My dad taught me how to sail. He taught me how to properly shake hands. My mom taught me to be kind to others and relish the joy of letter writing.
What I wasn't made privy to, however, was the importance of legal and financial planning. My husband and I hammered out our first (and only) will when our second child was born. And, for estate planning, we are just now turning to the professionals.
For this story, we talked to Oren Ross of Oren Ross & Associates. The Roswell firm specialize in estate planning – creating trusts, wills, and associated documents. We appreciate that he is willing to build a customized, comprehensive estate plan for us, taking into consideration family dynamics, taxes, business ownership (that's me), nursing home expenses, legacies, and final wishes.
Oren is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia, is a member of the State Bar of Georgia Fiduciary Law Section, the State Bar of Georgia Elder Law Section, and the North Fulton Bar Association. He lives in Johns Creek with his wife Rachel, their son Bo, and their three cats and two dogs. He volunteers at the Atlanta Humane Society in his free time, and is passionate about exercise and physical fitness.
We asked him about estate planning at three different turning points.
You need a financial power of attorney and advance directive for healthcare. Without those, parents can't manage your finances or make medical decisions for you without going through a long process in probate court.
You now need powers of attorney, and should also consider having a last will and testament, especially if they are married, have children, or own a house. A will can name guardians for your children and make things a lot simpler for your family if you pass away.
People need powers of attorney, a will, and should consider a living trust at this point. Wills go through the probate court, which is usually a long and expensive process. Living trusts allow us to bypass the probate court when you pass away, and your heirs can receive assets immediately.
Many people set up living trusts to avoid probate and make things as easy as possible for their spouse and children when they pass away.