Estate Planning

Atlanta estate planning attorney, Lisa Blackstone, answers your questions about planning to protect your family and your wealth.

Most people have a reasonable concept about the purpose of a will, there remain some misconceptions that need clarification. Simply put, a will is the legal document in which you direct how your real and personal property, debts and assets will be handled after your death.

People sometimes wrongly assume that if they have insignificant assets, then they do not need a will.   WRONG!  A vital part of your will is the designation of a guardian for your minor children.  rather than leaving this decision up to the Probate judge, you can elect who will raise your kids in your absence.  Without that directive, the court will decide this important matter after letting your surviving families fight about it!  Don’t do this to your kids or your family!  Draft your will and make this decision for them.

Another misguided assumption, leading people to believe that they do not need a will is that everything will automatically go to the surviving spouse after their death.  This is usually not the case.  The distribution of assets is governed by state law.


In Georgia, for example, if you have one child, your surviving spouse will get ½ of your estate and your child will get the other half.  If you have two or more children, then your spouse will get 1/3 and the remaining 2/3 will be divided equally among all your children.

This is not a good result for an older couple who has prepared for retirement and the survivor needs the entire estate for support.

Also, some people reason that they do not need a will because they have already told their heirs who is getting what!  Let me be clear about this:  Once someone is gone, the survivors can turn into people others would not recognize!  You would be amazed how much fighting will go on over the tiniest little yard tool!  If it’s not in a will, your wishes cannot be enforced and believe me, they will fight over it!

These days, there are many blended families, with grown children from previous marriages, half siblings, step children, adopted children and so on.  In order to protect your loved ones, you must have a properly prepared will.

Other life altering events require that you review your estate plan to be sure your assets are handled appropriately.  Marriage, divorce, adoption, a move to another state, the birth of a child…these are all events that may require a change in your plan.

Lisa Blackstone has helped families protect their wealth and their family’s futures for years.  Let her help you as well.

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