Answers And Information

Your own questions about estate planning mean you are ready to talk these legal issues over with a knowledgeable lawyer. Review our frequently asked questions below and bring your thoughts to our attention. Contact Riddle Law Group, LLC, for reliable advice and answers about topics such as the following:

Will a living trust allow my family to avoid probate?

It can — and will — if it is set up correctly and maintained properly. For a living trust to work as it should, you have to do it right. The document itself does not do all the work for you. You need an attorney experienced in managing living trusts to ensure its effectiveness over time.

What will happen to assets not included in the living trust?

This is an excellent question. With diligence, you should be able to include as many assets as possible in your living trust. However, certain assets may not be included primarily because of timing. For example, you might receive a personal injury settlement payout while you are incapacitated. An investment that was not deeded to the trust might pay premiums or you might receive an inheritance in your name. Any assets such as these that are not entitled to the trust will have to go through probate as if you did not have a trust. A pour-over will can help move this process forward.

How will retirement accounts and life insurance be transferred to beneficiaries?

Normally, life insurance proceeds and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) will transfer directly to named beneficiaries with no need to go through probate. If accounts such as these have been established and handled properly, they fall outside the estate and directly convert to assets of the beneficiaries upon your death. A will does not trump the naming of a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or a retirement account.

Will my 401(k) account go through probate?

This type of account will go directly to your named beneficiary without going through probate. This is also the case with life insurance and IRAs.

What should I do about estate planning after a divorce?

In a word: everything. You should gather all testamentary documents, records of life insurance policies and retirement accounts and ask a lawyer to evaluate their status. Unless you intend to leave your ex-spouse (or his or her heirs) a large gift after your death, you will want to revise all beneficiary designations. Your family law attorney and your estate law attorney can coordinate services to streamline matters for you. For example, your divorce lawyer is well-suited to do your qualified domestic partnership orders (QRDOs). He or she can ensure an appropriate division of your retirement accounts or your spouse's.

How often should I have my will reviewed?

A good rule of thumb is every five years or every time you experience a significant life change such as a marriage, divorce, birth of children, death or marriage of children, or after you receive an inheritance or start your own business.

How can I ensure the executor of my will does not face a will contest?

A contested will can be a major legal roadblock for your loved ones attempting to settle your estate in the future. Prevent this scenario through the sound guidance an experienced estate planning attorney can provide.

What questions should I be asking about estate planning?

A consultation with an attorney should bring your own questions to the surface. Get the information and insights you seek. Contact Riddle Law Group, LLC, in Marietta, Georgia, at 877-776-6510 or by email.