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Atlanta Probate Lawyer: Georgia’s New Uniform Power of Attorney Act

Recently, the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, or UPOAA, passed in Georgia. This act, which becomes effective beginning July 1, 2017, amends the previous law regarding powers of attorney (POAs). The passage of UPOAA in Georgia is a significant step toward protecting elderly or disabled people because it clears up confusing aspects of the previous statutory scheme governing POAs and provides for additional safeguards against elder abuse and financial exploitation by their agents. The Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association called uniform power of attorney laws “crucial to people with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.” UPOAA not only adds protections for principals- it provides common sense protections for agents and third parties, as well. POAs allow an agent to enter important financial transactions on behalf of a principal, such as buying and selling real estate, opening and closing accounts and paying bills. UPOAA adds protections to prevent an agent from abusing such powers. Prior to UPOAA passage, agents were subject to less harsh penalties and often were never held responsible for their misuse of their power. Sometimes, agents would be charged criminally, and may have been subject to a criminal restitution order, but prosecutors rarely pursued such cases because the amounts taken… [Read More]

Atlanta Estate Lawyer: Divvying Up Your Parents’ Stuff

I’ve been practicing as an Atlanta estate lawyer for many years and represented clients in many estates where siblings cannot agree on the division of their parents’ personal property. The basis of the disagreements are many: “Mom said she always wanted me to have her wedding ring.” “Dad gave you more stuff than me when he was alive.” “I’m the executor, so  I get to choose who gets what, and I want the grill.” Distribution of personal property other than money, stocks and similar assets (i.e., stuff) can quickly become a headache for the personal representative and beneficiaries, and can lead to threats of litigation and worse. Taking some simple steps following a parent’s death (and even before with the input of the parent) can help keep disruptions in the distribution process to a minimum and keep the relationships among siblings intact, which their parents’ undoubtedly would prefer over family broken up over material things. This CNN Money Article provides some tips about how to handle the “stuff.” One tip I would add to the article is for each sibling to realize they have gotten along in the world so far without the “one thing” they believe they must have, so ultimately… [Read More]

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