Wills, Trusts And Probate

Planning ahead for your future is something that everyone should do, regardless of your age or the size of your estate. Your estate is simply everything you own. This could include your property, your home, your bank accounts, your stocks, life insurance policies, artwork and more. Every situation is different and some estates are more complex than others to administer. Having an estate planning lawyer on your side throughout this process could prove extremely beneficial and you will have peace of mind knowing that a legal representative is on your side every step of the way. At Stadler Law Group, LLC, we have over 20 years of combined experience helping people understand the ins and outs of estate planning. Numerous complications can arise along the way and so it is important that you have a strong legal representative helping you through this process.


The most common method of estate planning is creating a will. A will allows you to record how you want your estate divided as well as your preferences regarding funeral and burial. Even though creating a will does not have to be a complicated process, many people in the U.S. fail to take this necessary step. You can make a will with or without the help of an attorney and in the long run can greatly decrease the stress on your family. If someone passes away without a valid will, the court may take charge of dividing up the estate. If the property goes into probate, it could mean a lengthy court process and extra fees and costs. As the laws surrounding creating a will can change slightly from state to state, it is important to be aware of what to expect in Georgia.


A trust is another means to plan your estate. It can be used instead of a will or as a supplement to a will. A trust is different from a will in that the property is legally transferred while the creator of the trust is still alive. The creator of the trust is known as the trustor. He or she transfers ownership of the property over to a third party, known as the trustee. This trustee is responsible for managing the property (the trust) until it is handed over to the beneficiary. The two main types of trusts are testamentary trusts and living trusts. In a testamentary trust, the property is transferred to the beneficiary upon the death of the trustor. In a living trust, the beneficiary receives the trust while the trustor is still alive. A living trust could be revocable or irrevocable, meaning it can be changed or it is permanent.


What exactly is probate and why do people go to such great lengths to avoid it? When a person dies without a will or trust or the authenticity of the will or trust is contested, the case may have to go to court. The legal court process is called probate. During probate, the deceased individual's property will be identified and valued. The property will be sold to pay any taxes or debts of the individual and then the rest of the property will be distributed. This process can take months or even years and a lot of the estate can go to the court in fees. To avoid this, having a valid will or trust is imperative. A member of our team could help ensure that this does not happen by helping you create a valid will or trust.