You can’t predict when you will die, but you can plan for what will happen to your assets when you are gone.
Local attorney Joe Marion said the biggest mistake he sees when talking to people about planning their estate is that they wait too late to get started.
“I have people calling routinely, ‘Mom’s going into a nursing home. What can we do?’” Marion said. “By that time, there’s not a lot we can do.”
With the Baby Boomer generation hitting retirement age, many of them stand to lose it all if they don’t plan properly, according to Marion. A living will, a regular will and designating a power of attorney is all part of estate planning, he said.
Proper estate planning can save families from several headaches such as making sure assets are protected if a loved one goes into a nursing home and making sure assets are divided properly when someone passes away.
With the federal estate tax not kicking in until $5.2 million, most people don’t have to worry about paying that, according to Marion. Georgia is one of the many states that do not have a state estate tax.
By the time someone is 50 years old, everyone — even those who think they don’t have anything to protect — should begin estate planning, Marion said.
Floyd County Probate Judge Steve Burkhalter said the No. 1 mistake people make is not getting legal advice when planning their will or estate.
“Money spent on estate planning is money well spent,” Burkhalter said.
When the inevitable does happen and a loved ones dies, Burkhalter advises people to be well prepared when they come into his office.