Wills & Estate Planning

Wills & Estate Planning

In this day of “cookie cutter” wills and trusts offered by on-line services, McKenzie Law Associates, P.C. offers a distinctive alternative: Wills and Trusts prepared by qualified legal professionals at an affordable price.

McKenzie Law Associates utilize a combination of attorneys and experienced paralegals so that from the initial interview through document preparation and execution, estate planning clients can have the peace of mind that not only have their Wills and related documents been prepared properly to suit their individual needs BUT ALSO that their estate planning documents have been executed under the supervision of a qualified attorney to insure the legal enforceability of the instrument and stream-lined probate processing.

On-line legal services only offer, at best, printed instructions as to how Will/Trust instruments should be executed. The exactitude and care required in Will execution are formalities which are not clearly understood by many individuals and families attempting a “do-it-yourself” approach to estate planning.

McKenzie Law Associates, P.C. offers a free 30-minute consultation to all prospective clients needing estate planning guidance or simply to review home-made Wills or Trusts.

Why Wills Are Important

  • Any family in Georgia needs estate planning if their estate exceeds $50,000, including Life Insurance.
  • Any husband and wife with children needs Wills because if the husband or wife die without a Will and leave a spouse with two children surviving, the surviving spouse will receive only a child’s share (in the case where there are two children, one-third of the estate) and guardians at litem (court-appointed attorneys) will be appointed to represent the minor children in an administration proceeding.
  • If a husband and wife with children both die in a common disaster, such as an auto accident, without Wills, the probate court in the county where they resided will appoint the legal guardians for the children and the trustee who will manage any assets that they inherit.
  • If a husband and wife with children each have a Will, they select the guardians for their children if both parents die, and they (by their Wills) select who will manage their estate assets for the benefit of their children.
  • Single parents need a Will even more than couples to insure that the best qualified individuals are appointed as guardians/trustees for surviving children.
  • The Wills prepared by our firm are always executed in the presence of an attorney and two impartial witnesses to insure that the Wills are legally valid. Internet firms that offer “simple wills” do not give legal advice and cannot insure that the wills they prepare are executed with the appropriate formalities to be valid.
  • Wills drafted by our firm contain “self-proving” provisions so that probate of the Will does not require that the original witnesses be found in most cases.
  • Wills prepared by our firm contain a number of key provisions that streamline the probate process and dramatically decrease the involvement of the probate judge and the need for any formal hearing, except in usual cases.
  • Our firm’s “simple will package” includes: a simple Will (which may or may not contain a trust for children); a Durable General Power of Attorney; and an Advance Healthcare Directive (which specifies who will make crucial choices if you have a terminal condition and are unable to communicate with your doctor). Prices available upon request.
  • For individuals or couples with assets which equal or exceed $500,000 (including life insurance) more advanced will documents may be required to avoid the imposition of Federal estate taxes. Currently, federal laws regarding estate taxes are particularly unclear. Thus, guidance by an attorney is strongly recommended where an individual’s or a couple’s estate equals or exceeds $500,000.
  • In considering whether your estate equals or exceeds $500,000, be sure to include the amount of any death benefit payable at the time of your death from any life insurance product, purchased by you or maintained by your employer.
  • Our firm also prepares a variety of estate planning documents besides wills; these include:
    1. Revocable Trusts
    2. Last Will and Testament
    3. Financial Power of Attorney
    4. Advanced Directive
    5. Trusts

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