish your trust.

Download our Trusts & Estate Planning Guide

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Trusts Work During Life & After Death - and Help Avoid the Probate Process

A living trust will be used as the mechanism to manage your property before and after your death, as well as provide how those assets, and the income earned by the trust, are distributed after your death. If you should become incapacitated or disabled, the trust is in place to manage your financial affairs, usually by a successor trustee, if you were serving as trustee. A living trust is not subject to probate, and therefore, all provisions of the trust will remain private.

Trusts Can Avoid Family Squabbles & Litigation Regarding An Estate Because They Help Clients Avoid Probate.

Quite simply put, people fight about money after someone passes. Probate provides the forum from which heirs can contest your wishes (in your will). Utilizing Trust planning avoids probate - and the fight. When combined with the use of an "in terrorem" clause (which says "if you argue about what I have done, you get nothing") we can avoid family infighting.

What Type of Trust Is Right For Me?
Revocable? Irrevocable?

Revocable Living Trusts vs.
Irrevocable Asset Protection Living Trusts

When it comes down to brass tax, the biggest difference between these two types of estate planning trusts is the fact that assets in a revocable living trust are not protected from a Medicaid spend-down for long term care, while assets in the properly crafted irrevocable asset protection trust are protected. Medicaid Estate Recovery liens can attach to assets in a revocable living trust, but not in the irrevocable asset protection trust. So choosing the type of trust that is right for your family is very important.

The "Right" Type of Trust Can Protect Assets from being Lost to Long Term Care

One of the biggest threats to your estate is the risk of a chronic long term care event destroying your estate at a rate of $7,000 to $9,000 per month or more. With the help of a Certified Elder Law Attorney, the right estate plan can be developed with the right type of asset protection trust that will protect you & your estate from this very real risk. 70% of all folks over 65 will need long term care in their lifetimes.

Without a plan, that's a high risk gamble.

Second Marriage?

"Blended Family"?

Plan Now To Avoid The Problems Later. Because They Will Come...

If You Are In A Second Marriage, With Children From Previous Marriages, We Implore You To Deal With Your Estate Planning Now - Not Later. Most People Have No Idea Of The Problems That Arise After One of You Is Gone. And They Will Arise.


Divorced, Remarried or Widowed?

Your Estate Plan Needs Extra Attention!

Chances are, you or someone you know is part of a blended family. Once uncommon, fully 42 percent of adults now have some kind of step-relationship, according to Pew Research. That’s 95.5 million people. For the millions of divorced, widowed, and remarried Americans out there, estate planning is extra tricky. In a blended family situation, there are more opportunities to get it wrong, and the stakes—ensuring your assets are distributed to a current spouse and not an ex, or that your children and stepchildren are treated according to your wishes—are often higher. Additionally, spouses—current, former or both—may not see eye-to-eye on key decisions. Who takes care of the kids if one parent dies—the surviving spouse or the natural parent? Which assets belong to which spouse?

Working through these details can not only avoid future estate planning hassles but also help maintain healthy relationships between all parties involved.

Blended Families: The Estate Planning Questions You Need to Ask

To get started, work through these questions:

  • What do you want to happen when you die?
  • Who do you want to make decisions for you, if you can’t make them for yourself?
  • Who will provide for your kids?
  • Who will take over as guardian for any minors when you die—the surviving spouse or the natural parent? Do the kids get a say?
  • What are you going to do for your surviving spouse?
  • How do you want to provide for them?
  • Do you want to give them broad decision-making authority or would you rather limit it?
  • Do you and your present and/or former spouse have shared objectives?
  • Will you need two separate attorneys to handle your plans?
  • How open are you willing to be in the planning conversation with a past and/or present spouse and an attorney?
  • Do you live in a separate or community property state? 

When you sit down to think about these matters, keep in mind any wealth or age disparities between yourself and any future or former spouses. If remarrying, do you need a prenuptial agreement? If there’s a big age difference, who’s more likely to die first?

Think You Are Too Young to do Estate Planning? Think Again.

If You Have Minor Children, You Likely Have More Reason Than Anyone to Create a Solid Estate Plan.


Young Families Need A Plan!

Many young families put off estate planning. If asked, they may say they are too young, healthy or can’t afford it. Some have trouble just thinking about what could happen if they should die while their minor children and spouse are depending on them. But even a healthy, young adult can be taken suddenly by an accident or illness, and those with young families need estate planning precisely because others are depending on them. Of course, you are not expecting to die while your family is young, but planning for the possibility is being prudent and responsible, and it shows your family how much you care.

A Will Can Name Guardians for Minor Children

A Will also gives parents of minor children the chance to nominate a guardian. The court makes the final decision when appointing a guardian for your children after your death, but the court will usually accept your nomination. A guardian’s legal responsibility is to provide for your child’s physical welfare.

What is Special Needs Planning & How Do We Properly Plan for Our Disabled Loved One?

Trying to Figure Out How to Plan for Them without Jeopardizing their Disability, Medicare or Medicaid Benefits? You're in the Right Place to get the Answers from A Certified Elder Law Attorney.


Learn the Differences between the Third Party Supplemental Needs Trust and the First Party or (d)(4)(a) Special Needs Trust and How We Use Them

What Are "Third Party" Supplemental Needs Trusts & How Can They Help Us?

​A third party SNT is funded with assets that are owned by parents, relatives or friends, but not assets owned by the trust beneficiary. Third party SNTs are an ideal estate planning vehicle for parents and other friends and relatives who want to leave an inheritance to an individual with disabilities. Parents frequently say that their greatest worry is how their child with disabilities will fare once they have passed away. Not only will a third party SNT shelter an intended inheritance, it can be used during the parents’ lifetimes for ongoing expenses that are not covered by government entitlements.

A significant attraction of the third party SNT is that, unlike a first party SNT, when the beneficiary dies, there is no Medicaid payback requirement. The person who created the third party SNT (often a parent) chooses and has complete control over selection of the trust remainder beneficiaries.


What Are "First Party" or (d)(4)(a) Special Needs Trusts & How Can They Help Us?

​A first party SNT is funded with assets owned by the trust beneficiary. A first party SNT–also commonly referred to as a “self settled” or “(d)(4)(A)” Trust–may be established to protect current or future means-tested government benefits if an individual is about to receive a settlement, inheritance or other monies that will bring his countable assets to more than $2,000.

First party SNTs are most commonly required when an individual with disabilities has received a settlement from a personal injury action or an inheritance from a well-meaning person who did not understand that such a gift could disqualify the beneficiary from important government aid. Another common use for a first party SNT is for divorce alimony or property division, or for child support payments when dealing with a child who has a disability. Unless such funds are sheltered in a first party SNT or used to purchase exempt resources, the beneficiary would lose his benefits and be required to pay medical bills and many other expenses from the assets until those assets have been spent down to $2,000.

Download our Family Guide to Special Needs Trust Planning

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Checklist: What Issues Should I Consider For My Child With Special Needs?

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