Charlie has no will but talks often on how he wants his assets divided between four children. He often says, "i guess this should be in writing." What is the best way to accomplish this - a will or some other kind of statement that will stand up in court?
The only document which will stand up in court is a duly executed will which sets forth Charlie's wishes. Please have him consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer to prepare a new will and, perhaps, other estate planning documents which will accomplish his goals. Good luck to you and Charlie.
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If he has no spouse and only four children, who are living when he passes away, Georgia law provides that the estate would be split equally among the 4 children. However, there are many things which can happen prior to his death which could change that, and there may be many factors he is not thinking about, including what happens if one of the children dies before him, who is in charge of the distribution, is property to be sold and the proceeds divided, etc. The best way to deal with all contingencies and make an estate be split exactly how he wants is to do a simple will. Also, administering an estate with no will generally will cost more to probate than a will would.
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Estate Planning Attorney
You've got the correct answer right in your question: the way to ensure that Charlie's wishes are carried out is for him to have a properly-prepared, properly executed Will, and to ensure that his asset ownership and beneficiary designations are all consistent with that Will. Depending on what Charlie's wishes actually are, how his potential heirs may feel about them, and some other factors, it may also be a good idea for him to prepare a revocable trust, in addition to a Will, and coordinate his asset ownership and beneficiary designations with that. What Charlie really needs to do is go see an experienced estate planning attorney in the state where he has his primary residence, and get some good advice and a good plan.
This answer is not intended to provide you with specific legal advice regarding your situation, or to create any attorney-client relationship. The intent is only to provide general information. You should be aware that you cannot rely on this answer to provide you with any protection against tax penalties. You should always consult your own attorney in order to obtain legal advice.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Talk him into seeing a lawyer and writing a will. That is the ONLY document where he can decide how things are done. Nothing he says will matter at all. And intestate distribution is almost always more complex than a will, so he is not doing anyone a favor by putting this off.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
Everyone dies either with or without a will. With a will, the will controls. Without a will, the state's default rules control. What he said, mused, mumbled, emailed, or texted in life is irrelevant.
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Elder Law Attorney
Charlie needs to see an estate planning professional and put his wishes in writing. A professional estat planning attorney will look at everything Charlie ones and how he owns it. The, he or she Can give Charlie advice on the best way to title his property, help him make beneficiary designations ampnfd prepare a ill or trust. Also, a good estate planner will help Charlie plan for the possibility of disability by helping with a inancial power of attorney or living trust and health care advance directives.
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