Heirs’ Property

Tree-4Heirs’ Property

In all of my eleven years of practice, one of my favorite legal issues to tackle lies at the intersection of my estate planning, probate, and real estate law practices, and that issue is heirs’ property.

Heirs’ property is land that has passed from one generation to the next by operation of intestate succession laws where a landowner dies without a will. Georgia’s intestate succession laws give rise to the automatic transfer of land from a deceased landowner to their heirs where the landowner dies without a will.

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Probate and Estate Administration

Additional-22In our May blog post, we discussed that if you start off by engaging an experienced estate planning attorney who delivers a carefully drafted estate plan in the first place, then you can you can avoid many challenges in the estate administration process. This installment picks up where we left off in May by describing exactly what the estate administration process is and how to probate an estate in Georgia.   Continue reading

The difference between a vacation and a trip – I FINALLY GOT A VACATION!

We are a law firm that represents families.  We have a strong focus on helping clients implement estate plans that further their hopes, dreams and goals for their whole family.  But what about helping families be closer while our clients are living?  That’s not really my job as a lawyer.  But I deeply care about all of our clients.  So when I stumbled upon what I truly think is THE BEST FAMILY VACATION EVER this summer, I wanted to share it with the people I care about.

SND-LakeI’ve seen a lot of articles lately about the difference between a vacation and a trip, especially for families with youngish children.  The articles and memes joke about how “vacations” with children really just mean cooking, doing laundry, picking up after children, chasing children around, and planning activities for kids in a new venue.  It’s no real vacation for the parents.  That’s just a trip.  That’s definitely what Sam and I have found over the past few years.  Add the blazing heat at the beach or a southern lake, and our vacations were just miserable trips…until this year.

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Estate Planning Alert – Window of opportunity may be closing on valuable estate tax planning


This discussion focuses on planning for clients with taxable estates ($5.45M for a single person and $10.9M for a married couple) and clients with quickly growing businesses who expect to be over those limits in the foreseeable future.

If we have ever spoken about estate tax planning, the planning strategy I describe below may sound familiar. Last week the IRS put us on notice that the window of opportunity for this type of planning may be closing by early December.

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Estate Planning: You Get What You Pay For

As with nearly everything in life, you get what you pay for.  Estate planning is no exception.  The scary thing with legal advice is that it’s really hard for a non-expert to tell if what you are getting is a Cadillac or a Ford Pinto.  I’ve even seen some plans with Cadillac prices with Ford Pinto issues.  So, how can you tell what you’re getting?

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Beyond your Will – Nonprobate property

The most common issue we see when we are assisting with an estate after someone dies is that their beneficiary designations and asset ownership (aka how their assets are titled) are not correct.  The assets that pass outside your Will are knoAdditional-13wn as “nonprobate property.”

Many clients think that once they have their Wills done, they are finished with their estate plan.  But that’s just part of the story.

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Who needs a Will? Why should I care?

So, today I offer our first blog post on estate planning, and we plan to use this blog to educate on many different aspects of estate planning: very basic estate planning concepts, estate planning for taxable estates, estate planning for “funky families,” estate planning for closely held business owners, planning for incapacity, charitable planning, probate and estate and administration, and other topics that we think might be useful for our clients.

I’m starting with the very basic:

Who needs a Will, and why should I care?

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